Get Your Irish Up

With St. Patrick's day a week away have you ever wondered, "What exactly is Irish Whiskey"?

Well for one thing, it is Whiskey made in Ireland (no big shock there) and is typically triple distilled and aged for at least 3 years in wooden casks.  What is startling is that there are only 3 producers of spirits in Ireland operating today:  Midleton, Bushmills and Cooley Distillery (the sole Irish-owned company) which produce the various brands and styles of Irish Whiskey.  (a lot of threes in Ireland, huh)

Pure Pot Still whiskey is a term used to signify an Irish whiskey made from both malted and unmalted barley and distilled in a pot still.  Although this term is thought of as unique to Ireland, it is used here in the US to denote the same style of whiskey manufacturing.  Finger Lakes Distilling produces a whiskey in upstate New York aptly named "McKenzie Pure Pot Still Whiskey", which is distilled from malted and unmalted barley mash.

Now let's talk about Single Malts......  using a pot still distilling process at a single distillery with malted barley, at Ireland's 3 distilleries:

Bushmills - "Knappogue Castle" aged 12 years in bourbon oak casks - Mellow, well rounded, well balanced, medium intensity; a bright, elegant fruit and mildly spicy taste with a medium-long, clean finish.

Midleton - "Redbreast" 12 and 15 year matured in the finest oak casks - nose is nutty and rich. with notes of dried peels and spice, an oily note and cut fruits. The palate is spice and good body.  There are notes of nuts, citrus and the peel, along with hints of marzipan and dried peels plus a hint of sherry. The finish is long and creamy with custard and spice.

Cooley - Connemara Peated single malt - nose of smokey peat balanced with heather floral with a hint of honey and oak.  Silky smooth start with honey sweetness followed by more complex aromas and fruit giving way to the intensifying full bodied Peat, and finishes with hints of chocolate vanilla and oak.

You can always chose a blended or grain whiskey such as Jameson, Kilbeggan, Bushmills, Powers, Tullamore Dew............    With the luck of the Irish you'll make the right choice. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


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