I recently took a visit to the Irish Whiskey Museum on College Green. They had literally only opened a few days before I visited. I’m actually not a whiskey drinker at all myself but went with Whiskey Boy who is quite taken with Uisce beatha.
Just beside reception there is a nice café bar area where you can enjoy a drink before or after your tour. They do also serve coffee.
Tours depart every 20 – 30 minutes depending on demand. We had a tour with just the two of us. The standard is €15 for an adult and the VIP is €18. With the VIP one you get to taste the 10 year old single malt Bushmills and get a souvenir glass to take away so personally I think it’s worth the extra, especially if you like whiskey. Our guide for the tour was James. Very personable chap and by God did he know his history of whiskey.
The tour winds through a number of different rooms with each one telling a tale about a certain period of Irish whiskeys history. How it began. How the war affected it etc.
There are short videos depicting the various era’s which compliment the story the tour guide tells. There was actually quite a lot of content to take in, all of which was very interesting and James was open to us asking as many questions as we liked.
One of the rooms is laid out like an actual pub but alas I didn’t get any pictures of it as I was far too busy absorbing the history.
The tour takes you right up to the present day with Irish Distillers which was formed in 1966 and includes John Jameson & Sons, established in Dublin in 1780; Powers & Sons, who were founded in Dublin in 1791 and the Cork Distillery whose origins date back to 1825. Irish Distillers is now part of the Pernod Ricard family and Jameson is their flagship brand.
The final stop on the tour is all about the whiskey tasting. The various whiskeys are beautifully presented on a piece of an old oak barrel. They don’t sell them as a set which is a bit of a shame because it would be a perfect present for a whiskey lover.
We had the pleasure (I say that lightly, whiskey is not my friend) of tasting Powers, Teeling, Irishman and Bushmills 10 year old single malt. Funnily enough tasting whiskey is very similar to tasting wine. There is lots of smelling it to work out the notes and swirling it to see the colour. Whiskey can be aged in all manner of barrels so you may have a whiskey which was in a sherry barrel or a rum barrel and those flavours will remain in the wood and seep out into the whiskey over time to give them a new depth of flavour. I was getting hints of vanilla and caramel and apparently there is no wrong answer which is great.
Then comes the tasting. As a non whiskey drinker I got BURNING followed by less burning followed by a glass of water, much to the amusement of Eoin the absolutely brilliant tasting guide. Funnily enough after trying a few of them I did begin to appreciate different tastes (or levels of burning).
The VIP tour included a really nice souvenir whiskey glass which now proudly sits along side my cocktail shakers at home, waiting patiently for the day when a real whiskey drinker will use it.
All in all I have to say I did enjoy the tour. I learned a whole lot about whiskey which I never knew. I also confirmed that I am most definitely not a whiskey drinker. I would imagine that the tourists, once they know it is there will flock to its very central location and thoroughly enjoy the banter with the Irish tour guides. The tour itself lasted about 45 minutes and then the tasting instruction about 15-20 but you are in no hurry to leave once you have been talked through the various brands at the tasting. €18 for essentially an hour of entertainment, four shots of whiskey and a souvenir glass seems like good value to me.Irish Whiskey Museum 37 College Green Ph: 01 525 0970