Ep. 76 - From Bushmills to Dublin Liberties to His Passion Project

DARRYL McNALLY // Limavady Irish Whiskey

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Show Notes

If you love history and you're interested in the recent past during Irish whiskey's rebirth, this is the interview for you. I chat with Darryl McNally who is launching a new brand tied to a town with legal distilling going back to 1750 in Ulster.

We'll talk about the town's history in distilling, the rebirth in this new brand, and we'll also jump into Darryl's 17 years at Bushmills and learn a bit about what the whiskey world looked like back then. Buckle up for a lot of great history and a tasting of an Irish whiskey well worth trying.

Listen to the full episode with the player above or find it on your favorite podcast app under "Whiskey Lore: The Interviews." The full transcript is available on the tab above.

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Drew (00:00:09):
Welcome to Whiskey Lore, the interviews. I'm your host Hanish, the Amazon bestselling author of Whiskey Lores Travel Guide to Experiencing Kentucky Bourbon. And very soon I'm going to have Whiskey Lord's Travel Guide to experiencing Irish whiskey. I am to a point where I have all of the writing mostly done, and then once I get past that point, then I'm going to go through edit myself and then it goes off to the editor at the beginning of September. So I'm hoping that by October, November I'm going to have that book out so you can go get yourself a copy because Ireland is absolutely fascinating and I met some great people over there and I'm meeting some people actually that I didn't get a chance to meet while over there who are legends themselves in the Irish whiskey industry and are taking on some new projects. And one is the Irish whiskey called Lima Vadi.

And so I want you to join me as I interview the man who worked for Bush Mills for 17 years and then helped set up Duncan Liberties and is now doing his own gig at Lima Vadi. So let me go ahead and join in on this interview with Darryl McNally of Limo Vati time for another interview and today headed back over to Ireland where I'm sure it's a little cooler than it is here in South Carolina. My guest and I were just talking about his trip across the United States and of course he's just gotten back in on a plane and is feeling that jet lag that of course I have tried to learn myself to kind of get around. When you come back from one of those jerseys, it's always harder coming to Europe from the US I feel than it is going the other way around.

Darrell McNally is my guest. Daryl I welcome to the show. You've had an amazing career already 17 years at Bush Mills. You worked five years with quintessential brands and helped get Dublin Liberties distillery on the map and now you are starting a passion project in your own hometown of Lima Vati, which is a town that I actually drove through and was looking, where is the distillery, where's the distillery? And I'm a little premature to that. So we're going to talk a little bit about that and also dive into some history of Lima Vati because it has a long history of distilling and do a little tasting of your whiskey, which thank you for sending me some bottles to sample. One has already almost disappeared, I will tell you.

Darryl (00:02:52):
Oh, you're very welcome Drew. I hope you enjoyed lava. Yeah, a bit of background about me. Yes, so I joke, I say I've been in the drinks industry for 47 years because I'm 47 years old because essentially I was born straight from my mother and came back home to the family Irish bar. So I was pouring the most perfect pint Guinness by the time I was two years old. I knew the difference between fine Irish whiskeys and scotch whiskeys and all that good stuff. So it was no shock whatsoever after university that I said to my mom and dad, Hey, guess what? I've got a job at Bush Mill's Distillery. So the background injury was that back in 1998 when I started with Bush Mills it was actually Irish distillers per card because they essentially had a monopoly in Irish whiskey. So as part of the Irish Distillers Group, which was part of the ARD group there was Middleton Distillery, there was Jameson, there was Patty, there was Pars, there was Murphys, there was Hutz.

And of course then there was Bush Mills. So I was lucky enough to get a job with Bush Mills way back in 1998. And believe it or not, it was a job in through the supply chain direction if you like, because my primary degree that I did was an accountant in corporate financial management which was great. Then I went on ahead and did a chartered in purchasing and supply, which really got me the job at Bush Mills because I went in as a sort of procurement manager, procurement supervisor even So it was really in at the bottom, but I was quite happy to get in with such a prestigious company and work my way up. So then what I did is that got me my foot in the door and then I started to work for sort of Irish distillers on a grip level whereby we were IPL and putting in the SAP computer system, the SAP computer system back in 1999.

So that got me the opportunity to travel through the multiple sites within Irish Distillers down to the Dublin site, which is the big botland plant at Fox and Geese and then down to Middleton. So it got me an opportunity to get round, almost like a fast track sort of graduate program almost. And at the end of that, which sort of took about two years, maybe two and a half years, so in early 2000, maybe early 2001 I got the opportunity where the production director says, Hey, what job do you want? Name your job because you've really helped the company with all these different implementations, et cetera. And I think I sort of threw through a bit of a curve ball when I said, Hey, I wanna be the next master to St Distiller at Bush Mills. And he went, whoa, wasn't expect especially were you coming from a some sort of supply chain option.

I says, well, no. Well I've been bitten by the bug, I've been bitten by the process of making whiskey and just the bio biochemistry that goes into it, the science, the art, whatever way you want to call it. And then I started a program then of learning to be a master distiller, which takes about six or seven years. And at the end of that I did a degree in distiller. It was a diploma in distiller through the Institute of Brown and Distiller, which sort of gives you the academic certificate if you'd like to say that you've done all this and become a master distiller. From there I ran the operation, the day-to-day operation, which incorporated the buying of the casks, the buyin of the malted barley running a team of 10 distillers running a two warehouse crew, a fill-in vatting blend blending, and eventually then a little bit of the lab work as well.

So over my 17 years at Bush Mills it was a great learning curve and was when I was doing my travels in the US there, I said to people, there wasn't one day where the way some days you just wanna pull the quilt over your head and say, I'm not going into work today. There never was a day life because to me it was just like a hobby. The pay was just an extra that kept my wife happy and kept the bills away and kept the bills covered. So that was great, very fond memories of living and working in the Bush Mills area and the Bush Mills distillery. So then fast forward to 2015 when the sort of whole renaissance of Irish whiskey and I got a call from quintessential brands who wanted to build a distillery right in the heart of Dublin, which I thought in itself, whoa, this is one of the ones that I always wanted to tick off the bucket list where you, at the very start, you find a site, you design the distillery, you build a distillery and you sort of see the fruits of your labor if you like.

Things that I didn't do at Bush Mills, cuz the Bush mills, you were about a keeper, were 400 year old whiskey plus year old whiskey. You essentially as a master distiller were a keeper and you handed the keys if you like, over to the next master distiller. So you were sort of a caretaker care taker of the brand as opposed to actually developing or building the distillery or doing anything different that it was more about repeatability because the brand was so strong and all the malt background that it stood for. So with quintessential brands and Dublin Liberty East Distillery that gimme the opportunity to build a distillery from scratch, get the design, the design of the distills, build the distillery from front end to back end. So yeah, that was five years sort of from 2015 up to about 2020. But during that time it was actually a far out relative from the US who was tracing the family tree.

Here in Ireland, in US, Irish aren't very good at tracing their family trees. It takes people from the US to come across and say, Hey, I'm your boss. But my long lost cousin actually arrived and my brother and I were shitting some pool down the local bar one Friday night and we met up to compare stories about who relatives were, et cetera, et cetera. And it was that lady who actually said, Hey, did you know that Irv family actually owned Li Valley Distillery back in 1880? So my brother and I both looked at each other, he worked at Bush Mills, I was master distiller at Bush Mills and we went, oh my god. Coincidentally the DNA of whiskey making has actually been running through Irvines and we haven't known it that this way back to the family on my mother's side. So it was quite funny cuz you see me mother giving me dad a sort of slap the elbow going, Hey, it's a McLaughlin family that owned the distillery, not the McNally family.

Sort of comes from my mom's side. So we did a bit of digging and found out that there was a James McLaughlin who owned Liva Distillery in 1880 and then the history of Liva is quite amazing in the sense that it goes right back to 1750. So the distillery in Liva this back to 1750, which makes it very, very, very old when you look at the Gans of the world at 1757 and actually Sir Thomas Phillips who was granted the license to distill in this area in the north of Ireland, he actually built Newtown Liva, he lived in Newtown and his daughter or granddaughter married into the Alexander family who built the first distillery apparently in 1750 in La Valley. So there's a huge history town back to Sir Thomas Phillips and that would've been somebody that I would've used a lot in my tours of the US when I worked for Bush Mills where we would've said there was a license granted to Bush Mills in 1608 by Sir Thomas Phillips.

So it just shows the whole link to this whole north coast of Ireland and probably the close proximity to Alley back in the day as well because if you go way in your history, I think it's 4 86 ad the whole north of Ireland here actually spanned out into the ISS of Scotland, into Alley, into Campbelltown and into the Is sky. That whole area was known as Dray Adam, which there's a celebratory festival every year up in the north coast of Ireland here about Dal Rietta and Daldin, which again dates back that the King of Ireland at that time actually was overseen those islands as well away before the Scotty Command and it became Scotland. So that was interesting as you read more and more just the whole history of this part of Ireland is huge and it's particularly huge in single malt, triple distilled single malt, which again wa is when we get onto it.

Drew (00:10:45):
So what's fascinating about Irish history to me and as I travel around the island, of course I hear all the points of how Ireland brought whiskey to the world and that it's kind of this, we did this earlier than Scotland and this little competition that goes on between the two countries, which is fun to hear, but when you're in Northern Ireland there's a more relaxed kind of a statement about it because I think you guys realize how tied in to Ila and through that combination there was a lot of trade going on back and forth through there. And so that really almost ties you guys together and makes that history more a commonality rather than a differentiator between the two.

Darryl (00:11:38):
Absolutely Drew, cuz there's the whole Alster Scotts thing where there's a lot of Alster Scotts but have, we've moved across the US and it's amazing traveling through the US how many of the same names from Ireland are from Scotland that the towns in across, especially the east coast of the US But yeah, there's that huge alster and the trade-in and I think even potatoes sort of moved across back there and os Irish are quite famous for love of potatoes as well. So I think there was trade there. So yeah, of course before there was any licenses to distill, there was surely an illicit movement of spirits of sorts and probably found out, somebody always says to me, how did the maturation process happen? I says, well, for years there would've been people making illicit poaching or illicit spirit if you like. And they got to know to store it in these casks and way back from years ago where they used to move items up and down the Mississippi, they always had to burn the cask and that's where the burning of the cask came cuz essentially we were sterilizing the cask again. So some smart person realized, okay, I can make big batches of poin or spirit and steward in these cas and the longer we stored in the casks the better it tastes and all that good stuff. Yeah, absolutely. There's been trade going on way before 1608 I think I read one time in the book of Lester 1176. So Robert Savage fortified his trips before they went into battle with an amber nectar and I'm sure that has to be whisky.

Drew (00:13:04):
Ah, very nice. Yeah, this is what's interesting too is that kind of getting your location on the map, you're between dairy and Belfast and to me dairy and Belfast both would be your shipping ports out of there and I would think that dairy would've had a better location for shipping to the European continent and even out to America. And you're not far from there.

Darryl (00:13:32):
No, absolutely. We're where I actually live, where Liva is situated and where I live, I live in the Magilligan point here, which is sort of by the sea, which is bit seven miles from the Mava where the lock foil opens up there. Yeah, dairy port was a huge area for ships coming in and out and as I say, even for fuel and up again to get the passage across to the US even down in Port Rush, which is very close to me, there's still pictures of boats that would've left their way back in the day with Irish going to the US to make their fortune. So yeah, absolutely around this north coast was a huge hub of steam ships and things like that for sure. Yeah, and even now we're looking about in Greencastle where I live, which is only a mile across from a Gilligan point where I actually live and where we have the farm they're actually planning to do a cruise liner stop off, which is the last stop for us tourists on a cruise of maybe Scandinavia, Ireland, UK sort of things that's planned for the future. So there'll be a lot more footfall if you like, that'll be coming towards Magilligan point where we plan to build a distillery here on the farm. So it'll be a great stop off if you like for a whiskey or two before you get on the cruise line or back to the US or coming from.

Drew (00:14:51):
So what was the attitude before when you were growing up about whiskey? I mean was it really just because you would've been growing up during a time period where basically everything was coming out of Middleton and Bush Mills and would've been the whiskey that was probably sitting around your house? What would your father have drank?

Darryl (00:15:13):
Yeah, well in the pubs, back when I was in the pubs I could remember it was very geographical. People from this area would've drank bush mills, there would've been a little bit of scotch or something. I remember sort of famous gross and there was a few other whiskeys, cream of the barley and all this dates back, but it really was quite geographical. Whereas in Middleton and County Cork you had to drank your whiskeys from that area. Then when I started at Bush Mills 1998 at even then, and it's not that long ago, it was 24 years ago, the whole Irish whiskey set up, it was still sort of quite dark days, it's still was sort of streamlined and sort of up and down and it could have went bad as well. Then it sort of started to turn and then increased then and popularity of Irish whiskey sort of come back.

But there was dark days of Irish whiskey back to the early 19 hundreds. I think there was about 102 or 103 distilleries and they all closed down essentially with prohibition, with Irish civil war and the first World War and then there was the sort of scotch coming in with blended whiskey. So I think when some of the US strips that were over fighting in the first World War, they get a taste for the blended whiskey of scotch and it was easier and more accessible and more volume if you like. So there was very dark days for Irish whiskey and it's only really coming back in the last few years, which is great to see with all the new distilleries popping up in Ireland. So yeah, definitely when I started it was dark enough days for Irish whiskey. It's lovely to have worked through it and to have seen now the popularity worldwide and that sort of category come into life again. It makes make me very proud to have worked through all that and seen the upside or the increase on in popularity, which has been fantastic.

Drew (00:16:58):
You've also seen three different owners of Bush mills, which I think is interesting. You were there with Irish distillers and then the switchover to Diageo and I guess sometime with Jose Cuervo as well. So when it shifted to Diagio, was there a mood change there? Was that this was right when whiskey was starting to become popular again?

Darryl (00:17:25):
Yeah, well with Per Recard because per Recard and Irish dealers had, they had Jamison, they had other brands. I think it was way back then that there was a choice had to be made on the marketing spend pit behind the brand and Jameson was sort of the first brand. So Irish Distillers would've put their spend if you like, in marketing spend behind Jameson. I think Bruce Mills and Jameson were very similar in volumes at that time, but then the power of market and took Jameson off to where it is and 12 million case brand now, which is fantastic. And the way I look at that, somebody goes, oh it's a competitor. I said, absolutely not. Jameson for me has paved the way for all the other Irish whiskeys by making the Irish whiskey category so popular and when you go in, you went to the US that I've been traveling the last four weeks and Jameson's everywhere.

But that's great. All I do is say, yeah, Jameson's great. I know the guys I worked for them, I, here's Lava, it's a little bit different. But again what that does is it's sparked the interest in Irish whiskey through Jameson, which now people are looking to try other Irish whiskeys, which is great for lava. DI bought it in 2005. Diagio pretty much put a huge CapEx spend and upgraded the distillery. So again, it was great because I was working there and you were putting in extra stills and you were modernized and all the equipment. So they took Bush Mill's distillery from essentially about a 1.5 million L p a malt distillery up to just over 5 million l p a distillery. So sort of modernized it and been in automation and all that good stuff. So it was great to see that sort of increase on the quality of the equipment on site and bringing in new people and more people and going to a 24 7 365 day operation. That was fantastic at that time. And then when Kvo come in, I only worked very closely on the due diligence for the purchase of it, but I only worked for a very short period of time under Kvo because such was the demand for people in the whiskey world in 2015 that I got went off then to build my distillery with quintessential brands down in Dublin, which was for me, something I always wanted to do is to build a distillery from scratch.

Drew (00:19:36):
It, it's interesting to think when I first started really paying attention to Irish whiskey that the scotch drinker in me would watch and say, okay, well Irish whiskey will probably arrive once I start seeing single malts come on the market. And that's just me in that mindset of a scotch drinker. But I have a feeling a lot of people kind of carry that around with them. And when I think about Jameson and Bush Mills, I always think of Bush Mills more for blend than I do for single malt because there really wasn't an over-emphasis to me on single malt in terms of selling bush mills. How have you seen that change with mills over the years? Were they making a single malt or were they just doing blends back when you were starting?

Darryl (00:20:30):
No, when I started they actually, well they Bush Mills Reginal, which was a blend and black bush, which is a, got a much, much higher proportion of malt to green ratio. And don't forget then there was the link that any malt supplied to any brand of Irish whiskey, they didn't needed malt had to come from Bush, Bush mills. So as part of the Irish distillers portfolio, the grain moved sort of north and the malt moved south sort of thing. But Bush Mills had a 10 and a 16 and a 21 year old single malt. The 10 on bourbon cast, the 16 was finished in port port pipes and then the 21 year old was funniest in Madeira. So they had a very strong single malt presence and was seen sort of as the malt purists. And that's probably why with Liva, I'm a malt purist.

I it's nearly geographical. That was a tax pit in malted barley in 1785. So a lot of the distilleries in sort of Southern Ireland would've said, Hey, I'm not going to pay any more taxes here to the crown. We're paying enough taxes to Britain sort of thing. And they opted then to change their mash bill from maybe more malt in it to less malt and more unmalted cereals like oats and maze and things like that. So therefore the still or the larger pot still process came about where it was a mix of malted and unmalted barley. But the more north you went bush sort of stayed true to the single malt and a bit like Scotland and what we talked about in the sort of territory, AI sort of stayed true to the malt. So again, I think it was more the geographical part of Ireland dictated whether you went after the tax of malted barley to unmalted or fully malted a hundred percent malted and Scotlands are paid true to that.

And Bush Mills in the north, which is really the only distillery that survived after the sort of dark days, they would've stayed very true to make a single malt. They didn't have a green plant or anything there. They would've bought their green from Irish distillers but then cause they were under the same ownership, it was just a transfer between. But no Bush metals for me would've been more malt orientated than gland. But again, it had to have a blend with Bush Mels original and Blackbush in order to compete with Scottish blends and other whiskeys that were on the market from a price perspective.

Drew (00:22:41):
When did you start seeing the move towards finishing and doing more of that kind of work with a single malt?

Darryl (00:22:51):
That was the bush mills. That would've been a bush mills because we would've used the port pipes and the Madeira and finishes on the 16 and 21 year old, which I think that got me into the sort of taste profile that I loved cuz you were having the bourbon, which with lip the same as Liva, I only used first of bourbon cast. So that lovely spicy vanilla sort of almost chili type taste on your tongue with no burn. But then I flick them into P ese, which was a sweet cherry at Bush mills. They would've used the oso cherry. Whereas I sort of went a step further and went with px, which is much, much sweeter and lovely finish. It sort of brings dark summer fruits, dark chocolate, all those good things. Plus you still have your vanilla and your spiciness from the bourbon cast.

So it's about getting the right time as a finish as well because if you overcook it, I say if you take it too long in PX, then it starts to be more PX driven. Whereas the limit valley, I want want to try and keep a nice mix of both the first little bourbon and then the PX coming through at the end after maybe the second sip or first or second sip, you start to get less spice and more of that lovely sort of dark summer fritz, which I'm sure you enjoyed when you open the bottle.

Drew (00:23:59):
Yeah, it's really an interesting whiskey and it doesn't taste like anything else that I've had before. And I think that's one of those things that once we jump in and do the tasting I'll try to relate that. But it actually took me some work to try to figure out what I was tasting because it had such a unique flavor to it. So once you left Bush Mills, you actually, and this is actually timely because a project that you worked on for a very short period of time actually now has finally come to fruition some seven years later, which is the j and j McConnell move into the jail where they're going to be building their distillery. Does it shock you that it took seven years to do that when with Dublin Liberties you went into a historic building and you were in fairly quickly?

Darryl (00:24:58):
Yeah, no, the Crumlin Road jail project was when I moved from Bush Mills to go to ET albeit was only maybe for four or five months. I think it was the shock of trying to actually fit a distillery in an old jail and a jail. I think as we started doing the demolition, we sort of came across more, we came across some asbestos and it was just as almost as if the man above was against us on this project.

Maybe it was a few or something from the jail. So yeah, we sort of hit a lot of red tape if you like, and bureaucracy because it was a building owned by the government as well. And because it was such an old building, you know were going to come across items that it would've taken you away from a greenfield site, which was would've been very, very simple with the one in Dublin. The beauty was is that the planning and all was completely passed. Whereas when I went to the one in Belfast, there were still i's and crossing the T's on the planning and keeping all the various legislative bodies up, the speed, his historic and et cetera. So it was just maybe premature to have gone and expected just to dig us aside if you like and build. Yeah. But it's nice to see, nice to see in the recent media there cuz I was invited actually up to it but I was in the US and couldn't go.

So it was nice to actually see that project beginning to take ship now, which is nice and it's great for Belfast as well. And that's another great brand JJ j McConnell's getting back to 1776 and another nice historic brand coming to life, which I'm a big ambassador for the Irish whiskey category and the more and more of these old brands have come to life, it just makes me smile because it's Irish whiskey back in the map where it belongs to be honest, with all these brands coming back to life and I can still debate with them. Oh yeah, 1776. Yeah, we still have 26 years on you. Yeah, wish.

Drew (00:26:48):

Darryl (00:26:49):
A bit a hard hunter

Drew (00:26:51):
Fun too because I was thinking about this the other day, I would not know anything about a lot of Irish whiskey history, if not for bringing back BA brands like Dunville and now Lee Mava and Jay and Jay McConnell. I mean we can look at Alfred Barnard's book and pull in some of that history, but it's like there's something about seeing the labels and getting a chance to rediscover these names and then drink liquid from those bottles that just makes it something you want to learn more about.

Darryl (00:27:32):
Well abs absolutely you can nearly, as I say, I think there's maybe at the last count maybe 42, 43 distilleries planned and a lot of the musin sort of old Irish fu skinny. So it is quite nice to sort of flick through Alfred Barnard's book and his journey. I think his journey was 1883 so that would've been the time at Liva where my relative James McLaughlin actually would've worked there, which is quite well's a nice coincidence. But yeah, I think it's great the way he lists out even with some of the dairy distilleries, the dairy city distilleries, which I believe some process going with bringing one of the dairy distilleries back as well. I'm not sure how well known it is. I've seen a little scribble to, or a rumor or two that there might be something happening up there, which is great for Dairy City as well cuz that was a huge hub for Irish whiskey.

And again, probably because of the port that we talked about with Port, it was a nice shipment across to the us But yeah, no I think it's fantastic that you can almost map out Alfred Barnard's journey and could do a 2022 version or a 2023 version. It would be interesting how they compared that's something to, yeah, maybe we can add that to the whiskey trail that's beginning to happen in Ireland now with all these distilleries. So we can do an Alfred Barnard Mark two journey. So there that's something you can come across and do, Dre, we can take a week off and go travel in Ireland visiting distilleries in the not too distant future, which would be fun.

Drew (00:28:57):
I love that. Well of course I just went to 43 distilleries on my big circle around Ireland and I'm doing a podcast right now, a history podcast on whiskey history where I'm actually telling my tale around the island as well as following Alfred Barnard's trip. Oh wow. Around and what he did. So in more of a storytelling fashion rather than in an interview based podcast. Okay

Darryl (00:29:25):
Look that to hear that

Drew (00:29:27):
It's really fun to dig in and read and kind of see what the landscape was. Back then you were at the height of a golden era of whiskey and right now we're at a point where you look around Northern Ireland and you say yes, the hard peninsula is picking up some distilleries. Belfast was a big center for column still whiskey and it has no distilleries until now. We have Titanic and J and j McConnell's coming in. Dairy had its history, it had two distilleries at least and then there were the distilleries in between. And so it really would be fascinating cuz I've been thinking about this in Kentucky and I've done a little bit of it, of going and trying to find foundations and where these old distilleries were located with limo. Have you discovered any of the old locations? Yeah as I under understand it, there were maybe three or more distilleries in that area.

Darryl (00:30:33):
Yeah, I believe there was three apparently there was a brewery that was sort of had a malt ho on it again backer talking again about the single malt. So it had had a malt house in it I think where Sir Thomas Phillips lived up at the Dog Leap. He owned the big house up at the Dog Leap it's called where the river row where Liva gets his name going in a little bit to the history in 1750. But way before that the town was named Liva because of an Irish wolf found jump on the river road to actually warn its master, which I believe was King Oana at the time about an enemy ambush and essentially saved everybody in the town from possible death and saved the village and all that good stuff. So that's where Liva comes from. That's the Irish for leap of the dog.

Cuz I joke when I'm traveling around the us Liva is maybe quite a hard word to say. I said don't worry where you said it because essentially it's Irish Gaelic. So if you call it lavati lava, it doesn't really matter. It's more about it means leap of the dog. Just like I took my leap of faith and with going to my own, just like the dog dead away back then, you'll call it leap of the faith, leap, leap of faith. But Irish whiskey and Lavati if you want just on the side whatever, as long as you enjoy the liquid, I say it doesn't really matter, <laugh> not let a word get in the way of a good dinner, evenings drinking of whiskey. So that's the history there. Getting back to 1750. But you're quite right, there was three distilleries. There's one old warehouse that's actually up the Rumi Road in Liva, which you can actually see and it's got the same extensions for the weight of the barrels where you can actually see the cross members within the old warehouse.

Plus the windows had the bars in them just like the old warehouse of Bush mills. So I actually, I pull over the car mini's time and go over and have a look and sort of reminiscent about the same design that was used in the last old warehouse at Bush Mills with that same sort of cross members that kept the support for the old traditional store in the barrel on its side sort of thing. So yeah, it's definitely got that. The third distillery was right down on the river road and it used to be like an old floor mill type place, but actually I think there's a couple of houses built on it there now. But we have some pictures as well to show where that was. And then there was, the last distillery place was up Distillery Road, quite interesting. It's now changed I think the church street because there's a church there and it was an old building that was used for years as just a manufacturing building. And that's the one that Alfred Barnard has in his book of showing the Distill, which is quite a big site and it's just recently been new houses have been built in there and I think they're called Distillery Close and things like that. So again a nice mix of old and new. So yeah, apparently there was three distilleries. One was a brewery that was converted, another two probably cause it was a mill, it came from the mill. So yeah, a lot of history at the valley on distilleries.

Drew (00:33:33):
That's fascinating. As I was digging in and doing a little more reading, was it, you said O Khan, was that his name?

Darryl (00:33:43):

Drew (00:33:45):
He that he actually had a little tie in with Robert, the Bruce as well, that he had actually been brought to Scotland to fight against the Scotts by Edward the long shanks. But then ended up being discovered on the other side for Robert the Bruce by the time it got to Bannockburn. So it's interesting again to see that tie between your history and the Scottish history as well.

Darryl (00:34:15):
Yeah, because the actual other way where I live in Magilligan is sort of it, or it may 70th miles when you turn sort the left, but up to the right then was Wanns Castle, which just sits at the top of the downhill, which is towards Coral. Huge big castle that's derelict at the minute, but it's owned by the National Trust now. And then there's a lot of people will visit it, it just sits perched looking right across at Scotland, believe or not. So in a nice day you actually can see Scotland from the headline. And that's where I lived with Bono Beach for there seven miles of Golden Sand Beach. And again, Mr. Ple sits there and as I say, the castle then, which I think was took over then by the Bishop Harvey back day. So yeah, huge amount of history around this area. But oat o' was the king, which then oat changed Thea [inaudible] So now there's even a lot of quins who live around the Don given Liva area. So from that clan.

Drew (00:35:11):
Very nice. And then that distillery that Barnard visited was a pretty busy distillery. I mean 90,000 gallons of whiskey a year is nothing to sneeze at.

Darryl (00:35:24):
No, it was a huge, huge site and I think it was one of the main employers as well. And when I dug a bit deeper the farm, the funding from my generation from James McLaughlin, the fund came from a family of farmers out in Mcg Gilligan where we live. So they obviously had grown the barley out here and shipped it in and that was sort of a way of funding the actual buyout of the distillery in 1880 by my far far out relative. But in mcg Magilligan here where I live, I'm looking out at Bena Mountain, which I was telling a lot of people when I traveled the US that's where there's a scene of Game of Thrones has been filmed right out my back garden. But Upground McGill <laugh> about 200 illicit stills back in the day. So this area has been renowned for years for Macon, you poaching and spirit and so on so forth.

And I actually got a wool from my far-right relative, Hugh McLaughlin in 1870. And he seemed to be quite a prosperous, had a lot of money anyway for somebody dating back to 1870, if that makes sense. And it seems, that seems to have been the money that bought the distillery for whatever. I think we only had it about three or four years because some of the big Belfast crews come in there and think bought it off them. But yeah, huge, hugely interesting and very historic and authentic Liva distillery. And as I say, I keep shouting out to 1750 because that sort of gives you the gravitas if you like. It's all <laugh> real. Yeah, we're family owned it at one time, that sort of thing. Yeah, good story. Really good story.

Drew (00:36:59):
There's so much history to dig into too. I mean trying to, these guys really didn't know that we would be interested in this history back then, so it wasn't overly documented. But have you been able to run into maybe grain purchase records or anything like that that would give you more of an idea of what they were distilling? Cuz that's the thing that Barnard really doesn't go into. You can sometimes tell whether they were triple distilling or double distilling by how many stills they had and if he describes that they have a intermediate still in there. But when it comes to grain, he didn't really seem to go beyond saying that final pure pots or he wouldn't say final pure potstill. He would just say that fine whiskey I would put in a flask and take with me and drink elsewhere when I was on my journey. So have you been able to find any of those kinds of records?

Darryl (00:37:56):
Well what I did is I found what I got was there was a paper advert from a way back and that dates back, it dates back to 1815. And on that same paper Liva Malt whiskey was mentioned with Jamison Irish whiskey on the same article. But also what I did, there's a historian in Theia guy called Dougie Bartlett who who's written a book about all things that broer gold and all in the mava here. So I got him to do a historic sort of check and everything because it was more authentic. There could be some false media there that you know could have quoted. But he pulled together an article on Liva and the history and the distillery plus I, there's a local lady who does traces family trees and stuff. So I brought her on board and got her to dig deep into the history and the census and all that good stuff.

But there's a lot of paperwork you had to go to local churches and chapels and things like that to try and find, so they're working away on it in the background. But yeah, it does mentioned in the paper article 1815 that Liva was Liva Malt Malt whiskey and it was records of it going to Liverpool and places like that. So definitely Lavati seemed to have that malt element to it. But then I read somewhere else and then later on that it went to then maybe some blended whiskeys where they blended out with green of sorts, but I'm staying true to the malt and bring 'em back the malt for liva and we'll worry about the blends maybe

Drew (00:39:32):
<laugh> 20. Well this is the thing about timelines and history and owners and the rest is that I read that they were exporting some through wholesalers to England. So if they were doing that then it was ending up in blends. And I think what makes it difficult too is that they really didn't start bottling as a regular thing until the end of the 19th century. And even after that, it seems like a lot of Irish whiskey because the distilleries themselves weren't necessarily selling it, but they were selling it to Bonders and the Bonders were selling it that it was more in barrels rather than in bottles.

Darryl (00:40:16):
Correct, correct. And with the bottle, the Lim Valley bottle being so unique I was tracing this as well, I think some of the American whiskeys only went into bottles I think around the 18, 18 87 or 1897, something like that. So whiskey in a bottle was very much late, 18 hundreds. So the bottle that we found that sort of was very, the current bottle of lava, that's, we found an old one with the Irish topography writing from that day. And we've kept that on the side of the bottle of lava Irish whiskey. We kept the blob at the top as well, which was where they were blowing the glass because as you quite rightly said, they had maybe one bottle, but you would've went to your spirit merchant on a Friday evening and you would've got it tapped up and your X Friday and got that same bottle.

So it was sustainability even way back then. I always joked some of the Irish guys went back in the Saturday for a tap up, but that's a whole different story. <laugh> sometimes over the weekend. But no, that's destroy the bottle. And I kept them, the valley bought with a little bits of Bubble F written all through it to make it look almost imperfect cuz it was quite a funny story. There's a friend of mine's based in Florida and he phones me up, but he's an automation guy, computer automation. He helped me with bush mills and that an automation and taken what we wanted to do from an operation point of view and writing the program so that it's a clicker mouse and all that good stuff. But he phoned me in a wild panic saying, oh my God, your bottle, the quality of the bottle's really bad, really, really bad. I go, what do you mean? And he says, there's little bits of Bubble F threat through it. And I go, Michael, I says, we've paid extra for that, we paid

The gold, so please stick to this, stick to the computer program and please and leave up trying to create. So he was all, oh my God, thank God for that. Because I seen the bottle on the shelf here in Florida and I thought, oh my god, that's substandard glass. I hope Dar hasn't been done. Sort of <laugh>. That was all on purpose and it was nice and refreshed and traveling through the US where people go, oh my God, this bottle does take me back from a history point of view and really makes me see what it would've looked like back in the day. This is how our ancestors would've enjoyed their whiskey in a bottle like this as opposed to some of the new bottles that are out there now. They're gold plated and platinum played it and all that good stuff. Yeah,

Drew (00:42:34):
Well I did look at, cuz wasn't one of the first things that I noticed about it until I just kept looking at it going, there's something different about that bottle. There's something different about that bottle. And then all of a sudden I was like, oh, there are bubbles in that. I had never seen a bottle like that before. In a way it sort of reminds me of the gold fleck that they used to put in mirrors when you would I saw a mirror in a bar in Nevada that was a really old historic bar that Mark Twain used to frequent and they had a mirror there from Glasgow and it had gold flex in it as part of the design of the glass. So it kind of reminds me of that. What's interesting too is the glass cork because we don't tend to see glass corks frequently. And was that something also that you had spotted on some of the old glasses? No, what old bottles? I

Darryl (00:43:39):
Mean what we did with that I, because the old bottle had that blob at the top, like the circular blob as we call it. I really didn't want to get rid of that. I wanted it to be almost like a jump out factor on the bottle. But in order to get a cork to fit that blob, because the glass doesn't go straight down, that means a cork needs, I think, yeah, 0.5 millimeters to hold on and it won't pop. If we were sending the bottles over in a warm container or something to the us the cork, the corks would be popping if they didn't have enough to grab onto. So we sat down and scratched the heads and went, we really didn't want to get rid of this blob cuz the blob for me signifies that bottle from the way back in the late 18 hundreds.

So we came across these vlock fitments, which they use in wine. So glass topper with a little oing is something that we could bring in innovative in order to keep something that was essentially very old. So that's a little bit of innovation if you like along in order to keep the design of the bottle. So yeah, that was something we worked out. Now we are looking at getting something similar to that fitment, but putting it into a coy cork look to it, if that makes sense. So therefore won't look like glass on la, glass on glass, actually have the cork looks. So we're looking at that from a design perspective, which may come on in on maybe a year's time, but in the meantime will be the glass with the O-ring, the vlock fitment.

Drew (00:45:06):
I had somebody recently on that, their bottle, it looks like it has a cork. And so it tricks you because you want to start pulling up on it and you're like, I can't open this thing. And then you realize, oh, it's a screw top, it just looks like a cork. I mean when you look at the top of a bottle and it's clear glass, you could see at the bottom of it that you know could see the start of a cork there. And so if I were that observant, I might have noticed it, but to this day still, when I grab that bottle and wanna open it, I start tugging on it because it's a optical illusion. It's like, ah wait, this is supposed to be a cork and it's not. Yeah,

Darryl (00:45:50):
There's even a knack to open the Li Valley bottle. It's almost, I always say it's like it's a thumb, thumb up if you put your hand around it. Cuz a lot of people try to pull the analogue foot fitment straight off where actually just to flick it with your thumb to sort of put it into a 45 degree angle, it's much okay on and off. And then you don't damage the little all ring as well. Cuz if people are pulling it then they sort of break the seal as well. So yeah, we really need to put instructions with some people. But it's amazing when you <laugh> try this and you go, I just pretend as if you're putting the thumbs up that it's a really good whiskey, just do that. I

Drew (00:46:29):
Was thinking that maybe that was a way to get people to finish off a bottle because once you open it, if you feel like I can't, or if I'm not going to be able to open it very easily again the next time maybe I should just keep it unsealed and I'll just drink through this bottle.

Darryl (00:46:42):
I think CLE Valley, it's amazing how quickly and how many times a person comes back. Can I have another one? Cuz with me traveling the US it's almost, you know, touched on the taste, God, what is that? That's not what I expected from an Irish whiskey. So a lot of people in my travels around the US it takes twice as long to get through as many people because they always go, can I just have one more of those just to try again? Cuz I really, really love the taste of it. So it's amazing how many times you have to open that winlock fitment. But it's le thanks great because male, female, young, old will appreciate the taste. So it's amazing how it's such a versatile bottle that you can set down for Thanksgiving or for Christmas or where people will, everybody around the table will enjoy it, if that makes sense because it's got salt for everybody. You can't have that a lot cuz I dunno what it's like in your home at Christmas, but there's red wine and there's white wine, there's champagne, there's whiskey vodka, it could be anything. You need a full drinks cabinet. Whereas with Le Valley, I think it's great and that's why the bottle disappears so quickly cuz everybody can enjoy it together.

Drew (00:47:50):
Interesting that you bring up Christmas because as I was trying to think what this tasted like, all I kept coming back to were some of the baked goods that you get during Christmas time that it just has that the grain influence on this, the multi influence on this, then there's a nuttiness to it that you get as well. But then when you nose it, you're kind of pulling in the fruit notes that you were talking about with the PX cask. And what I find interesting about that is that I opinions on Oloroso versus px. PX seems to be one of those that people either really like it or they're like, it's too sweet for me, but you've made this in a way to where it really gives me that px nose, but this isn't an overly sweet whiskey, this is a whiskey that to me just has a lot of interesting not sweet, not dry, just it's all in the middle there. And so I don't wanna call it a neutral whiskey, but I mean it's one that I think could appeal to a lot of different pallets.

Darryl (00:49:07):
Yeah, I think it's that mix that we touched on earlier, that balance about keeping the first Ville bourbon cast and we only use the casks for the first fill we sell on the cast. Then for a second, third fill in Ireland, you usually use your bourbon cast up to three, four times in Scotland, maybe sometimes more. With Valley, what I wanted it to be is to get only first bourbon cast. So you only have that 100% fresh bourbon barrels coming from the us. I buy from Kelvin cooperate. So I make sure that it's select bourbon, that the bourbon distilleries haven't washed out the barrels with water, which some of them do to get the last remnants of bourbon, et cetera. I don't want any casks that has water in them because again, that just alerts and just you're leaving yourself open for problems sort of thing.

So yeah, first of all, so that gets you that 100% intense vanilla from the bourbon cast, the spice from the bourbon cast and then putting it into the PX cast. The trick there is not to overcook it where the PX takes over because there's a lot of whiskeys out there and you maybe put it into PX cast for 12 months or 18 months. That's far, far, far too long for a finish because what we'll do is the PX casts aren't cheap, they're expensive to buy. So I will use the first full PX ca. I will use it maybe for three to maybe five months, but we'll get just exactly where it needs to be on the second time that I use that. I'll use it maybe for twice that. So it'll be sort of six to 10 months depending what's right to get that same flavor profile.

But I really just don't want overcook it with Valley. I want it to keep that lovely vanilla spice because that that's going to attract a lot of the US bourbon drinkers or that sort of spicy, hotter, for want of a better word, because we've got 82 proof as well. So it's got a bit more bold and brashness if you like. Plus for me, which was a complete shock when I was designing Li Valley, cause I was taking it as a sip and musk, which wasn't a shit and Musk, it was a sip whiskey. But then it astounded me how much it stands up in cocktails. It pulls through and there hasn't really been many Irish whiskeys that come through in a cocktail, if that makes sense. So some of the bar that I'd been speaking to and they used Valley, oh my god, this would be even when I was away, when was in Vegas there they made an old fashioned with La Valley and they made 'em in a Manhattan two drinks, which need a bit of boldness and brashness coming through from an American whiskey point of view. And Liva comes through in abundance because it's got that spice, it's got the vanilla, but it's got that PX sort of sweetness as well, which sort of stands up and comes through. So it was nice there. One of the busiest bars in Las Vegas has put it on its cocktail list for an old fashioned. So I was just blown away. I was like, my God, this is nice. It's nearly one on an Oscar.

Drew (00:51:55):
It was like, yeah, well it's was interesting because I was doing some research to try to figure out what Irish cocktails were, and of course we have the Irish coffee, which I don't know whether you consider that a cocktail or you're just a nice warm drink to enjoy. But it seemed that a lot of the cocktails that I saw were old fashioned and whiskey sours and things that aren't really just Irish specific cocktails. And interesting to note that it, do we think maybe that's the reason why Irish whiskey also hasn't been really considered as much in specifically for

Darryl (00:52:40):
Cocktails? Yeah, no, absolutely. I think because Irish whiskey has been seen as a lighter whiskey, especially with pots still with a mix of malted and unmalted. So where it's benefits for some people with it being a lighter taste in whiskey sort of, it's more detrimental then for mixologists who're looking the whiskey to come through because of the pot still. Whereas with Liva, I think it's bolder because it's a hundred percent malted barley. You've got the spice, you've got the vanilla, and then you've got the PX coming through. So when you sip it at 92 per, you go, oh, is this an Irish, what is this an Irish cause? That's what a lot of people go, that's not an Irish whiskey because people have connotations of what an Irish whiskey should taste like. Sole valley's got a bit more boldness and brashness if you like. So it comes through in a cocktail.

And that's what I've seen, especially in the Floridas of the world and Vegas, which is very cocktail eccentric if you like. So yeah, people are going, yeah, this is going to work on a cocktail. And then as well with their partnership with Pig, which is nearly in every cocktail list in any major bar because of the rye coming through, again, people are going, wow, we, we'd love to put lava on a cocktail list because whistle pigs on a cocktail. And because there's a partnership between you guys, we can say, oh, this is Whistle Pigs latest edition if you like, to the family or partnership to the family. And it's a good talking point because I was amazed just how many followers there are of Whistle Pig and all the whiskeys since I started dealing with them the last year or so. It's nice to get into those bars and to get the opportunity to get them a valley tasted and indeed on some of the cocktail list. It's, it's been a fun trip. Yeah, fun future trip.

Drew (00:54:24):
So what is interesting to me is having traveled around the island and had a bunch of different Irish whiskeys that we don't have on the shelf in the United States and some that aren't actually even on the shelf in Ireland yet, because I'm tasting new maker, I'm tasting some stuff out of the barrel that's two, three years and it's just starting to get to the point of becoming whiskey. I came home missing Irish whiskey because I said there are some flavors there. There's some personality to it that there's nothing else on the shelf that's like it. And this is why when I hear people like John Teling say that he feels like Irish whiskey will pass scotch whiskey at some point. While that sounds incredible and somewhat unbelievable when you taste the differences and we know the tastes of people, they like to go through phases and this will be interesting. Something else will be interesting. The new kid on the block can sometimes draw in and create a trend that I can really see that coming on. And what's great about this, I think especially the American whiskey market, is it's at a good price point. It's worth giving it a try. And you really get a sense of that Irish whiskey is not just Jameson and Bush Mills or Red Breast. It has a lot to deliver to the palette beyond what we've known up to this point.

Darryl (00:56:03):
No, absolutely. I think when you look back, I think it was the early 19 hundreds, scotch and Irish were both selling 14 million cases. Now Scotch is 95 million or something like that, but America thinks that 48, 50 million, it's just going through the roof. Irish is just slowly getting back to it's rightful place. Like next year, this year we might be 14 million, but that's only getting back to where we were back in the sort of early 19 hundreds before we had all the dark days, if you like, of Irish whiskey. So I think it's Irish whiskey now. You're just getting rightfully back to where it belongs. I think we've been hidden for too long. Now we need to come out and show what we can do. I always say, what's the saying that God created the whiskey to stop the Irish from ruining the world. But <laugh>, in my travels, in my travels, I always say USS Irish, we can laugh at it ourselves, we can make jokes about ourselves, but when it comes to making whiskey, that's where we get damn serious.

And a lot of people with a lot of traditions and a lot of quality ways on how to make whiskey. I think Ireland, we've never dropped the ball. We make whiskey the one way, if that makes sense. The quality way, the right way. The triple distillation for smoothness. But I also think then, you know, look at, in the US I always say there's 7 million people in Ireland, but there's 70 million Irish in the US mm-hmm sort of thing. Or has Irish parents or cousins or third generation, so on and so forth. And it's amazing as well, if somebody goes, well I'm a quarter Irish, they might be three quarter something else, but they always are shouting about their quarter Irish. So again, with Irish whiskey category, I think we have 70 million ambassadors in the US for example, shouting on the Irish whiskey category, which is nice as well.

So I think yes, there's an appetite for that, plus the younger generation coming through, they don't want to drink with their dad drank or their grandfather drank or their granny drank. They want to actually try new things. They want to, they won't just stick to one brand or to one item. They'll want to move across. With Irish whiskey, it's seen as premium, it's seen as the Alka pop days are gone now and people have a bit more money to spend. They like good food, they like good quality drinks. Irish whiskey ticks that box because it's got the quality, it's got the smoothness and so on and so forth. So I think all those points contribute to making the next few years being very positive for Irish whiskey. So I'm looking forward to the journey.

Drew (00:58:27):
I think it was interesting when we talked to before you said this is not a smooth whiskey, this is a soft whiskey. How would you differentiate the two

Darryl (00:58:38):
Soft in that there's no burn? I think a balanced whiskey, when you drink Liva, get that space, you'll get the vanilla in the tongue. It's all on the tongue, almost like little chili on the tongue, but in a good, that makes sense because the consumer loves that sort of burn or fire if you like, especially the US consumer. And at 93 proof, you're getting that immediately with Liva. But what shocks people is that there's no burn going down into the stomach. No, that was too hot for me here at the stomach. It's all in the mouth. Once you take your second sip, that spicy sort of starts to disappear a little bit cuz you've cleansed your pate and then you're getting more of that lovely and the peak through. So again, the second taste is almost as important as the first taste because you can see people go, wow, I'm now getting the px.

So you start to say you got the spice, you got the vanilla, it's all front end in the tongue, you're getting no burn, it's 92 proof and then you have lovely PX and you didn't Grimm your face once because you're actually enjoying that whiskey. Cuz it's so balanced. Because I says to somebody as well, I love people who drink because their peers are maybe drinking a PD scotch or something and you see them drinking on their faces going like this, yeah, you're not really enjoying this. Are you <laugh>? But it's cool to drink this. And I said, well if you're eating food and food made your face go look that way, would you order that food again? I said, not a chance. Right then it's time you tried something different, try a liva or some of the more Irish approachable whiskeys softer and that it's not going to burn you.

But you're going to get all those lovely flavors, but you're also ticking the credibility box that you're drinking a brown spirit that's been nurtured for 5, 8, 10 years in casks and getting the flavor profile. So you're getting your credibility. But we live, I said from a super premium point of view, you've got the hundred percent multi barley tick, you've got the triple the distilled tick. You've first of all bourbon caste only tick, you have a finish pad, thee finish tick. And then the last thing we haven't talked about, it's a single barrel. So I bottle all the PX individually. So every bottle of Liva will have a cask number, a barrel number, and a bottle number. So each bottle is specific. So again, the huge culture of single barrel in the us, people love something that's unique with getting that every day and you're getting it at a really good price point of essentially 50 bucks. So somebody said to me one day, it tastes like a hundred bucks Butler whiskey. So he said I'd rather have two bottles of Lemon Valley than

Drew (01:01:09):

Darryl (01:01:11):
A hundred bottles that I buy from time to time. So I thought that was a nice way of summon it up.

Drew (01:01:16):
Yeah, absolutely. Well and it's interesting because once we did discuss during our initial phone call the idea of single barrel, I don't remember any distillery across, I'm sure it'll happen sooner or later, but I did not cross one single distillery that is doing a single barrel release of their Irish whiskey.

Darryl (01:01:37):
Well years ago, a Bush Mills, we would've released single barrels, but it might only have been five bourbon, five rum, five sherry for it was mostly the German market or the US market. So it was done before, but it's never been done to this scale because every bottle valley will be single barrel. That's that's my promise to our fans out there. And no it hasn't been done because it has been interviewed by a gentleman from Whiskey Advocate and he goes, when you said this, I go, no, it has to be wrong. There has to be another Irish whiskey that does single barrels. So he says, I spent an evening me and Google, he says, going through everything, you're quite right Dal, you're the only one.

Drew (01:02:18):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Well things change so quickly, especially when you have so many distilleries popping up all at once. But of course a lot of their stuff is either just introducing it or a lot of this is what will be the whiskey, will the whiskey be like once it's coming from their own distilleries as well as doing this sourcing that's going on. So I don't know that these thoughts have gone through their minds yet. It's really getting that whiskey out to market first and then playing with it and trying out these different, what I love about Single Barrel is that you have to build an expectation in the drinker's mind that every bottle you buy is not going to be the same. We're not doing Jameson or Bush mills where we're trying to create the most consistent product we can possibly create. So what that means is that as a drinker we should probably get to know the identity of the whiskey and then enjoy the variations in the bottles from there. So what would you say are the core flavors and scents that we probably should that you look for when you're pulling a single barrel?

Darryl (01:03:40):
Yeah, absolutely. Well, with the mati, the key to doing a single barrel is you need to have the consistency of the barrels that you matured in initially. I e your first bourbon cast have to be of a certain quality. So with Kelvin Cooperage I would phone up Paul Paul there and say, Hey Paul, I want my select bourbon. It maybe only comes from three or four bourbon distilleries that he knows to keep those barrels for me. Likewise with the PX cast, the family that we deal with in her earth in southern Spain, that dates way back to when I worked with Irish distillers and bush mills and the relationship you have there. I always say a master distiller the spirit, maybe only the final taste of the spirit only maybe contributes 20 or 25%, whereas it's a barrels that really gives that differentiation if you like.

So what I try to do with even the timings that it's n px is to try and keep that range like here. Whereas when you're doing maybe a blend for bush mills or Jamison, you're mixing multiple tasks together to sort of blend out if you like, any differences between one cask and the next and you've a more general product and then you can even blend as far as your component tanks and things for blends. And the vain area where you don't let your tanks go down too low, you're adding to your tanks. So again, you're blending out any of the nuances or differences between new cast to cast or batch to batch. Well, Le Valley all I'm promising it's this close, it's not here, it's this close. So there will be slight differences. But again, I just say that adds to the fun of it.

That adds to the, even in social media there and some of the team at that does the sales, oh I got a call from a guy and he tried cast number 35 and he also cast number 172 and he loves the slight difference between the one and the other. He loves both of them equally, but he goes to cast 35, oh God, it's got a lot more of the spice vanilla going, whereas ca 147 or whatever it may be, is more the px. So to me whiskey should be about enjoying whiskey, having fun, relaxing super premium product. Like Li Valley ticks all the boxes and if there's a little bit of difference, hey what the hell? It's a bit of fun. It's same, the same as the phenomenon that's happening in the US where people love, they'll go to the shelves and off licenses for the single barrels for something different. So with them, Ava, you're essentially getting your Irish category. Irish single barrels. Yeah, it's fun. That's what it's all about.

Drew (01:06:07):
This is what makes it interesting for those people who are shelf tag readers and people who watch tasting videos or read reviews online because your bottle's not going to be the same as my bottle. They're going to maybe have some different things emphasized. And so when you were talking about PX with this, I really went searching for the PX notes and they're, you get almost a peach note on this one on the nose and maybe a little citrusy grapefruit comes in mixed with that nice barley malt coming in the background and then when you taste it you get the bourbon barrel, it's like all of a sudden. So it was very subtle on the PX on the nose, but it was definitely there. But then as it got on the pallet, like you say, the spice was there, the vanilla came through a floral, vanilla came through.

But again, what I really appreciate about this whiskey and the reason why you've converted me for the long longest time I gave up drinking outta Tumblr and I was only drinking out of my capita glasses because I like getting that scent on the nose and concentrating all those vapors. But for me the pleasure of drinking this whiskey is that you can just sit, relax and put it in a larger glass, it's fine and just sip and enjoy because there's such a flavor impact on the pallet that it can stand alone as something that you can drink as a everyday drinker as people like to try to find.

Darryl (01:07:41):
Yeah and it's almost when you have it in the glass as well, when it starts to breathe, you know do get a lot more of the taste and smells that we've talked about and or tasting notes and things like that. But yeah, Le Valley I think for me is perfect with one cube of ice but don't ever let it melt too far if that makes sense. It just opens it up or even a few drops of water just to take it down because we taste a lot better at lower strength because one of the tricks in the trade is we, we'll reduce a whiskey down to probably about 55 pers, something like that just to get all the nuances and what we're trying to create. So that's part of the fun as well with Limo Valley. It's almost as if every consumer is their own little master blender where they can play about with it as well and get differences between one cask and the next and try it as a sip and whiskey, which I think it's the best. It's just a sip and musk, it's beautiful. But as I say, if people enjoying cocktails, if they enjoy it with loads of ice on the rocks, whatever way pleases and makes me happy. But my most perfect moment is a big glass of LA Valley with one cub of ice just to sort of let it slowly melt and yeah, don't let the ice melt before you drink your whiskey Completely

Drew (01:08:52):
<laugh>. Very nice. And so the, you've just come back from a big long trip and I appreciate you getting on this call cuz you just got in a couple hours ago and I know how that jet lag can be coming back across the ocean. But you were in the US for what, a month or so?

Darryl (01:09:11):
Yeah, I flew out on July 10th so were, we're launching in 20, 20 more states now this summer. So we did Massachusetts then we did Connecticut, then we launched in early Feb in Illinois. But we went to Illinois cause there's a couple of people that I hadn't seen that I wanted just to stop off in Chicago and call in. Then we went to said Louis, Missouri and then we went launched in Nevada. So in Vegas then over into your part of the world over to South Carolina into Charleston and launched there. And then lastly I went up to the whistle pig farm cause we were doing a few videographers and photo shoots and things like that and then back home. So yeah, I got a late night flight last night from our Burlington or to JFK and then JFK overnight to Dublin and then a two and a half, three year drive up the road. So yeah. Woo, you're getting me nice and fresh. I hope I don't the traveling but

Drew (01:10:09):
Yeah, you're absolutely fine. So where is it available then? It's in the US you say in quite a few states and then through Europe as well.

Darryl (01:10:20):
Yeah, well what we did is we essentially wanted to launch in the US because to me Irish, that's, that's the place it's going to make yore, it has to be in the us So we launched last August in five states. So we did Washington in the west coast, California Colorado Florida and Arizona. And then we sort of launched there in those states and got it going just before Christmas. Just before Christmas. Then I brought it out here at home just as sort of for a Christmas. So we sold something, it was something like 200 bottles and three yards or something cuz people were buying them for Christmas presents. So then we sort of did Northern Ireland, Republic Ireland then we were back early Feb and we did another five states. We did Vermont, we did Illinois, we did Texas, we did Merryland. What was the last one?

What was the last one? There's another one there. But then this summer we're doing 20 more states. So we'll be in 30 states before the end of the summer. I'm going back now first week of September. So I have three weeks at home and then I'm back out to California. Then we're going to Phoenix, Arizona, we're launching in Ohio and then got into Texas and Oklahoma City I think is another one in that journey. But I knew that was going to be the case. Drew, you're sort of home a month and away a month because it's good to go in to get your distributor, to get all your questions answered from the people that's going to be selling your product. Just to spend some time and get to know people and tell the story of Valley. Yeah, it's just so important so that people are going out, the distributors going out and knows everything about the whiskey and are able to say, oh I met Dar and this is what his thoughts are on it and so on and so forth. I just think that's needed and it's invaluable and hey you get to see some nice places as well. So absolutely. I'm not ashamed to say I'm enjoying seeing some of the beautiful places in the US probably states and cities that I've never will have been in. Maybe cause you'd have probably went to the touristy vacation spots. But getting to see all parts of the US is amazing and yeah, great. Good to meet some good people as well. So

Drew (01:12:31):
Yeah, your accent hasn't changed yet?

Darryl (01:12:34):
No, no, no.

Drew (01:12:35):

Darryl (01:12:36):
Went to university, I went to university in London and I come back and most of my London friends had had my accent. They were I, no,

Drew (01:12:44):
I had that happen. I was going to say I had that happen in Texas. I lived in Texas for a short period of time growing up in Michigan and then moving south I remember that I wanted to get into radio so I was like, I don't want to get an accent, I don't want to get an accent. And it did so well until I got to Texas and then that Texas draw is just so pleasing to the ear that it's like you just fall into it. It's very hard not to want to jump into it.

Darryl (01:13:13):
When I was traveling to the US a lot of people goes, oh my God, that's that accent isn't from the US And I go, well this says no, I'm from Texas. The other joke, I'm from Texas that my dad's from Texas, my mom's from Alaska and mean and holy joke, I'm only joking. So it's good fun. I actually got to hang out with the distributors from Texas up at the farm up at the whistle pig farm. So we were giving our best. So we were having a bit of fun with that. And then it was some of the guys from Texas trying to copy the Irish accent, which was fun. Yeah, nice. That's what that all about.

Drew (01:13:48):
So are we going to see a return of a Liva distillery?

Darryl (01:13:54):
Yes believe it or not, I've been looking for planning permission for distillery for six years on the family farm here. Again, bureaucracy, I dunno whether it's a north of Ireland or Northern Ireland thing, it seems to take time. But luckily, fingers crossed I had an important meeting with the planners just before I left for the US in July and I think we're nearly there. I think we're nearly there. I don't want to a temp fit by saying, yeah, I think we're going the right direction. They voiced what their concerns were because it's an area of outstanding natural beauty. Know we changed some of our design implications. It maybe doesn't make it look like some of the distilleries making. So it's all a bit given a little bit, taking a little bit. So I'm hoping fingers crossed that we're getting close to getting a distillery past here on the farmland here cuz it's my plan to grow the barley and do the molting and then the wet greens cuz I had to feed the cattle on the farm and so on and so forth.

So fingers crossed we'll have maybe the next time we're interviewing we'll have some good news to tell in that. Absolutely. I have the design and all there of what I want to do and the size and all that cuz that has to be done with the planning applications. So a lot of groundwork has been done, but as I say, I wished at this stage that we would've had a belt, but bureaucracy and red tape and ticking boxes needs to be done as well because you have to do it right. So yeah, hopefully this time next year we'll be in a stage where it's part belt or something like that. Yeah, it's great. My brother and I are both distillers so I always say it'd be a waste not to have a distillery, but we had the back end of the business like okay, we source the liquid sort of initially and we say what cast it needs to go into and we do all the sort of blend inside of it now. So it would've been get to that front stage of doing the distilling cuz we have the warehouses, we have the casks, we have the contacts and all that. So it's only really that little bit at the front end that we're working tirelessly to get and hopefully as I say, we'll have some positive news and then not too distant future fingers crossed. And

Drew (01:16:00):
You'll have a brand built on top of that. So that's a big plus.

Darryl (01:16:05):
That's the most important bet because there's no point in having a distillery if you don't have the fans and the consumers and the replenishment of stock. It's okay buying a bottle and not getting dusty in a back shelf's. No good people has to try it and people have to like it. Yeah, so we're big fans are getting sips to lips if you like with Liva cuz we know if people try it, they go, oh, this is different. This is something I could get used to. This is something I like. So that's the important bit and that's why it's great travel in the US and getting sips and lips and seeing all those nice places.

Drew (01:16:37):
Fantastic. Darrell, thank you so much. I wish you the best of luck in getting this all together. It's going to be fun watching you grow it.

Darryl (01:16:43):
Thank you. Thank you. Well thank you Drew and I look forward to meeting Upson and having another Lima Valley whiskey together.

Drew (01:16:50):
If you'd like to learn more about Lima Valley Irish whiskey, just head to lavati.com, L I M A V A D Y and define show notes transcripts. My YouTube tastings are whiskey Lord's other social media channels. Just head to whiskey-lord.com and I am going to be off next week. But never fear the history of Irish whiskey continues over on the whiskey lore Stories podcast where I'll be going back to the origins of that so-called Bush Mills license. Alfred Barnard will be visiting the largest distillery in Ireland and I will have two more distilleries to visit on my modern journey around Ireland. And you can find whiskey Lord stories on your favorite podcast app or@whiskeylord.com. I'm your host, drew Hamish. Thanks for listening and until next time, cheers and SL JVA Whiskey, lores of production of Travel Fuels Life, L L C.


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