Every year it’s a pre-Spring ritual to don your best green duds and partake in some St. Patrick’s Day revelry. That almost always leads to a drink or two involving Irish whiskey. While it’s fun to enjoy some of the emerald isle’s greatest exports every March, we think several Irish whiskeys deserve your attention year-round. We’ve put together a list of our 5 favorites that are worth a spot on your whiskey bar.
Blue Spot Whiskey
There are probably several Spot Whiskeys on the shelf at your local store, mostly likely Green Spot and Yellow Spot, but it’s worth the effort to seek out the bit more scarce Blue Spot. After more than 50 years, Blue Spot was brought back into the Spot Whiskey lineup in 2020. It’s vitals: 7-years-old, cask strength, and non-chill filtered … all things we like to see. Blue Spot is aged in ex-Sherry, ex-Bourbon, and ex-Madeira casks. It stands out in the lineup with sweet tropical fruit flavors that are nicely balanced by spicy clove and baking spice.
Red Breast 12 Cask Strength
If you think you don’t like Irish whiskey, this is the bottle that will change your mind. Red Breast 12 is one of the most flavorful and complex whiskeys in the Irish category. Aged in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks and non-chill filtered, it delivers an oily mouthfeel. Then the array of flavors rushes at you with creamy caramels, orchard fruits, spices, citrus, and chocolate. We told you this one would change your mind about Irish whiskey.
Waterford Single Farm Origin Irish Single Malt
This is easily the most exciting and innovative distillery on our list. If you’re a whiskey geek, this is your bottle. Waterford is diving deep into terroir and what micro-climates mean to its whiskey. They source from 86 different farms growing barley in 19 different soil types. They keep track of the crop harvested from each farm, then store, malt, and distill those crops separately to capture each farm’s flavor characteristics in the whiskey. The result is a totally unique expression with each release.
Method and Madness Single Pot Still - French Chestnut Finish
Method and Madness has served as somewhat of an experimental outlet for the massive Irish Distillers facility in Midleton, Ireland, to explore new distillates and cask finishes without interrupting the production of some of their more prominent brands (Jameson, Powers, Midleton Very Rare). This expression is a result of that experimentation, and we aren’t complaining. The whiskey is first matured in ex-Sherry and ex-Bourbon casks and then finished in chestnut wood from France (the only chestnut finish we know about). For this one, expect red super rope licorice, sweet fruits, and cinnamon spice.
Dublin Liberties Murder Lane 13 YO Single Malt
New on the Irish whiskey scene, The Dublin Liberties Distillery is sourcing whiskey while it waits for its own distillate to come of age. They’re putting their own stamp on the sourced whiskey by doing a variety of cask finishes. Murder Lane starts with single malt with rich flavors of almonds, vanilla, and coconut. It is then finished in Hungarian Tokaj wine casks, which impart fresh peach and apricot flavors. This is a tremendous after-dinner pour.