Irish whiskey, once the most popular international spirit, is back on the world stage after a long period of decline in the late 19th and early 20 centuries. Now it’s the fastest growing spirit in the world and traditional techniques are being revived, existing distilleries expanded and new venues opened.
But what is it that makes Irish whiskey so great? On this hour-long experience you'll learn just that, exploring what ingredients affect the taste and tone of a whiskey and how best to pair spirits with the wonderful range of Irish farmhouse cheeses available in the region.
Your experience begins at the Irish Whiskey Experience in central Killarney where you'll meet a master whiskey sommelier. You'll join a small group of enthusiasts and have a brief introduction to the whiskey distilling process before watching two short films which explain more about the history of Irish whiskey and the traditional methods of whiskey production used in the country. Your guide will also explain about the distilling process, the difference between single malts and blends, the ageing process and whiskey finishing.
Your next task is a sensory perception quiz where you'll get a chance to test your sense of smell with a tray of different aromas to identify, all of which can be used in the whiskey production process. Your whiskey sommelier will talk to you about each of these ingredients and how they can affect the final appearance and taste of the whiskey.
The guides here are extremely knowledgeable and encourage guests to ask questions, whether you're an experienced whiskey drinker or a novice. The tour will be tailored to your level of experience and after the sensory quiz you'll have a tutored whiskey tasting, with four diverse premium Irish whiskeys to sample, each paired with a traditional Irish farmhouse cheese.
You'll learn what to look for in a whiskey and how to compare different types and varieties of whiskey. Whiskey and cheese make a formidable match and your guide will explain how best to enjoy the different tastes and give you tips on pairing whiskey and cheese in general.
This thoroughly enjoyable experience is both fun and informative offering a fantastic introduction to Irish whiskey, whose different flavours are further enhanced when sampled with cheese. The whole experience takes place in a sleek, modern environment where you can linger after your tour to sample more whiskey from the well-stocked bar or to eat in the excellent restaurant.