In the heart of the Royal Exchange, premium spirits retailer Tomoka Fine & Rare has made an extraordinary find that is sure to set the hearts of whiskey enthusiasts racing. An incredibly rare bottle of Roe & Coe, understood to be more than a century old, now graces Tomoka’s collection – an absolute treasure trove of Irish whiskey heritage.
Jass Patel, the CEO of Tomoka, explains: “We are extremely excited to have had this bottle offered to us. It is a true piece of Irish whiskey history, and the bottle itself tells the story of the struggle the Irish whiskey industry has had over the last century.”
The bottle dates back to when the George Roe & Co Distillery in Dublin was still in operation, making the latest possible production year for this vintage 1926, which marked the closing chapter in the legacy of the distillery. This whiskey is a living relic from the heyday of whiskey production.
George Roe & Co Distillery sprawling across 17 acres at Thomas Street in Dublin, was Ireland’s top whiskey exporter, standing shoulder to shoulder with Guinness as a heavyweight in the city’s brewing and distilling district. During the 19th century, it was Irish whiskey, not Scotch, that held sway in the market. Two-thirds of all whiskey sold in London hailed from Ireland, making up a significant 60 percent of global whiskey sales.
However, this Irish whiskey reign faced a tumultuous period in the country’s history, marked by revolution, independence, and civil war. Adding to the challenges, one of Irish whiskey’s major importers, the US, implemented Prohibition in 1920, setting the stage for a prolonged period of decline. By the 1960s, the once-thriving industry had dwindled to just three operational distilleries.
The story of George Roe, his family, and their renowned whiskeys has faded over time since the distillery’s closure in 1926. Today, all that remains is the iconic distillery windmill tower and an enduring pear tree, still in bloom, serving as a silent tribute to the distillery’s illustrious past.
Yet, much like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Irish whiskey is experiencing a revival. The Thomas Street area in Dublin, with its rich whiskey history, is coming back to life, becoming a bustling hub of brewing and distilling once again, drawing both enthusiasts and artisans. In the midst of this resurgence, Roe & Coe stands as a symbol, preserving the memory of George Roe, a true pioneer who helped shape the golden age of Irish whiskey.
Tomoka’s acquisition of this rare Roe and Coe bottle is a remarkable achievement in the world of whiskey. It’s an invitation to step back in time, to savour the essence of a bygone era, and to witness the reawakening of Irish whiskey right before our eyes.
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If you’re curious to see this piece of Irish history for yourself and pay tribute to the enduring legacy of George Roe & Co, you can visit Tomoka’s flagship store in The Royal Exchange, London. tfandr.com