Credit: James Dornan
Credit: James Dornan

Neat Stuff 16: Grey’s anatomy: St. Patrick’s Day edition, starring Jamie Dornan

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To toast St. Patrick’s Day this Sunday, we catch up with Irish crumpet Jamie Dornan, whose Fifty Shades Darker co-star, Dakota Johnson, said she drank whiskey to prep for the movie’s sex scenes. “We’ve got a great sort of love and respect for each other,” Dornan told ET Online in 2017. OK, Jamie, but you convinced us as a chiselled sociopath in The Fall, too.

Having kissed Christian Grey and the FS trilogy goodbye, Dornan is now making amends for all that silliness in A Private War, playing a photographer who worked with legendary U.S. battle-zone correspondent Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike). Colvin, recognized by the patch she wore after losing an eye in an ambush, died on the job in Syria in 2012.

Credit: Slane
Worthwhile experiment
Credit: Slane Irish Whiskey

Feeling lucky?

On a brighter note, Nick Moyle of iNews brings us his top 10 Irish whiskies for sipping on March 17. Moyle covers four categories: single malt, single pot still, grain and blended. His choice for the best intro to the nation’s single malts: Bushmills 10-year-old.

“It has deeper notes of earthy grains and smooth chocolate with lighter touches of honey and orange, which all gradually reveal themselves in more detail as the night draws on,” Moyle says. “A clean finish sprinkled with oak and pepper steadily fades as you put down the glass for more sociable chatter.” Sounds like our kind of evening.

Best new blend? Slane Irish Whiskey. “Its clean oak and grain flavours are coated with a creamy and fruity sweetness,” Moyle writes. “It’s great to sip neat but we think it would also make a versatile cocktail choice.”

Moyle’s fave new experimental Irish whiskey is Kinahan’s KASC, a blend aged in a barrel made of chestnut plus oak from four countries. Think cinnamon, nutmeg and, of course, wood, “joined by a gooey Danish pastry sweetness that helps to soften the experience.” Not a hard sell.

Small miracle

Wait, this one goes to 11. The New York Times flags Kilbeggan Distilling Co.’s Small Batch Rye, calling it a rare breed. Reportedly one of Ireland’s oldest distilleries, Kilbeggan has brought rye back to the Emerald Isle by making it 30% of this copper still blend. Sláinte!

Credit: Nick Offerman
A face made for whiskey
Credit: Nick Offerman

Nectar of the gods: Ron Swanson would be proud of Nick Offerman’s Lagavulin

Well played, Nick Offerman. If U.S. government approval of a label featuring his likeness and signature is any sign, the Parks and Recreation star will soon have his own Lagavulin, The Whisky Advocate’s Susannah Skiver Barton reveals.

Offerman’s Parks and Rec character, crusty bureaucrat Ron Swanson, has dropped by the Lagavulin distillery and even somehow bought a majority stake in it. The spark for that tie-in came from Offerman himself, who isn’t shy about flogging the Scottish single malt in real life. As Swanson would say, never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

Dram without borders Credit: Beam Suntory
Dram without borders
Credit: Beam Suntory

I am Legent: Japan meets Kentucky for a bourbon

The Japanese whisky industry is a victim of its own success—let’s hope it doesn’t pull a Subaru. Suntory and Nikka have made more cuts after the well for certain bottles ran dry, with the latter boosting capacity in an effort to meet demand.

The former’s parent, Beam Suntory, is making the most of this shortage with a bourbon that taps into the thirst for all things Japanese. Legent may sound like a failed cologne, but give it a chance. A collaboration between Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe and Suntory chief blender Shinji Fukuyo, it starts out as straight Beam bourbon that’s aged at least four years and finished in wine and sherry casks. Then Fukuyo blends it with other good stuff from the same Kentucky distillery, he tells Esquire’s Jonah Flicker.

Fukuyo is doing what he would back home, where top blenders fuse dozens of whiskies into a single expression. Best of all, Legent goes for just $35*, less than a bottle of Sex Panther.

The rice stuff

Or how about a Japanese whiskey you can’t even buy in Japan? That would be barrel-aged rice spirits, a type of shochu that’s technically illegal in its native land, mostly because it’s too dark, Anthony Delcros of The Whiskey Wash explains.

Luckily, San Francisco–based GRC Imports carries two of these bootleg drams, from the Ohishi and Fukano distilleries in southern Japan. Just don’t expect a bourbon or a single malt, says Delcros, who recommends you bring “a desire for discovery.” Got it.

*All prices in U.S. dollars

German engineering Credit: Waldhornbrennerei
German engineering
Credit: Waldhornbrennerei

Language barrier: Scotland 1, German whiskey 0

The Germans are good at many things. Except maybe small talk and quitting smoking—and now, whiskey names. The Scotch Whisky Association recently won its six-year legal battle against a Stuttgart-area distillery, The Drinks Business reports.

At issue: the handle of Waldornbrennerei’s single malt, Glen Buchenbach. A Hamburg court ruled that the word “glen” could dupe consumers into believing the drink hails from Scotland—even with all that German on the label. Back to the Zeichenbrett, guys.

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