With St. Patricks Day just around the corner, we’re getting into the spirit…of whiskey that is! You might be familiar with Jameson, a mainstay in bars worldwide, but did you know there are hundreds of Irish whiskeys to choose from, and each offers its own history and flavor? In fact, the word whiskey comes from the Gaelic uisce beatha, to mean ‘water of life.’ These smoky, robust whiskeys offer a bold yet smooth taste and are usually distilled thrice, not twice, like Scottish whiskeys.
Irish whiskey used to be the most popular whiskey in America, but prohibition squashed the export market and put many distilleries out of business. The Irish War of Independence and subsequent civil war also made exporting whiskey difficult and following independence a series of trade disputes with Britain cut off export to all Commonwealth countries, greatly hampering the industry. by the mid-1970s there were only two distilleries in Ireland, those of New Midleton and Bushmills, both owned by Irish Distillers.
Irish whiskey is, in this essence, closer to a scotch, and we think you will love exploring this delicious world. Below are our top 3 Irish Whiskeys, and what to expect when looking to the Emerald Isle for a sip of life.
Bushmills 21 Year Old Single Malt Irish WhiskeyBushmills 21 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
While Bushmills is technically distilled in Northern Ireland, let’s not break braken. This is perhaps the most impressive blend from the often overlooked Bushmills distillery, which uses unfiltered Irish rainwater. Left to melt over 21 years, this single malt Irish whiskey is a delicious treat on the senses; triple distilled, Bushmills 21 is finished in Madeira casks before it’s bottled and laid to rest in a beautiful wooden locker. We also love Bushmills Black Label for a spicy yet affordable ($20) alternative for the weekend.
Red Breast Single Pot Still 21 Year Old Irish WhiskeyRed Breast Single Pot Still 21 Year Old Irish Whiskey
Another patiently cured whiskey from the Emerald Isle, Red Breast Single Pot Still 21 Year Old Irish Whiskey is from County Cork, and is a a combination of malted and unmalted barley matured in a mixture of bourbon barrels and first-fill oloroso casks, resulting in a rich and complex whiskey. This showpiece has a full body, full smoky flavor, and has a delicious cinnamon infusion. It also has an oaky undertone, which will take your on a journey to your wild side.
Yellow Spot 12 Year Irish WhiskeyYellow Spot 12 Year Irish Whiskey
Yellow Spot is a Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Irish single pot still whiskey doesn’t mean it’s single distilled, but that it’s triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills within a SINGLE distillery. Unlike Green Spot, which didn’t carry an age statement, Yellow Spot is a 12-year-old whiskey which was aged in a combination of American ex-bourbon barrels, Spanish sherry, and Spanish Malaga casks. The entry for Yellow Spot is flavorful, soft, lightly sweet, and much less oak forward than the nose, with deep honey, peach, and cream.
We hope that you will toast to health and vitality this St. Patricks Day with a true Irish whiskey. Sláinte!