Of course we are all a bit Irish when it comes to St. Patrick's Day, right? But why is it some people only tend to start asking me about Irish whiskey at that point? I mean, is that the only time you are supposed to drink Irish Whiskies? Our local liquor establishments start the push on advertising on March 1 - BUY IRISH WHISKEY!!! Does this in turn kickstart whiskey drinkers like Pavlov's dog or am I missing something? Maybe I'm simply a whisky geek who enjoys drinking it year round because we always have at least 4 different types of Irish whiskey open at the house and it's often one of the first ones we will offer to people because of how light and delicious they can be.
So, here's a few quick recommendations, since many seem to be asking and it's only March 3rd?? I chose a few that I think are readily available in North America as well as Europe. Price point I used was Canadian.
Writer's Tears - Great introductory Irish whiskey. This is blend which is a light but sweet dram made from single malt and single pot still whiskies. A balance of delicate fruit dipped in honey deliciousness that is easy to drink. Careful, I am not kidding when I say it's really easy to drink!
Teeling Single Grain - Yes, you read that correctly. The Irish also make single grain whiskey and this one is quite unique. This whisky spends its entire maturation in a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel. This is a full bodied whiskey that exudes spicy qualities as well as some really luscious red fruit. A bit tannic or drying in nature but such a satisfying dram you will find yourself wondering how come your glass is already empty?
Green Spot - An immediate favorite of mine and albeit difficult to find these days, if you have a chance to get a bottle, do! This whiskey is aged 7-10 years in ex-bourbon as well as ex-sherry cask which gives it a very rounded profile. It's a bit more oily in nature rich with flavors of dried fruit, spices and a long lingering finish. It's a bottle to hold on to and drink slowly.
Red Breast 12 year old - A staple in my collection as well as many of my friend's. Matured in ex-sherry cask this whiskey has a warm and full bodied texture that is fortifying in nature. Spicy with a very creamy mouthfeel. As quickly as it appears at our local liquor store, it disappears.
There are many more Irish whiskies on the market and a fair share of them making it over to North America these days which is great because there is a resurgence in their popularity with new distilleries opening with every passing year. Take the time to try a few and add them to your collection. Many are still at a very affordable price point, are good value for money and are worth every penny you put down. These four are probably the ones I tend to recommend the most if you are starting out on your Irish whiskey journey. If you feel I've missed a few, please let me know in the comments section. Important to get perspective and share our opinions!
Here's hoping you get to raise a few drams come March 17th but then again why wait until then, go ahead and be a bit crazy. Beat the rush and get your Irish whiskey fix done early or better yet don't be scared to claim to be Irish all year long ;)
Part Irish, part saucy but always a Lassie,