Last month, I had an interview with London based Irish Whiskey bar, The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green. This is a really nice bar with an impressive range of Irish Whiskies, like I said – almost as impressive as my collection back at home. We talked about the distillery and about the Dubliner brand itself. You can find the full interview here at: http://theumbrellaproject.co.uk/interview-darryl-mcnally/ but see some highlights of my interview below:
How did you get into distillation?
Well lucky I guess eh? So, I started working for Bushmills Distillery about 1998 and I got into the packaging side of things. Then I guess it became a hobby and then you get paid for your hobby!
…I was taking more than most, I was like a child in a candy shop and got bitten by the bug then
So I think the realisation was that on one Thursday there was 67 different types of Irish Whiskey sitting around the lab and everyone was taking small tastes of them, and I was taking more than most, I was like a child in a candy shop and got bitten by the bug then.
Being Irish… Irish Whiskey… It just became special. I then worked for Bushmills for 17 years before then moving to other areas of Irish Whiskey, so it’s been good.
How is the new distillery coming along?
The new distillery is coming along really well. We have the correct site now in Dublin city very close to all the visitors that come to visit Dublin. It is quite ‘boutique-ey’, but we are going to have quite a bit of volume coming out of it.
So its about thirty thousand square feet, which is probably much larger than most of the larger pubs in London and it will be a working distillery as well as bringing visitors in from Dublin City. It is in the area known as the ‘Liberties’, so it’s the area that all the beers and the whiskies and all the brothels were at over a number of years. So It’s quite dark and is going to be a really good project.
…I think with the name of ‘The Dubliner’ and the Dublin Liberties behind you, it’ll sell, it’ll sell
At the minute, I pretty much have the process side designed in order to make a good spirit and then a good Whiskey. I have a lot of good suppliers that supply good quality bourbon casks, sherry casks and port casks. So we want to do something innovative, make the normal blended whiskies but also want to have some aged malts as we progress and I think with the name of ‘The Dubliner’ and the Dublin Liberties behind you, it’ll sell, it’ll sell.
The product is very, very special so those two together and a new distillery has a bit of providence and a good bid for the future.
So is the distillery in the ‘Golden Triangle’ then?
It is in the triangle. It’s right down near Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, walking distance from the city centre. The whole area is getting a lot of up-lift and spend, a lot of new offices and houses being built and a few new distilleries too! So it has to be good!
How do you think the Irish Whiskey category has developed in the last few years?
Well I have been in the industry for the last 17 or 18 years and have seen come on from a Scotch perspective, Irish whiskey is only a small amount, about 4% of the global whiskey market, but I think people are starting to like all things irish! As I say there are 7 million people in the whole of Ireland, but there is 70 million worldwide! People always feel welcomed by Irish people and relate to them, so I can only see a growth over the next five to ten years.
We believe that Irish Whiskey will grow to about 24 million cases, we’re sitting at 7 at the minute. We reckon that this will happen over the next 10 to 14 years. So you need a lot of Distilleries built and a lot of whiskey laid down to have the product there by 2030, and that is what we intend to do!
What taste notes can you expect from The Dubliner?
Well, it’s a blended whiskey, malt and grain. There is quite a high proportion of creamy grain, which compliments the malt, so you have these lovely vanilla flavours coming through.
You don’t have any burn or any peaty-ness, you have a nice spicy, zesty finish with what I always say when I’m drinking The Dubliner, is that it’s almost a Christmas cake like malty-ness you get with a lovely creamy grain to coming over that, which balances it out nicely.
How do you like to drink it?
The way I like to drink it? I like to tip some out, over a few cubes of ice which just cools the whiskey down but don’t let the ice melt too much. All you need is a little bit of water to open up the whiskey. You can taste much better at 20% (abv) rather than 40%, so that little bit of water in there really gets your taste buds flowing and you can enjoy it with a few of your mates.
Cocktail: Coffey No Craic
Made with Dubliner Irish Whiskey, Escobac & Peach bitters
Created by The Sun Tavern
So, there you go. You can visit the link above if you want to read more and see some more of the great Dubliner Whiskey cocktails that The Sun Tavern bartenders have created.