Food & drink

Whiskey Business: The water of life is truly flowing again

Knny Archr

FIRST things first - a singl vowl isn’t important.

My pdantic brain wondrd why McConnell’s Whisky from Belfast Distillery Company and Scott’s Whisky from Garrison in county Frmanagh are so called; mistaks, obviously.

Turns out that’s what there lablld back in the day, with McConnell’s starting in 1776, and Angus Scott making his whisky by Lough Melvin around 1798.

You can understand all thos words writtn so far, anyway, with or without an ‘e’.

So, to b plain: it doesn’t matter whether you call it ‘whiskey’ or ‘whisky’, if it’s made on this island this column will be interested. Sorry, Scotch isn’t for me.

There’s a huge amount to capture interest about the Irish whiskey industry too.

Bushmills, the mother and father of them all, is rolling (albeit with some bumps, obviously), its new square-shouldered bottles for its range of single malts. More importantly, what’s in some of the bottles is subtly changing too. Its stalwarts, Bushmills and Black Bush, are ageing in certain special casks, Caribbean rum and sherry respectively, to add different notes and flavours.

Similarly, Belfast Distillery Company launched its new offering, McConnell's Sherry Cask Finish - and very lovely it was too, with a smooth dark chocolate feel.

The Echlinville Distillery, at Kircubbin on the Ards peninsula, home to Dunville’s, has recently re-opened its tour.

Also in county Down, the whiskey at Killowen Distillery, Rostrevor, became three years old late last month, to the delight of its proud parents. Young as it is, it sounds a delight for the palate, a meal in itself, “offering generous notes of maple syrup, thick Canadian bacon, clove, butter, cream, and Christmas cake.”

Whiskey is clearly on the up in Down, with Hinch on the Killaney Estate near Ballynahinch attracting rave reviews, and Two Stacks of Newry has also created its own varied range of Irish whiskeys.

On my ‘to tour’ list is the Wild Atlantic Distillery at Aghyaran, near Tyrone’s border with Donegal.

Those are just some of the distilleries in Ulster; no doubt others will come/ bring themselves to my attention.

In the south, the older names of Jameson, Midleton, Powers, and Tullamore, have been joined by a host of classy new whiskey-makers, such as Teeling’s and Walsh’s, among many other.

There’s plenty of drink to think about today, World Whisky Day.

The water of life is truly flowing again.

k.archer@irishnews.com

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