The secret history of Irish whiskey

Back in 1984, Irish whiskey was in the doldrums. Then Irish Distillers suddenly pulled a rabbit out of the hat

13th October, 2019
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Brian Nation, master distiller, released the 2019 Midleton Very Rare whiskey last week

Last week, master distiller Brian Nation launched the 2019 Midleton Very Rare. This annual act of faith began in 1984, one of the darkest periods for Irish whiskey, when just two distilleries remained on the island of Ireland: the Irish Distillers Midleton base, home of Jameson, Powers and Paddy; and Bushmills on the Antrim coast.

Back in the early 1980s, the Irish whiskey category contained a handful of well-known brands. These whiskeys had a good following in...

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