Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

Dublin Liberties Distillery: Welcome to Hell

Years ago, in 2016, I went on an Ardbeg Tour during the Fèis Ìle festival and learned a valuable lesson: the story rarely only revolves around the whisky. You need to include heritage, your background, where you hail from. This concept is brought to perfection at the Dublin Liberties Distillery in – you guessed it – the capital or Ireland. A beautiful place to visit, not only for whisky geeks like yours truly, but also the people you bring along, in my case: my wife. She loves a whisky or whiskey every now and then but can't be bothered to delve deep into barley varieties and yeast strains. This was the perfect place for both of us to enjoy.

We visited the Liberties in June 2024 and had a great time. A sign "Welcome to Hell" kicked off our tour. Our tour guide, a devilish guy covered in tattoos, hung with piercings and blessed with a Scottish girlfriend, entertained us with the stories about the heritage of arguably the most famous part of Dublin. His eyes seemed to lit up by the idea of a River of Fire flowing through the streets, as happened some 150 years ago. Till this day, maturing whiskey inside Dublin city limits is not allowed since that accident in where gallons and gallons of spirit spilled into the open. Too risky. Scooping up whiskey with your shoe from the street is a thing of folklore now! We enjoyed some Dubliner liquor made with honey while listening. Dangerously drinkable stuff, we must add!


Besides some strong stories about the Liberties as a part of Dublin, I also enjoyed the layout of the Liberties Distillery. A true boutique establishment, almost built to be displayed. The process is rather straightforward, and distillation is done traditionally in three fantastic looking stills manufactured in Germany. The tasting is not something to spend a lot of lines on here. We had a pretty basic Dubliners Irish Whiskey, which was smooth enough to prefer it any day over a regular Jameson. The second dram was a 5 years old Liberties but made from sourced malt. The Liberties has yet to release a whiskey that was actually made on location. If we are to believe our tour guide, something might be in the works for this year, but only if deemed ready. Sound strategy, if you ask me. The new make spirit we could briefly nose did smell very promising.

So,  in the end, we don't really know what to expect from the product yet. The sourced malt at higher age, bought from Cooley and Bushmills, was steeply priced. Too steeply. We will gladly wait until the actual production reaches maturity. That will make it go full circle. Until then, a visit to Hell is highly recommended, if only to find out why it is called like that.