Last year Whiskey Burn was launched at Dublin Whiskey Live in Dublin Castle, Ireland. We sold out of books then, and this year we returned with more to test the market.
With every copy sold we were giving away free samples of ‘Mystery Dram A’ and/or ‘Mystery Dram B’. In agreement with the event organisers, the Celtic Whiskey Shop, we would not reveal what the mystery whiskeys were (the mystery distilleries hadn’t paid to be there, so fair enough) until after the event. And I can now reveal the identities of the mystery whiskeys:
Mystery Dram A: Langatun Old Woodpecker, an 8-year-old organic single malt, white wine cask matured from Switzerland, 46%.
Mystery Dram B: Millstone Single Malt, a peated, Pedro Ximenez sherry matured, 4-year-old single malt from the Netherlands, 46%.
Nobody guessed them right, which is understandable, but most said that they thought they were not Irish, particularly dram B, but then there is only one Irish peated malt on sale at the moment. Comments, however, were favourable, particularly for Dram A, which is unsurprising, considering that Langatun Old Woodpecker has been awarded Swiss Whiskey of 2020 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.
Dublin WhiskeyLive is without doubt the biggest Irish whiskey event of the year, with all the big names in the Irish whiskey business present – Teeling, Bushmills, Jameson & Midleton. But what makes it special is the presence of other smaller, lesser-known distilleries - West Cork, Powerscourt, Slane, and start-ups like Natterjack, Lough Ree & Lough Gill, who do not even have working distilleries yet.
“It was great to meet up with some of the colourful characters who appear in the book: Eric from Midleton, who hosted the tastings that night on Cape Clear Island in Chapter 2, Ned from Waterford distillery, Peter Mulryan who had gone home and closed by the time I got to Blackwater distillery, legendary distiller Noel Sweeney of Powerscourt and John Teeling, the ‘father’ of the Irish whiskey renaissance.”
Besides socialising and networking, WhiskeyLive is also a marketing event where some of the most special and latest offerings from the Irish distillers are on offer. I talked to the people who bought my books and they told me about their own experiences of the whiskey trail, and I spoke to people who had bought books in the past with valuable feedback. Tina, from Germany, even came with her own copy she had bought online to get me to sign it!
Press and bloggers were there; I was interviewed by Youtube vlogger WhiskyJason for his channel, and Serghios Florides, editor of Irish Whiskey Magazine, confirmed the entry of my article on how Irish Whiskey is viewed from Switzerland, to be published in the next edition. And, of course, we managed to sell quite a few books and poured plenty of mystery drams.
The event had been sold out for weeks, and the stands for months; the organisers said they had to turn some distilleries away. Next year Dublin WhiskeyLive is going to move to a larger venue, and Whisky Burn plans to be there.