Ireland is a country that has a long and rich history of whiskey production. It’s also home to some of the finest whiskeys in the world, which makes it hard to choose just one! If you’ve ever wondered what makes Irish whiskey so special, or why Irishmen have been celebrating with this golden nectar for centuries, then keep reading. We’ll cover everything from what makes Irish whiskey unique (hint: it’s not just about the “water of life”), plus our top picks for sipping on during St. Patrick’s Day or any other occasion when you want something smooth and sweet with just enough bite.
The History of Irish Whiskey
The history of Irish whiskey is a long and rich one, dating back more than 500 years. The first recorded mention of whiskey in Ireland was in 1405, when it was referred to as usquebaugh (pronounced “uh-shkwev”). The word comes from uisce beatha, meaning “water of life,” which refers to both the drink itself and its reputation for being medicinal.
Irish whiskey has been produced since at least 1608 when Aodh O’Riordain opened his distillery on Leinster Street in Dublin. This was followed by many other distilleries opening throughout the country over time; however, most were destroyed during various wars or periods of unrest until only nine remained by 1825. During this time period there was also significant growth in exports from Ireland due to new trade agreements with England after their Act of Union joined them together under Queen Victoria’s rule in 1800s CE).
What’s in an Irish Whiskey?
In order to understand Irish whiskey, you need to know a little bit about the process that goes into making it. Whiskey is made by fermenting and distilling fermented grain mash. The resulting liquid is then aged in oak barrels that have been charred on the inside–this adds flavor while also helping to color and preserve the spirit (though this isn’t always necessary).
In essence, whiskey is just another type of spirit–it’s made up mostly of water with some kind of grain added for flavor and body. That makes sense considering that many other spirits like beer and wine are made from grains too!
Whiskeys are classified based on their grain content: single malt means 100% malted barley; blended whiskey contains both malted barley AND other grains like wheat or rye; pure pot still refers only to Irish pot stills used during distillation; single grain denotes only one type of unmalted grain such as corn or wheat rather than multiple types mixed together like Scotch whisky which often includes oats along with barley because they’re cheaper sources than either one alone would be when used singly here (which explains why they use them together).
The Best Whiskies in Ireland to Try
If you’re looking for a whiskey that’s more on the traditional side, Jameson is your best bet. This whiskey has been around for over two centuries and has become one of the most popular Irish brands in recent years.
Bushmills Black Bush was first produced in 1780 by John Johnston, who founded Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim. The name comes from an old Irish legend about an invading army marching through Ireland during its early days as a country; when they reached Bushmills village (now known as Ballymoney), they were so exhausted from their journey that instead of attacking their enemy–who had fortified themselves behind walls–they instead lay down and slept until morning came. That night became known as “Black Sunday,” which inspired this particular brand name because it fits perfectly with its rich caramel color and sweet taste profile!
Jameson Irish Whiskey – A classic, reliable choice.
Jameson is a classic, reliable choice. It’s been around for many years and is still one of the most popular Irish whiskeys available today. Jameson is made with malted and unmalted barley as well as corn; it’s aged for 4-7 years in American white oak barrels before being bottled at 40% ABV (80 proof).
Bushmills Black Bush – An on-trend whiskey with a smooth finish.
Bushmills Black Bush is a blend of single malt and grain whiskey. It has a smooth finish, but also a sweet and spicy taste. This whiskey is on-trend because it’s made with whiskey from Bushmills’ own distillery, which was founded in 1608 by Hugh Beaver. The distillery has been operating in Northern Ireland ever since, making it one of the oldest surviving distilleries in the world.
Redbreast Aged Pot Still – A robust and complex whiskey that is best savored neat.
Redbreast Aged Pot Still has a robust and complex flavor, with notes of dried fruit, spice and leather. It’s best savored neat or with a few drops of water to open up the nose and palate.
The blend contains both pot still whiskey (aged in ex-bourbon barrels) and grain whiskey (aged in ex-sherry casks). The three types of aging contribute different characteristics to the final product:
- Ex-Bourbon Barrels – Provides softness and vanilla notes
- Ex-Sherry Casks – Adds complexity through its nutty flavors, cocoa hints and dried fruit notes
- Ex-Port Casks – Adds elegance by rounding off any harsh edges left behind by previous types of cask maturation
Teeling Single Grain – This single grain whiskey showcases the complexity of Ireland’s finest grain whiskies.
Single grain whiskey is a blend of malted and unmalted barley that’s been triple distilled in copper pot stills. It’s a younger product than pot still whiskey, so it’s lighter and more delicate in flavor. The Teeling Single Grain captures all the complexity of Ireland’s finest grain whiskies.
There are many great whiskies from Ireland, which makes it hard to choose one!
If you’re looking to try Irish whiskey, there are many great whiskies from Ireland that make it hard to choose one! The best way to do this is by sampling a few different types. You can buy whiskey online in the UK and Ireland, where it’s also available at local liquor stores.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best Irish whiskeys. If you’re looking for something new and different, we recommend trying Redbreast Aged Pot Still or Teeling Single Grain. If you prefer something classic, go with Jameson Irish Whiskey or Bushmills Black Bush. And whatever whisky you choose, remember that there’s no wrong answer–just enjoy it!