Sunday, June 8, 2014

Spectacular Coastal Scenery, The Jameson Distillery And A Lovely Hotel in Cork

Ireland Day 5

When we left our lovely little B&B in Tramore the innkeepers advised that we take a small road that hugs the coast on our way to Cork. They also noted that since it was Sunday lots of businesses would be closed. They advised that the Jameson Distillery in Midleton would, however, be open.

Cloneen B&B 
Tramore Ireland

The coastal road from Tramore to Dungarvon was narrow and windy. We shared 48 KM with about 10 bicyclists, 10 cars and two RV's. Yet, this empty stretch of highway served up one lovely view after another.

A Stretch of Rocky Coastline

Once in Midleton we bought tickets for the Jameson Experience. Although nowhere near as slick as the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, the Jameson Experience was still fascinating. It takes you through the history rich, yet abandoned, portions of the ancient Jameson distillery.

Yet, just beyond the old stone distillery is a modern steel 6-7 story tall green distillery. Since they also offer the "Jameson Experience" in Dublin I asked what they make in Dublin vs. Midleton? The answer is Midleton is the ONLY place where Jameson is distilled. 

Frankly, I'd love to have seen some of the operations in the modern facility as well. But I think the point of the "Experience" is to capture the nostalgia of Whiskey making and I suppose lots of modern pipes and stainless steel would kind of kill the magic.

Along the way we also viewed the 3 largest pot stills in the world. They are solid copper and date back to 1825. The modern plant still uses pot stills for certain varieties of whiskey but now uses 6 smaller pot stills.

Two of the primary ways Jameson sets itself apart from Scotch and American whiskey's is by triple distillation and aging its various whiskeys in a variety of oak barrels from the US and Spain. 

At the completion of the tour they walked us through the aging room filled with barrels of Whiskey. There is even a very secure and private room where some lucky folks have purchased full barrels of whiskey, letting Jameson age them.  

At the conclusion of the tour they asked for some volunteers, so I said sure. Hint: If you tour here and they ask for volunteers - say YES!

The tour ends back in the tasting area of the welcome center. If you were one of the lucky volunteers you get to sample three whiskeys. An American Whiskey (distilled once), a Scotch Whiskey (distilled twice) and Jameson (distilled three times).  The side-by-side rating was a great way to appreciate Jameson. 

Original Distillation Vats

Original Copper Pot Still
(Person in Background for Scale)

Privately Owned Barrell Reserves

The True Test

We then made our way to Cork, checked into the River Lee Hotel (Lovely Hotel, Shit Internet) and found a Wagamama from London for dinner. 

Tomorrow we Begin the Ring of Kerry Drive and overnight at Sneem. Weather may not be cooperating (calling for rain).

Roadboy's Travels © 2014

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