Introducing: The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey!
The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey is a joint venture between the Dublin Liberties Distillery and the Dead Rabbit Bar in New York. Dublin Liberties Distillery Master Distiller Darryl McNally has sat down with the Dead Rabbit Bar owners, Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, to release a 5-year-old blended whiskey to help mark the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the bar. It’s a blend of single malt and grain whiskey and is bottled at 44% abv. Kentucky bourbon casks are used to mature the whiskey for a period of five years, before being finished off in small virgin American Oak barrels.
Irish Whiskey is something that both Sean and Jack are very passionate about and this is evident from the fact that their bar stocks the largest selection of Irish Whiskey in North America. I must admit I’ve been to New York a few times in the past five years and haven’t had the pleasure of dropping in to the bar yet but that will absolutely be rectified on the next visit.
When I was four years of age I used to holiday with the family in Mullaghmore, Co Sligo. I’ve really fond memories of these holidays and I’ve two or three that really stand out. One was being allowed to have Kellogg’s Variety Pack cereal for breakfast, as we only ever got that when we were on holidays, and the other is getting up at 07:00 with my father, to go down to the beach and sand dunes to look at the rabbits as they went about their business.
Fast forward thirty-four years, it’s now me bringing my father out and instead of 07:00 its 19:00, instead of the beaches and dunes of Mullaghmore it’s The Rag Trader Bar on Drury Street, Dublin and instead of cute fluffy bunny rabbits it’s a Dead Rabbit we’re looking for!
It’s Monday the 9th of April and I’m about to attend my first official launch party, thanks to an invite from Alan Callinan of The Dublin Liberties Distillery. The evening is due to kick off around 19:00 and in my excitement, and probably lack of experience of attending these type of events, I rock up to the door of The Rag Trader at 18:50 to be told I’m too early and come back in ten minutes. In fairness it did say 19:00 but I figured that was more a suggestion…. Lesson learned. I kill ten minutes staring into the window of a local jewellers, which has a fabulous watch display that I’ll never be able to afford, but sure I can always dream!
Upon return to the venue there is now a queue formed outside the door so we take our spot and wait patiently. Upon entering we’re met by the event crew for the evening….. ‘What’s the name please?’, ‘David O Connell’ I said, to which she replied ‘and where are you from?’. ‘I write a blog called Dave’s Irish Whiskey’ I said in reply. I realised that this was the first time that I had ever really said that and I was thinking was she going to look at me with a ‘What?’ look on her face but no, I receive a lovely warm welcome and told to enjoy the evening.
I notice straight off that things are looking slightly different in the Rag Trader since my last visit and it’s been taken over by the Dead Rabbit brand and it really looks great. Pictures have changed on the walls, there’s a brand logo on the door as you enter and everywhere you look there is something referring to the Dead Rabbit Whiskey, but it’s been done in a real classy way and the venue looks great. We leave our coats in the cloak room and within two seconds we’ve a sample of the new release in our hands.
I don’t waste any time in having my first taste and initial impressions are good. The venue begins to fill up quite quickly and my father and I are trying to figure out the best place to position ourselves for the evening. We settle on a spot just in front of the bar, with a bird’s eye view of all that’s going on around us. I begin to pick out some familiar faces belonging to other bloggers that I’ve met since starting mine back in January and there are plenty of guys and girls there from Dublin’s finest Whiskey shops and bars. Some mingling is done and as the night goes on I’m glad that I got the hellos out of the way early, as people just seem to keep coming. Before we know it, the venue is packed but in fairness it’s great for the brand and its exposure.
I’ve had two or three drinks at this stage and discussed with my father our opinions on the drink and our attention is then brought to a chair in the middle of the floor and a wooden box with a crow bar! I’m concerned as to what is about to happen but my fears subside when I realise that this is the moment we’re going to hear from the people behind the Whiskey and the event, and that hiding inside the box is a Dead Rabbit Whiskey.
Master Distiller, Darryl McNally is first to address us and he thanks us for coming, wishes us all well and he hopes that we all enjoy the night. Sean Muldoon is next to take to the chair, with a bit of a wobble, he echo’s the sentiments of Darryl and wishes the crowd well. He outlines that he’s delighted to see the brand get its official release and we all raise a glass. Final person to speak is Jillian Vose, the Bar Manager at The Dead Rabbit Bar in New York, who is delighted to be in attendance and wishes us all well. The box containing the bottle of Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey is cracked open and Darryl declares the Whiskey as now being ‘Officially launched’.
With my lack of experience in attending these types of events I must admit I expected to hear more from our three speakers about how it all came about, why choose The Liberties Distillery? What types of whiskey were used? How was it aged? Where was it aged? and much more, but maybe that’s not what these events are all about. Maybe it’s during the many tasting sessions that will be held in the coming weeks and months that we can pop along and learn more about the actual Whiskey. This is something I intend on doing.
The night is in full flow, but for my father and I it’s beginning to draw to a close. I’ve said hello to as many people as I can and chatted about what we thought of the Whiskey and all signs are positive and everyone is impressed. On the way out the door, we’re handed a goodie bag, containing a chocolate bunny, a t-shirt and a nice sample bottle of the guest of honour!
It’s been an enjoyable event and hopefully my first of many launch parties to come!
So, what about the Whiskey:
Glass used: The Tuath (of course)
Retail: €54, a little more then I expected.
Nose: Struggling in this regard for this tasting as I’m dying of a head cold!
Palate: I find this sweet and really thick in the mouth. Good spice. A good overall coating
Finish: I find the finish short if that makes sense but it makes me want to try more.
Overall: I like it! I think Darryl, Sean and Jack have come up with a good Irish Whiskey here. I’ve read online that it’s good for all purposes including cocktails etc. They’re not necessarily my scene but I will be adding a bottle to the collection.
Thanks, as always, for reading!