There are few things more Irish than whiskey. In fact, the word "whiskey" itself is a Gaelic word that loosely translates to "water of life." And for true fans of whiskey, it truly seems that way. To be considered a proper Irish whiskey, the spirit must be distilled to a certain extent and aged (for at least three years) in Ireland. Dating back to as early as the 12th century, Irish whiskey was one of the earliest distilled drinks in all of Europe, and while the industry took an enormous hit during the Prohibition era in the United States, things couldn't be better now. And with St. Patrick's Day approaching, it's a guarantee that the consumption of Irish whiskeys will go through the roof on the magical date of 3/17. But which to choose from? There are the traditional heavy-hitters that get their samplings due solely to name-recognition. But it's important that you understand what it is you're putting into your gullet on the holiest of drinking holidays. So we did the legwork and research for you. Now it's entirely your call. Go forth, be educated, and be sure to take thorough notes on your experiences. (Let's just hope they're legible by the time you're through.) | RDW
Jameson Irish Whiskey
is triple-distilled, giving it a much smoother finish, utilizing both malted and un-malted barley. The combination provides a natural flavor, with lots of barley, vanilla, nut and sweetness present in the end result. John Jameson (we've all seen the cool commercials, right?) has been using the three-distillation process since 1780, providing the drink's unmistakable taste and ensuring the legacy of Jameson.
is also a triple-distilled malt whiskey, (very typical of Irish whiskeys), giving it a smoother feel than most spirits. It's a lighter Irish grain, which gives it a more welcoming, warming flavor. You'll recognize vanilla notes, fresh fruit and a slightly spicy aroma. It's also started with un-peated malted barley grains, dried with hot air instead of by peat fire (lending it a less smoky flavor than you get with many other whiskeys).
Paddy Old Irish Whiskey
is produced by Irish Distillers in County Cork in the Republic of Ireland, utilizing the traditional Irish method of triple-distillation, followed by an aging period (in oak casks for up to seven years). More malty than other Irish whiskeys, it also provides a very subtle and relaxed feel. Hints of honey, vanilla and a certain woodiness are present in what is often referred to as "one of the softest of all Ireland's whiskeys."
is, unsurprisingly, also triple-distilled and produced in Ireland. It is aged for 12-15 years in old bourbon or sherry casks, adding another dimension to the whiskey. A sweet, woody and nutty taste is present in this extremely mellow brand with a slight malty presence and overall mild, creamy feel.