Best Irish Whiskies

Irish whisky despite it’s ubiquity and attention in recent years is still surprisingly overlooked and misunderstood. Part of the problem for this is the wave of bottles hitting the market with colourful Irish names and a rather patchwork quality. This has come about in large part due to the number of new distilleries, vert few with any aged spirit trying to establish brands using whisky from other distilleries. Sometimes this goes well, other times it’s disastrous.

Happily if you’re looking for something a little more exotic than your fathers Paddy or Powers blends Ireland has a lot to offer

Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel Irish Blended Whiskey

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4.7 out of 5

717 reviews

Jameson Black Barrel is a great example of why you should always explore the unusual offerings of even the most everyday blend. The Jameson Black Barrel Whiskey is quite an intense, and yet oddly soft tasting whisky, very smooth due to it's triple distillation and yet carries pronounced wood notes due to it's maturation in double blackened oak barrels, despite thus the whisky is well balanced with nuanced notes of creamy caramel, papaya, nectarines and apricots rounded out with bitter spices and vanilla.The marketing line is that Jameson Black Barrel pays homage to the Master Coopers of the Midleton Distillery who, with great care and dedication, char-work the bourbon barrels to release the richness and variety of the flavors. Well they did their job here

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£28

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Green Spot Leoville Barton Bordeaux Finish

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4.3 out of 5

24 reviews

Green Spot is a pure 'pot still' Irish whiskey made by Jameson (Midleton) distillery for the Dublin whisky merchants Mitchell & Son. Pot Still whiskies use an unusual mixture of both malted and unmalted barley within their mash bill. The Green Spot Château Léoville Barton is a Green Spot variation aged initially in a combination of bourbon- and oloroso-sherry casks before being finished for up to two years in barriques from famed Bordeaux winery Château Léoville Barton. The result is a sweet blend of orchard fruit and spicy flavours with obvious wine notes.It's an unusual whisky with an unusual history but it's an incredibly flavourful look at a completely different approach to whisky production. Incredibly easy going, very drinkable and one of my "you say you don't like whisky" whiskies.

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£50.92

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Redbreast 21 Year Old Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

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4.5 out of 5

38 reviews

The redbreast range is spectacular generally, the 12 showcasing the Irish Pot Still style, the 15 is rounder and more mellow. The 21 is easily the best of the buntch though having picked up countless awards, hence the price tag. Consider it though, it scored a near perfect 97/100 in Jim Murray's 2017 Whisky Bible, and second best in the world in 2018. The Redbreast 21 is drawn from similar casks types to the 12 and 15 year old bottlings but also uses some first-fill oloroso casks which really make the difference. This 21 year old is one of our favourite whiskies of all time.The 21 is packed with rich, spiced fruit flavours along with some surprisingly fresh barley and tropical fruit flavours. Either let it sit or add a little water to really open it up.

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£137.99

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Bushmills 10 Year Old Irish Single Malt Whiskey

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3.7 out of 5

509 reviews

Bushmills 10 year old is the iconic Irish Single Malt Whiskey, the distillery having survived the closure of all but one other. Its bouquet is slightly sweet, very lively with hints of fresh honey, ripe fruit, banana peel and chocolate pudding. The 10 year old is incredibly well rounded, very elegant, long, fresh and with a smoky, dry style that leaves you wanting more. Despite the low ABV it actually handles water pretty well opening up wonderfully.

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£30.45

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Method and Madness Single Pot Still Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey

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5 out of 5

4 reviews

Method and The Madness range exists to showcase the flavours that can be achieved by experimenting with different grains, maturation cycles and cuts, frankly if you see a bottle you should probably grab it as there's not a dud in their wildly varied mix. The cream of the crop is probably the Single Pot Still however. Single pot still whiskies are created using a mash bill of both malted and unmalted barleys and then triple distilling. For the hardcore whisky geeks this one is even better as in addition to time in bourbon and sherry casks this whisky is finished in chestnut barrels which Scotland is no longer allow. This resxult is layers of Christmas spices and tropical fruit, red Liquorice, banana and a peppery creaminess. Absolutely delicious.

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£59.63

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Redbreast 12 Year Old Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

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4.3 out of 5

351 reviews

Redbreast 12 has been around for years and only recently seems to be getting a shove in terms of marketing and wider awareness among whisky fans. Another output of the massive Middleton distillery complex Redbreast 12 is a Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. The single pot still style emerged back in 1682 when the government introduced a tax on malted barley, in a clever cost cutting measure distilleries started using a mix of malted and unmalted barley in their whiskies, the result was a spicier, creamier grain taste that's sometimes compared to an older Rye. Redbreast 12 is a fantastic, and more importantly affordable example of this. The 15 and 21 are both exceptional whiskies but neither can match the 12 year old for it's unique grainy notes

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£35.99

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Connemara 12 Year Old Peated Single Malt Whiskey

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3.8 out of 5

26 reviews

Green Spot is a pure 'pot still' Irish whiskey made by Jameson (Midleton) distillery for the Dublin whisky merchants Mitchell & Son. Pot Still whiskies use an unusual mixture of both malted and unmalted barley within their mash bill. The Green Spot Château Léoville Barton is a Green Spot variation aged initially in a combination of bourbon- and oloroso-sherry casks before being finished for up to two years in barriques from famed Bordeaux winery Château Léoville Barton. The result is a sweet blend of orchard fruit and spicy flavours with obvious wine notes. It's an unusual whisky with an unusual history but it's an incredibly flavourful look at a completely different approach to whisky production. Incredibly easy going, very drinkable and one of my "you say you don't like whisky" whiskies.

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£80.45

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Tullamore Dew 18 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

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4 out of 5

5 reviews

Launched in 2016 this is an incredible, and very limited edition (2500 bottles) from Tullamore DEW. 18-year-old whiskey finished in a complex combination of oloroso sherry, port, madeira and bourbon casks. It's quite a spicy dram with a rich seam of sherry soaked raisin, cinnamon with malt notes running through the middle. At it's price point it's certainly not for everyone, so their are other additions available but if you've got an extra few quid the Tullamore DEW 18 is worth it.

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£87.75

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Teeling Single Malt Whiskey Single Malt Irish Whiskey

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4.4 out of 5

46 reviews

Teeling is the brainchild of the John Teeling who bought Ceimici Teo in 1987 and turned it into the famous Cooley distillery. In 2011, Beam Inc purchased Cooley, and in 2012, the Teeling family founded the Teeling Whiskey Company, founded a distillery in Dublin and began building their brand using incredible stocks from their old Cooley distillery. The Teeling Single Malt is their flagship and it's an excellent vatting of 5 different wine cask (Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon) finished Irish Malt whiskies. The nose is young and dominated by a apples, peaches and pears, as well as aromas of grass, green tea and cherries, the palate is lemon, vanilla, cloves, citrus, and dried fruits. The finish reveals a long sweet note with deep oak taste. A spectacular example of Irish whisky from one of the most exciting distilleries and a family that dates back to 1782, when Walter Teeling set up a distillery in Dublin's liberty zone.

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£37.99

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Ireland has a long and proud history of whisky distillation, some even go so far to say whisky was first made there though the facts don’t support this claim.

Regardless Ireland once had more distilleries than Scotland but through a tragic reversal of fortunes found itself with only two left. And then came a third. Now there are over 10 actively producing and tourable distilleries in Ireland. If you’d like to know more you might enjoy our own article on the downfall of Irish whisky or the fantastic Whiskies of Ireland by Peter Mulryan