The Dublin Liberties Distillery is a state of the art craft whiskey distillery and brand home to The Dubliner, Dead Rabbit and The Dublin Liberties Irish whiskey brands. The facility is led by master distiller, Darryl McNally, and it commenced production back in February 2019 in the heart of the Dublin Liberties, the historical distilling centre of Dublin.

Note that taoscán (tash ~ cawn) is used to refer to a measure of alcohol in Ireland, much like dram is used in Scotland.

Darryl McNally (source: The Irish Times)

I was recently invited to join both Darryl and their Irish Whiskey Global Brand Ambassador Stephanie Shen, at a tasting and cocktail session.

We sampled Irish whiskies from the Quintessential Brands Group and had the opportunity to also learn more about their suggested cocktails, such as an Old Fashioned with maple syrup and Dead Rabbit Irish whiskey.

Toasting a taoscán of Irish whiskey

The sampling started with The Dubliner Irish whiskey Bourbon (the green label pictured below), a blend of single malt and grain whiskey, fully aged in bourbon casks and bottled at 40% abv. This is a 3 year old blend made with 20% single malt and 80% grain whiskey. It is a classic style Irish whiskey: smooth, fresh with a creamy and maltiness note on the nose and easy to drink like an Irish welcome.

For those with a sweet tooth, the next tasting was a deluxe Irish whiskey-based liqueur under The Dubliner brand (the red label pictured). A blend of honeycomb, caramel and whiskey flavours made from a blend of triple distilled Irish Whiskey, natural honeycomb and caramel, blended in a secret recipe and bottled at 30% abv. This was a pleasant surprise and unexpected amongst the whiskies being tasted.

Next up was the premium Irish whiskey brand Dead Rabbit, a whiskey created by the Dublin Liberties distillery in conjunction with Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon, the founders of the New York’s Dead Rabbit Saloon, one of the world’s best cocktail bars in downtown Manhattan.

The Dead Rabbit Irish whiskey is blend of malt and grain whiskeys at a 30:70 ratio, matured first in bourbon casks before a finish in virgin American-oak 90L casks. This short finish mellows out the spicy notes and combines with a long soft hint of vanilla. It is a 5 year old Irish whiskey that tastes like an older whiskey bottled at 44% abv.

Cocktail Recipe for the Dead Rabbit Maple Old Fashioned by Stephanie Shen

Finally, the group sampled and toasted to The Dublin Liberties Oak Devil Irish whiskey, a 5 year old blend that has been aged in bourbon casks for a minimum of 5 years and filled with notes of caramel, Christmas cake and pepper. It is non-chill filtered and bottled at 46% abv. Comparing the Oak Devil against the Dead Rabbit really helps you to understand the impact of the virgin American oak finish on the whiskey, as the Oak Devil is the backbone for the Dead Rabbit and has a lingering pepper finish on the tongue, but no burn.

The range also includes The Dublin Liberties Copper Alley; a 10 year old single malt, aged in bourbon casks and finished for 6 months in 30 year old Oloroso sherry casks.

In the 18th century, it only took 40 steps for the Dublin citizens to descend to a squalid pocket of brothels, taverns and laneways known as ‘Hell’.

One of the most interesting stories related to the area of Dublin where the Irish whiskey is made is that of Darkey Kelly, a notorious madame that ran the Maiden Tower brothel. The story goes that she became pregnant by Dublin Sheriff Simon Luttrell, who accused her of being a witch to avoid having to accept the child. She was burnt at the stake in 1761. Sightings of her ghost have been reported at the 40 Steps ever since….

40 Steps to ‘Hell’

For those with an interest in investing, in 2020 The Dublin Liberties Distillery launched a whiskey investment initiative, the Founders Cask Programme, offering the opportunity to be part of their Irish Whiskey journey by purchasing a cask filled with new make spirit from the first ever distillations on site at the distillery. Details are available via the website: https://thedld.com/the-founders-cask-programme/

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