In this video we were lucky to have a brand ambassador straight from Ireland to give us some history and education on Irish Whiskey. Please let us know what you think!
Tim: Hi, I’m Tim from Elma Wine and Liquor. Today, I am here with Sinéad O’Hagan. We are here on St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebrating with a little Irish Whiskey. A little bit different style Irish Whiskey than you might be used to with the big brands that are out there. I’m going to let Sinead talk us through these two whiskeys. We have a Kilbeggan Irish Small Batch Rye and Tyrconnell Single Malt 15 year that it’s finished in Madeira barrels. Sinead, why don’t you tell me a little bit about the rye and the history of rye Irish whiskey?
Sinéad O’Hagan: Absolutely. Yes, we are bringing out the Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye, which was just released in December of last year. This is the first Irish Whiskey to contain rye in over 100 years and the only Irish whiskey at the moment to contain any rye. There’s a strong history in Irish distilling of using rye as a grain. Back in the 1800’s when the British government put a huge tax on barley, Irish distillers started using rye. Then over the hundreds of years that were to follow, rye fell down the cracks of Irish whiskey. We, however, have decided to bring it back to the forefront to become the first distillery, the Kilbeggan Distillery to bring out an Irish rye whiskey. Cheers.
Tim: Slainte. Definitely get a little of that rye spice on the finish.
Tim: It tastes like a lot of sweetness upfront from malted barley. There is some malted barley in this as well?
Sinéad: Yes. We have 40% malted barley, 30% unmalted barley, and just 30% rye in this whiskey. I usually say it drinks like a single malt or pot still Irish whiskey with a nice hint of the rye spice on the finish.
Tim: Very good. It’s not going to be for your regular rye whiskey drinker. It’s a little bit different, but because it still has that spice, it’s a good transition for somebody that might like ryes or might like Irish whiskey and wants to transition into one or the other. It’s good. Right in the middle. Nice balance.
Sinéad: Absolutely. A nice marriage of the two styles of whiskeys.
Tim: Yes. All right. Then next up we have the Tyrconnell 15 year aged in Madeira casts.
Sinéad: Yes, absolutely.
Tim: Tell me a little bit about this one.
Sinéad: The Tyrconnell is our single malt brand. It actually comes from a distillery that was established in 1762. Fun little fact about the Tyrconnell, it was actually the best selling Irish whiskey in the United States pre-prohibition.
Tim: There was a big decline in Irish whiskeys after Prohibition, right?
Sinéad: Yes. America was our greatest export market, so we lost that whole market. Sadly, a brand like Tyrconnell somewhat got forgotten about over the years. Again, we’re bringing it back here to the United States. This expression of the Tyrconnell is our 15-year Madeira. This whiskey has spent 15 years in ex-American oak bourbon barrels and then four months in a Madeira wine cask.
Tim: Really sweet. A lot of sweetness and floral notes on the nose, probably from that Madeira. For those that might not be aware, Madeira is a type of fortified wine that– so they make it in the Madeira islands off of Portugal. It’s similar to a port you might be more familiar with. Red wines or white wines that are fortified with some brandy for aging purposes and longevity for the old voyages across the oceans in the ships.
Very nice spices on this one. You get really rich, a lot of pepper hits me near the end and a very long lingering finish. Still kind of sitting on my mouth.
Sinéad: Sitting there.
Tim: Very nice.
Sinéad: I get a lot of the peach, that sweet peach fruit tone too and yes, as you said, long-lasting finish as well.
Tim: Awesome. Well, that’s two new whiskeys for us here at Elmo Wine and Liquor and just in time for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Thank you very much, Sinead, for being here. We appreciate your knowledge and education and we will see you again soon.
Sinéad: Yes. Happy St. Patty’s day.
Tim: St. Patty’s day. Slainte