the irishman’s inside scoop

Think of the scoop as a newsletter. It’s here where you will find out what’s going on in Vine & Table’s Spirits Department. The comings and the goings, what’s hot or what’s not, what you should buy before it disappears or whether you should hold onto your money for the next great spirit which is just around the corner!

It’s September, so that means we have only a few weeks to go before we dive headfirst into our 4th Annual Whisky & Fine Spirits Expo. I hope that you will join me and my colleagues for a great night of sampling, education and fun. As they say, ‘if you’re not in, then you can’t win!’ so don’t dilly-dally about, get on the phone to your friends and purchase your tickets now!

Now to the news…

Merry's Irish WhiskyThe people at Jameson will be delighted to hear that Vine & Table’s No. 1 selling Irish whiskey is disappearing and going away for good. I half expected that the day would come, when we couldn’t get our hands on it anymore. But that day came too soon, when Beam Global owners of Jim Beam, Laphroaig etc. bought Ireland’s only independent distillery, Cooley. The new owner’s plan takes their flagship brand Kilbeggan in a head-to-head with Jameson. However in order to compete they will need much more whiskey at their disposal, which is the reason for Merry’s disappearance. Merry’s was always a below-the-radar whiskey which was originally produced by the Merry family, a wine & spirit merchant in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. The downside is that you may also notice less diversity on our shelves as more independent Irish whiskey brands disappear in the future. So now might be a good time to purchase a bottle or two!


Another whiskey that has bitten the dust is the Elijah Craig 18 year from Heaven Hill. This was one of the best value older bourbons on the shelf with a very respectable price tag to boot. Unfortunately word has it that it will be 5 to 6 years before the distillery starts to bottle again due to a shortage of stock. But do look out for some one-off older releases in the future.

Finally for some good news! We just received a shipment (2 cases) of Heaven Hill’s very elusive Rittenhouse Rye 100 proof. If you know ryes then you will know this one. It was never a really big seller for us until the rye boom hit a few years ago, and suddenly lo and behold, everybody wanted it. It is one of those whiskies which has been around forever. Your grandfather probably enjoyed a swig or two when your grandmother’s head was turned the other way! What was in fashion then is back in fashion again!

However, due to the high demand for this whiskey I am limiting purchases to just 2 bottles per person. You will need to either call or pop into the store as soon as possible to guarantee your bottle. It is not online and not on the shelf but the good news is that it is just $24.99 a bottle!

Gin geeks, please take note! In a few weeks we will squeeze a space on the shelves for another fantastic gin that disappeared for a couple of years, but thankfully is now making a return. Martin Miller’s London Dry Gin will be on the shelf in a matter of weeks. Every gin has a story to tell and this one is no different. It is distilled at the Langley Distillery near Birmingham in the UK and is then flown to Iceland for water blending. Apparently the water is softer in that neck of the woods (are there woods in Iceland?) which leads to a softer more rounded spirit.


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 Vine & Table #301