Of all of the times during the year that Irish whiskey is appropriate, there is perhaps no more perfect time than St. Patrick’s Day to open up a bottle and have a dram or three. The question, then, is which whiskey to have?
With the Irish whiskey category expanding at an incredible rate (in the United States, the volume of Irish whiskey and revenues produced by said whiskey have grown over 700 and 3,400 percent, respectively, since 2002), the variety of options may seem a little daunting to a first-time Irish whiskey drinker. If you fall into that group (or you’ve only ever had Bushmills, Jameson, or Tullamore D.E.W. Original), never fear! The Manual is here!
Below, check out some of the best Irish whiskey you can buy to celebrate the upcoming holiday.
Tyrconnell 15-Year-Old Madeira Cask Finish Single Malt Irish Whiskey
This limited-edition Tyrconnell is first aged for 15 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in Madeira casks. Vanilla and biscuit notes lead into a soft yet spicy palate that precede a long, sweet, peachy finish.
Green Spot Chateau Montalena
The second release in the Wine Geese series from Green Spot, Chateau Montalena is the first to be finished using French Oak Zinfandel wine casks. Before reaching the Zinfandel casks, the whiskey spends time in sherry and bourbon casks, creating a luxurious, sweet (but not too sweet) whiskey.
Lambay Small Batch Blend Irish Whiskey
Made from water pulled from the Trinity Well on Lambay Island — located northeast of Dublin in the Irish Sea — this small-batch whiskey is a triple-distilled blend of malted barley and grain whiskey, which is matured in bourbon barrels before being finished in cognac casks.
Egan’s Vintage Grain Irish Whiskey
The second release from Egan’s in the U.S. market, Vintage Grain is a single grain Irish whiskey that has been aged for at least eight years in bourbon barrels. With notes of vanilla and chocolate on the nose, the palate exhibits spice and oak, which lead into a long, smooth finish.
Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey
From the purveyors of one of the best-known bars in the world (working in collaboration with Dublin Liberties Distillery’s master distiller Darryl McNally) comes a five-year-aged blend of Irish single malt and grain whiskeys. The whiskey spends time in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in half-sized, specially-crafted virgin American oak barrels.
Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey
Ballyhoo is a four-year old sourced Irish grain whiskey which is brought to the Connacht Whiskey Company in Western Ireland and finished in port barrels. With no artificial flavors or colors, it is easy to see (and easier to taste) the port influence on the whiskey.
Slane Irish Whiskey is triple-casked for a full-bodied yet smooth whiskey. Slane first spends time in heavily-toasted, lightly charred virgin oak, then moves to seasoned oak barrels before finally ending up in Oloroso Sherry casks.
Teeling Small Batch
The flagship whiskey from Teeling, this Irish blend is hangs out for a time in ex-rum barrels (after initial maturing), giving the spirit a unique flavor when compared to other whiskeys in the category. It has vanilla and spice on the nose, oak and sweet rum notes on the palate, and sweet and spicy finish.
The Temple Bar 12-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Distilled and put in bourbon barrels in 2004, this whiskey then spent 12 years in the cellars under one of Dublin’s most famous bars. Full-bodied and fruity, you’ll get distinct malt notes playing against hints of citrus.