I just got back from my one week “whiskey trip” to Dublin to explore the Irish Whiskeys. First things first, Dublin is an amazing city. The Liffey, the Temple Bar area with all the lovely old bars, music everywhere and ofcourse whiskey everywhere! I went to Dublin on my own to visit some whiskey distilleries and go to the best whiskey bars in town to learn everything I need to know about the history, making and taste of the Irish “water of life” or in Irish: “Uisce beatha".
The first place I visited was the Irish whiskey museum, where I had the ‘blending experience’. The first thing we did was a little tour through the museum where a lovely girl taught us a lot about Irish whiskey. She could tell us everything about the history of the industry and I thought it was a realy nice tour. Although it was a little staged or dramatised sometimes which I don't like that much because it then doesn't seem to be sincere. But later on during my trip I realized they do that at almost all the distillery tours. The ‘blending experience’ was a bit dissapointing to me because they tell you beforehand you'll get a whiskey tasting first and than you'll have the chance to do a blending. But you actually had to blend with the whiskeys from the tasting so really you had to decide to either do the tasting or the blending if you wanted to be able to take a blend home with you. Or just take one sip of everything and than make a blend and take it home without having had much of a whiskey tasting. But the girl did her best and overall it was a nice visit during which I learnd a lot.
The second place I visited was the Teeling Distillery. And I loved it! The distillery looked amazing. I had a really nice tour with a nice whiskey tasting to follow. I really liked the Teeling whiskey. After my visit to Teeling I went to the Pearse Lyon Distillery. So this distillery is also pretty amazing. It's in an old church. Yes, it's not next to the church, it's IN the church! The St. James Church. And the postills look incredible in there. Allong with the big whiskey themed windows. On this tour I learnd a lot about the history of Dublin ánd about the history of the curch, which was really interesting. The people working there were all really nice and kind. I think both distilleries are nice to visit. So you can't visit Dublin and like whiskey withouth going to the Jameson distillery, so that was also high on my list. First I had the tour, which was as staged as the tour at the whiskey museum. A lot of theater. But it was nice though. After the tour I attended the Whiskey blending class. Which was a blending class like the one at the Irish Whiskey museum. But this one at Jameson was a lot more comprehensive. It was a whiskey tasting and there were little bottles for the blending fun. The girl who taught the class was really nice. After the blending part we went into the warehouse and I actually got to pour myself a cask strenght whiskey straight out off the barrel. And that... WAS SO COOL! The blending class is a bit expensive, especially if you take the tour as well but I really enjoyed it.
The last distillery I payed a visit to was the Slane distillery outside of Dublin in Slane. The distillery is next to the Slane Castle. Which was pretty impressive. It was a bit of a climb to get there from where I had to get out of the bus, and it was really hot that day, but it was definitely worth it! I was a bit sad I wasn't allowed to take pictures in the distillery but the tour was really nice. I had a private tour and the guy who hosted the tour was asking me a lot of questions, most of which I had the correct answer to. (most, so yes, I did learn some more!) I got to make grist by crushing some malted barley with a very old looking, very big and above all very heavy mill. I think this is also a very nice distillery to visit.
So basicly, visiting all the whiskey disilleries in Dublin (and Slane), was a unique experience for me that I really enjoyed.
The best whiskey bars I visited were: The Palace Bar and Dingle Whiskey Bar. Both had a lot of different whiskeys and good help at the bar.
I love it that Irish whiskey is becoming more popular. A few of the distilleries I visited where very new and there are a lot more distilleries up and coming. It's a new age for the Irish whiskey industry which is really great to see. After all they sufferd a lot and almost all had to close. I'm looking forward to visiting all the new upcomming distilleries when I go back.
I would like to thank all the lovely people I've met on my trip who've made it (along with the whiskey ofcourse) really great fun!
I definitely will be seeing you again soon Ireland! Meanwhile, keep up the good work!