12 Irish Whiskey Brands You Should Be Drinking This St. Patricks Day
With St. Patricks Day on the horizon, its time to start thinking about how youre going to spend everyones favorite Irish holiday. Aside from temporarily changing the color of your clothes, hair or, perhaps if you feel inspired by Chicagos green river tradition, your swimming pool, St. Paddys Day is a holiday for enjoying Irish tradition and the heritage shared by a large percentage of Americans. And, one of the things the Irish undoubtedly do well is whiskey.
The task of figuring out which Irish whiskey brand is the best is easier said than done. Perhaps the first question that comes to mind is how this popular and well-known whiskey actually differs from its nearby cousin, Scotch whisky. Besides the difference in spelling, theres a lot of overlap between the two. In general, Irish whiskey tends to be triple distilled while Scotch whisky is double distilled, but that is not a hard and fast rule. Youll certainly find triple distillers in Scotland and double distillers in Ireland.
While that answer doesnt help much, if youre committed to drinking Irish whiskey for the taste or because its a fun way to celebrate St. Patricks Day, youll need to figure out which bottle is the best for you. This really isnt a chore as even the budget-friendly options have plenty of ticks in the positive column.
Weve put together a selection of the best Irish whiskey to get you merry and in the spirit this St. Patricks Day. Weve even included how we think each one is best enjoyed, beat it neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail. There are classics, like Bushmills and Jameson, as well as a few lesser known options to add a bit of variety to your liquor cabinet.
1. Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey is a triple-distilled whiskey which has been patiently aged in a mix of ex-sherry and bourbon casks. This process gives the whiskey its distinctive smoothness which has lead to its popularity across the globe. Youll also find appealing notes of citrus and spice which are a result of the malt and pot-still whiskey used in the blend. While delightful straight or on the rocks, for something a little fresher yet equally delicious, give a Tully & Tonic a try. Throw a splash of whiskey in with some cubed ice, a cut of orange and fill the cup with tonic water.
2. Bushmills Irish Whiskey
If youre looking for a whiskey with an appealingly rich, warming taste, Bushmills Irish Whiskey could be the right choice for you. Youll find elements of fresh fruit and vanilla that appeal to your taste buds along with a finishing hint of sweet honey. While the whiskey does find itself falling into the budget-friendly category, its not an indication of the whiskeys quality, which is evident in the fact its best enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
3. West Cork Original Irish Whiskey
BEST INDEPENDENT DISTILLERY
The West Cork Original Irish Whiskey is a versatile whiskey option which works well for mixing but tastes great neat, too. This blended whiskey is aged in ex-bourbon casks to create a complex flavor that will keep you coming back for more. Taste-wise, you can expect to enjoy notes of buffalo grass, light caramel and poached pear with a finish that includes appealing notes of pepper and orchard fruit.
4. Jameson Irish Whiskey
When it comes to picking out a whiskey for social occasions, its hard to steer away from the classics. And there are few more popular options than Jameson Irish Whiskey. The crisp, sippable appeal has truly withstood the test of time as customers continue to return time and again to this classic Irish whiskey. The recipe includes hints of vanilla, cream and freshly cut grass. Each production is aged for a minimum of four years, resulting in the smooth product. You wont be sorry if you add a bottle of Jameson to your spirit shelf. Aside from drinking this whiskey neat, its also enjoyable when mixed with club soda, ginger ale or more complex cocktails.
5. Powers Gold Label
BEST FOR COCKTAILS
If your raison detre is to find a whiskey best suited to mixing in cocktails, look no further than the Powers Gold Label. At 43.2% ABV, it packs a punch which is accompanied by a strong taste. Further hints of cinnamon, honey, caramel and vanilla add to the bold flavor profile. Additionally, you can look forward to mild hints of spice throughout and a long and creamy finish in this distillate-driven whiskey.
6. Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey
BEST DOUBLE BARREL
By starting the aging process in American bourbon barrels and finishing the process in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks, the Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey offers a complex flavor rarely seen in other Irish whiskeys. In addition to this memorable flavor, your nose will pick up notes of vanilla, white chocolate and buttery fudge, while your palate enjoys caramel and butter with underlying blackberry and marmalade flavors. Thanks to the smoothness of this Glendalough product, this whiskey is best enjoyed neat, on the rocks or with a hint of water to balance out the strong flavor profile.
7. Teeling Irish Whiskey Small Batch
BEST SMALL BATCH
The Teeling Irish Whiskey Small Batch is this companys flagship product. The taste, complexity and consistency are aimed at demonstrating what the brand does best. The small batch process allows for hand selection of casks to ensure the resulting flavors are exactly as they should be. Ex-rum barrels add a flavor you wont find anywhere else in Irish whiskey, and as its bottled at 46% ABV, theres plenty of character to be enjoyed, too. Best enjoyed as it is, expect sweetness, spice and hints of wood in every sip of Teeling Irish Whiskey.
8. The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey
This Dublin Liberties Whiskey Company product is made in Ireland in cooperation with the famed Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in New York City. The whiskey itself undergoes five years of aging inside a combination of bourbon and virgin American-oak casks to deliver a smooth whiskey which doesnt disappoint. It begins as a unique blend of single malt and grain whiskeys and takes in a deep oakiness during the aging process. Other notable tastes include vanilla, toasted nuts and notes of cereal. If you love whiskey with a woody taste, definitely consider this as a whiskey to drink straight. Otherwise, it makes a great option for cocktails and mixers because of its distinctive taste.
9. Writers Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Writers Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey makes things simple (and boasts a pretty awesome name if we do say so ourselves). The award-winning spirit sports a bright amber color, complete with a range of appealing aromas, a round body and a rich flavor. All of these elements combined makes it a great go-to choice or easy drinker for any newcomer to the world of whiskey. Taste-wise, this spirit features hints of green apple, caramel, ginger and vanilla all culminating in a fruity finish. Enjoy it neat, mixed or as part of a flavor-filled cocktail.
10. Knappogue Castle Single Malt Irish Whiskey
BEST SINGLE MALT
As we move into older whiskeys, it should be of little surprise that most offer a much more rewarding sipping experience. This 12-year Knappogue Castle Single Malt Irish Whiskey is a great example. Its distilled in copper pot stills and is made up from a single malted barley which is then aged in oak casks. The resulting experience is one youll adore. Imagine the smell of allspice-flavored biscuits with a hint of honey before your mouth enjoys a bit of fruitiness finished off with a slightly spicy, slightly sweet smoothness. For many, this is the ultimate sipping whiskey.
11. Green Spot Irish Whiskey
BEST POT STILL
Using a combination of malted and unmalted barley, this Green Spot Irish Whiskey has a robust flavor profile much loved by norms and critics alike. Its aged in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks and delivers aromas of sweet barley, sugar, porridge, peppermint, citrus and more before the spicy and soft flavor even hits your tongue. The taste continues with menthol, potpourri and green woods before a long vanilla-y finish. Youll be pouring yourself another before you know it. How is it best enjoyed? We recommend straight up or on the rocks so you can savor every last bit.
12. Redbreast 12 Year
This Redbreast is another popular 12-year whiskey with plenty of fanatical support. Its stuffed full of flavor which it can attribute to the 12 years spent inside the Oloroso sherry casks collecting the trademark Christmas cake flavor profile. Your palate is truly in for a treat when the spiciness, creaminess and fruitiness of this whiskey hits. Meanwhile, your nose will be kept busy with complex aromas of fruit, spice and toasted wood. The Redbreast is another option which is best prepared pure or on the rocks, if you like a little chill as you sip.