Whiskey was invented in Ireland by the monks, what a smart bunch. It’s only apt that a Whiskey Pilgrimage would exist in the oldest county in Ireland to pay homage to the legends and the stories that connect with this global water of life and the land that it was created, right? Ireland's only The Whiskey Pilgrimage is inspired by the many Americans I’ve met over the last 3 years of creating customised tours of Ireland. This one is for you. Ireland & Whiskey together as one for a reason. I’ve picked up a lot of interesting bits while putting this package together, so here’s 8 bits I’d like to share:
1 – “Whiskey is Irish. It cannot be made to the same quality anywhere else in the world. It is the Irish climate, Irish water is good, as is the barley, but it is the climate that gives Irish Whiskey the unique mellow flavour. The oak barrels breath in the gentle climate. Too hot, like the US in the summer and the oak expands, allowing quicker and harsher maturation. Too cold like Canada and Scotland and the oak closes up, reducing maturation, a moist climate brushed by winds from Gulf Streams coming in from the Atlantic Ocean is perfect”. John Teeling, founder of Cooley distillery – Irish Edge, Orpen Press 2013.
2 – Irish Whiskey is spelt with an “e” and Scotch Whisky, without the 'e".
3 – Whiskey was perfected by the ancient Celts, who gave its name, ‘Uisce Beatha” in Irish meaning “water of life” and forming the word Whiskey.
4 – In the year 1779 there were 1,200 Whiskey distilleries in Ireland, dramatically reducing to less than 3 in the 80’s. Kilbeggan. Co Westmeath is the oldest distillery in the world although Bushmills could be too. (Irish Edge, Orpen Press)
5 – Whiskey is best taken with a drop of water. In every traditional Irish bar, you’ll find a small jug placed on the counter to add that vital drop of uisce to the whiskey. Apparently this is to prevent ones senses being numbed. But sure who knows if that works.
6 – Are you a whiskey and ice drinker? Ice dulls the taste of the Whiskey and reduces the temperature so dramatically. One small cube is acceptable.
7 - Irish whiskey is distilled three times, "triple-distilled," using pure-malted barley as the grain. By comparison bourbon is made with corn giving it a sweeter taste.
8 – The Pogues are to launch their own brand of whiskey ths year. With a unique flavour said to have chocolate and citrus undertones. Anything the Pogues do is good with me. They’ll surely find out about the Whiskey Pilgrimage and come on a rampage to Donegal, we can’t wait.
Are you ready to let the spirit guide you in Ireland on a once in a life time Whiskey Pilgrimage in the most undiscovered corner of Ireland? This is how to experience Ireland in two days, like other visitors who visit and search for Ireland never will. I always say, what would you rather, come to Ireland and visit distilleries with all the other tourists OR get off the beaten track and come drink whiskey with a king and learn about the legends and stories that makes Irish the most celebrated culture in the world. You certainly won’t find it in the tourist traps. And no matter the weather, the Whiskey Pilgrimage is all about those moments in 200 year old bars, the stories told and the wind howling outside. Cosy, authentic and unforgettable.
The tour is based in Donegal which has a very strong connection with Scotland, this makes the location for this tour all the more special. You can dig deeper into your ancestry with our genealogists, fireside over a whiskey. Sounds good right? Click here to view the tour and to book.
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I reference The Irish Edge many times in this blog - I can't recommend this book highly enough. If you're in business in Ireland, this is a must read. Click here to view.