Thursday, 7 March 2019

9 Irish whiskeys for Saint Patrick's Day 2019

Saint Patrick depicted in a stained glass window
Saint Patrick depicted in a stained glass window at Saint Benin's Church, Ireland
Picture: Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Emerald Ile's National Holiday is approaching fast. Saint Patrick's Day is a celebration of the heritage and culture of the Irish people who spread across the globe. 17 March is the death date of the Christian missionary Saint Patrick who converted the Irish pagans to Christianity. One of the symbols he used to explain the Holy Trinity to them was the shamrock. The shamrock (and everything green) became the symbol of Saint Paddy's Day and by extension of Ireland itself.

I selected 10 Irish whiskeys, pot stills, single malts, blends and single grains, to make the most out of Saint Patrick's Day. Let's pour a whiskey. With an e!

1. Jameson Irish Whiskey

Jameson Irish Whiskey
Picture: The Whisky Exchange

I usually kick off this list with the special edition from Jameson for Saint Patrick's Day. It's is the classic Jameson with an haute-couture jacket. Alas, after the 2019 redesign by the people from Pond Design, there does not seem to be a special edition. So it's just the usual triple distilled blend of pot still and grain whiskey with no fancy frills. Price: €28

2. Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Picture: The Whisky Exchange
The Sexton Irish Single Malt is one of these brands that's profiting from the current Irish whiskey boom. It is a sourced whisky (from Bushmills?) packed in a fancy bottle with a goth-style logo. The whisky matured in ex-Oloroso sherry casks. Price: €37

3. JJ Corry The Flintlock Irish Whiskey 16YO

JJ Corry The Flintlock 16YO
Picture: The Whisky Exchange

This small batch whiskey takes his name from JJ Corry, an Irish whiskey bonder from Kilrush. Chapel Gate Whiskey calls it their first true Bonder's Blend. This 16YO whiskey was drawn from three ex-bourbon casks. Price: €116


4. Red Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey 15YO

Red Spot 15YO
Picture: Mitchell & Son

2018 marked the revival of one of Ireland's legendary whiskey brands: Red Spot. After reviving Green Spot and Yellow Spot, Mitchell & Son brought back Red Spot, a 15YO single pot still whiskey. The names originated from the practice of marking casks with a certain colour to identify its ageing potential. Price: €115.


5. Lambay Blended Irish Whiskey

Lambay Blended Irish Whiskey
Picture: The Whisky Exchange

This brand of Irish whiskey matures on the privately-owned Lambay Island, a few miles off the Dublin coast, and this blended whiskey was finished in casks from Cyril Camus, owner of the cognac house Maison Camus. Price: €42.


6. Method & Madness Virgin Hungarian Oak Finish

Method & Madness Virgin Hungarian Oak Finish
Picture: The Whisky Exchange

The micro-distillery from Midleton released this peculiar cask finish in 2018. The single pot still whiskey matured in ex-bourbon casks en was finished for 11 months in Hungarian (Quercus petraea) Virgin Oak casks. Price: €89.


7. The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey

The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey
Picture: The Whisky Exchange

The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey is a creation by the Dublin Liberties distillery and the New York Dead Rabbit Saloon cocktail bar. This 5YO blend of malt and grain whiskies matured in ex-bourbon casks and was finished in virgin oak casks. Price: €48.


8. Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition

Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition
Picture: The Whisky Exchange

Jameson Caskmates is a collaboration between the Irish whiskey brand and the Franciscan Well brewery. The brewery could use some casks to mature stout beer before returning them to Jameson who used it in the Caskmates project. There is also an IPA edition. Price: €32.


9. Proper No. Twelve

Proper Twelve
Picture: The Whisky Exchange

Another new Irish whiskey brand and one that has been promoted by MMA fighter Conor McGregor. Some claim it was co-created by him. I'd say he tied his name to it to drive sales of a basic blended whiskey. You want a real season to buy a bottle? $5 of each case sold goes to first responders organisations. Price: €34.

What's your preferred Irish tipple for Saint Paddy's Day (or any random tasty dram day)? Let me know in the comments!


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