On Friday, January 25, 2013 beginning at 7:30 p.m. the Irish Cultural Centre of New England is delighted to welcome Richard Nagle, Founder and President of the Irish Whiskey Society of America, as he shares his longtime passion for the history and traditions of the Irish whiskey industry. Richard will lead a whiskey tasting designed for experts and novices alike who want to ring in the New Year with both new and familiar spirits while enjoying historic facts, trivia, stories, good craic and surprising opinions related to the world of Irish whiskey.
Richard’s family research has led him as far back as the 1850’s to Kilbrittain near the Bandon River in southwest Cork. His great grandparents each fled their Irish homes during the famine for Cardiff, Wales. Richard describes Cardiff as an important place for the Irish of the Great Hunger where they could “eat, earn and emigrate.” Eventually, his grandparents met, married, had a child and moved to Boston, MA. The family grew; descendants flourished. Richard’s own father is one of 13 children. That means lots of uncles and aunts. Richard smiles as he fondly remembers one particular uncle who would have his whiskey in his hand and settle into grand conversation with the folks. During his whiskey tastings, Richard finds that other people have similar childhood memories of “family, warmth and welcome” associated with a special glass of whiskey being poured in honor of a beloved relative or visitor coming to the home. Most people remember a parent, aunt, uncle, friend, boss, or priest who kept a favorite brand of Irish whiskey on a shelf. Others remember their mum making them their first hot toddy to soothe sore throats and beat the chills. He acknowledges that not all children like their first hot toddy. This is one reason why at the ICCNE tasting he will be sure to help the participants find their way to the taste that is most compatible with their palette.
With a laugh, Richard makes it clear that he’s looking forward to bringing his whiskey tasting to the Irish Cultural Centre because he most enjoys watching people realize, over the course of the tasting, that the time isn’t even about drinking. He observes, “Sure, people have fun learning about Irish tradition and whiskey and how it’s woven into the fabric of Irish history and culture; and, they find at least one dram that they favor. But, what they really begin to grasp is what makes Irish whiskey unique. It’s the sipping, the sharing and the slagging. It’s about the ineffable, hard-to-describe aspects of Irish culture that persist despite distances of time and geography. It’s really about the craic.”
Thanks to his visits to the Irish Whiskey Society meetings at the Brooks Hotel in Dublin, Richard knows about good craic and “the benefits of learning the ways of whiskey in an accessible and easy setting which is serious, yet without pretension.” He finds that themed tastings provide an entertaining context for learning about the historical and cultural connections of Irish whiskey to Irish history without really trying. Creating themes comes naturally to Nagle, who is currently developing a whiskey and chocolate themed tasting. His theme for the ICCNE whiskey tasting on January 25th is “Ring in the New.” He’ll feature some of the newest Irish spirits to “highlight the global resurgence of Irish whiskey, the powerful growth of whiskey distilling in Ireland and what’s being called the ‘Third Golden Age’ of Irish whiskey.” Nagle sees this new age as “a nod to the fact that Irish whiskey was the best-selling drink before it began a slow decline 100 years ago.” For him, “that decline of the distilleries was very much a part of Ireland’s past; today, the resurgence is very much a part of Ireland’s future.”
Richard Nagle’s Irish Whiskey Tasting at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England, 200 New Boston Drive, Canton, MA takes place on Friday, January 25th at 7:30 p.m. Please park in the Main Lot and walk over the footbridge to the Centre. Admission is $35 per person. Advanced registration online is encouraged. For more information and to register online please visit http://www.irishculture.org or call 781-821-8291.