The Angel's Share
Great whiskey and great beef come from great ingredients. Ageing lets their qualities intensify.
It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen without careful supervision. For whiskey, you need the right barrels and lots of TLC. For beef, the precise flow of air is crucial as well as regulation of temperature and humidity. It takes time and patience and a willingness to sacrifice. Ironically, while we gain a few pounds, our whiskey and our beef lose volume. How? Where does it go? Well, we assume the angels take it. They have our youth and the hair that went with it. So we ascribe the loss to them.
Beef with Spirit
Whiskey and beef have much in common. They share many harmonious flavours and many that are complimentary. That gave us an idea. Whiskey infused beef was, at first, an experiment. Once we tasted the results, it became a passion. Here in the dry ageing room of John Stone Beef we spray selected cuts of our beef with Fercullen whiskey every day during the dry ageing process. The result is a special experience that has to be experienced to be understood. It is not ‘whiskey flavoured beef’, but there is a delicate favouring that is unmistakably whiskey. We call it “Beef with Spirit”.
The Beef Expert
When we characterise a man as an expert in his field, we often say, ‘he wrote the book on it’. In John Stone’s case, it’s literally true.
In 1983 John Stone helped establish the National Association of Catering Butchers, with a view to having a voice and also to get members to agree to supply to a certain standard specification. He went on to co-write the Meat Buyers Guide for Catering Butchery – a ground-breaking guide to meat cuts which helped standardise the industry – and was awarded an MBE.
In the 2000’s John Stone looked to Ireland and to a partnership with Kepak Group to act as supplier. Several years of groundwork followed as the Kepak process was adapted to fit his high standards and customer focus. The result was the launch of John Stone Beef.
The Whiskey Expert
Noel Sweeney is the Master Distiller & Blender at The Powerscourt Distillery. A globally recognised expert and international multi-award winning master he has devoted some 30+ years patiently honing his unique skills in this ancient of crafts.
Passionate about his work and the production of the very finest new spirit, Noel has been credited for the release of many international award-winning Irish whiskeys over the years. He was inducted into Whisky Magazine’s ‘Hall of Fame’ in 2017 and is one of only two Irish distillers ever to have been recognised in this way. Noel is a member of the Irish Spirits Association, a founding member of Irish Whiskey Association and Chairman of the Irish Whiskey GI Technical Committee.
First, we have to get the beef right. John Stone beef is special. We like to say it’s better five ways; we partner with better farmers, we limit the environmental impact of our beef, we only select the best, we are the dry-age experts and we hire the best butchers. So when we baptise our beef in fourteen year old whiskey, you can be sure it’s worthy. Every day during the ageing process, our butchers spray the beef in the finest Irish whiskey. Once the exterior of the beef has been thoroughly soaked and the whiskey massaged into it, we replace its protective cheesecloth and leave it to dry. When the dry ageing process is complete, so is the whiskey infusion. The beef is ready to enjoy.