At a beautiful bar on Irving Place, I met two wonderful whisk(e)y makers from Ireland and Scotland. Have you ever looked at a bottle, and wondered why sometimes you see the word “whisky” as well as “whiskey”? Well, the Irish spell this spirit as whiskey and the Scots take away the ‘e’ and spell it whisky.
Bernard Walsh is the chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association and owner of Walsh Whiskey Distillery. He is a charming man full of wonderful knowledge and his whiskey showcases Ireland’s past through 19th century inspiration. Walsh Whiskey Distillery is located at Royal Oak in County Carlow, Ireland. This is one of the largest independent whiskey distilleries in the country, and home to The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Whiskey and Writers Tears, which are just a few of the favorites I have tasted. Brenard works with 40 farmers who grow the barley to produce his whiskey. The Founder’s Reserve is a unique take on old Irish Pot Still Whiskey and is the original signature blend created by Bernard. Writers Tears is produced using distillates from the copper pot only (no grain), which is the same method used by original 19th century Irish distillers.
When I walked into Dear Irving, I was surprised to find out that we’d be tasting both Irish and Scottish whisk(e)y’s against each other. Not only were Brenard and William Wemyss, founder of Wemyss Malts, funny and polite to one another, but they both really respect what each other do; that to me really speaks about the quality of their product. Wemyss has also been producing whisky for a long time, and has a longstanding reputation in Scotland. Two of my top picks from the tasting of of Wemyss Malts were: “Spice King” 12 Year Old and the Limited Edition Kiln Embers. The Spice King uses up to sixteen different single malt whiskies that are blended together before the “signature” malts are introduced. The signature malts create the distinct profile that we know and love about the Spice King. Wemyss Kiln Embers is unique and a non-chill-filtered, blended malt whisky carefully crafted with a generous amount of Islay, Highland, Speyside, and Lowland malts.
Fall and winter are wonderful seasons for whisk(e)y consumption. Both of these distilleries have longstanding quality reputations in the field, and produce fantastic Irish Whiskey and Scottish Whisky. For those seeking a great cocktail addition or something to sip on during these chilly nights ahead, I highly recommend Wemyss Malts and Walsh Whiskey.