Whiskies to drink this St. Patrick’s Day, by Rebecca Dillon

let’s begin

As an Irish person I am no stranger to St. Patrick and his adventures on the Emerald Isle.  In fact, I live in Armagh, where he was the first Bishop and I even once portrayed him in a school play, so I have a pretty deep connection to the guy. So what's the story behind St. Patrick's Day?

St. Patrick is the patron Saint of Ireland, having decided that it was his call to convert the unruly Irish masses to Roman Catholicism.

Amongst his many feats of faith and miracles, he is well known for chasing all the pesky snakes out of Ireland after they attacked him and his use of the shamrock to explain the Christian Trinity.

St. Patrick’s Day itself takes place on the 17th of March every year, and is a celebration of all things Irish.

It is celebrated all over the world and perhaps most famously, aside from Dublin of course, in New York, which has a large population of Irish people who emigrated in the last century.

In New York they hold a huge parade, and it is almost mandatory to wear something green.

In Dublin, they really do go all out.  Rather than concentrating on the day itself, St Patrick’s Day has been turned into a festival lasting four days.

This is really the opportune time to see the city in full swing, with parades and events in every corner.

If it’s a tipple you’re looking for then the best place to head is the Irish Craft Beer and Whiskey Village, being held in the main hall of the RDS building.

This is an event that covers a lot more than just Beer and Whiskey.  There will also be traditional entertainment as well as artisan foods to tickle your fancy.

If you’re looking for somewhere to go in the city for a drink, then you can’t miss out on going to Temple Bar.  This is an area in the City that is famous for it’s traditional bars and folk nights.

St Patrick’s Day is a day to wear green and drink your favourite tipple, be it a pint of Guinness or a dram of Jameson’s.  Here are some drams to try if you really want to get in the swing of things!

Based in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, right in the heart of Ireland, is Tullamore D.E.W., so called after both the town and founder Daniel E. Williams.  This brand has been around for many a decade, and their limited edition Phoenix expression captures a time when the town celebrated its community after it was destroyed by a hot air balloon crash.  Since then, the phoenix has been included in its coat of arms.  Like most Irish malts, this dram has been triple distilled to give it a characteristic smoothness.  The nose opens with lots of caramel sweetness and oak malted notes.  These grow on the palate and are given greater depth, with a hint of floral flavours.  There is also a vanilla spiciness to the liquid that adds a nit of warmth.  This dram round off well, with a lingering finish that is both spicy and warm, bringing to mind the sherry casks used for maturation. Buy here.

Despite being a Scotch Malt Whisky Society release, this is an Irish dram, and a damn good one at that.  Aged to a perfect 22 Years, this is a sweet expression that has been matured in second fill ex-Bourbon casks.  The nose is wonderfully sweet, with candies and desserts galore.  Think raspberry and orange icing with a drop of lemon cake and meringue.  There is also a duller, caramel sweetness in the background that is greatly complemented by a light smokiness.  Bigger flavours boom out on the palate, with star anise, vanilla and sherry taking the lead.  There are notable herbal and floral tastes, such as fennel and jasmine, that combine well with the original sweetness.  The linger of the finish is smooth and long, giving you plenty of time to fully savour the intricacies of this dram.

Jameson is perhaps the most famous of all Irish Whiskies, with a worldwide following.  Caskmates is their most recent release, and it marries together both their well-known malt, with Irish craft beer.  Aged in stout casks, this expression has a wonderfully hoppy flavour on the palate that combines with the maltiness of the Whisky for an interesting and rich dram.  The nose is filled with ripe orchard fruits such as apples and pears, and a slightly spicy note.  There is a slight nuttiness that becomes marzipan on the palate and interacts well with the notes of hops.  There are also some interesting notes of cocoa and butterscotch, that make for a sweet and well-rounded flavour.  These all come together in the finish, to give a long, lingering smile. Buy here: Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition 40% 70cl

Tags: Emerald IsleIrishpatron Saint of IrelandSt. PatrickSt. Patrick's Day
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Rebecca is a graduate of Queen's University Belfast and very much a student of whisky, having only began appreciating it fairly recently. She studied English which gave her the best opportunities to sit down with a glass of the finest whisky and try to look sophisticated reading leather bound volumes of Shakespeare (or more likely whichever comic book she last set down).

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