As people may have seen in a recent Tweet and Facebook post, Garavans bar is a must stop for me when I’m in Galway. It’s a proper traditional style pub with a warm welcome from the bar staff, locals who have their own seats at certain times and it is a great place to sit outside and watch the hussle and bustle of Galway pass you by. More so for me, it has a cracking whiskey selection! So when I got a call from Darren Greene, the Manager if Garavans, to invite me to the launch of their very own Powers Single Cask, it was obvious that I was going to attend no matter what! The fact that I have the entire Powers Single Cask range also helped that decision!
So last Thursday, the 8th of November, I made that familiar trek to Galway for what would turn out to be a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow. The launch was intimate, about 20 people from local and national whiskey circles with the legendary Ger Garland of Irish Distillers Ltd at the helm for the night. Welcomed with a glass of Jacobs Creek Double Barrel, we got to chat and catch up with some old and new friends while we waited for the bottle of the moment. The launch was easy going. The wine was replaced with a lovely old fashioned which in turn yielded to a Powers Gold Label as Ger took to the stage to tell us a little about the brand. Traditionally, Powers for me is a spicy whiskey. One you know you’re drinking. When it became a blend in 1967, Powers Gold Blend maintained a much higher single pot still element than the sweeter mellower grain element. The launch of the Three Swallows, Signature and the smashing Johns Lane some years ago was a welcome return to a full single post still whiskey for Powers. The entire range is under estimated in my humble opinion and to paraphrase Carol Quinn, the Archivist in Midleton, I believe it to be the sleeping giant of Irish Whiskey.
As the reveal of the Garavans bottle was made, the box was passed around and in keeping with most new Powers Single Cask Releases, it is etched with the front of the bar on three sides. The personalised boxes are much much more attractive and eye catching. I like attention to detail and this hits the mark. As Ger explained how Garavans was such a good fit for the Powers Single Cask programme, a tray of the guest of honour was passed around for the first nose to take place. So at this point I should say this is a 15 year old Single Pot Still of 46% ABV. and for the nerds among us, it comes from Cask 267 and warehouse M24A, Bay 020. Loads of charred oak on the nose with some lovely spices that I would expect from a proper robust Powers. On the palate we were treated with a powerful blast of beautiful spices and on second taste it also gave plenty orchard and even stone fruit with a finish that lingered and danced in your mouth as it left a dry mouthfeel that was ever so pleasant. My first thought was, “now this is a proper Powers whiskey”. Easy to say, it was a big hit with the gathered whiskey fans.
With only 252 bottles and only approximately 150 for public sale at €250 a bottle, I cant see these lasting long especially considering the amount of bottles and measures that sold on the night which was a considerable amount! Of course, if you want to try before you buy, you can always pick up a measure from behind the bar at €19.50 per standard measure. If you’re a lover of Powers, this is a whiskey for you so don’t hang around.
Speaking to Garavans Manager, Darren Green, I asked him where the journey began, he said that “Paul (the Owner) looked into single casks over the last few years as evident last year when we did one (see here for details) and this year we did it again. It isn’t something you do spur of the moment. To have our own Powers cask means a lot, having a Garavans and Powers collaboration pays homage to both companies that are steeped in heritage and to those that have worked hard in their perspective fields to win accolades and recognition.
I obviously had to ask what was the next plan for Garavans or would this be the last of their releases “never say never. We bottled a 10 year old single malt last year, a 15 year old single cask pot still this time around…..who knows what next year holds”. There you have it…..watch this space. Garavans have also launched this promo video which is worth a watch!
I’ve tried all the Powers Single Casks throughout the last two years or so of them being available and it always has surprised me that one of the two the youngest, the 14 year old from Friend at Hand was the nicest for me. I think it has now been beaten………! For full details and tasting notes keep an eye out for the next edition of the Irish Whiskey Magazine and subscribe here if you haven’t already!
That’s Dram Good attended this launch as a guest of Garavans bar. No monetary rewards was received for this article (but a great night was had!)