“A Glass Apart,” author Fionnán O’Connor

Has anyone read this book?

I have made a few Irish style whiskeys and a couple of them have been heavy on the oats, like at 20% and aged on French Oak have turned out very nicely.

But I am intrigued as to the unusual mash bills that this guy might be turning up.

One of the good things about being where I am is there are no rules or typical products I should make. So I am doing lots of exploring.

Anyway has anyone read the book?


  • Does it have mashbills in it? Regardless, I'll add it to my list.

  • I am not certain if this book has but the Author is about to publish a book with mashbills in it which would be very interesting.

  • Love the root beer and bold spice you get from whole oats with the husk.

  • One of my favourite recipes is 25% oats. Although I have a hankering to try 50% wheat, 25% rye and 25% oats. It would need some beta glucanayse but it would taste amazing. I am sure this guy is going to find a few unusual grain bills like that when he publishes his latest work.

  • @grim. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Well, my brother sent me some scans of the main parts of this book and it seems the Irish did things a bit different from the Scots. The used unmalted barley because it wasn't taxed. The almost all used M yeasts with some of the smaller distilleries also using ale yeast. They would almost use oats, as a minimum of 5%. The book also describes different distilleries who would take " wide cuts" i.e. going at max temp down deep into the tails, in a similar way to what @zymurgybob recommends. I use that technique myself when I make Irish whiskeys and you get more of the heavy congeners and vegetable oils.

    The book also said that once the Coffey distilling cap there were lots of arguments internal to the industry as some distillers, Jamesons and Bushmills, when with column stills and continuous distilling using coffey bubble caps, where as many chose to remain as traditional pot stillers. One thing the book said was that they almost all used feints in the spirit run, and if the did a third spirit run they would also use fients, often the feints from the second run, in the third run. A couple of other things that surprised me was some of them did single malts, Teelings is a modern Irish distiller that do the same. And also there were one or two that did use peat smoked barley but in very small percentages just for a bit of flavor. Not like the Scotts did so. Oh yes and up to about 1890 most of the Irish whiskey industry used french or Spanish barrels. Mainly because there were available.

    Anyway great book. The Author is supposed to completed a more comprehensive study of the old Irish distilling techniques inside 12 months. That will be well worth whatever the purchase price is.

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