Episode 5: Aeneas Coffey & The Terror Of The Column Still

July 29, 2022


One man changed the course of Irish whiskey forever and he never even had his name on a bottle. More whiskey is produced in Ireland and Scotland today because of this man than any other character throughout history. He was the bane of the Jamesons, the Powers and the Roes yet it is his enduring invention that gives us the Irish whiskey industry we know today.

In this episode we meet Aeneas Coffey and his eponymous, history-shaping apparatus, a device that helped the Scots overtake their Irish counterparts on the road to whiskey domination.


Irish Whiskey Historian & Co-Host, Fionnán O'Connor, dives deep into Ireland's whiskey past.

What we learn about in this episode

  • The man who shaped the course of whiskey history across the world
  • The evolution of the industry-changing distilling apparatus
  • How Cognac and Armagnac influenced distillation in Ireland
  • The reception and opposition to a more efficient, safer, predictable still
  • The introduction of whiskey blending for the first time
  • The role the Irish famine played in the mashbills of whiskeys
  • The staunch opposition from pot still whiskey makers to the "silent spirit"
  • The "What is Whiskey Trial"
  • The Scots build an Irish whiskey distillery
  • The beginning of the end of Irish whiskey's dominance


It's funny that today we take for granted that a blended whiskey like Johnny Walker is whiskey. But at that time there were people who were pretty adamant that it wasn't - Fionnán O'Connor


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Here is a short clip of our conversation:




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