Move over wine – we want whiskey. It seems the age-old tipple is really having a moment, and we're bound to find it in various guises this festive season. If you want to update your whiskey cabinet (or if you know someone who'd enjoy a new taste), here are five great, Irish-made whiskey gifts that are worth a nose.
The L. Mulligan Hip Flask Service
Located in the heart of Dublin city on Clarendon Street, L. Mulligan specialises in beer, gin and whiskey. The small, pokey and comfortable shop, which is set at the back of the Powerscourt Shopping Centre, boasts an impressive selection of mid and top-shelf whiskeys. From Rare 112-year bottles of Middleton (€2,500) to everyday bottles of rich Irishman founder's Reserve (€34.99), there's a taste (and nose) for every palate.
The hip flask service is a clever and cost-effective way to treat someone to new tastes, and weird and wonderful whiskeys at home, without committing to the full bottle. It works like this: to become a member you must purchase a hip flask in-store, which acts as your official membership 'card'. Each flask contains 175ml which is the same as approximately five standard pub measures. The membership grants access to every whiskey dispensed from the shop's bespoke mini-cask and demijohns.
Membership is €20 (flask included) and can be refilled as often as you like. The current selection in store (as of 28/11/18) is as follows:
Nikka Coffey Grain €25
Kilbeggan Small batch Rye €17 (limited)
Ardbeg 10 years old €21
Millstone 100% Dutch Rye €18
Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve €27
Rare 112-year bottles (€2,500)
The Whiskey Maker's Experience at Bow Street
The Jameson Whiskey Makers Experience is a whiskey masterclass which provides a 90-minute, in-depth exploration of Jameson Original, as well as the three whiskeys that make up the Whiskey Makers Series: Distiller’s Safe, Cooper’s Croze and Blender’s Dog. Each whiskey is developed by one of the Jameson Master Whiskey Makers and represents their ideal expression of a whiskey.
A Jameson ambassador will guide you through a truly unique tasting experience (where else can you try Jameon sorbet with straight-from-the-barrel whiskey?) that teaches you how to deconstruct the ingredients, craft, nose and different flavour profiles of each whiskey. The piece de resistance, though, is bottling your very own blend at the end of the tour and a rare opportunity to taste a tipple straight from the cask at the brewery's own maturation room.
Most whiskey blenders spend decades learning their craft, so 90 minutes is a pretty handy shortcut.
Irish-made whiskey stones
Whiskey stones allow you to enjoy the full taste of your whiskey without water dilution. These stunning stones are made in Connemara from Irish green marble. Simply freeze for four hours, pour whiskey onto stones, give them five minutes to cool and enjoy your first sip. When finished, wash, dry and freeze again.