Irish Whiskey

Whiskey traces its very origins to Ireland in the 1600s, and for centuries, Irish whiskey was the most popular spirit in the world. Only in the 20th century did Scotch finally surpass it, at which point Irish fell into decline. Irish whiskey differs from its Scottish cousin in several ways. To begin, the Irish spell “whiskey” with an “e.” More importantly, Irish whiskey is rarely made entirely from malted barley. Dating back to their efforts to dodge the British Malt tax of 1785, the Irish coupled raw, unmalted barley with malted barley to make their mash. This resulted in the development vanilla notes that remain more pronounced in most Irish whiskeys. Today, there are several notable single malt Irish whiskeys, but they remain the exceptions. As well, Irish whiskey is typically triple distilled whereas most Scotch is distilled only twice. To be labeled Irish whiskey, the distillate must be aged in wood casks for at least three years. Varieties of Irish whiskey include “single pot still” (which provides the most distinctively “Irish” spirit), “single malt,” “single grain,” and “blended.” Single pot still whiskeys, such as Redbreast and Green Spot, are made at a single distillery using a copper pot still and a blended mashbill that includes malted and unmalted barley as noted above. After years of decline, the popularity of Irish whiskey has exploded in recent years, and whereas there were only three distilleries in operation 20 years ago (Bushmills, Cooley, and Midleton), there are at least 18 today, all creating distinctive whiskeys that build upon and also challenge Ireland’s long whiskey-making tradition.

Top Irish Whiskey Posts:

On Toasts and Irish Whiskey for St. Patrick’s Day
A Visit to Dublin’s Teeling Whiskey
Tasting Report: Jameson Rare and Reserve Irish Whiskeys

Review: The Irishman Single Malt Irish Whiskey 12 Years Old and 17 Years Old

By Drew Beard | August 19, 2023 |

The Irishman brand underwent some tweaking in 2022 with sexy new packaging and a few edits to the core lineup. What once was the entry-level Founder’s Reserve Blend is now dubbed The Harvest and a new rum-finished expression has joined Single Malt and Vintage Cask in the non-age stated portion of the portfolio. All that…

Read More

Review: The Irishman Cask Strength 2023

By Drew Beard | August 1, 2023 |

Earlier this summer, we covered Writers’ Tears Cask Strength, a limited edition offering from Walsh Whiskey. Now we’re back with another cask strength limited release from Walsh Whiskey’s other moniker, The Irishman. The brand first launched this whiskey way back in 2008, and at the time, it was the first release of a triple-distilled Irish…

Read More

Review: Writers’ Tears Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey 2023 – PX and Marsala

By Christopher Null | July 30, 2023 |

Writers’ Tears has long stood as one of the best and most accessible Irish whiskeys on the market. However, after 20 expressions, it’s never put out a 100% single pot still release; the standard expression is 60% single pot still and 40% single malt. This year that all changes with release #21, as Writers’ Tears…

Read More

Review: Teeling Single Pot Still Virgin Portuguese Oak Irish Whiskey

By Christopher Null | July 17, 2023 |

When Dublin’s Teeling released its Chinkapin Oak aged whiskey last year, I don’t think it was intended to be the first in a series — or at least I didn’t realize it at the time. Now the company is out with a follow-up in what it’s calling the Wonders of Wood (WOW) series — all…

Read More

Review: Writers’ Tears Cask Strength Irish Whiskey 2023

By Drew Beard | July 7, 2023 |

Since the brand first arrived stateside in 2016, we’ve covered several expressions of Writers’ Tears over the years (here and here), most recently one of their newest releases, Red Head, aged in sherry casks. The brand has offered a rare cask strength bottling annually since 2011, but we’ve only ever had the opportunity to sample…

Read More

Review: Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey 15 Years Old

By Christopher Null | July 2, 2023 |

Redbreast 12 Years Old is a classic expression of Irish whiskey at its most traditional and iconic. If you’ve had your fill of the 12, why not step it up a bit and see what the 15 Year Old has to offer? Good news: Redbreast doesn’t mess with a winning formula here. All the essential…

Read More

Blending Whiskey Traditions: An Interview with Keeper’s Heart’s David Perkins

By Drew Beard | July 1, 2023 |

I probably don’t need to tell you who David Perkins is, but here goes. A true craft whiskey pioneer, he founded High West Distillery in Park City, Utah way back in 2006, practically an eternity ago in the craft distilling world. Over the course of ten years, he built High West into one of the…

Read More

Review: Method And Madness Rye and Malt Irish Whiskey

By Christopher Null | June 20, 2023 |

Irish Distillers’ Method And Madness is out with a fourth, limited edition expression from its new line of Irish whiskeys. This bottling takes a big step away from its traditional bottlings of single grain, single malt, and single pot still whiskeys, setting of a triple-distilled mash of rye (60%) and malted barley (40%), which is…

Read More

Review: Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Kentucky Oak Edition

By Drew Beard | June 5, 2023 |

Earlier this year, when we caught our readers up on Redbreast’s PX Edition from 2021, we also noted the buzz around this bottle, Kentucky Oak Edition, another limited release from Midleton Distillery that hit shelves in the summer of 2022. There’s quite a bit going on with this one, so I’ll just let the press…

Read More

Review: Triple Dog Irish Whiskey

By Robert Lublin | May 23, 2023 |

With an eye-catching bottle that sports a spiked leather dog collar, Triple Dog Irish whiskey certainly works to get our attention. Its distillation is, for the most part, typically Irish, including both malted and unmalted barley and a triple distillation using both pot and column stills, which takes place in the town of Dundalk, County…

Read More