Game changer. This is how I would simply describe IDL’s release of Powers John’s Lane in early 2011. Prior to its release, the single pot still whiskey drinking world was limited to Greenspot and Redbreast. (Oh, the suffering!) As good as these 2 whiskeys are, the release of Powers John’s Lane was a watershed moment for Irish whiskey. With this release, IDL not only hearkened drinkers back to single pot still’s heyday but expanded the range of what single pot still whiskey could be.
With the volume of new whiskeys hitting the market on a monthly basis these days, companies try to differentiate through marketing, creating a story, and/or truly having a unique product. Back in 2011, the latest Irish whiskey renaissance was in its early stage. Trying to break in to the whiskey market was more challenging and required more than just a good product. 2 Gingers succeeded with a combination of product quality, clever marketing, and a unique distribution channel.
I’m often asked my opinion on what the best whiskey is for certain occasions or best choice as a gift. It dawned on me recently that I often come up with the same recommendation. While pot still varieties are always a good choice, for those visiting Ireland or requesting a traveler bring a bottle back for them, I usually recommend Jameson Crested Ten.
What more can be said or written that has not already? Plenty. Here are my musings in between sips. My first trip to Ireland was in 2007. We arrived early Saturday morning in Dublin when nothing was yet open, including our hotel rooms. Killing time, we found ourselves at the Celtic Whiskey shop where a sidewalk sign welcomed us in for a tasting.
In what seems a dizzying array of new Irish Whiskeys, Prizefight Irish Whiskey stands out among the truly exciting ones. My fondness for this whiskey is due in no small part to the subtle hints of rye which brings a new, and welcome, zing to an otherwise traditional blend. There’s something quite pleasant that happened to this whiskey during its lengthy stay in West Cork, Ireland, resting comfortably in American rye barrels and soaking up all that spicy goodness.