And no, TITANIC doesn't just mean shipwreck, the name can also be linked to the creation, construction and launching of adventures.


And when it comes to the construction of the TITANIC (and the other two White Star Line ships, the Olympic and the Britanic) at the beginning of the 20th century, there's one city that can't be ignored... Belfast.


So, without waiting, on the advice of my 3-year-old son, who is a total fan of the Titanic adventure, I jumped into my trusty Bradpeat and set off for Northern Ireland and the port of its capital.


Let's talk whiskey and take a tour of this new distillery in the city and discover its first blend (the distillery is still too young) TITANIC DISTILLERS PREMIUM IRISH WHISKEY.


Visit on peatdream youtube


Did you know that at the end of the 19th century, the town of BELFAST was home to no fewer than 18 whiskey distilleries? But American Prohibition came along and they all gradually closed down. It was to reconnect with the town's history (and pay tribute to the famous liner it built) that Stephen Symington and Peter Lavery embarked on the TITANIC DISTILLERS project, almost 90 years after the last distillery in the town closed.



It's in the industrial district of Belfast's docks, under the shelter of Samson and Goliath, the two big yellow gantries of Harland and Wolff (the company that built the Titanic in 1909), that I have an appointment with the voluble Brian Cunning to discover the newly opened distillery.


Before entering the Thompson Dry Dock where the distillery is based, my route takes me through the iconic industrial site where, in 1909, the first steel plates of the TITANIC and its twin, the OLYMPIC, were riveted together.



Here, the legend of the TITANIC reigns supreme.  The road takes me past the Catalyst, a modern museum dedicated to the TITANIC, a mixture of iceberg and ship's bow. I recommend it because it retraces the long epic of the ship's construction and its very short career (an opportunity to discover life in Belfast at the beginning of the 20th century and to see that the Scots were already well into whiskey).



My quest then takes me to the very spot where the 50-metre-high gantry cranes (created for the occasion) once brought the two giants to life. Further on, on Queen's road, film studios appear (studios called....Titanic, of course).


Finally, with my engine revving, I arrive in front of what I came here for: Thompson Dry Dock. I park on the edge of the large hole dug 120 years ago to dry-dock the sea-going behemoths and fit them with their equally large propellers.



And just behind this hole, almost 130 metres long, 14 metres wide and 7 metres deep, where it's best to avoid falling, I finally find the TITANIC DISTILLERS distillery building, with its station-like appearance topped by its green clock tower.



As the sun begins to dip and its red rays reflect off the waters of the mouth of the Lagan, setting the brick walls of the building alight, I am greeted by Brian.



The building's large reception hall is a skilful blend of original industrial building and modernity. It's hard to miss the house motto written in large letters on the south wall: BLOOD SWEET AND YEARS, a tribute to the many workers who left their strength on the TITANesque building site, waiting for their glass of whiskey on the way home in the evening.


In fact, more than just a distillery, with such an atypical location the designers wanted to pay homage to the hard work of the workers who have worked in Belfast for many, many years.


So what's all this about Pumphouse?


 Brian takes me into the second room to explain all about it. 


I can already see the stills at the back of the building, but it's the technical explanations that he's going to give me first. As soon as we entered the room, we came across pumps and pistons that had been installed here for over 100 years. Brian, transformed for a moment into an industrial history guide, explains that the purpose of this pump system was to empty the dry dock located just behind the building. With a steam engine, the pump was capable of emptying 90,000,000 litres of water from the dock in less than 2 hours, making the hulls of the boats accessible.



Brian then takes me into the second part of the room and starts by explaining that the crane on the ceiling dates back to the building's creation, but was used to set up the brewing vats and stills that we've been staring at since we entered the room.



It's in the heart of the room that we see the brewing vat and the six steel washers that let the yeast do its work. 


Finally, at the back of the building, we approach the three gleaming Forsyths stills boiling away. Brian explains to me that it is from their copper that the 200,000 litres of alcohol produced each year are distilled.



In keeping with the industrial history of the site, the control panel for the pumping systems has been preserved in its original state.



As we moved towards the end of the tour and the discovery of the first distillate offered by TITANIC DISTILLERS, Brian explained that logically, given the young age of the distillery, it would be a blend that we would be tasting.


He did explain, however, that while waiting for the first casks to become available, the distillery was offering vodka.




It was in the tasting room that Brian, who clearly doesn't like putting water in his whiskey, presented me with the first blend on offer.


Having some idea of the results of the brand's future blends, he tells me that it's not simplicity that has been chosen for the one he's serving me, which has a marked gold colour.



To create it, the house's master blender found nothing better than to shake up Irish habits by blending non-peated singles malts distilled twice with peated single malts distilled 3 times. He also blended Irish single malt and post still singles (malt and grain). The whole is then aged in bourbon, sherry and virgin oak casks.



The nose of this whiskey is fairly complex, but still very smooth (it is proposed at 40% ABV).


The first pass reveals a combination of woody notes and some sweet characteristics with the sweetness of orchard fruit, the hallmarks of the sherry cask.


On the second pass, very light notes of peat smoke can be detected, but rest assured they remain very discreet and lurk behind the sweet notes.


On the third pass, the sweet stroll along the quayside of the River Lagan continues with the scent of ripe pears and vanilla.



As is often the case with a blend, the blend of different distillates makes for a fairly smoothally woody, followed by more malty notes.



After this discovery, I was able to free my host of the day in front of the beautiful model of the Titanic (of course) which hangs in the corner of the shop.


I then headed back to my accommodation, which I can't recommend if you're looking for total immersion in the Titanic atmosphere! I'll let you discover the Rose Titanic Ship here