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 Fighting 69th Irish Whiskey

By Drew Beard | May 9, 2020 |

A new Irish whiskey, The Fighting 69th, landed on our shores late in 2019, but the inspiration for this bottle reaches way back in American history. After immigrating from Ireland to New York in the mid-1800s, the men that eventually formed the city’s “69th” had a long history of heroism. Robert E. Lee christened the…

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Review: Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey (2020)

By Christopher Null | May 3, 2020 |

Next to Jameson, Bushmills has been half of the twin icons of Irish whiskey. While various expressions of Bushmills have come and go, the standard-level Bushmills — aka Bushmills Original — has been with us literally for hundreds of years. We last reviewed the iconic Bushmills way back in 2008, and we figured the time…

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Review: Hyde No. 6 Presidential Cask 1938 Special Reserve Irish Whiskey

By Drew Beard | April 4, 2020 |

Since we reviewed Hyde No. 1 back in 2015, another five President’s Reserve releases of this Irish whiskey have hit the shelves. We got on our hands on the most recent, 1938 Special Reserve. Unlike the first release, which was a single malt, this bottling is a blend of 8-year-old single grain and “much older”…

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Review: Writers’ Tears Double Oak Irish Whiskey

By Drew Beard | March 17, 2020 |

We reviewed the core offering from Writers’ Tears back in 2016 when it finally came ashore from Ireland courtesy of Walsh Whiskey (which also produces The Irishman line). The Writers Tears expressions include several unique finished whiskeys, as well as a rare cask strength offering, none of which we’ve been able to track down, unfortunately.…

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Review: Knappogue Castle 12 Years Old Marsala Finish

By Christopher Null | March 5, 2020 |

The latest Irish whiskey from Knappogue Castle is this 12 year old single malt, aged in bourbon barrels and then finished in Marco De Bartoli Marsala casks from the region of Samperi in Sicily. You can smell the Marsala wine influence immediately when you crack open the bottle. The aromas of oxidized wine, citrus peel,…

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Review: That Boutique-y Whisky Company Offerings, Winter 2020

By Christopher Null | January 31, 2020 |

The good news is that our friends at That Boutique-y Whisky Company recently kicked off a new whisky club: The Dram Good Club. The so-called Dram Good Club gives drinkers access to miniature bottles of what TBWC does best: Whisky rarities that you’d otherwise never be able to sample. The bad news? The Dram Good Club…

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Review: Egan’s Centenary Irish Whiskey

By Christopher Null | January 25, 2020 |

The Egan’s Irish Whiskey brand has been on a tear of late — and made a surprise appearance as our #2 top whiskey of 2019 with its Legacy Reserve II bottling. Now Egan’s is out with a new edition built to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the passing of co-founder Henry Egan, “a spirit…

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The Top 10 Whiskeys of 2019

By Christopher Null | December 30, 2019 |

  If there’s anything that the Drinkhacker staff universally loves, it’s whiskey. I think every writer here has asked to have whiskey as their beat, and they’ve all done their best to say something about the subject at least once or twice this year. As such, whittling down our top 10 whiskeys of 2019 is…

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Review: Dingle Irish Whiskey Batch 4

By Christopher Null | December 7, 2019 |

Dingle Whiskey Distillery was opened only in 2012, but it’s already tearing up the market with release after release of unusual whiskeys. Up next is Dingle Single Malt Irish Whiskey Batch No. 4, another limited edition offering that hits on the heels of Dingle Batch No. 3. Some details on this release, which is aged…

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Drinkhacker’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 28, 2019 |

Ho ho ho! It’s the end of 2019 and that means your boozier friends and family are going to expect a little something liquid under the tree again. This is our 12th annual holiday gift guide, and as always we’re aiming to take some of the challenge out of finding the perfect wine or spirits gift.…

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