Wine Makers Dinner

Today is a completely different day.  First, as we did not have anything formally planned, we slept in.  Actually quite a bit more than was planned.  After a very light breakfast in the International Cafe (deck 5) we found a ships shuttle into the city.  The time is now about 11 AM.

Skies are showing about as much blue as they are clouds, certainly no rain and the temperature is actually rather warm.  We have taken the shuttle into Dublin and hope to find the HOHO bus.   Conveniently for us our shuttle stops immediately around the corner from the HOHO stop.  Within two minutes it arrives and off we go.

Our seat on the top of the bus, plus its two plus hour complete tour time, allows for many photo choices.  With the overall climate of the day in our favor, we try to make use of those while also trying to absorb the information coming from the driver.  The two don’t always coincide.  With that excuse firmly stated, there may be somewhat less information than yesterday.  But perhaps more pictures.  🙂

Part of our city tour price also included admission to the Jameson Whiskey Distillery.  Given my penchant for the many different adult beverages of the world, this seemed like quite a natural stopover.

Jameson whiskey started in Dublin in 1780 and continued to 1970 when they simply had outgrown their locale.  In 1972 they permanently moved to Middleton, in County Cork but the original premises remain on Bow St. in Dublin.  It is here we enjoy our trip through the process.

The guide takes us through several rooms and without exception there is one similarity that I have to marvel at.  He lights up different areas of the walls of these rooms by moving his hands and arms in differing ways.  A swipe lights up a barrel picture from bottom to top showing the liquid as it fills that barrel.  A flick of the wrist starts of flow of light showing how distillation occurs allowing water to remain and alcohol to flow from one barrel to another.  Another circle of his arm begins the show of how malted barley is made from unmalted barley.  I grasp the concept of how and what he’s doing, but I have to say it’s the first time I’ve seen it, in person, and shown so effectively.

Many barrel types are used to age their whiskey ranging from American Bourbon, to Spanish Sherry, Scotch from Scotland and Portuguese Port.  A lot of barrel types do not add much in the way of taste with the notable exceptions of Sherry and Port.  In fact, Jameson is so intent of maintaining its quality control, the parent company has purchased some sherry and port companies.  This is to ensure the integrity of the barrels they acquire.  Sandeman is one of those port companies they own.

Johnnie Walker 12, Jack Daniels Bourbon and Jameson Irish Whiskey are now tried side by each.  Jameson is the only one that is triple distilled which is evident by the degree of smoothness that it has and the others do not.  In the 238 years Jameson has been around, it has survived much and through it all, managed to refine and perfect its flavor and quality.

We stopped for a very late and very light lunch at a nice little neighborhood pub by the name of Kennedy’s.  While enjoying a couple of ‘starters’, just to keep us going, I also ordered a half pint of Guinness.  Should I have left Dublin without at least giving this beer an honest try, I know a number of people that would simply look at me and shake their head.  Now I can honestly say – YES…Guinness in Dublin ~is~ totally different!!  Served well chilled and absolutely No more rubber band taste.  Belfast may see a whole pint in front of me.

We caught the last shuttle back to the ship and went back to our room to get a little more properly dressed for our Wine Makers Dinner this evening.  When we got down to a very select area of the main dining room, we were seated at a table for eight with one other couple already present.  As a little more time passed one couple, after receiving a phone call from our maitre’d, informed him they would not be attending as they had made other commitments.  The fourth couple didn’t even bother to return the call with any reason whatsoever.  You wish to change your mind, that’s fine…but at least have the decency to inform the staff.

Ultimately we enjoyed a totally magnificent evening with Christine and Campbell, a delightful Scottish couple on their 31st (if I remember correctly) cruise.  The company we shared with them, along with the amazing dinner and great wines was actually made even better being just the four of us.  Truly it was the other couple’s loss.

Now we have to roll ourselves back to our room and get ready for a very early (6:30 AM!!) morning as there waits a long day ahead.  My butt is beginning to drag, however there is so much more to see and do.

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