In August of last year, I brought you a story from ‘the city of the tribes’ about publicans and shopkeepers making waves in the world of Irish whiskey. They had just launched an exciting new project called the Galway Whiskey Trail, which was a collaboration between eleven businesses in the heart of the city. They set out to rejuvenate the city’s thirst for whisk(e)y by providing consumers with bustling new selections of whisk(e)y, paired with highly trained bar staff to answer all of your whisk(e)y related queries.
Now, this wasn’t the first whiskey trail to be created in this country. A couple went before Galway but seemed to fall very short of the mark of being a active whiskey trails. Unfortunately they seem to have become little more than forgotten marketing exercises. So when I heard about Galway’s trail at first, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
When it launched, the city was awash with activity, whiskey was on display and I was promised by everybody that the selection would only get better from then on. So every time that I have visited Galway since I have always been curious to see how they were progressing.
The trail, which consists of ten bars and one off-licence, has lived up to these promises and has been extremely active since its creation nine months ago. The businesses have been steadily improving their whiskey selections, having added more interesting bottles every time I poke my head in. I’ve managed to find the long dead Michael Collins whiskey and even Japanese bottles, baring age statements and all. Furthermore, the staff are not only trained to help but excited to help. I have had several conversations where the bartender has excitedly told me about their newest favourite on the shelves with a genuine zeal that was almost infectious. So you can imagine when I heard that The Galway Whiskey Trail was going to launch their own whiskey I was very intrigued to see what they would come up with!
“The Famous Galway Bay Whiskey” is a ten-year-old single malt that is sourced from a third party supplier. It has been predominantly matured in ex-bourbon barrels and was finished in Port pipes for an undisclosed amount of time. It has a strong nose of stone fruits alongside cinnamon that follows through to a sweet palate with some tannic undertones. It has a lingering, sweet but dry finish. I think that this is a very flavourful, finish forward whiskey that is pleasantly approachable.
The Trail was set up to offer consumers something extra when visiting Galway and I think that this is a great initiative to offer consumers something that is not only unique to Galway but unique to the members of the whiskey trail! The whiskey can only be purchased by the glass in the ten public houses on the trail or by the bottle in McCambridges’ off licence on Shop Street.
I have to say that when I first heard about this Trail nine months ago, I did not anticipate how much of a fan I would be. The publicans are genuinely invested in this initiative and genuinely happy to work closely together to improve the Trail as a whole. What I really like is that Galway is a city with no real claim to the current whiskey distillery boom yet it is blazing a trail to compete with Dublin and Cork as the whiskey capital of the country!
So the next time you’re down in Galway in one of these bars eyeing up your next taoscán (glass of whisk(e)y), try the Galway Bay Whiskey and let me know what you think!