Few topics have flared tempers in pubs more than the question: Who invented whiskey? Was it the Irish, the Scots, or someone you'd least expect, like the Chinese or Arabs? Whisk(e)y is sunshine in a glass. Uisge baugh, or water of life in Scots Gaelic, and uisge beatha, water of life in Irish Gaelic. It's the cure for what ails you, and the Celt's gift to the world. It's now distilled and bottled on nearly every continent, with a variety of regional grains.Interested in attending a Whiskey Tasting? The origins of distillation are pretty murky. Some say it first started with ancient Babylonians, or possibly ancient Greeks, or maybe it was the Chinese... at this point in my research, I'm willing to say it was anyone but aliens... The origins of whisk(e)y are just as obscure. The Irish claim that they have been making whiskey for anywhere between 1000 and 1600 years, depending on who you ask, and frankly, who are we to argue? Excuse me, sir, can you tell me if the Vikings invented whisk(e)y? One story tells of Irish monks bringing the secrets of distillation back to Ireland from the Middle East. Another story claims that the Vikings had learned to distil while raiding in Greece or Syria, or possibly Turkey and brought the technique to Scotland when they built villages on the West Coast of Scotland. I could go on because there are many more stories of the origin of whisk(e)y. So many more stories... So, we're left to draw our own conclusions, dear reader, at least until someone smarter than I, with access to some arcane tome that definitively sorts this matter once and for all. I, for one, conclude that just as the Irish and Scottish histories, people and culture are intertwined, so are the origins of whisk(e)y. Maybe we should just be content not to know and just enjoy the magic that is whisk(e)y. Slainte! Check out The Whiskey Cowgirl's videos here.
Whiskey is one of the greatest contributions the Irish have made to humanity. There is a diverse range of tastes and complexity of flavors which rival even the finest wines, the distilleries of Ireland produce a breathtaking array of whiskeys to delight any palate, and the experience of single pot whiskey is one like no other, and can best be described as "thousands of angels dancing on your tongue". What is a single pot still Irish whiskey? I asked Terry Kast, owner of the Celtic Ranch and whiskey aficionado : "What is a single pot still Irish whiskey?" she said "It's really a happy accident! The queen put a tax on any malted barley that went into Irish whiskey. In an effort to avoid paying the crown the Irish began adding unmalted barley in the distillation to the malted barley. This turned out quite lovely and thus the single pot still was created! This is uniquely Irish and makes a complex whiskey. And as usual the whiskey gets a glorious color from the barrels during the aging process." Some of the most interesting and famous single pot still Irish whiskey comes from the Midleton distillery in County Cork, Ireland. These particular whiskeys hearken back to the origins of Irish whiskey. Yellow Spot: last seen in the mid to late 1960s, originally created by Mitchell & Son Wine and Spirit Merchants. It's been reborn with the recent revival of Irish whiskey, and is aged in Malaga wine casks, giving it a spicy sweet nose and taste. Green Spot: like the Yellow Spot, it is a creation of Mitchell & Son Wine and Spirit Merchants. Matured in bourbon and sherry casks, it is aromatic, spicy and slightly woody. Only small quantities are brewed each year, making this a rare treat with fans across the world! Powers John's Lane 12 year: this derives its name from the Powers John's Lane distillery, rich in history and famed for its single pot still whiskeys. It is matured in bourbon casks as well as Olorosso sherry butts, giving it a notably earthy flavor and nose, with hints of wood and leather. Redbreast single pot still 12 year: this is the one I'm most partial to. It really tastes like angels on your tongue. It is truly heavenly in its color, aroma and flavor. The Olorosso sherry casks give it a fruitiness, it is also described as having a "Christmas cake character" Redbreast single pot still 15 year: originally launched as a limited edition whiskey, it has taken up permanent residence in the Redbreast catalog. It's renowned for its complexity of nose and taste. Matured in bourbon and Olorosso sherry casks, it has a fleshy fruit note with a spiciness to complement. Single pot still Irish whiskey is an unparalleled taste of Irish history, whiskey lovers of all nationalities agree it is possibly the single most important contribution the Irish have made to humanity. (Okay, I'm exaggerating, but these whiskeys are truly the stuff dreams are made of.) For a sample of these one-of-a-kind aqua vitae (waters of life) attend our Single Pot still Irish whiskey tasting on January 16 at 3pm. Reserve your glass, you don't want to miss this rare opportunity!