Discover the Top-Shelf Irish Whiskeys You Can’t Miss
Raise a Glass: Indulge in the Best High-End Irish Whiskeys!
For years, single malt scotch has been considered the epitome of luxury liquid. Produced by celebrated Scottish distilleries such as The Macallan, Bowmore, and Balvenie, exclusive expressions of single malt scotch can fetch thousands of dollars per bottle, leading to top-shelves in bars everywhere being primarily dominated by whisky from Scotland. However, this hasn’t always been the case.
Jay Bradley, the founder of the Craft Irish Whiskey Company, reveals that until the 1920s, high-end whiskey referred exclusively to Irish whiskey. The spelling of whiskey with an ‘e’ is still retained by the Irish and Americans today, highlighting the country’s whiskey heritage.
Bradley is determined to bring Irish whiskey back to its former glory. He stresses the uniqueness, exclusivity, and exceptional quality of Irish whiskey, factors that once defined high-end whiskey. To achieve this, he offers a range of handcrafted Irish whiskies aimed at rivaling the best single malt scotches.
In essence, Bradley hopes to recapture the lost legacy of Irish whiskey by highlighting its unique qualities and challenging the dominance of Scottish single malts on the top shelf of bars across the world.
American consumers are playing a pivotal role in the resurgence of Irish whiskey. In recent years, the Irish whiskey category has seen a tremendous growth in the United States, with a major shift towards premium and super-premium Irish whiskeys. According to the Distilled Spirits Council, the leading industry trade group, sales of Irish whiskeys priced above $30 per unit have skyrocketed by a staggering 2,769 percent since 2003.
Irish whiskey can often be more approachable and rounded in taste compared to its Scottish counterparts. Moreover, the style is more versatile; in addition to the single malts and blends inherent to both countries, Irish distilleries specialize in producing an earthier style of whiskey known as Pot Still, which is unique to the Emerald Isle.
It’s high time to reorganize the top shelf of your liquor cabinet with some of the best high-end Irish whiskeys on the market. To assist you, we have compiled a list of five such whiskeys that will elevate your drinking experience. So, raise your glass to Irish whiskey and drink to your heart’s content. Or, as they say in Ireland: “sláinte”!
Craft Irish Whiskey Company The Taoscán
One of the newest entrants into the American market is The Taoscán, a whiskey that has already made a name for itself among connoisseurs in Europe. It boasts a wider placement in Michelin-starred restaurants across the continent than any other Irish whiskey. The Taoscán is also the world’s first whiskey finished in a combination of port and chestnut barrels, resulting in a truly unique flavor profile.
As soon as you open a bottle of The Taoscán, you’ll be greeted with a heavenly aroma of allspice. Upon tasting, you’ll be delighted with a toasted nuttiness that gives way to a delectable s’mores flavor in the finish. Even with an assertive alcohol volume at 48.53 percent, this whiskey is endearingly approachable.
Pronounced “TISH-cun,” the name is derived from the Gaelic term for a small measure of whiskey, much like a dram, but with an Irish twist. Its one-of-a-kind flavor and heritage make it a must-try for any whiskey enthusiast.
Bushmills 25 Year Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Bushmills, one of Ireland’s most iconic distilleries, made waves earlier in 2023 by unveiling a state-of-the-art production facility that has more than doubled its capacity. To celebrate this milestone, they launched two of their oldest releases yet, including a stunning 25-year-old whiskey that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Initially, the liquid was matured in a combination of bourbon barrels and sherry butts, imparting a robust and complex flavor profile. Next, it was transferred to first-fill ruby port pipes for a 21-year slumber, which added opulent notes of dark fruit and candied plums to the already complex profile.
When sipping this fine whiskey, you’ll notice a sugary, almost almond-like note in the finish, reminiscent of marzipan and orgeat. As the 92-proof whiskey slowly recedes, the flavors linger on your palate, offering a true and unforgettable taste of Ireland’s finest whiskey.
Redbreast 27 Year Old Single Pot Still
Redbreast is a brand that single-handedly transformed the reputation of Single Pot Still Irish whiskey. For too long, this unique style was disregarded as inferior because of its use of both malted and unmalted barley to create a complex flavor profile. When done correctly, Single Pot Still Irish whiskey is nothing short of brilliant, and Redbreast is the gold standard of the category.
The 27 Year Old release is the most distinguished part of the brand’s permanent portfolio. It is triple distilled and aged in a trifecta of barrels that were previously used to store bourbon, sherry, and port. When blended together, the combination creates a tropical medley of flavors. You’ll find yourself struck by the concerto of mangoes and papaya that are playful on the palate.
This stunning whiskey is bottled in a sleek, sandblasted decanter and has a rich burgundy hue. At an impressive strength of 53.5 percent ABV, it’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s a whiskey that demands to be savored, and with each sip, you’ll appreciate the masterful blending and aging that went into creating such a phenomenal spirit.
Teeling 30 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
When the Dublin-based craft distillery first released this single malt in limited quantities, it was set to retail for a staggering $2,200 per bottle. A little over a year later, it’s nearly impossible to find it at twice that price. It’s just that good, and there simply isn’t enough of it to go around.
If you’re incredibly fortunate to get your hands on one of the 4,000 decanters that were distributed globally, the whiskey you’ll be sipping is bursting with the fragrance of fresh stone fruit. Additionally, its mouthfeel is truly luxurious, coating the tongue with a sensation of velvet and toasted cashews.
As you lavish in the flavors, you’ll detect an allusion to dessert wine in the finish, and for a good reason. The whiskey was aged for its final nine years in Sauternes barrels, sourced straight from the south of France. The result is a smooth and sweet whiskey that is simply one-of-a-kind. Its scarcity and exceptional flavor make this whiskey a treasure to appreciate and savor.
Glendalough 25 Year Single Malt Irish Oak Finish
This highly exclusive offering is all about the essence of florality. If you relish the aroma of fresh lavender, then uncorking a bottle of this whiskey will be akin to opening a gateway to Provence in full bloom. It’s not immediately clear where this exquisite nose originates from, given that the whiskey was created in Ireland and aged in a combination of barrels from the country, along with Oloroso Sherry casks from Spain and ex-bourbon oak from the United States. Regardless, a single sip of this whiskey will reveal the depth and complexity of its flavor profile.
From the fields of blooming flowers, the notes evolve into rich toffee and even balsamic reduction before finishing with a joyful flourish. At $550 per bottle, this whiskey represents an unparalleled value. It’s truly a rare gem in the world of spirits, and it’s challenging to find a comparably aged and high-quality scotch at a similar price point.