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Irish Whiskey

March 1, 2009

If I had to pick my favorite moment in Dublin, it was probably not my actual run in St. Stephen’s Green, but the half hour following, when I explored Iveagh Gardens, on the recommendation of the guy behind the counter at the hostel. My SECOND favorite moment, however, was the tour of the Jameson Distillery. And they got a new customer out of it, or rather, 1.5 new customers. Whiskey has always been my liquor of choice, but I still end up turning to wine most often. Michael, however, loved the stories and whiskey samples I brought home, so he’s purchased two bottles in the past six weeks, and ordered it when we’ve gone out to dinner. Considering they charged me for the tour as well, I’d say Jameson’s business model hit a home run with me.

It was again the boy behind the counter at the hostel who pointed us in the right direction, for we knew going in that we’d be visiting the Guinness Storehouse, but since I was stopping at reception to rent a towel anyway, I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask what else we needed to hit while in town. And the guy, I think his name was Steve, offered his opinion that the Jameson tour was actually more fun. My traveling companion voted to skip the distillery because she doesn’t like whiskey, but then, since it is my favorite liquor, we decided to go. And when the tour guide asked for some volunteers, a leprechaun must have grabbed my hand and held it up because I realized immediately that I was going to be in over my head – I was going to participate in a taste test…with no mixers. I love whiskey, but I love it with Coke! I’ve had to return to bars before and ask them to weaken my drink! So I’m not quite sure what possessed me to agree to drink THREE different brands, all of them neat. But agree to it I did. Can you see the apprehension?

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The three brands I compared were Jameson (so smooth and warm) to Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch (the only one I couldn’t finish) to Jack Daniels (which I normally drink, and no WONDER I have to put a lot of Coke in it!). I almost feel like I was brainwashed on the tour. But Jameson really was the best. And just for saying so, we got another Jameson for dessert.

So yes, we did continue onto the Guinness Storehouse after Jameson. Not even 1 in the afternoon and I’m already a bit tipsy. When in Rome, right?

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And in my hand there is my bag from the store at Jameson. Not only are we buying their whiskey for our after-dinner drinks, but we’re drinking it out of Jameson tumblers.

I wonder if good ol’ hostel worker Steve is getting any kickbacks for that seemingly sincere recommendation! Not that I mind – I have to say that he was right. Jameson was more fun than Guinness. It was smaller, and it was guided. So it was easier to stay focused on the information being presented to you. Guinness was a little overwhelming. Fine, fine, and I didn’t like the free alcohol at the end of that tour as much as Jameson’s.

To round out the post, I’m going to throw in one last picture of me, but this is in Oxford. Not that you can tell it’s a different day, different country; I’m wearing the same uniform of coat, jeans, and Chucks. But it relates back to the previous two pictures because:
a) I’m wearing my Ireland hat in it
b) I’m seconds away from having a drink in it.

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The drink was actually unplanned. When we walked into that alley, we had no idea what was on the other side, but it was just too enticing to NOT walk down it. Well, on the other side, there was a bar. It was called the Turf Tavern, and there had been a drinking hall on that spot since 1381. 1381! I can’t even think of anything clever to say!

So I’ll leave you with the sign from the beer garden of the Turf Tavern instead. A horribly worded sign, but fun nonetheless.

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