The Avalon Group released three new spirits at the 30th annual Duty Free & Travel Retail Global Summit in Cannes, France. The new spirits represent the first super-premium Irish gin, vodka and honey liqueur, all three of which embody the rich Irish history celebrated by THE WILD GEESE®.
THE EXILES® IRISH GIN is an artisanal product from an eighth generation ginmaker, whose family have been distilling gin for over 300 years. Traditional pot distilling method. Skilfully infused with Shamrock, red clover flowers, honeysuckle flowers, rowan berries and bog myrtle, resulting in a smooth and floral gin infused with the essence of Ireland.
THE WILD GEESE® IRISH HONEY LIQUEUR is the first and only super premium honey liqueur produced in Ireland, offering an alternative for traditional whiskey drinkers, and a mild introduction to the spirit for new consumers.
UNTAMED® IRISH VODKA is the first and only super premium vodka produced in Ireland. Made with Irish apples and premium grain, the unique recipe of which is subject to a patent application.
First up was The Wild Geese , an Irish Whiskey distributed by Marblehead . Dominic Tait was the man in the know and of the three varieties on offer I plumped for the Rare Blend, which I believe is aged in Bourbon casks (I’ve forgotten whether it’s that or Sherry so do get in touch with Dominic for a straight answer!)… anyway, my choice was informed by my love of Bourbon and, as you’d expect, the aging process has worked its magic to create a really pleasant liquid with hints of vanilla and caramel… almost jammy, it was a very good foot to get off on.
The Rise in Popularity of Irish Whiskey
The Irish are well known for their whiskey. The word “whiskey” is actually taken from a phrase in the Irish language that means “water of life”. The year 2014 has seen a rise in the popularity of Irish whiskey. Irish whiskey has become the fastest growing spirit category in the U.S. While we all love the popular brands of Jameson and The Wild Geese, other brands are becoming quite popular. While most people like to drink whiskey neat or on the rocks, it mixes great with other flavors and is becoming popular to use in cocktails. Irish whiskey bars are becoming quite popular as well.
The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey
Maybe it’s subliminal, but in my local off license 90% of the time I’d grab a bottle of scotch without even giving Irish whiskey a thought. In fact, of the other 10%, I’d be looking at some of the fine whiskies coming out of Japan before I’d consider a bottle of Jameson’s or Bushmills. The reason? Irish whiskey just isn’t on trend. The likes of Johnnie Walker and Monkey Shoulder are pushing Scottish whisky to a younger, stylish audience and the Japanese are creating ridiculously good whisky that is making the whole world take note. However, I recently went to a tasting of The Wild Geese Irish whiskey that piqued my interest once more.
The term Wild Geese refers to the story of the courageous Irish soldiers, led by Patrick Sarsfield, who left Ireland in 1691. Patrick and his men adopted the name ‘The Wild Geese’ in the hope and belief that they would one day return home. And this is the philosophy that The Wild Geese whiskey sticks to. The range features three products, the entry level Classic Blend, Rare, and Single Malt.
The tag line of the brand is ‘Untamed’ and that certainly is the first thing that sprung to mind when trying the Classic. The other word that came to mind was “harsh”. It can certainly put hairs on your chest and not one that I’d sip neat too often. However, it did make some handy cocktails (ginger infused Whiskey Mac recipe included below).
Next up we try the Rare which is my favourite of the three, and a stark contrast to the Classic Blend. Plenty of complexity and a deep spiciness that makes it a great sipping whiskey, or in an Old Fashioned.
The Single Malt is more like the whiskey I’m accustomed to drinking; punchy, woody, and one to make you red in the cheeks after a few sips. Yet it remains extremely smooth, perfect with a cigar or in front of an open fire. Mix this at your peril!
Wild Geese Irish Whiskey. More information available from http://thewildgeesecollection.com/whiskey/
Classic Blend Irish Whiskey (RRP £19, 50cl, 40% ABV), Rare Irish Whiskey (RRP £34, 70cl, 43% ABV), and Single Malt Irish Whiskey (RRP £54, 70cl, 43% ABV)
Ingredients: 50ml The Wild Geese Classic Blend Irish Whiskey, 10ml Kings Ginger Liqueur, 10ml homemade ginger syrup, 25ml ginger wine, Slice of fresh ginger.
Method: Mix The Wild Geese Classic Blend Irish Whiskey, Kings Ginger Liqueur, homemade ginger syrup and ginger wine together. Combine in a cocktail shaker and vigorously shake 5-10 times. To serve, pour into a tumbler glass and garnish with a slice of fresh ginger.
To try some of the specialist cocktails, Bitters & Rye bar in Clerkenwell have a specialist Wild Geese menu.
Ah, long, hot, balmy evenings, how I love you.
Seeing as our beautiful British summer is at its peak, I’ve spent the day longing for a refreshing, fruity cocktail with a little something-something (I believe this is pronounce “suh-in suh’in” if you’re cool) to give it an invigorating kick.
When we told you about Wild Geese Irish Whiskey a couple of weeks back, we were seriously impressed by their tasty creations, and they’ve been kind enough to send us another epic cocktail to see you through this glorious summer night.
It’s super easy but big on flavour, and drinking it feels a bit like putting a hazy, satisfyingly chilled out Instagram filter onto your entire life. You can learn how to make it by viewing the video above, or have a read of the recipe below:
The Irish Apple cocktail recipe
1. Mix the Classic Blend whiskey, dry cider and apple & rhubarb juice by ‘rolling’ them in a cocktail shaker.
2. Pour into a highball glass and float a large ice ball on top.
3. Add the Kamms & Sons to create a bittersweet taste and – if you’ve got time – garnish with a crab apple and apple blossom. Drizzle fresh caramel over the garnish for the final touch.
If you haven’t got crab apples to hand, use a slice of fresh apple and drizzle a little caramel sauce on that.
Wild Geese Classic Blend is available from The Whisky Exchange for the web exclusive price of £18.45.
With cocktail season fast-approaching, thirsty folk on the search for the perfect summer sundowner need look no further than The Wild Geese whiskey cocktails.
The super premium Irish whiskey makers have teamed up with renowned bartender Marian Beke of critically acclaimed, Nightjar, voted one of the world’s best cocktail bars, to create a range of exclusive cocktails perfect for those long sunny days. Multi award winning The Wild Geese, enlisted the expertise of Marian, to hand-craft an array of bespoke and soulful cocktails bursting with intense flavour and dressed with delicate garnishes.
The first in the line-up, The Irish Apple, will invigorate and refresh at the end of a hot, balmy summer’s evening. The Wild Geese Classic Blend is fused with dry apple cider and tart rhubarb juice to create a cocktail to enjoy whilst soaking up the last of the rays. Sweet caramel is drizzled over the top of the long drink to add a touch of sweetness to this artisanal cocktail.
The Sarsfield Swizzle is a twist on the classic swizzle cocktail with a hint of spice. The Wild Geese Classic Blend is firstly mixed with crisp, botanical gin syrup and a dash of green tea bitters. Tangy lemon balm is added to the drink to bring out the citrus notes in The Wild Geese Classic Blend, and finally topped up with lemongrass and chilli beer for a zingy finish. Named after Patrick Sarsfield, the Irish hero who led the original Wild Geese in 1691, this cocktail mixes innovation and tradition perfectly.
For the third recipe, Beke marries The Wild Geese Rare Irish with the exotic juices of the Ugly Fruit, to achieve the ultimate bittersweet serve. The Freedom Sour is an innovative take on the ever-popular Whiskey Sour, freshened up with maple syrup and a layer of Matcha tea foam.
The three times voted ‘Best Irish Whiskey’ collection is made with superb quality aged Irish Whiskey stock and uses a special Extended Double Distillation process, creating a unique smoothness and richness unlike any other whiskey. The subtle and complex flavours are created using a pioneering distillation process, providing an unusual balance between robust and spicy malt, and light smooth grain.
2 parts The Wild Geese Classic Blend Irish Whiskey
1 part apple and rhubarb juice
3 parts dry cider
1/2 part Kamms & Sons
Mix the Classic Blend, dry cider and apple & rhubarb juice by ‘rolling’ them in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a highball glass and float a large ice ball on top. Add the Kamms & Sons to create a bittersweet taste and garnish with a crab apple and apple blossom. Drizzle fresh caramel over the garnish for the final touch.
2 part The Wild Geese Classic Blend Irish Whiskey
1 part gin botanical syrup or 1/2 part gin & 1/2 sugar syrup
Dash of green tea bitters
Top up with homemade lemongrass and chili beer
Pour a full measure of The Wild Geese Classic Blend directly into the serving glass. Add gin syrup as a sweetener and a dash of green tea bitter. Add lemon balm leaves to compliment the citrus notes in the Classic Blend. Top up with lemongrass & chilli beer and ‘swizzle’ the ingredients to mix them. Serve with pinewood and sweet spice.
2 part The Wild Geese Rare Irish Whiskey
1/2 part maple/ honey syrup
2 parts fresh squeezed ugly fruit juice
Few dashes of bitter
Matcha tea foam
Shake and serve in martini glass, top it off with matcha tea foam.
One last one for the World Cup.
2 parts The Wild Geese Classic Blend Whiskey
1/2 part of lime juice
1/2 part coconut cream
1/2 part sugar syrup
1/2 part of blue curaçao
passion fruit shell
Blend a small handful of basil leaves, coconut cream and lime juice together until you have a liquid form. Pour into a cocktail shaker with sugar syrup and The Wild Geese Classic Blend Irish whiskey then shake hard with ice.
Serve in a rocks glass over crushed ice and add a passion fruit shell. Fill the shell with blue curaçao and garnish with the zest of a lemon. Add your nation’s flag to celebrate your team for the final, champion touch.
The combination of the triple citrus notes (orange, lime and lemon) with the coolness of the basil leaves make this a super refreshing cocktail with a mild and creamy, sweet finish.
Which one will you make?
(Source Miss Whisky)Sarah O’Donovan is a bartender at the Pullman Hotel, near London’s King’s Cross. The bar features an impressive selection of whiskies, housed in a stunning glass case and it is Sarah who runs the whisky tasting events at the bar.
In this Whisky Women interview, Sarah – originally from County Clare in Ireland – discusses why she’s fallen in love with whisky, how she sees the industry changing and her plans for the future.
How did you first get into whisky?
My colleague had a great interest in whisky and he helped me to learn more. I have an innate interest in engineering and that gives me a great fascination with the construction and operation of distilleries. I love the fact you have this beautiful, soft product coming out of an engineering process. In my family, my aunt, my grandmother and her father before her have all been licence holders, they’ve all owned pubs so it’s close to my heart.
What were some of the first whiskies you tried that hooked you in?
My first taste of anything other than Jameson – because everyone drinks that in Ireland – was a Laphroaig 10 year old and it completely overwhelmed me. I left it alone for a month or so, asked more questions about whisky, learned more and realised they weren’t all going to be quite so intense as that.
Once I started seeing other finishes in whiskies – like the Glenmorangie Signet – that drew me in as it appealed more to my palate. I was surprised, then, to find I actually quite enjoyed Caol Ila 18. We also have quite a few interesting bottles from Edradour, like the Chardonnay cask matured, and I’ve really enjoyed that.
What has been a surprise to you about the whisky world?
There’s always something new to learn and I’m quite surprised at how accessible it has been to actually go about that learning. It’s so open and everyone who is involved is happy to talk to you about it if you show an interest.
From a female point of view, people can be surprised that you show an interest I find but once that initial five seconds are gone it’s an open market and you can really ask loads of questions.
What do you enjoy most about what you’re doing?
As I learn more and more about whisky, I just want to tell the world about it right now. I don’t have a fear of speaking to just about anyone who will listen so that’s what I’m doing. It’s not like I am the first person to discover whisky but I feel like it because it is so exciting. It’s a centuries old product but it’s almost new too, because every time a cask is aged, there’s something new and different that comes out of it.
What is one of your main goals?
The mental image you get of whisky is of wing-backed chairs and libraries – I’m trying to dispel that myth and make people aware there’s also more than just Scotch. It’s still incomprehensible for a lot of people that whisky comes from Japan so when you mention Tasmania or something, it’s quite a surprise.
I find that as long as you get someone who’s willing to speak to you then being able to tell them the stories behind the bottles and the stories of the industry can really hook them in, can make you hold someone’s attention. I like the story of Wild Geese, for instance. It’s an Irish blend and is named after the fact that when James I came to conquer Ireland, the noble family he conquered – the Sarsfields – fled to France. But they believed they’d return so they were named the wild geese. They didn’t come back in the end but the whisky is named in honour of every Irishman who’s had to leave his country.
It’s great to see you so passionate about the industry. How do you envision the industry moving forward?
Whisky companies are definitely moving forward and realising people are becoming more discerning, at ever younger ages. People might say something like, ‘Oh it’s an 18 year old so it must be better than the 12 year old.’ I try to explain it doesn’t mean that but the main point is the questions are being asked.
Also, I think as you see more young women and men coming into the industry and starting to drink it, the proliferation of whisky will spread more. There’s still a bit of a notion that ‘when you grow up you’ll enjoy it’ but actually that’s where things like blends and cocktails are coming in. And the more bars there are that are serving these, the better.