IRISH WHISKEY FOR ST. PADDY'S DAY 7 Whiskeys to Try
The name, “whiskey” was coined 1,000 years ago by Irish monks who distilled uisce beatha, which translates to "water of life.” So, this St. Paddy’s Day, sip on true Emerald Isle nectar and leave the fake, green beer to the amateurs. Most Irish whiskey is triple distilled and uniquely relies on pot stilling. In short, it involves a mix of malted and unmalted barley, which provides a sweeter, crisper whiskey than its scotch and bourbon counterparts.
The world's most famous Irish whiskey is produced in Cork and vatted in Dublin. Known for its traditional pot still production, Jameson isn’t afraid to be innovative either. For instance, Caskmates are aged in barrels, tapped, and then sent to a brewery to age stout beer. After tapping the beer, the whiskey and beer-infused barrels return to Jameson to age its whiskey again.
Bushmills is the world’s oldest, licensed distillery. It all began in 1608 when King James I issued Sir Thomas Phillips a license to distil in Bushmills, County Antrim. Today, the Bushmills Distillery appears on the back of Northern Ireland sterling banknotes. A favorite is Black Bush, a malt whiskey that spends 11 years in sherry casks before blending with a sweet, batch-distilled grain whiskey. The rich, fruity flavor and deep, complex character are balanced by an extraordinarily unique smoothness and a warm, spicy finish.
The 1791 John Power & Son company’s Gold Label is one of the best sipping whiskeys around, and the most popular Powers Whiskey found in both Ireland and the U.S. The pot still and grain whiskeys are individually matured in American Oak Casks before being blended. Gold Label offers cinnamon and pepper aroma, followed by flavors consisting of green apple, toasted oak, barley, vanilla, and cinnamon.
The second largest selling Irish whiskey has returned to its 1829 home in Tullamore, County, Offaly after decades of moving around. Try the 12-year-old Special Reserve, which is a blended Irish whiskey that’s light on the nose, fresh and exceptionally easy drinking. The rich, copper whiskey offers spice, bountiful vanilla and some dry fruit flavors.
First distilled in 1903 in County Cork, it is only one of the few pure pot still whiskeys produced in Ireland. Redbreast has garnered thirteen major awards and accolades in the 21st century alone. Look for Redbreast 12 Year Old, a single pot still whiskey that is sweet, slightly fruity, and offers vanilla, nuts, spice, citrus, honey, and a bit of warming spice. The aroma, though, is what makes this whiskey sing--take one whiff, and you’ll swear you’re in an Irish Pub.
Founded in 1999 by Bernard and Rosemary Walsh, both adamant about restoring Irish distilling to its 19th-century glory, The Irishman whiskeys rely on both pure pot still and single malt distillation methods. Find The Irishman 12 Year Old Single Malt, an amber-colored whiskey full of sweet spice, vanilla, cinnamon, and clove, along with hints of apples, black peppercorns, and charred oak.
Perfect for St. Paddy’s Day, the distillery started in 1779 as Cork Distillery Company Old Irish Whiskey. Catchy, right? In 1912, the name was changed to Paddy and now is the third biggest seller in Ireland. Paddy unusually incorporates all three styles of whiskey; single pot still, single malt and grain. The fresh aroma is off the charts; floral and bready with a little fruitiness. The taste is sweet, almost like toffee, along with dry fruit, butterscotch and vanilla, finished by a little black pepper and oak.