I interrupt your regularly scheduled Wine Wednesday post to bring you Whiskey Wednesday in honor of recent trip to Ireland.
I dedicate this post to my dad, who is celebrating this 60th birthday today. He loves to add whiskey to hot apple cider on Christmas. Uh… or maybe it’s rum. Well, whatever it is, it doesn’t keep him from being…
The Most Interesting Man in the World.
Let’s start off by saying that I didn’t like whiskey. I don’t have the palate for it. When we are out at an Irish Pub here in The States, we often order cider. Rob and my friend Jen, like to order a Johnny Jump Ups – a pint of cider with a shot of whiskey. I always take a taste of theirs and say, “Nope, can’t do it.” There was only one time I could drink one, but I swear it was because the bartender put in the wrong liquor, or a cheaper whiskey. 😉
All of that being said, as we were nearing the end of our vacation in Ireland, I suddenly wanted to try something different. Cider and stout were just getting old. Out of the blue, while sitting at the Creamery Bar near Bunratty Castle, I said to my husband, “I think I’d like to sip on some Irish Whiskey right now.”
His initial shocked look on his face slowly turned into a smile. I mean, we were in Ireland, right? There are more whiskeys here than you’d ever imagine.
And if this man celebrating his 90th birthday could alternate between Guinness and whiskey all night, surely I could try a little:
Well, there’s more to Irish Whiskey than just Jameson, of course.
So we opted to split a Whiskey Flight.
Despite the fact that I’m knowledgeable about wine and can describe just about any, I’ve never been able to tell the differences in nor describe the nuances of the aromas and flavors of whiskey.
Furthermore, I often feel like we think we don’t like something because we’ve never really had the good stuff. Here are some things I never liked before until I discovered the real thing:
- Mushrooms – I grew up on canned ones and hated them. Now I could put real mushrooms on just about everything. When I dine out, I always ask if the mushrooms are canned or fresh before ordering.
- Green Beans – Same thing as mushrooms.
- Beer – It took me a long time to like beer. I only really tolerated certain kinds in college. It wasn’t until I backpacked in Europe and drank beer in Austria, Germany and Belgium that I actually enjoyed it. And it wasn’t until I met Rob that I discovered a world of beer snobbery.
- Coffee – I never liked coffee until my first espresso in France. Enough said.
- Pinot Noir – I never liked this light red wine until I had that of Guy Davis. His Pinots are exactly what they should taste like. Fruity, elegant and dusty. It’s a hard grape to grow, which means it’s hard to do right.
- Rob discovered discovered something similar with tomatoes while we were on our Honeymoon in Italy.
The trouble is, once you learn about something, you start to become
snobby picky. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Here are the four whiskies we tried:
And Rob’s notes:
Okay, so that was his fun before we drank the flight.
Our verdict? We agreed that the Tyrconnell Single Malt was our favorite. Can I tell you why? No. I still don’t have a palate for whiskey. I’m still learning. The tasting notes in the menu: “Complex nose of sherry, honey & fruit with a long sweet oaky finish.” But I can’t say I could pick out those things. And, of course, it’s not widely available.
What I do know is that I don’t like the peaty stuff – like the last taste in the flight. It’s rare for Irish Whiskeys to made this way. It’s more common of Scotch. Rob will have a glass of Scotch from time to time and he already knew that peaty just isn’t for him. For us, it’s just too smokey.
We didn’t do the tour of Jameson while in Dublin. They don’t even produce the stuff there anymore anyway. I think it’s even owned by a French company now. However, we did learn a few things on our hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Dublin:
- American Whiskies are distilled once
- Scottish Whiskies are distilled twice.
- Irish Whiskies are triple distilled… and it’s said that it’s just “to be sure, to be sure, to be sure.”
I think on a cold winter day, I could enjoy sipping a whiskey, but it’d have to be the right one. Rob and I recently purchased a Canadian Whiskey infused with Maple Syrup, which we plan to taste and share at Christmas this year. Will my dad put it in his hot apple cider? I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out.
If you drink whiskey, what is your favorite and why?
If not, what is your liqueur of choice?