The 11 Best Irish Whiskeys of All Time
Irish whiskey is one of the best-kept secrets in the world of spirits. It’s also one of the most underrated and underappreciated. If you’re new to drinking Irish whiskey or haven’t yet discovered its magic, this list will give you a good place to start your journey into this category. Here are 11 of my favorite Irish whiskeys:
One of the most popular blended Irish whiskeys, Jameson’s Green Spot is named after a farm in Cork. It is aged for 4 to 5 years in ex-bourbon barrels and then finished in sherry butts for another 2 to 3 years. This whiskey has a lighter taste than the others on this list because it’s made from a blend of pot still and grain whiskey as opposed to 100% pot still or malt whiskey.
Powers John’s Lane Release
Powers John’s Lane Release
Award-winning Powers John’s Lane Release is a whiskey that has been aged for seven years in ex-bourbon barrels, followed by another two years in a combination of ex-rye barrels, port pipes, sherry casks and Madeira hogsheads. The result is a well-balanced and flavorful whiskey with hints of fruit and oak.
Redbreast 12 Year Old
Much like other Irish whiskeys, Redbreast 12 Year Old is a blend of pot still and grain whiskey. But what makes this whiskey special is that it’s triple distilled and aged in ex-bourbon casks for 12 years. The resulting finish is smooth, mature and mellow with a fruity taste that’s great for sipping on the rocks or neat. It also carries an affordable price tag of around $50.
Teeling Single Malt
Teeling Single Malt
Single malt whiskey is typically aged in ex-bourbon barrels, which give it its golden color and slightly spicy flavor profile. But that’s not all! Teeling also ages their single malt whiskey in ex-port pipes and sherry butts (used wine barrels), as well as the more unusual options of cognac casks and pinot noir casks. The result is an incredibly complex flavor profile with plenty of fruitiness at first followed by smokey notes that continue on into a long finish. If you’d like to try something different than your regular Irish whiskey with a little more complexity, this might be the one for you!
Writer’s Tears Copper Pot
A copper pot is a style of whiskey that has been aged for at least three years in oak barrels and then transferred to a stainless steel vat. The whiskey is then aged for another three years in the same vat, developing a rich flavor. While this type of whiskey doesn’t require four years or more, it’s often recommended as an alternative to single malt whiskeys, which are typically aged longer than three years.
Writer’s Tears Copper Pot is distilled by Tullamore Dew, one of Ireland’s largest distilleries and one with a long history (they began producing whiskey in 1784). This whiskey has received numerous accolades from experts around the world since its release, including receiving gold at both the International Wine & Spirit Competition and World Spirits Awards. It also won gold medals at several international competitions after debuting in 2012.
Writer’s Tears Copper Pot offers an interesting blend of sweet vanilla notes that balance out its subtle spicy kick—making it an ideal choice for those who prefer less intense flavors
Knappogue Castle 16 Year Old Twin Wood
Knappogue Castle 16 Year Old Twin Wood is a single malt Irish whiskey that comes from the distillery owned by John Teeling and located in Co. Clare. The tasting notes for this whiskey include “sweet fruits and vanilla,” with the finish being described as “long, dry, and smoky.” It has a price tag of $89.99 USD and a proof of 86.6%.
Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve
The Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve is a blend of pot still and single malt whiskeys aged in a combination of bourbon, sherry, port and madeira casks for a minimum of 18 years. Bottled at 46% ABV, this whiskey has been described as having “sweet floral notes with rich vanilla and honeycomb on the nose.”
These days, most people don’t have time to wait that long for their whiskey. But if you’re looking for an experience that will provide some insight into what all those older spirits were like—and how they were different from each other—this is one worth trying while it’s still around.
Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy
With a nose of sweet honey and subtle vanilla, this whiskey is complex without being overly complicated. It has been aged in American oak barrels for 12 years, but the heavier charred oak notes are not too overpowering.
The palate is rich with soft caramel, dried fruit and white pepper spice that finishes clean and long.
The Irishman Founder’s Reserve
The Irishman Founder’s Reserve is a single pot still whiskey that comes in at 40% ABV. It is aged in bourbon casks, which give it its rich and spicy taste. This whiskey offers the best of both worlds: it has the smoothness of a blended whiskey, but with the full-bodied flavor of an aged single malt.
The Irishman Founder’s Reserve is named after the founder of Kilbeggan Distillery—the first legal distillery in Ireland since 1661! The distillery was founded by John Teeling in 1987, who now runs Cooley Distillery with his son Charles (also known as Chuck).
Redbreast 27 Year Old Cask Strength
Redbreast 27 Year Old Cask Strength is a blended Irish whiskey from the Midleton Distillery in Cork, Ireland. This single pot still whiskey is aged in bourbon casks and then finished in sherry casks, giving it a lot of body and spice. It has a higher proof than most other whiskeys on this list at 57% ABV (138 proof).
Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Madeira Cask Finish
Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Madeira Cask Finish, blended by Cooley Distillery in County Louth, is aged for 10 years, and finished in port pipes. The resulting whiskey has a deep amber color with sweet spice on the palate, and notes of fruitcake. It’s bottled at 46% alcohol by volume (90 proof) and should be enjoyed neat or with just a little water to open up its flavors
This is a good place to start your whiskey journey.
This is a good place to start your whiskey journey. You’ll find all of these on the internet and can try them at a bar if you’re lucky enough to live in an area with a wide selection of Irish whiskeys. It’s also possible to buy them online or in stores like Target and Trader Joe’s, though it’s not recommended that you do so before trying at least one of these!
Hopefully, this list has given you some ideas for your next Redbreast 27 whiskey purchase. If you’re just getting started with Irish whiskey, we think these 11 should be at the top of your list. They represent the best of what Ireland has to offer and are perfect entry points into the world of Irish whiskey.