The Pogues and West Cork Distillers launch Irish whiskey in UK

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Legendary Irish band The Pogues have launched their own whiskey in collaboration with West Cork Distillers in the UK.

Called The Pogues Irish Whiskey, it is a blend of grain and 50% single malt whiskey, making it Ireland’s highest malt-containing blended Irish whiskey.

At 40% ABV, it is smooth, with malty notes to the fore and slight warm spice plus dark chocolate on the finish. It has an aroma of malt, cracked nuts, almond and a slight sweetness.

It has been created with the band by distillers Barry Walsh and Frank McHardy with West Cork Distillers in Skibbereen – one of only three independent whiskey distilleries in Ireland – and is being launched in the UK through drinks company Halewood International.

John O’Connell, co-founder of West Cork Distillers, said: “We wanted to create an Irish whiskey with global appeal, which isn’t without its challenges.

“The Pogues offer a perfect partnership as they share many of the same values as our company such as an independent spirit, a slightly unorthodox approach and a commitment to quality, as well as success on the international stage.”

The Pogues were formed in 1982, fronted by Shane MacGowan (pictured below), and had hits in the 1980s and early 1990s. They reformed in 2001 and continue to perform.

In a statement, they said: “It’s been brilliant working with such experts to come up with a whiskey that we all think reflects our spirit and that we all like the taste of. It’s wonderful to add to the ranks of great Irish whiskeys and we hope it stands the test of time.”

The whiskey has been created to appeal to a target audience of people aged 25 to 35, with a recommended price in retail of £30.

Stewart Hainsworth, chief executive of Halewood International, said: “We are delighted to be working with West Cork Distillers to bring The Pogues Irish Whiskey to the attention of the UK consumer.

“It is a premium whiskey with excellent quality credentials which we are confident will attract the attention of fans of The Pogues as well as Irish whiskey lovers in general.”

At the UK launch on Friday in The Boogaloo club in Highgate, north London, the whiskey was showcased in three signature serves with names inspired by The Pogues’ hits including Fairytale of New York and Misty Morning Albert Bridge.

The Misty Morning combines the whiskey with ginger ale over ice with a slice of lemon, while The Fairytale mixes it with soda water, sugar and lemon juice over ice with a slice of lemon. The Irish Rover combines the whiskey with sweet red vermouth, Angostura Bitters and a slice of lemon.

Shane The Pogues Whiskey

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