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I’m not one for unicorns though our granddaughter Lola would not thank me for saying it. That said I have watched entries being prepared for competitions and known that great store was put on them. I have felt proud when they have been won, been part of the collective euphoria and sense of accomplishment when the press release was circulated. And well, the reality is that while you might have opened up a market or your fingerprints might have been on a brand strategy or you might have spent time in the tasting room or at the distillery with the guys that actually make it; you know in your heart that it’s not yours. I wonder if that’s the sensation a squad member has if they didn’t take the field but medalled anyway.

Moi has known that when we had the brands “just where we wanted them” we would go for San Francisco and so we have. Everything entered has medalled and medalled well.

We always set out to reclaim the Ulster style of smoky Irish whiskey and have had plenty of “leave that to the Scots”, “that’s not the Irish way” but you know when Moi and I spent time with Brian and Breege at GND in the lab putting together the Silkie whiskeys we knew we were onto something special – but to launch something new, something distinctive, something challenging in the midst of a global pandemic ?

We did and while it may not be the current tradition for Irish blends to have a smoky element to them it is now…..

Dark Silkie is inspired by the memory of the taste and aroma of grandad’s pipe as he puffed quietly away – fresh sweet tobacco and that dry smoke – just too evocative to forget. We tried to take the best of traditional Irish, soft, smooth and easy, bring in the new world style grain whiskey in virgin casks and overlay it with a dry peat smoke blanket, and now even the judges at San Francisco World Spirits Competition agree.

The jury’s verdict is in … Best in Class Irish Blended Whiskey and O M G stoked.