Why the Irish Whiskey Awards?
The popularity of whiskey is Ireland is continuing to grow at a steady rate and with the renaissance in Irish whiskey gathering pace it’s important now more than ever to recognise the top quality whiskey being distilled here in Ireland.
Since I set up the Celtic Whiskey Shop in 2003, the interest in whiskey has soared and it’s been a longtime goal of mine to credit and reward the distillers and producers of Irish whiskey. Something I’m proud to say I’ve achieved and my aim is to make the awards bigger and better every year.
The third annual Irish Whiskey Awards were held at the new Teeling Whiskey Distillery on 15th October and the range of products on offer has grown considerably over the three years and this trend is likely to continue with the growth in the number of distilleries throughout the country.
— Ally Alpine
Dick Mack’s – Irish Whiskey Bar of Year
Dick Mack’s in Dingle, County Kerry, emerged as the Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year Year while Melbourne’s Whisky and Alement bar was named the International Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year.
The awards spanned 20 categories including two new ones for Irish Gin and Irish Vodka.
Ally Alpine, Managing Director of the Celtic Whiskey Shop and the Irish Whiskey Awards, commented, “The Irish Whiskey Awards were started almost at the same time as the explosion in interest in Irish whiskey and craft distilling and each year shows the leap in both entry numbers and the quality of the liquid”.
Special guest on the night John Teeling agreed, stressing, “With the renaissance in Irish whiskey gathering pace it’s important now more than ever to recognise the top quality whiskey being distilled here in Ireland.
“In 1971 Irish whiskey sales totalled 2.5 million cases” he explained, “one million of them in Ireland itself. In 2015 that figure is likely to be nearer 10 million cases and by 2025 the figure will have risen to 25 million cases.
“That’s still just a drop in the ocean when you consider that India alone consumes 250 million cases of spirits a year.
“Thailand consumes 125 million cases of spirits a year and even Myanmar (Burma) drinks 17 million cases of spirits a year.”
The Award winners were also celebrated at Whiskey Live when it returned to Dublin for the fifth time on Saturday 24th October in its new city centre location of The Printworks at Dublin Castle.
The 2015 Irish Whiskey Awards winners in full:
Irish Whiskey of the Year (Overall winner)
Glencairn Trophy Winner – Redbreast 21 Year-Old
Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey
Trophy Winner – Redbreast 21 Year Old
Gold Medal – Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy
Gold Medal – Powers Signature Release
Irish Single Malt Whiskey (12 Years & Younger)
Trophy Winner Connemara Single Malt
Gold Medal – Teeling Single Malt
Gold Medal – Tullamore Dew 10 Year Old Single Malt
Irish Single Malt Whiskey (13 Years & Older)
Trophy Winner – Knappogue Castle Vintage 2000 Batch 2 Mongeard Mugneret Burgundy Cask
Gold Medal – The Palace Bar Three Generations Batch 14 Year-Old
Gold Medal – Glendalough 13 Year Old Single Malt
Irish Blended Whiskey (RRP of less than €60)
Trophy Winner – Tullamore Dew 12 Year Old
Gold Medal – Writers Tears Copper Pot
Gold Medal – Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel
Irish Blended Whiskey (RRP of €60 or more)
Trophy Winner – Midleton Very Rare 2015
Gold Medal – Jameson Gold Reserve
Gold Medal – Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve
Irish Single Cask Whiskey
Trophy Winner – An Púcán Teeling Whiskey Single Malt
Gold Medal – Celtic Cask Trí Déag
Gold Medal – Celtic Cask Dó Dhéag
Irish Cask Strength Whiskey
Trophy Winner – Tullamore Dew Phoenix
Gold Medal – Midleton Dair Ghaelach
Gold Medal – Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength
Irish Single Grain Whiskey
Trophy Winner – Kilbeggan Single Grain
Gold Medal – Glendalough Single Grain
Gold Medal – Teeling Single Grain
Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year (Overall Winner)
Glencairn Trophy – Dick Mack’s, Dingle
Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year (Leinster)
Trophy Winner – The Dingle Whiskey Bar
Gold Medal – The Whiskey Palace
Gold Medal – L Mulligans Grocer
Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year (Munster)
Trophy Winner – Dick Mack’s, Dingle
Gold Medal – The Shelbourne Bar, Cork
Gold Medal – The Folkhouse, Kinsale
Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year (Connaught)
Trophy Winner – Garavan’s Bar, Galway
Gold Medal – An Púcán, Galway
Gold Medal – Tigh Neachtain’s, Galway
Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year (Ulster)
Trophy Winner – The Duke of York, Belfast
Gold Medal – Bittles Bar, Belfast
Gold Medal – McCuaig’s bar, Rathlin Island
Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year (International)
Trophy Winner – Whisky and Alement, Melbourne, Australia
Gold Medal – The Shebeen/Irish Heather – Vancouver, BC, Canada
Gold Medal – Scholars Bar, Rome
Trophy Winner – Teeling Poitin
Gold Medal – Bán Poitin
Trophy Winner – Mrs Doyle’s Irish Cream
Gold Medal – Coole Swan
Gold Medal – The Wild Geese Irish Honey Liqueur
Trophy Winner – Thin Gin
Gold Medal – Blackwater No 5
Gold Medal – Dingle Gin
Trophy Winner – Dingle Vodka
Gold Medal – Untamed Irish Vodka
Gold Medal – St Patrick’s Distillery Vodka
Irish Whiskey Barrel Aged Irish Craft Beer
Trophy Winner – O’Hara’s Barrel Aged Series
Gold Medal – Independent Whiskey Stout
Gold Medal – Franciscan Well Jameson Stout
Independent Whiskey Stout
Independent Whiskey Stout was aged in freshly emptied whiskey barrels for nine months. Over that time the barrel mellowed the stout and infused it with some of the flavour and aromas of the whiskey. Thus the chocolate and coffee of the stout combine with the smooth whiskey notes of the barrel.
This was the first seasonal release in Independent Brewing’s barrel-aged series. The next release in the range will be in early December when two different versions of a barley wine (8.1% ABV) will be available. The barley wine was aged in either used Bourbon barrels or used brandy barrels with each version taking on some of the character of their respective barrels.
For more information check out www.independentbrewing.ie
Thin Gin – ‘Best Irish Gin’
Thin Gin, from the makers of the award-winning Muldoon Irish Whiskey Liqueur, took the Gin Trophy and title of ‘Best Irish Gin’ at the 2015 IWA Awards, coming first out of 13 Irish gins entered in a blind taste test.
Thin Gin came to market in late August this year and is fast becoming the nations’ favourite. Labelled an Irish dry gin Thin Gin has a 40% ABV and many native Irish aromatic botanicals such as apple, hawthorn flower, elderflower, mint, thyme and tansy among others along with complex undertones and bursts of exotic citrus to finish.
The makers say, “It’s a burst of Summer even on the darkest Winters’ day”. Thin Gin is a premium gin, good enough for sipping yet works well in tonic. A slice of orange is rapidly becoming the favoured addition but any citrus slice will go with Thin Gin, it’s really a matter of taste.
Triple winning Tullamore Dew
Tullamore Dew, the original triple-distilled Irish whiskey, walked away from this year’s Irish Whiskey Awards with three top results – two trophies and one gold medal – underlining the brand’s quality and strength across many different expressions.
Tullamore Dew Phoenix won the Irish Cask Strength Whiskey trophy, a testament to this limited edition that celebrates the great history of Tullamore and its people. Following a fire in 1785 that nearly destroyed the town, the tenacity and resolve of the locals resulted in a rebuilt Tullamore that was bigger and better than ever. Since that day, they placed a phoenix in the town’s coat of arms and the Tullamore Dew Phoenix is distilled in honour of these great men and women.
Meanwhile the Tullamore Dew 12 Year-Old Special Reserve won a trophy in the Irish Blended Whiskey (under €60) category. Like Tullamore Dew Original, the 12 Year-Old Special Reserve is a triple-distilled blend of all three types of Irish whiskey. However it has a high proportion of pot still and malt whiskeys, matured in a combination of Bourbon and sherry casks for 12 to 15 years, giving a highly complex expression.
Finally the Tullamore Dew 10 Year-Old Single Malt itself secured a Gold Medal in the Irish Single Malt Whiskey (12 Years & Younger) category. A bold single malt, it’s finished in old Bourbon, dry Oloroso Sherry, Port and Madeira casks; ageing in these specially-selected casks results in glorious Christmas cake flavours and a complex, lengthy finish.
Knappogue Castle 2000 Mongeard Mugneret Burgundy Cask Single Malt
This is a unique collaboration between the Celtic Whiskey Shop and Knappogue Castle. The whiskey was initially matured in standard American oak barrels before a further two-and-a-half years in a special Pinot Noir barrel from the Burgundy wine region. Only 366 bottles were released.
Tasting Notes: Reddish brown in colour with a nose of sweet dried fruit, roasted nuts and strawberry jam. The palate is viscous and mouth-filling revealing hazelnut, coffee, vanilla and sweet spice flavours.
The Palace Bar Three Generations Batch 14 Year-Old Single Malt
An exclusive bottling of single malt whiskey aged from 14 years up to 21 years was made specially for the Palace Bar on Fleet Street in Dublin and limited to just 1,000 bottles which are sure to sell out quickly.
Tasting Notes: Bright gold in colour with aromas of white grapes, linseed oil, beeswax, kiwi fruits and vanilla. The palate is mouth-filling and warming with an incredible smoothness. Flavours of vanilla, creme caramel, chocolate Bourbons and dried fruits.
Celtic Cask Trí Déag Single Cask Single Malt
This is a double-distilled single malt which was initially matured in an American Bourbon cask and then transferred to a very special Brunello di Montalcino cask for a further three years of finishing. The Brunello cask has added some very nice fruitiness and spiciness to the whiskey. Limited to just 352 bottles.
Tasting Notes: Bright golden in colour with aromas of figs, tangerines, marmalade, spice and mocha. The palate is rich and silky with flavours of raisins, orange peel, mixed fruits and aromatic grape notes.
Celtic Cask Dó Dhéag Single Cask Single Malt
This is a 15 Year-Old single malt that’s spent the final five years in a red Rhone valley wine cask from Domaine des Anges winery. The wine cask has complimented the malt whiskey flavours beautifully whilst adding body and smoothness. Just 331 bottles were released.
Tasting Notes: Golden, bronze in colour with aromas of peach, apricot, cola, raisins and honey. The palate is well-balanced and refined with flavours of peach, apricot, raisins, cola and honey.
Discover Kilbeggan, the smooth and real Irish whiskey taste worth sharing, from Ireland’s oldest and most awarded distiller – made in the traditional Irish way. The finest grain and malt whiskeys are blended together for a smooth, sweet taste and lovely malt finish, a characteristic of our Pot Still that’s over 180 years old and still at the heart of Kilbeggan Irish whiskey.
The award-winning Kilbeggan Irish whiskey collection has now received another acclaimed reward for one of its exceptional whiskies. Kilbeggan 8 Year-Old Single Grain is completely unique as Ireland’s only aged Single Grain Irish whiskey. This premium expression from the Kilbeggan family is soft and sweet with its main ingredient being corn rather than barley. It is matured for eight years in ex-Bourbon casks in the 250 year-old warehouses at the distillery. This one-of-a-kind whiskey gives a rare glimpse into the wonderfully smooth style of grain whiskey and demonstrates the craft and heritage that goes into producing all Kilbeggan whiskeys.
However Kilbeggan 8 Year-Old was not the only whiskey in the range that picked up an award at the Irish Whiskey Awards 2015 – unsurprisingly Connemara Peated Single Malt received the trophy for best Single Malt aged 12 years & younger. As the only peated single malt Irish whiskey on the market, Connemara is truly unique. A tribute to Ireland’s ancient distilling traditions, it’s double-distilled in two small Pot Stills. A combination of young and old whiskey allows you to experience rich malt and fruit flavours, underlying vanilla tones and deep full-bodied peat.
The Kilbeggan Distilling Company range is distributed in Ireland by Barry & Fitzwilliam.