Walsh Whiskey is a true legend in the South-East of Ireland. There is no doubt about that and we in Paris Texas have had their products on our shelves for over 20 years! Starting with Hot Irishman, with its origins in a ski chalet in France no less! The Walsh idea was that making between 50 to 100 Irish Coffees a night it’s no joke - so this innovative product took some of the work out of it for a poor sod like me behind the bar and for that alone, I will always be grateful to them.
They did not just stop at this. Major successes across the board from the launch of The Irishman and Writers’ Tears to the first triple distilled Cask Strength Irish Whiskey released in over half a century, culminated with the building Walsh Whiskey Distillery at Royal Oak in Co. Carlow. This was a big deal for me, a lifelong whiskey fan, to have part of the new resurgence in Irish Whiskey taking place at my front door and on the shelf of Paris Texas behind me. Recent changes at Royal Oak will not stop Bernard and Rosemary Walsh from achieving continued success with their core range along with fantastic new finishes and collaborations. We all saw this at our recent Kilkenny Whiskey Guild event where the team launched the Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Marsala Cask Finish to much acclaim. We had all hoped to welcome Bernard himself on the night to show our support for him and his brands. Unfortunately, he couldn't make it, but I am sure we will see him again soon!
The event itself was another great night in the packed KWG calendar with sixty men and women (a nice change from the sausage fests that whiskey tastings were years ago!) coming together to enjoy a night of whiskey and fun with Woody Kane, well known for his tours of the distillery and of course our own man Adrian equally well known for being the centre stage of any busy night in the bar, shaking and mixing drinks to the delight of his avid audience.
The Kilkenny Whiskey Guild and nights like this have created an incredible atmosphere around Kilkenny for whiskey lovers and bar staff alike, boosted for us in Paris Texas last year by voting in the Irish Whiskey Awards, getting an honourable mention from the Whisky Magazine awards and being short listed in the Irish whiskey awards (we were not voting on bars!). This all means a lot to someone like me who has believed in and loved Irish Whiskey since before I was old enough to drink it and it is a true source of pride to me personally to be involved in nights like our Walsh Whiskey tasting. I can only imagine how proud Bernard and Rosemary Walsh must be to see their brands traveling worldwide.
Words - Padraic Rafter
Images - Wiktoria Bialas