Ulster Whiskey Blog
Coleraine Mountsandel, just outside Coleraine, is the earliest human settlement found in Ireland. Dating from the Mesolithic, or middle stone age, it is around 9,000 years old. These people would have been hunter gatherers and survived on the salmon from the Bann, the nuts in the vast forests, hunted the deer and at night sat around a fire and probably sang songs and told stories. It all sounds quite idyllic, free from the modern world and social media, Starbucks menus and listening to people bang on about Donald Trump. Delve a little deeper though and the shine falls away really, really, quickly. Firstly Ireland still had bears and wolves at the time – so whenyou were out looking for deer, so were they, so you had to make sure one of those didn’t bite you on the arse. Then there was the age of mortality, at around 30, no dental care, midges, no fridges…. they hadn’t even got beer then, never mind Whiskey. Not even Tea! To the likes of Ray Mears, living like a stone age man would seem like heaven but to anyone sane it would be torture. Mears is the guy who used to be on BBC telling you how to survive should you find yourself lost in the middle of the Black Forest of the Ukraine. “This grass you can eat but this grass, which looks EXACTLY the same, will have you shitting like a burst water pipe!” He actually thought these programs were instruction videos. There are only two possible scenarios in which I should find myself lost in the Black Forest of the Ukraine: 1) Plane crash. If the plane went down and I managed to walk off then I would survive on wee packets of peanuts and the drinks trolley until rescue. Or 2) I’m going for a picnic and get lost, in which case I would eat my picnic and wait for retrieval; and probably drink whatever alcohol I had brought with me to boot. Mears and Bear Grylls use various herbs and leaves to make medicine which they claim cures all manner of things, pretty much like old doctors used to use Whiskey for all manner of ailments. During prohibition in the states, doctors could prescribe medicinal whiskey for pretty much anything (it’s one of the reasons Scotch became so popular). Mears and Grylls would kill for Whiskey rather than pine bark stew I reckon – but would they for Coleraine Whisky? I’m not too sure. If they made it into the traditional cold cure “Hot Whiskey” with cloves and honey, then sure – but any dram could do that for you really. A hundred years ago, Coleraine Whisky (always without the “e”) was considered the finest in Ireland and was the supplier to the House of Commons. A bottle of this incredibly rare Whisky can be seen in “The Friend at Hand” off licence in Belfast. This new expression won’t be found in the House of Commons I feel. It is very cheap though, so if you have a cold then certainly get the honey and cloves and cook it up.
Nose: grain, very light, touch of vanilla, fresh Palate is touch of vanilla, Slight floral, quite weak.
Finish: sharp, evaporating, wood, oak , slightly harsh.