Monday, March 16, 2015
Sip them or slam them, here are 6 great Irish Whiskeys that give Jamesons and Bushmill a run for the money.
Paddy Old Irish Whiskey
This dram is distilled in County Cork, Ireland and is made in the traditional and legally mandated triple distilled fashion. It is also the product of pot distilling. What makes this whiskey unique is that the mash bill is mostly made from malted barley. In fact is is one of the most malt-based whiskeys in the Irish category. This gives the whiskey a pale color and tons of aroma. Notes will include honey, nut, and toffee. Soft on the palate with a long, woody finish. Ignore the label, this is a great buy for your party.
Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Single Malt
This "single malt"is distilled three times in the same copper pot still shows a lot of complexity and should be enjoyed neat or broken up with a little water. This rewarding spirit has aromas that might remind you of Cocoa Krispies as a result of the malt grains and extended ageing in bourbon barrels. The fruit aromas is what really makes this something special. Knappogue is light and sweet, so be careful when going back for a second glass.
2 Gingers Irish Whiskey
This relatively new whiskey coming out of the Kilbeggan Distillery has a whimsical strain. 2 Gingers is an alternative to the Bushmills and Jamesons style of mass-market appeal. This would be considered "fruit-forward"with it's combination of apple, pear, lemon citrus, and orange peel aromas. With all this tart flavor, don't hesitate to take advantage of the spicy ginger by splashing in a little ginger beer or imagining your own cocktail garnished with candied ginger.
Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey
This is a party whiskey. Smooth and light, it gets the job done with a finesse that might go unappreciated by some. But in a blind tasting, I would put my money on this ringer. It is elegant, fruity, and smooth. If you haven't had much in the way of Single Malt Scotches, this is a great step away from the Jamesons you order at a bar when you don't want a beer.
Green Spot Single Pot Still Whiskey
Unlike Bourbons, Scotches, and Japanese whiskey, "cult following" is rarely associated with Irish Whiskeys. Green Spot would be an exception. The production of Green Spot is typically 12,000 bottles a year out of the Midleton distillery and those bottles only made it to the US recently. The bill includes both malted and non-malted barley leading to a soft, light appeal that shouldn't be hidden by ice or even a bit of water. Then it is finished off in barrel, 25% of which is ex-sherry cask. Green Spot is pleasant, full of classic Irish Whiskey flavors, and the perfect transition to our next whiskey.
Redbreast 12 Year Single Pot Still Whiskey
If you drink Redbreast, you really can't go back to the Bush(mill) leagues afterwards. I have no idea what Christmas cake tastes like, but that is how the Brits and Irish describe Redbreast 12. I do pick up how the Oloroso sherry casks that Redbrest matures in result in an impression of a delicious, not-too-sweet cake with coconut. The 12 year is such a delight that I find it hard to graduate to the cask strength and 15 year old variations.
~Daniel, Our New York and Washington Wine Buyer