Inspiration for a Cask Strength Blog

Mark McLaughlin- Author

Hi folks, I wanted to kick off this blog by giving you an insight into the reasons why I feel there is room for me to share my insights on the Irish Whiskey Industry with you all. And, why I feel the need to add to the ever increasing array of Irish Whiskey bloggers there are today. The answer is simple, ‘Conversation’.

I’ve been lucky that, while still in my youth at the young age of 27, I’ve had the opportunity the work within the Irish Whiskey industry for all of my 20’s, to get to know many of the people that have shaped the renaissance of the Irish Whiskey Category, and to help fuel the current momentum with my passion and knowledge of the category. Although it is the excellent work of a number of other communicators which has inspired me to create this website.

I’ve been inspired by the fantastic work of Omar Fitzell, with his superb blog That’s Dram Good, spreading the good word of Irish Whiskey and generally being one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. His ability to engage with Brands and provide a platform for exploration has been nothing short of incredible. Most recently, his finest example being a collaboration with Ivor Deane, creator of the WhiskeyTalk2u blog, called Talk Dram Tastings. Their Tweet Tasting platform has allowed more people engage with new brands and fan favourites during a Pandemic that you could ever imagine, and it’s success is sure to continue when the restrictions are lifted.

Another man who has innovated throughout the pandemic is Barry Chandler, a Cork man living in Ohio, who has single-handedly developed a place for the Irish Whiskey Fans of America to embrace our favourite spirit, converse with each other, and have access to the answers to any and all questions they could have about Irish Whiskey, amassing almost 5000 members in a matter of months.

Although this is only a small part of the impact Barry is having on the Irish Whiskey Industry, as through his Stories & Sips website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages he has given the world access to the absolute best Irish Whiskey Podcast, an incredible Irish Whiskey Distilleries Interactive Map. And, he hosts The Irish Whiskey Lock-In Live-Stream every Friday night providing an opportunity for the Irish Whiskey Enthusiasts of the world to hear from and put questions to Irish Whiskey Brands, Distillers, and Experts alike.

And I’ve been incredibly humbled to have been a guest on two of these live-streams.

Barry Chandler (left) & Mark McLaughlin (CSC)

Another conversationalist who gave me the final push to get some more in-depth content out there is Bill Linnane, Ireland’s Worst Journalist™, who I feel is best described in his own words:

Freelance writer – or ‘word whore’ – with the Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Irish Tatler Man, Evening Echo, and Distilled. Proud owner of the award-defying TripleDistilled.Blog, Ireland’s Least Successful Blog™

Triple Distilled Blog

The level of content that Bill produces defies the general standard. In most cases his true Journalism skills shine through, with fact based, well researched content which paints clear pictures of his views. His humour and wit is only matched by his ability for self-sabotaging his relationships with Ireland’s less transparent brands, for that reason I feel he is ‘The hero we need, and also the hero we want’.

There are a number of others who leave me in awe of their palates, and thought provoking content, none more deserving of a mention than the North Coast’s regular contributor to Malt-Review, Phil, who I suddenly realise I don’t know his second name, writer of the acclaimed Causeway Coast Whiskey Reviews. His ability to consistently appear ‘Grumpy’ through his dialogue and content has lead many to believe that he doesn’t actually like Whiskey at all. Nevertheless, he has a superb palate and I enjoy his ramblings.

Last but not least is a list of the people who I’ve worked with, I’ve learned from, and people who constantly push me to better myself, keep learning, developing, and continue to show the world my passion for Irish Whiskey and Irish Pubs. Stephen Magennis, Emmett Murphy, Keith McGovern, Paul Garavan, Willie Aherne & David Chawke. And of course, my Fiancée, Orla Walsh who has stood by me through every triumph, every failure, and consistently proves she has a better palate than I will ever have.

It’s conversations with all these people that have led me to have a conversation with you. I hope you enjoy. First blog post will come this weekend, make sure to subscribe.

Sláinte, Mark

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