Redbreast Interview part 2

Has Ireland’s whiskey improved, and if so how?
If one was to compare with whiskeys of yore, one would find much greater
inconsistency and arguably, less appealing flavour profiles. Through
advances in distilling and wood management, Irish whiskey has certainly
improved. If one takes the Midleton Distillery, we have one of the most
advanced distillation facilities in the world in that we produce 4 distinct
categories of Irish whiskey - pot still, malt, grain and of course blended
whiskey - no other distillery in Ireland can match that. Moreover, Irish
Distillers has invested heavily in wood management whereby we ensure the
quality of cask into which all of our whiskeys are matured. This area is
quite often overlooked by other whiskey producers who are content to
purchase casks on the open market. All of our casks are purchased directly
from our suppliers and in the case of our sherry casks, we commission the
casks directly from the cooperages and we then arrange to have the casks
seasoned with specific sherry of our choice. The importance of this area
cannot be understated and gives rise to the adage that in addition to
barley, water and yeast, that wood is the fourth ingredient in whiskey.

Legend has it that Irish whiskey is superior to Scotch due to the number of
times distilled, would you go along with this?
This is not a case of being better -it is a case of being different. The
tradition in Ireland has been to triple distil in the belief that it gives
us the ability to identify more accurately the particular taste character
which we are seeking - a character which is largely defined as smoother
(due to the absence of the more robust fusel oils), fruitier and lighter.
In addition, our preference for pot still whiskey as the key component in
our blends over malt whiskey sets us apart again.

Is the Swedish market an important market for Irish Distillers?
While the Swedish market may be not the largest market for Irish
Distillers, it is important in that there is great interest in whiskey and
with the greater influence of social/online media, it is important to forge
the correct image and reputation for Irish whiskey in Sweden.

What makes Irish Whiskey so special?
this is difficult to answer in a short space of time, but I would have to
say that it is a combination of things - our unique tradition which dates
back several hundred years, our unique flavours arising from triple
distillation and pot still and possibly now the fact that after a period of
little activity, the increased innovation which is taking place by
ourselves and the other Irish whiskey producers.

What’s your favourite current Whiskey?
It all depends on the occasions really. If I'm in a pub for a casual
drink, it could be a Jameson or even a Powers. If I have had a nice dinner
and I'm looking for something special as a digestive, it could be a Jameson
12 or if I'm not buying, a Midleton Very Rare and then possibly, if I'm
having a quiet moment later in the evening in front of the TV , it could be
a Redbreast.

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