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: 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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Review: Egan’s Single Malt Irish Whiskey Legacy Reserve Volume II 16 Years Old

By Christopher Null | November 15, 2019 |

The Egan’s Irish Whiskey line got its first luxe bottling with Legacy Reserve in early 2019. Now Legacy Reserve is back with a new incarnation, Legacy Reserve Volume II, and it’s a full year older. That extra year includes some finishing in an unusual type of barrel: Banyuls wine. Details? Here ya go: Legacy Reserve…

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Tasting Report: WhiskyFest San Francisco 2019

By Christopher Null | November 6, 2019 |

Another year is in the books for San Francisco WhiskyFest, a typically packed event with hundreds of whiskeys to explore… plus, for those confused on where they are, libations from The Mocktail Project. My dance card was full of whiskies from around the world, with highlights to be found in just about every region. My…

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Review: Ambros Banana Whiskey

By Christopher Null | September 18, 2019 |

Day-O! Who’s ready for banana flavored whiskey? Ambros bills itself as “the first shelf-stable, flavored liquor infused with only 100% real fruit.” I’m assuming they mean bananas, not all fruit, but that’s still an intriguing concept. Here’s what we know about what’s in the bottle: The process: Each batch is infused with 50,000 bananas (no…

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