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Best Irish Whiskey: 8 Superb Bottles to Try
It’s easy to understand why more people are drinking whiskey. It stands out with its lighter, smoother, affordability, and comfortability, compared to both bourbon and scotch. Whether you are a beginner or an expert whiskey drinker, whether you are making cocktails or sipping, Irish whiskey is always a reliable choice.
So what makes the best Irish whiskey? Is it by single malts, single pot stills, triple distillation, aging in special barrels or making in small batches? Of all these, a single pot still is the only one native to the Irish.
So none of these answers our question, since Irish Whiskey comes in different varieties and many distilleries around the world use similar processes.
So why is Irish whiskey so unique? Jack Teeling of Teeling Whiskey Distillery said, “If you take an Irish distillery and place it in Kentucky or the Highlands of Scotland, you could run [it] in a similar way and have a similar base spirit……….. But it is during the maturation phase in these different climates that the resulting whiskey would become very different.”
So if he is right, the perfect spirit for St. Patrick’s Day is a drink that can only be made in Ireland.
To get you in the Irish spirit, here are our top 8. Heck, why wait? Try them on the next special occasion.
Top 8 Bottles of Irish whiskey
1. Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey
If you are new to Irish whiskey, then Bushmills Original is a perfect drink to start. Maybe that’s why it is arguably the second most popular Irish whiskey.
To make this classic blend, Bushmills slowly matures Irish light grain Whiskey for a minimum of five years, then blends it with triple distilled single malt whisky.
The result is a drink with an aroma of cut herbs, sweet Riesling, and blossoms. And a rich, warm, and fruity palate with notes of sweet vanilla, berries, and salty butter. With its malty finish, Bushmills Original is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day and other special occasions like bachelor party or housewarming.
2. Kilberggan Single Grain Irish Whiskey
Kilberggans single grain whisky is a light, fruity, and smooth 86-proof whisk perfect for mixed drinks. Our cocktail recommendations, Top 50 Drinks for Men, include drinks that you can make with it.
This bottle of kilberggan is made with a mash bill of barley, corn, and 2.5% oats. The corn adds a sweetness that pairs well with the flavor of bourbon aged in a barrel. At the same time, the oat adds oaky aroma and creamy flavor that sets this whisky apart.
With each taste, you get a creamy hint of vanilla, bubblegum, candyfloss, butter, citrus peel, nutmeg, cinnamon, and pear drops. You will also enjoy the aroma of baking spices, fresh fruits, and breakfast oats that complements the palate.
3. Tullamore D.E.W blended Irish Whiskey
Easy to find, reliable, and pocket friendly. These are the words that best describe this popular Irish blend from Tullamore. The D.E.W is the initials of Daniel E. Williams, the General Manager of their distillery in the late 1800s. It is triple distilled and aged for 14 years in sherry casks and ex-bourbon barrels.
A smooth 80-proof spirit that can be enjoined straight or mixed, Tullamore D.E.W is busting with a cereal background topped with a Caribbean flavor. It has a fruity, crispy aroma, and a toasty finish with hints of toffee and caramel.
4. Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
You are not a whisky drinker until you have tried a 92-proof blend by RedBreast.
A favorite of Whiskey connoisseurs and approachable to beginners, this triple distilled whiskey is made by blending unmalted and malted barley. It is then aged for a minimum of nine to twelve years in Spanish oak Oloroso sherry butts and American oak bourbon barrels.
The 15-year-old bottle is stronger and richer than the 12-year-old. Redbreast has a nutty and oily aroma with linseed, melon, cut fruits, and ginger hints.
With a spicy palate of nuts and citrus and a long creamy finish of spice and custard, this spirit is worth every penny.
5. Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey
Although it doesn’t have Jameson’s worldwide demand, Bushmills, or Tullamore, Power’s gold label tops sales in Northern Ireland. It is 86.4 proof, pocket-friendly with a strong flavor that calls for cocktails, especially an Irish coffee. You can also enjoy neat or mix with spicy ginger beer or top with nutmeg.
Manufactured at the Midleton distillery in Dublin, it was initially a single pot still whiskey and was later blended with grain Whiskey. Powers Gold Label is aged in Bourbon casks for five to six years.
Powers gold label greets you with an aroma of tangerine peel and honeysuckle over a sweet shortbread background. The palate notes of cereal, milk chocolate cereal, and buttery shortbread. While it has a spice, short finish with a whiff of honey.
6. Jameson Irish Whiskey
Every Whiskey drinker recognizes the green bottle; Jameson is the most popular Irish whiskey in the world. It’s affordable, with a light taste that is friendly to beginners. If you walk into any bar in any part of the world, and they have just one brand of Irish whiskey, that’s probably going to be Jameson. This classic Irish blend works great as a sipper or cocktail, especially spicy drinks like ginger beer or ginger ale.
Jameson is produced at the Midleton distillery. Grain Whiskey and pot are still combined and distilled three times, then aged for five years in seasoned white oak barrels.
The result is an 80-proof Whiskey with a best-described flavor as a perfect blend of vanilla, nuts, and spices. The palate is light and hints of vanilla cream and cooked, and fresh orchard. Then finally, a medium finish of honey and spice.
7. Green Spot Irish Whiskey
Green Spot Irish Whiskey was initially made for and sold by Mitchells & sons, a grocery store in Dublin. Today, it is one of a few single pots Whiskey bottles loved by critics and enthusiasts. With smooth and robust flavors, you will enjoy it neat, on the rocks or in cocktails. Mitchells & sons produce a few bottles of this fine spirit every year.
It is aged for seven to ten years, in bourbon casks and sherry casks.
You will enjoy an aroma that hints of malt, creamy vanilla, sweet barley, citrus, peppermint, and papaya. The palate is soft, spicy, with green woods, potpourri, bourbon oak, and menthol. It then leaves long vanilla and creamy finish.
8. Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
For its price, Teeling Small Batch is not your average Irish whiskey. This layered spirit has a dried fruit that entices people who prefer sweeter spirits to spicy ones. It can be enjoyed as a sipper or in luxury cocktails, like Massey. In 2017, it received the top prize of the Spirits Business Irish Whiskey Masters.
Teeling Small Batch is made from a blend of malt and grain whisky, then aged for six years in hand-selected ex-bourbon casks. It is then transferred into ex-rum casks to mature for six to nine months.
The resulting spirit greets your nose with hints of caramelized sugar and spices. It has flavors of raisins and vanilla, with a floral, herbal finish on the palate.
It has notes of baking spices and caramelized sugar on the nose.
How to Find The Best Irish Whiskey: Your Buying Guide
Whether or not you are going with our list, there are many things to consider before choosing a Whiskey. There is an art to picking and drinking a good bottle. So don’t just pick the most popular brand. Here are some tips for you.
Buy a Whiskey With a Smooth Finish
That smooth, silky finish is what separates whiskey from other spirits. Generally, whiskey has less alcohol burn. It’s what makes them great sippers. Go for Irish Whiskey types with a delicate and smooth taste.
Look For Pocket-Friendly Options
You don’t need to splurge to enjoy a bottle of whiskey. Older bottles are usually richer and more expensive, but it’s easy to find an excellent whiskey bottle at a medium price. That’s one of the reasons why our list includes both pricey and pocket-friendly options.
Start with Single Malt
Try Bushmills original, the number one on our list. Or go with another single malt Irish Whiskey; they are as approachable as whiskey gets.
Then Try Some Pot Still Whiskey
There are many whiskey varieties such that you cannot call yourself a connoisseur until you have tried at least one in all three major categories of whiskey. For a full Whiskey education, pot still whiskey should be your next step. Pot still means that the whiskey is made from a blend of malted and unmalted barley distilled in a copper pot.
We recommend the number 7 on this list, Green Spot Irish Whiskey.
Look for Award-Winning Bottles
We recommend two award winners on this list Redbreast which won the Top Irish Whiskey of the Year in 2010, and Teeling’s small batch for its “Masters” award in 2017.
They may not be the most popular, but they were awarded for a reason; trust the critics.
Try a Small Batch Craft Whiskey
The small-batch spirit on this list is one of the most exceptional whiskeys available. Even for people used to Irish Whiskey, Teeling’s small batch is different. It is also approachable.