Irish whiskey consists of decades of deep, controversial history, continual innovation, and struggles with taxation and law. What we experience today is a smooth, clean dram, whether single malt, single pot still, grain, or blended whiskey.
Famous Irish Whiskey Brands
From the only two remaining distilleries before the establishment of the Cooley Distillery in 1987, traditional Irish whiskey has been the fastest-growing whiskey region in recent times. Popular Irish whiskey brands are known for celebrating the storied history of the whiskey region, with their roots deep in the intractable nature of the early distillers.
Redbreast Irish whiskey, historically known as “the priest’s bottle” due to its premium price and quality at a time when taxation brought about a distinct lean into quantity over quality, retains its reputation today as a maker of the premier single pot still bottle. Ever popular, Jameson is the drink of choice for many steadfast Irish whiskey enjoyers, with limited releases pushing the region’s reputation to new heights. Teeling Distillery, the mast of Dublin-based whiskey, continues to bring renown to the area with its award-winning single malt and single grain releases. And Slane Distillery revives the storied Boyne Valley whiskey tradition with a well-regarded blended Irish whiskey.
AWAS Recommends the Best Irish Whiskey
To find the best that Irish whiskey offers, both the delicate flavours and storied history should be explored and considered.
Glendalough Double Barrel Whiskey
The valley of two lakes, south of Dublin, is considered by many to be the home of distilling. Glendalough Double Barrel Whiskey derives its name from the process of six-month secondary ageing in Oloroso sherry casks after preliminary three and a half year ageing in Bourbon barrels, as is traditional for Irish whiskey. Initially light and easy-going, the single-grain whiskey follows through with dried fruit and nutty flavours from the brief stint in sherry casks.
Slane Irish Whiskey
Adopting the abandoned Boyne Valley to bring the traditional distilling methods into the present day, Slane Irish Whiskey is triple-casked simultaneously and blended to meet the perfect notes. Virgin oak, Tennessee whiskey, and Oloroso sherry casks develop three unique elements experienced distillers combine into a single release. Spicy, sweet, fruity, and dry all in the single dram, Slane Irish Whiskey offers a complex experience to enjoy many times over.
What is Irish whiskey made from?
With similarities drawn between both Scotch and American whiskies, Irish whiskey has four distinct forms. Single malt Irish whiskey is made from malted barley, like Scotch and is distilled in a pot still. Single pot still whiskey, traditionally the most common method, includes malted and unmalted barley. Like American whiskey, grain whiskey often uses a corn mash or other grains and is distilled in a column or Coffey still. Blended Irish whiskey is made with a combination of the previously listed methods, finding a balance of flavours to produce a complex profile. It is the most popular Irish whiskey today.
How do you drink Irish whiskey?
For the first tasting, drinking the whiskey neat, as always, is recommended to understand the profile of the whiskey. However, many Irish whiskey aficionados hold firm that a well-balanced cocktail can bring out the unique, complex notes present in Irish whiskey.
How is Irish whiskey made?
Generally, double or triple distilled, Irish whiskey utilises traditional pot stills and continual column or Coffey stills. Irish whiskeys are often double or triple-casked and blended to create complex flavour notes.
How is Irish whiskey different from Scotch or other whiskies?
Besides the deep, storied history that Irish whiskey distilling carries, single pot still whiskey is a uniquely Irish method of distilling. With blended Irish whiskeys as popular as they are, the region is famous for its complex notes and smooth finish.