Many of us a very familiar with Paddy Whiskey. An affordable and tasty blend from Irish Distillers that lends it’s name from its legendary salesman from Co. Cork Paddy Flaherty. Supposedly very generous with tasting samples but sold buckets of the stuff and ultimately was honoured with his name on the bottle and IDL certainly earned a good story!
One thing that has never sat right with me in all my years of selling Paddy in bars either at home or abroad was the fact that the four provinces of Ireland are clearly outlined in the wrong colours. It’s a question I’ve asked many a whiskey enthusiast and many a IDL employee and I’ve come up short every time.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Irish provincial colours: Leinster are green, Munster red, Connacht are blue/white and Ulster are yellow/orange. (Don’t be fooled by the provincial rugby teams that seemed to randomly pick their colours themselves) Paddy’s current bottling proudly displays a yellow Leinster, a blue Munster, a red Connacht and a green Ulster. All provincial colours in all the wrong provinces! So I started to do some digging and see what I could uncover about the interesting choice in colour scheme. With my own digging and ultimately the help of Carol Quinn the archivist in Midleton House down in the old distillery we came up with the following:
The original colours in the 1860’s were:
Leinster – Orange,
Munster – Brown,
Connacht – White
Ulster – Green.
In the 1880’s:
For a short time Connacht became a red polka dot on a white background.
The label featured several minor changes in the next twenty years.
Finally in 1900:
The label became what it is today!
Under this time the brand was owned by Cork Distillers. It seems that the provincial colours may have been coincidentally used on this relabelling after the 1800’s, I personally feel that this oversight would have at least occurred to somebody then. Surely having the provinces the right colour would be a further feather in its “genuine” Irish whiskey hat but whatever the finial reasoning the label has stayed in its skewed state for the last 115 years (a hell of long time for a label to remain essentially unchanged!).
So it seems that, right now, there is no definitive answer as to whether or not the colours are initially skewed just to annoy finicky whiskey drinkers like me or if it was a genuine mistake!
I still think that this inconclusive research is still worthy of seeing the light of day, even negative answers are still answers! Hopefully this will help anyone who’s like me and has an interest into this kinda thing! Plus It’s been a trivia fact that I’ve liked bringing up with customers and it’s always a good talking point! More knowledge = more tips 😉
If any of ye enthusiasts out there have any more info of ideas I’d love to hear it!
TL;DR: Paddy Whiskey’s label is wrong and nobody knows why.