The Irish whiskey, as you’ve probably seen, has exploded in recent years. According to this report by the Distilled Spirits Council, high-end premium and super-premium Irish whiskeys have grown 1,106% and 3,385%, respectively. There are now more brands than ever to choose from when it comes to Irish whiskey that you don’t have to travel to Ireland for.
The variety of options may seem a little daunting to a first-time Irish whiskey drinker. If you fall into that group, never fear! The Manual is here! Below, check out some of the best Irish whiskey to try right now.
Jameson Irish Whiskey
Can you have an Irish whiskey list without the best-selling Irish whiskey in the world? You could, but it wouldn’t be complete. Tried and true, you can’t go wrong with Jameson when it comes to price or taste. If you’ve never had Irish whiskey before, this is a good place to start.
The Tyrconnell Madeira Cask Finish
This expression from The Tyrconnell is first aged for 10 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in Madeira casks. Fruit flavors abound before expressing the Madeira casks in the form of baking spices, cocoa, and slight caramel notes.
Green Spot Chateau Montelena
The second release in the Wine Geese series from Green Spot, Chateau Montelena 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 from Lambay 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 Dead Rabbit Irish 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
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 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 a 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 in each sip of this whiskey from The Temple Bar Whiskey Company.
Tullamore D.E.W. XO Rum Cask Finish
The newest permanent addition to the Tullamore D.E.W. line, Tullamore D.E.W. XO Rum Cask Finish uses its original recipe and finishes it in Demerara rum casks. Vanilla and oak are prominent components, which blend with the citrus and spice. The whiskey’s tropical notes are enhanced by the rum cask finish. You can find out more about the whiskey here.
Powers Three Swallow
This whiskey by Powers is a single pot still Irish Whiskey that is made with both malted and unmalted barley. The spirit is aged in ex-bourbon casks and finished in Oloroso sherry casks, producing light fruity notes that are followed by caramel and baking spice notes on the finish.
Kilbeggan Single Grain
Made from 94 percent corn and 6 percent malted barley, Kilbeggan Single Grain is aged in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in more ex-bourbon barrels as well as a variety of fortified wine casks. With coconut and vanilla on the nose, a sweetness carries itself throughout the whiskey, mingling with notes of hazelnut and oak.
Article originally published March 14, 2018. Last Updated March 2020.
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