Top 20 Irish Whiskey Brands, Distilleries and Suppliers
"There is no such thing as a large Irish whiskey." - Oliver St. John Gogarty.
IRISH WHISKEY (Irish: Fuisce or uisce beatha) is whiskey made on the island of Ireland. The word "whiskey" is an Anglicisation of the first word in the Gaelic phrase, uisce beatha, meaning "water of life" (modern Irish: uisce beatha, Scottish: uisge beatha and Manx: ushtey bea). The phrase was a translation of the Latin term aqua vitae, which was commonly used to describe distilled spirits during the Middle Ages.
Peat is rarely used in the malting process, so that Irish whiskey has a smoother finish as opposed to the smoky, earthy overtones common to some Scotches. There are notable exceptions to these rules in both countries; an example is Connemara peated Irish malt (double distilled) whiskey from the Cooley Distillery in Riverstown, Cooley, County Louth.
Irish whiskey was once the most popular spirit in the world, though a long period of decline from the late 19th century onwards greatly damaged the industry. So much so that although Ireland boasted over 30 distilleries in the 1890s, a century later, this number had fallen to just three. However, Irish whiskey has seen a great resurgence in popularity since the late twentieth century, and has been the fastest growing spirit in the world every year since 1990. With exports growing by over 15% per annum in recent years, existing distilleries have been expanded and a number of new distilleries constructed. As of early 2017, Ireland now has sixteen distilleries in operation, with at least a further fourteen in the planning stages. However, only five of these have been operating long enough to have products sufficiently aged for sale, and only one of these was operating prior to 1975.
Irish Whiskey News, Reviews & Resources
- 4 New Irish Whiskeys to Try for St. Patrick’s Day 2022 - Forbes.
- 15 Superb Bottles For St. Patrick’s Day And Beyond - Forbes.
- 2021 Irish Whiskey Awards Honor The Best Of Irish Whiskey - "The Irish Whiskey Awards began in 2013. Under the direction of its founder, Irish whiskey entrepreneur Ally Alpine, they have become the premier awards in the Irish whiskey industry; widely respected among both consumers and industry participants for the scope and quality of their judging process."
- Baileys Irish Cream - since 1974. An Irish whiskey & cream based liqueur.
- Blue Spot Irish Whiskey Returns Just In Time For St. Patrick’s Day - "Blue Spot, a cask-strength single pot still Irish whiskey, is rejoining the Spots whiskey range for the first time since 1960. If you want to hop aboard the Irish whiskey trend, there’s no time like St. Patrick’s Day. Bottles abound across a variety of styles and price points, but one new whiskey with an old pedigree deserves a prominent spot on your shelf."
- Conor McGregor's new whiskey - it's just as bad as you'd expect - Business Insider.
- How To Make Irish Coffee The Foolproof Way - "A delicious and well-prepared Irish coffee is nearly impossible to find - no matter how ubiquitous it is in New York City’s bar scene."
- IRISH WHISKEY - Wikipedia.
- IRISH WHISKEY Awards - "The Irish Whiskey Awards started in 2013 and the event has gone on to be one of the biggest celebrations of Irish whiskey in the world."
- List of IRISH WHISKEY brands - Wikipedia.
- Midleton Very Rare: What a $45,000 Irish whiskey tastes like - "Presented in a hand blown Waterford Crystal decanter and displayed in a wooden cabinet made from reclaimed whiskey vats, there are just 70 bottles of Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter Two in the world."
- Notorious Irish Whiskey will hit Ireland soon as Conor McGregor reveals new business plan - Independent.ie.
- Red Spot 15 Years - WhiskyNotes review.
- Single pot still whiskey - Wikipedia.
- What the world's most expensive Irish whiskey tastes like? - "On Tuesday night, a gathering of whiskey enthusiasts met in London's Old Sessions House to toast the launch of Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection, Ireland's oldest ever whiskey collection. The price tag for this rare wonder is $40,000."
Top 20 High-End Irish Whiskey Brands
- BUSHMILL IRISH WHISKEY 1608 ANNIVERSARY BOTTLING 750 ML
- BUSHMILLS - since 1608. A licence to distill in the area was granted to Sir Thomas Phillipps in 1608 by King James I, and the 1608 date is printed on the labels of the Bushmills brand whiskey. It uses water drawn from Saint Columb's Rill which is a tributary of the River Bush. The Bushmills Distillery claims to be—and is almost unanimously considered to be—the oldest licensed distillery in the world.
- Clontarf 1014 - triple distilled Irish whiskey. It takes its name from the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 in which Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland, defeated an army of Vikings.
- CONNEMARA - "Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey."
- Cooley Distillery
- Dunville's - (1837-1936). There are still many bottles available for purchase today.
- Finian's Five Provinces Blended Irish Whiskey
- Green Spot - since 1920. Described by whiskey writer Jim Murray as "unquestionably one of the world's great whiskeys."
- Irish Distillers - since 1966. Subsidiary of the French drinks conglomerate Pernod-Ricard S.A.. It is the largest distiller of Irish Whiskey, with popular brands such as Jameson, Paddy and Powers.
- JAMESON - since 1780. "Triple Distilled Irish Whiskey." The best selling Irish whiskey in the world.
- Kilbeggan Distillery - "Tradition Irish Whiskey." A small pot still distillery, the licence to distil dates to 1757, a copy of which can be seen in the distillery.
- Knappogue Castle - since 1998. Premium single malt Irish whiskey.
- Knappogue Castle 1951 - "A pure pot still Irish whiskey made at the now defunct Tullamore distillery, which closed in 1954 - over three decades before this museum-worthy whiskey was bottled for the Knappogue Castle label." One of the oldest and rarest known Irish whiskies.
- Locke's 8 Year Old
- Michael Collins 10 Year Old Single Malt
- MIDDLETON VERY RARE - since 1984. Premium blended Irish whiskey. The flagship blend from Ireland's biggest distillery.
- PADDY - since 1779. 80-proof blended Irish whiskey.
- Powers Gold Label - since 1791. Produced from a blend of pot still and grain whiskey. It is the most popular Irish whiskey sold in Ireland.
- Proper No. Twelve - "Introducing Conor McGregor’s own brand of Irish Whiskey. Distilled, aged, & bottled in Ireland, Proper No. Twelve is smooth and balanced with a fine blend of golden grain and full flavored malted barley."
- REDBREAST - since 1903.
- Slane Castle - "Premium blend of Irish single malt and grain whiskeys which are made and matured in the traditional Irish style that has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years."
- SPOT WHISKEYS - "The home of Spot whiskeys including Green Spot, Yellow Spot and Green Spot Leoville Barton Single Pot Still Irish Whiskeys."
- Teeling Whiskey - since 1782. "Mission: To Revive the Spirit of Dublin."
- The Irishman Small Batch Single Malt Irish Whiskey - Matured in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, this whiskey earned a score of 94 points from the Beverage Testing Institute.
- TULLAMORE DEW - since 1829.
- TYRCONNELL - established 1762. Single malt.