The Irish Whiskey Museum

Irish whisky or the paddy’s cure. Whiskey has been around for centuries and the Irish Whiskey Museum located just opposite the main gateway to trinity college and at the very end of the grafton street is the place to visit to find out all about the history of this strong Irish spirit. The Museum offers you ‘An interactive, ultra-modern tour offering an experience unlike any other in Dublin! Journey back through time and discover the intriguing tale of Irish whiskey, its unique origins, its rise to glory, dramatic fall and current revival in this fantastic museum’. It holds a certificate of excellence and is one of the most interesting museums in Dublin to visit when you’re roaming around our fair city.

Whiskey is said to have definitely originated in a celtic region..but the great debate is where..in Ireland or Scotland?  It is believed that Irish Monks brought the technique of distilling perfumes back from their travels to the mediterranean countries about 1000 A.D. The Irish modified this technique to obtain a drinkable spirit.Centuries later, distilling was brought to Scotland via Campbeltown and the Island of Islay. So technically we can claim the whiskey prize! In the 17th century a tax was put on whiskey and so began the conflict with the ‘moonshiners’.

Private distilling was banned then and the government started going around and seizing illegal whiskey, equipment, horses and different transportation types. New legal distilleries started popping up but the illegal distilleries still existed for a time. Now we have so many irish distilleries, not to mention world-wide distilleries, that have been wildly successful and you can view some of these in the museum. Some of these include: Jameson’s, Paddy’s, Powers, Redbreast, Tullamore dew and Connemara peated single malt whiskies.

 

 

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The process of distilling whiskey is a long and in depth process which requires just a few ingredients: Water, barley and yeast. Technology now aids production, but traditionally there are five stages to the process – malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation.  These are importants stages to making the perfect whiskey.

First of all  the barley must undergo germination and this first part of the process is called malting, the barley needs to have a good percentage of sugar to work properly. After germination it has to be halted quickly and the barely is heated and smoked usually with peat, the amount of smoke used and where it comes from depends on what type of whiskey is being produced. It is ground and then the mashing process begins, this is when the mashed barley is mixed with warm water to extract its sugars. The water used in this process is important to the nature of the whiskey due to the minerals in certain waters. Water can be filtered through granite, marble, peat or other rocks and this determines the type of whiskey. This now malted barley is called ‘wort’

The cooled ‘wort’ is then transported into large tanks for the fermentation process to start, yeast is added in this stage. The yeast turns the sugars that are present into alcohol. As with the barley and water, the distiller will carefully select the strain of yeast that they use and it can also have a small effect on the final flavour of the spirit. The fermentation normally takes around 48 hours to run its natural course. Next they distill the liquid, usually irish whiskey is distilled 3 times. The liquid is put into copper stills. The liquid is heated and then it evaporates and rises up the still until it reaches the neck, where it condenses. This liquid is called ‘low wines’ . The low wines are passed to the second smaller still, called the spirit still. In the spirit still, the alcohol produced is split into three.  The middle liquid called ‘the heart’ is the one that is kept and bottled for the maturing process. This ‘heart’ has an alcoholic strength of 65-70% ABV.

 

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The spirit is put into oak casks and stored for at least 3 years to become ‘whiskey’. This process is done because the whiskey needs to develop its unique flavour over time in the oak that surrounds it. These casks are porous and so the environment in which they are stored is also helpful to the flavours. So if the the whiskey is stored beside the sea, in the highlands or in places of heat/cold these environments give the whiskey its unique characteristics. The type of whiskey depends on the flavours and depth it develops in the maturing process.

The Museum offers a range of tours expanding from classic tours, premium tours, private tours and whiskey blending tours.The prices range (for Adults) from €17- €28. Which is reasonably priced for the experience that you get! So if your looking for a perfect day out in dublin, here’s the plan: A jaunt around the big beautiful city, stopping by the exciting irish whiskey museum for a wonderful whiskey tour and then to the riddler for a fresh modern irish meal, for breakfast lunch or dinner. Enjoy your day!

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