Galway is well known for its love of festivals, nowadays its also garnering a reputation as the gastro capital of Ireland. With superb restaurants, gifted chefs and now a brilliant and ever improving food festival it's easy to see why. I was fortunate to get to a number of the events organized for the weekend, all of which we well attended and thoroughly enjoyable.
One of the events that leapt of the pages of the Festival Booklet was the Skeff Whiskey tasting, in the last year I have developed a taste for whiskey, the Galway Whiskey trail in particular has educated my pallet and i have gained an understanding and new found appreciation of whiskey.
The Skeff made a great effort with this their first ever whiskey tasting event. They have over 150 whiskeys in their whiskey vault, on this occasion we were treated to a section of four Irish favorites, which made this event for beginners or experienced whiskey tasters alike.
First up was Jameson Caskmates, this modern Irish Whiskey is interesting because it is the classic triple-distilled Jameson smoothness finished in stout-seasoned casks. This gives it a subtle touch of hops, cocoa beans, marzipan and charred oak. I love the butterscotch and milk chocolate finish on this one its a beauty.
Next to sample was Jameson Black Barrel, i have to admit form the get go i love this one. I have a bottle in my study, I love to have a glass as I unwind and collect my thoughts. I enjoy anything char grilled particularly meat and whiskey. The vanilla toasted wood and spices roll through from the pot still whiskey and flame charred barrels, while the spicy fruity sweetness from the grain remains consistent.
Third to taste was Powers John Lane Release. This is a single pot still release of Powers whiskey, named after the distillery where it was first made, now sadly closed. Its matured in a combination of bourbon and oloroso sherry casks. There's a vanilla and copper finish that I found very sharp but not unenjoyable.
Last but not least was the legendary Red Breast 12 Year Old. One of the most decorated Irish whiskeys, Redbreast is the largest selling Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey in the world. Regarded as the definitive expression of traditional Single Pot Still whiskey. Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley and then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Pot Still whiskeys are characterised by full, complex flavours and a wonderful creamy mouthfeel.
Four excellent whiskeys for us to savor, we all had our favorites, but there was something for everyone. Once we had finished learning about each one from our wonderful hosts we received absolutely beautiful finger food fitting of the weekend that was in it and an incentive to return to the skiff very soon for a meal. This event was extremely enjoyable and informative, i'm already looking forward to the next tasting event there later this month.
Photos courtesy of Julia Dunin