Saturday, March 16, 2013
Dublin is famous for its barley products. Guiness, of course, and Jameson Whiskey. The old whiskey works are no longer in use (good thing, I fear they were very smelly) but the factory buildings have been lovingly maintained and serves as a tasting room and sales venue, mostly for tourists.
The building is a fairly non-descript brick industrial building. This Dickensian scene could be very bleak except for the little touches. Antiques and such. Not enough to clutter up the place, but enough to ease the eye. The bench outside which was made from an old whiskey cask...the oldest they could find. The casks are re-used, and many really do date from the 18th century!
Once the barrels were stacked high into wagons, pulled through the streets by horses. Above are horse brasses which decorated their tack. Those in the know will see that the hoofs are the size of dinner plates. No doubt their feed consisted of spent barley from the distillery. Lucky horses.
Above, if you click on the picture, you will see two antique bicycles which James Joyce would have probable seen whizz past him when he was alive. The one on the left is a "velocopede" and the one on the right is a "hobby horse". Check out the chandelier made from Jameson Whiskey bottles. I think the joy of emptying all those bottles may well be worth the trouble....grin!
Bill on the bench. In back is a copper distillation pot. This is the smallest, the "third" distillation. From there it is sent directly to barrels. Which barrels? Well it depends upon how long they plan to let it sit. Five year old goes into used American Bourbon barrels, 12 year old goes into used Spanish Maderia barrels, and 25 year old go into used Portugese Port barrels. It is likely then that the barrel which was made into a bench up above originated in Portugal.
Above is the malting floor. That round cylindrical thing. The bottom half is where a fire is lighted to toast the barley in the top half. The top half has a very hot floor! They put barley on that floor, wet it down, let it start to sprout. Then they light the fire in the bottom half.
The nice old building with its nice old beams are supported by cast iron columns. When you look over the railing (to my left in the above picture) you can see the original floor with the large circular bases for the several malting cylinders and huge copper mash and distillery pots.
Was it worth the trip. Heck, it was worth the flight to Ireland!