It's Not Just The Whiskey: by CURTIS OWENS (five photos)

So, I’ve spent the last week and a half traveling, making a trip that’s one in a lifetime with some lifetime friends.

We’ve seen sights, been places, and experienced events that are wondrous and amazing. We’ve visited towns and seen incredible architecture that was created hundreds of years before the US was born and seen natural wonders that is nothing short of breathtaking.

It’s truly been a whirlwind of one marvel after another.

Something that I truly enjoy though, and have had no shortage of here on my travels, is the delicious international whiskeys from the land of its very origins.

Ireland and Scotland both seem to claim the honor of being the first to create whiskey, and I’m not sure which is correct, I’m just very glad that they did and I’ve been able to see and enjoy their ‘aqua vitae’ or water of life.

Our trip started in Ireland, in Dublin then on to Killarney and Cong. The food has been fairly consistent across our trip, which I would describe as mediocre. I have enjoyed a couple of Guiness and beef pies, but the other local foods have been more bland than anything.

Honestly, it’s what I expected. Also, our stays have primarily been in more touristy spots, and I’ve really been unable to enjoy a more rural, local flair as it comes to bars, although we’ve managed to find some pubs that seem to eschew the commercial flair, by searching down alleys and cross streets away from the more central avenues.

We’ve stayed in beautiful hotels and even castles, at each stop sampling local whiskeys and defining our tastes and palates as we go.

Jameson is one of my favorite, go to whiskeys, and the visit to that distillery was a great experience to learn more about the whiskey making process and try some of their versions of whiskey. As we tried different liquors in different towns though, we kept going back to a mainstay of the Ireland portion of the trip, Redbreast 12, which is a wonderful, 12 year old, bourbon-ish Irish whiskey that’s delicious and easy to drink.

It’s smooth and sweet, light on the tongue with little ‘burn’ or lingering aftertaste. It’s a solid, accessible whiskey, even in the states, and virtually every bar in Ireland will have a bottle. Splurge a little and try the 12 year old cask strength once or twice, as it’s just a little different in tastes because of the higher proof of whiskey. 

At the end though, this trip is less about the whiskey, the architecture, or the scenery, and more about getting to experience it all with dear friends and my beautiful and wonderful wife. To be able to hold onto these memories and discuss the adventures as we all age together is a true joy. It’s something that we will relive in our discussions and ‘inside jokes’ for years to come.