As I recounted in Whiskey: A Global History (Reaktion Books, 2010), Irish whiskey was a huge seller at the end of the 19th century. Within a few decades though, the industry was wrecked—a former shell of itself. A host of factors caused this, not least the bad realtionship with England, which closed off critical foreign markets.
For much of the 20th century, Irish whiskey tried to find its way. Should its flavor profile be that of a heavy pot stilled whiskey? Should it go the light and easy column still and blended route?
In the past few decades, Irish whiskey has begun a comeback. Production has increased, and new (and once mothballed) brands are coming to market. In general, the quality is impressive.
The Irishman Original Clan is a brand produced by the famed Midleton Distillery, which makes the big-selling Jameson whiskeys, the unbelievably good Redbreast and Midleton brands, and others.
This 80 proof whiskey is both beautiful to look and delicious. It is 70% pot still whiskey, so it is both robust and soft on the palate. Taken straight it is a nice contemplative whiskey—sip, swallow, exhale, inhale, mmmm. .. It is both sweet and peppery. On ice it is all-too-easy too drink—the bottle we received but two weeks ago is now all but gone. (Rating ****1/4)
For further details, surf to http://www.hotirishman.com/ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To order a bottle in the U.K., click here, and in the U.S., click here.