(Continued from “The Irish Spirit” on 1 October 2015)
The Irish diaspora is unique that an overwhelming majority of people claiming to have Irish ancestry live not on the Emerald Isle (approximately 4.5 million), but abroad (up to 80 million). In the last 300 years or so, an estimated 10 million Irish people emigrated, many to Britain – especially Liverpool and surrounding areas – and the US, where some 35 million people identify themselves as Irish Americans, the second largest ethnic group after the German Americans. In 2014, the Republic of Ireland even created the Ministry of State for the Diaspora.
Of the numerous stories of the Irish diasporic history, the Flight of the Wild Geese is no doubt amongst the most legendary, one with a plot as thrilling as Barry Lyndon, only that it was no fiction, but historical fact.
In 1688, the Catholic James II (England and Ireland) & VII (Scotland) was ousted in the Protestant-led Glorious Revolution. The instigators were, of all people, his daughter Mary II and husband William III. Fleeing to Ireland, James II & VII was accompanied by his supporters, collectively called the Jacobites (from Renaissance Latin “Jacobus”, in turn from Classical Latin “Iacomus”) – unrelated to the Jacobins of the French Revolution. The Williamite-Jacobite War in Ireland lasted from 1689 to 1691, or more precisely until the decisive Battle of the Boyne, where the Jacobite forces, aided by the French, were defeated by the pursuing Anglo-Dutch coalition.
After the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, many Jacobites chose not to live under Protestant English rule, but boarded on ships to Catholic France. Led by Patrick Sarsfield, who fought at the Battle of the Boyne, some 14,000 soldiers and 6,000 dependants moved to France with James II & VII. They were known as the Wild Geese, a term that more generally applies to the Irish people who left for Europe from the 16th to 18th centuries. Subsequent to the defeat at the Battles of Barfleur and La Hogue in 1692, which frustrated the French plan to invade England, the Wild Geese realised that what was intended to be a temporary exile in Continental Europe could become a permanent one.
Many of the Wild Geese and their descendants excelled in military service across the European Continent, some even became Field Marshals in France, Austria, Prussia and Russia. Despite the success they achieved as a model minority, they longed to return to their homeland. If both anguish and adventure were elements in the Flight of the Wild Geese, the same can be said of this exquisite series of Irish whiskey, named after the legendary event.
The Wild Geese Classic Blend
A blend of malt and grain aged in ex-Bourbon casks. Bright citrine with tawny reflex, the pristine nose offers lime peel, whitecurrant, green apple, garden herbs and Lady Grey. With a refreshing mouthfeel, the ebullient palate delivers lemon peel, bergamot, liquorice, caramel and sea salt. Medium-bodied at 40%, the clean entry carries onto a fruity mid-palate, leading to a lengthy finish.
The Wild Geese Single Malt
An unpeated single malt aged in ex-Bourbon casks. Shimmering amber with bronze reflex, the mesmerising nose effuses cloudberry, mandarin, fine oak, leather, chanterelle and rock salt. With a silky mouthfeel, the sophisticated palate furnishes physalis, mirabelle, allspice, brine, smoke and wild flowers. Medium-full bodied at 43%, the imposing entry persists through a poised mid-palate, leading to a lingering finish.
The Wild Geese Rare
A blend of unpeated single malt and grain aged in ex-Bourbon casks. Luminous amber with copper reflex, the fragrant nose presents tangerine peel, gooseberry, apricot, pepper and iris. With a jovial mouthfeel, the enticing palate supplies orange peel, apple, sage, toffee and honeysuckle. Medium-light bodied at 43%, the fleshy entry continues through an energetic mid-palate, leading to a stylish finish.
The Wild Geese Limited Edition Fourth Centennial
A blend of malt and grain aged in ex-Bourbon casks. Light marigold with tangerine reflex, the spellbinding nose emanates grapefruit, nectarine, cardamom, lemon butter, Oolong, linden and cedarwood. With a velvety mouthfeel, the endearing palate provides mandarin peel, kumquat, spice box, sweet ginger, oatmeal, shortbread and lavender. Medium-full bodied at 43%, the elegant entry evolves into a luxurious mid-palate, leading to an indelible finish. Jacky I.F. Cheong
To discover the finest spirits from Ireland, contact Ms Bolormaa Ganbold of PREM1ER Hospitality Management and PREM1ER BAR & LOUNGE; W: www.premiergroupworld.com; E: email@example.com; T: +853 6233 5262; A: 86, Rua Direita Carlos Eugenio, Old Taipa Village.
Jacky I.F. Cheong is a legal professional by day and columnist by night. Having spent his formative years in Britain,
France, and Germany, he regularly writes about wine, fine arts, classical music, and politics in several languages