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The 12 Best Irish Whiskeys for 2024

Irish spirits exports reached a record high in 2022, with a value of over $1.5 billion driven in large part by the nation’s whiskey, according to a report published last summer by trade body Drinks Ireland.

The bumper exports follow a resurgence of distilling facilities and an explosion of brands offering both proprietary and sourced liquid. In that sense, Ireland’s whiskey scene perhaps shares more in common with the United States than Scotland, with which it has typically been compared due to heritage and its penchant for single malts.

Of course, single malt is just one of the four styles traditionally produced in Ireland, the other three being blended, which accounts for the majority of sales; single grain; and single pot still, which is unique to the Emerald Isle.

For this roundup, VinePair tasters personally sampled more than five dozen expressions that were submitted (free of charge) by producers, importers, distributors, and PR firms. Additionally, we considered a dozen samples received over the past few years for prior editions of this list. In each case, we tasted products non-blind to factor price into the equation and better reflect how consumers buy and evaluate spirits, as is VinePair’s policy.

Ready to discover the cream of the Irish crop? Here are 12 of the best Irish whiskeys at every price point for 2024.

The Best Irish Whiskey Under $25

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey

Whether sipping a beer and a shot, or mixing highballs, Tullamore D.E.W. outshines all competition at its price point. Made using a blend of three styles of Irish whiskey, and triple distilled, it offers a light mix of fruit and malty aromas, and a fair amount of depth and intensity on the palate.

Average price: $24
Rating: 88

The Best Irish Whiskeys Under $50

John L. Sullivan Blended Irish Whiskey

Another well-priced option for boilermakers and simple cocktails, this triple distilled blend has a sweet and toasty profile gained via maturation in ex-bourbon casks. A subtle fruitiness that’s present on the nose gives way to spice and the aforementioned oak on the palate.

Average price: $25
Rating: 87

Roe & Co. Blended Irish Whiskey

A blended offering from Diageo, this mix of aged malt and grain distillates opens with a surprising burst of stone and orchard fruit aromas. The bourbon casks used for aging soon make their presence known, via rich caramel and sweet vanilla notes. Pick this up for an approachable weekday sipper.

Average price: $34
Rating: 90

The Busker Single Pot Still Small Batch N°1

Not to be confused with The Busker’s standard single pot still whiskey, which comes in at a slightly lower proof and price, this 46.3 percent small batch offering was finished in oloroso sherry butts. It’s not quite as creamy or cereal-driven as many single pot still products — especially on the nose — but that profile is there to be found on the palate, where it jibes nicely with dried fruit and nutty notes picked up from the finishing vessels. Both the proof and intensity ensure it holds up well as a neat pour.

Average price: $49
Rating: 90

The Best Irish Whiskeys Under $100

Two Stacks Double Barrel Single Malt Irish Whiskey

From Irish whiskey bonder Two Stacks, this single malt was sourced from the Great Northern Distillery, and contains a fairly complex blend of triple and double distilled whiskeys, aged in a mix of oloroso sherry and ex-bourbon casks. Peated malt makes up 10 percent of that blend — which is still classed as a single malt because it was produced at one facility and from 100 percent malted barley — and has a surprisingly heavy influence on the overall profile. Light wafts of earthy smoke weave among stone fruits, nuts, and caramel sweetness.

Average price: $53
Rating: 90

West Cork Distillers Single Malt Irish Whiskey Bog Oak Charred Cask

Part of West Cork’s Glengarriff series, this single malt aged for four years in sherry casks before an undisclosed finishing stint in charred “bog oak” casks. (Bog oak refers to wood that was buried and preserved in peat bogs.) The use of these uncommon vessels has a profound influence, lending the spirit a distinctively oxidized, savory profile and deep orange hue. Its nose opens with sour apple cider notes, followed by a touch of floral complexity, while the palate is vibrant and fruity.

Average price: $58
Rating: 91

Pearse Founder’s Choice 12 Year Irish Whiskey

Aged for a minimum of 12 years in bourbon casks sourced from Pearse’s sister facility in Kentucky (Town Branch Distillery), this non-chill filtered single malt is punchy, fruity, and complex. Stone fruits and waxy citrus peels lead the charge, while the oak influence never threatens to overpower. The palate echoes the nose, but is also rich, rounded, and extremely approachable.

Average price: $60
Rating: 93

Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Produced from a mash of malted Irish barley, unmalted Irish barley, and Irish Barra oats, this enjoyable whiskey was triple distilled in copper pots then aged for at least five years in first-fill bourbon and oloroso sherry casks. It serves a refined mix of cereal and oak throughout, with just a hint of savory sherry notes rounding out an inviting nose. The American whiskey casks come into play on the palate, delivering caramel, cacao, and spice that build nicely upon a rich stone fruit foundation.

Average price: $63
Rating: 92

Killowen Distillery Single Malt Irish Whiskey Signature 5 Year Rum and Raisin Inspired

Call it liquid dessert in a glass. This 5-year-old single malt was finished in a mix of rum and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks, which contribute dried fruit and nut notes, as well as a generous helping of coconut, vanilla, and ripe figs. Masterful blending is on show here, with neither finishing vessel overpowering the other, and each sip arriving in complete harmony.

Average price: $70
Rating: 91

The Best Irish Whiskeys Over $100

Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Tawny Port Cask Edition

The third release in Redbreast’s Iberian series is a non-age-stated single pot still whiskey finished for up to 25 months in tawny port casks. Inviting and luxurious on the nose, dried red fruit and praline aromas transition to a nutty, silky palate. At 46 percent ABV, each sip is weighty but not hot, with drying tannins bringing complexity to the finish.

Average price: $100
Rating: 93

Yellow Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Bottled at 12 years old, Yellow Spot contains a blend of single pot still whiskeys that spent the entirety of their aging periods in either bourbon barrels, sherry butts, or Spanish Malaga casks. (The latter is a sweet Spanish dessert wine made from Moscatel and Pedro Ximénez grapes in Andalucia province.) Simply put, this is the most expressive and enjoyable Irish whiskey we tasted this year, with each visit to the glass offering something new and enticing, whether dried apricots and raisins, ripe red apples, sweet vanilla and caramel, or oxidative savory notes. This is a showstopper.

Average price: $134
Rating: 95

Bushmills 21 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

One of the oldest whiskeys in Bushmills’ core single malt range, this expression spent at least 19 years in oloroso sherry and bourbon casks before the married liquid was transferred to Madeira casks for a final two years. The variety of casks and extended aging period combine for a remarkable drinking experience, with a complex nose, flavorful palate, and nuanced, lengthy finish. Pay no heed to its 40 percent ABV content: Intense notes of Demerara sugar, tropical fruit, chocolate orange, and caramelized nuts dazzle throughout.

Average price: $275
Rating: 94


What are the main types of Irish Whiskey?

The main types of Irish whiskey include malt, grain, pot still, and blended. While the malt category includes whiskeys made from 100 percent malted barley distilled in copper pots, grain Irish whiskey is made from both malted barley and unmalted cereals, and must be distilled in column stills. Pot still whiskey must contain both malted and unmalted barley (and can also contain other unmalted grains) and must be distilled in copper pot stills. Finally, blended whiskey is made from a mixture of at least two types of Irish whiskey and can be made in both copper and column stills. There’s also a generic category simply dubbed Irish whiskey, which is a sweeping term that includes any whiskeys that don’t fit into the aforementioned categories.

What’s the best-selling Irish Whiskey?

Jameson is the best-selling Irish whiskey.

Is Jameson considered top shelf?

With its comparatively low price tag, Jameson is typically considered a “bottom-shelf” brand.

The article The 12 Best Irish Whiskeys for 2024 appeared first on VinePair.

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