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What is The Best Irish Whiskey To Drink Straight? (2023)

Best Irish Whiskey To Drink Straight

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Over the years, the popularity of Irish whiskey has been on the rise, making it one of the most loved alcoholic beverages today. There are a lot of good Irish whiskeys with a blend of the finest golden grains and single malt.

But, what is the best Irish whiskey to drink straight? 

Top 15 Irish Whiskeys To Drink Straight 

1. Redbreast 12-Year-Old Irish Whiskey

Redbreast 12-Year-Old with box on desk

As one of the best-selling Irish whiskey on the market, it’s not hard to understand why. Aged in American ex-Bourbon barrels and Oloroso sherry casks, this whiskey features a balance of creamy and spicy flavors. Besides, it has a dry, clean finish with a complex flavor that stays on the mouth. 

You’ll enjoy this drink neat because of its lovely and smooth palate. Made from malted and unmalted barley, this one is really one of the best Irish whiskeys– recommended by experts. 

2. Jameson Irish Whiskey

Jameson Irish Whiskey on table with cocktail glass

Jameson is also one most popular Irish whiskeys available. This is a triple-distilled whiskey that’s aged in both sherry and bourbon casks for a minimum of four years. Its smooth and creamy texture ensures the perfect blend of spices, nuts, and vanilla. The main ingredients of this whiskey are Irish water, unmalted barley, and maize.

This is an excellent whiskey for anyone looking for a smooth and classic Irish whiskey. No gimmicks here, just a good old-fashioned Irish whiskey that will keep you coming back for more.

Read: Jameson vs Bushmills Whiskey

3. Powers Gold Label

Powers Gold Label on desk with glass

Powers Gold Label is a traditional Irish whiskey made by John Power & Son. It’s smooth and approachable, and it’s aged from American oak barrels. This blended whiskey gives a bold and spicy character. It’s also made with the finest grain whiskey, adding to its flavor.

The nose is filled with honey, lemon, and then a hint of hazelnuts. On the palate, you get a whiff of butterscotch. This is an excellent intro to Irish whiskey. The price of this drink is very reasonable, and it offers a delicious classic taste.

4. Bushmills Irish Whiskey

Bushmills with box on desk

One of the most popular Irish whiskeys is Bushmills, and it can be found in most pubs. It is known for its honeyed and mellow taste, which remains one of the best on the market. Bushmills is a traditional blended Irish whiskey aged for five years. It’s incredibly smooth and triple-distilled.

This medium-bodied Irish whiskey has a pleasant and earthy scent with hints of honey and apple. It’s also light and easy to drink. Its smooth and creamy finish is complemented by a mildly spicy biscuit taste. Check out the top Bushmills whiskeys here

5. Connemara 12-Year-Old Peated Single Malt Whiskey

Connemara 12-Year-Old with box on table

This superb single malt whisky from Ireland, made by the renowned Cooley distillery, is a winner of international awards. This 12-year-old single malt has a complex and full-bodied flavor complemented by the smoke. In fact, we recommend this as a great alternative to Scotch whisky and is ideal for those who are passionate about Irish whiskey.

The nose is fresh and lively, featuring lemon and orange zest with a touch of creamy vanilla. You should definitely keep this on hand for any occasion!

6. Connemara Original Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Connemara Original Peated on desk with box and glass

Another Connemara variant that’s best served neat is the Original Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey. While there is some smoke in this whiskey, it is not the brand’s star. Its 40% alcohol by volume doesn’t allow it to be too powerful. 

At first sip, you’ll notice the smoky peat. It also has a soft and delicate undertone of barley and charred wood, which gives it hints of honey and smoke.

The flavors of chocolate and smoked honey linger on the palate, while smoke and sea salt add to the experience – really a must-try! 

Read: Tullamore DEW & Bushmills Compared

7. Glendalough 13-Year-Old Whiskey

Glendalough 13-Year-Old on table with box

The smooth and creamy taste of this Irish grain whiskey made by Glendalough Distillery is due to the right amount of sweetness. This 13-year-old is made from a first-fill bourbon drum, which imparts its flavors of vanilla and caramel. The aroma is filled with drastic notes of chocolate and fruits, and it’s got a long way to go before it gets better.

The first thing you’ll notice is the creamy texture and the rich flavors of the fudge. After that, you’ll get some warm spices and a lovely creamy mouthfeel.

Read: Popular Cheap Irish Whiskeys

8. Glendalough Double-Barrel Irish Whiskey

Glendalough Double-Barrel on desk with glass and fried shrimps

This single grain Irish whiskey matured in the American Bourbon drum before being transferred to sherry barrels. As one of the best single grain whiskeys, this is a rather tasty release that features a variety of notes such as Christmas spices, dried fruit, and vanilla. 

You’ll get a creamy, malty aroma with rich vanilla, buttery fudge, and white chocolate. It has notes of apples, and white grapes, with a touch of toasted oak. Then the palate features flavors of caramel, melted butter, and creme Anglaise with polished oak and a hint of spice on the finish. 

9. Jameson Black Barrel

Jameson Black Barrel with box on table

The Black Barrel version of Jameson’s whiskey is a significant improvement over their original. It’s a classic Irish blend of single pot still whiskeys and small-batch grain, with a powerful flavor. Aged in double bourbon barrels, it has a creamy toffee and a long toasted wood finish.

The nose features a creamy and grassy malt with a hint of fruit. It’s also got a citrus and spice flavor, with a smooth finish. Some of these flavors continue to emerge, and the finish is a rich and complex blend of fruit, honey, and spices, perfect for sipping neat. 

Read: Jameson vs Proper 12 Whiskey

10. Knappogue Castle 12 Years Old

Knappogue Castle 12 Years Old on desk with white smash whiskey cocktail

Knappogue Castle’s signature whiskey is made from triple distilled copper pot stills and aged in American barrels for 12 years. This is a refreshing and incredibly drinkable Irish whiskey nuanced with hints of cinnamon and apples.

This is a sophisticated and lighter drink that can be enjoyed best in summer. It can be used as a foundation or a light drink in a long cocktail. Its delicate and spice-filled flavor combination makes it ideal for any occasion.

11. Redbreast 15 Year

Redbreast 15 Year with cocktail on table

A balanced blend of first-fill and refill casks contributes to the complexity of Redbreast’s 15 Year flavor. The nose is full and rich, featuring a complex yet balanced mix of aromatic oils and berries. You’ll love its flavor profile, delivering a wholly round and mellow taste with hints of fleshy fruits, spices, and toasted wood.  

Whiskey drinkers will surely love this whiskey’s long and sophisticated finish. With its exceptionally smooth characteristics, it is best served straight, or you may want to add just a few drops of water. 

Read: Popular Liquors To Drink Straight

12. Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Sexton Single Malt on desk with whiskey cocktail

One of the best whiskey, the Sexton is an innovative and balanced single-malt spirit. Its rich and complex flavor is complemented by its smooth finish. Alex Thomas, a renowned master blender, created The Sexton from triple-distilled 100% Irish malted barley [1]. It’s then aged in ex-sherry casks. In fact, this unique spirit was made using the finest ingredients from Spain.

Distilled in single pot stills, it creates an exceptional smoothness imparting unusual complexity and flavor richness. You’ll get the notes of dried fruit, honeycomb, and nuts, followed by apricots, lemon zest, oak spices, and prunes on the palate. 

Read: Green Spot Irish Whiskey

13. The Tyroconnell 15-Year-Old Madeira Cask Finish

The Tyrconnell 15-Year-Old on table with box and glass

This 15-year-old single-malt whiskey is made from the traditional ex-bourbon drum and is finished in Portugal’s Madeira casks. This gives it a unique and complex flavor. The blend was aged in traditional pot stills and then double-distilled.

The nose is filled with sweet and floral notes complemented by a touch of spice. The finish is also complex and full of stone fruit and vanilla notes. 

14. Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey

Tullamore D.E.W. on desk with glass and cashew nuts

The smooth and accessible quality of this Irish blend Tullamore D.E.W. is known to be a perfect alternative to the more expensive bottles.

This whiskey, aged in rum barrels, is made from three different types of spirits: pot still whiskey, grain whiskeys, and malt whiskey. It’s an ideal choice if you’re looking for a good value for money.

This whiskey has a complex aroma that includes hints of honey, banana chips, and red apples. On the palate, it’s smooth and sweet, with a touch of woodiness. Tullamore is best for drinking neat

15. Writers’ Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Writers’ Tears Pot Still with box and apples on table

Writers’ Tears is a blend of single-malt and aged single-pot still whiskey produced by Walsh Whiskey Distillery. While technically a blend, this isn’t actually a grain whiskey. Its aromatic and oily essence makes this whiskey stand out. 

This whiskey has a light and smooth flavor profile. It’s aged in American bourbon barrels, which adds character and a bit of floral to the finish. You’ll notice a faint ginger ale spice on the first sip, followed by hints of cocoa and charred wood. This is an excellent drink if you’re looking for a simple yet elegant whiskey. Here’s our list of the best sipping whiskeys for beginners

How To Drink Irish Whiskeys Straight

The key to drinking Irish whiskey straight is adding some drops of water. Doing so can release more exciting aromas and flavors, adding a tastier effect. 

Also, we recommend starting with a small amount first. Take things easy and savor the flavor profiles of the whiskey. That way, you can appreciate its character more and enjoy the drink as you go forward. 

Summary: What Is The Best Irish Whiskey?

n conclusion, determining the best Irish whiskey is highly subjective and depends on individual preferences. The diverse landscape of Irish whiskey offers a wide range of options, each with its unique flavor profiles, aging processes, and distillation methods.

Popular choices often include well-established brands like Jameson, Redbreast, and Bushmills, but the “best” Irish whiskey ultimately comes down to personal taste preferences, whether one favors the smoothness of a blended whiskey or the complexity of a single malt.

Exploring different expressions and brands within the Irish whiskey category allows enthusiasts to discover the nuances that resonate most with their palates.

FAQs 

What is the most popular Irish whiskey to drink straight?

Redbreast 12-Year-Old is the most popular Irish whiskey to drink straight. Not only is it the best Irish whiskey to drink straight, but it’s also one of the best Irish whiskies available. Redbreast 12-Year-Old is an award-winning spirit [2], bagging recognitions from various international wine and spirits competitions.     

Is it better to drink Irish whiskey straight or on the rocks?

Irish whiskey is best served straight if you’re a serious drinker wanting to get the most out of a whiskey’s flavor. Irish whiskies served on the rocks are recommended if you want a refreshing drinking moment. But, either way, both have their place at the table. 

How is Irish whisky made?

Irish whiskey, in accordance with the Irish Whiskey Act of 1980, goes through a specific process in order to be produced. To begin, a combination of malted barley and other possible cereal grains are mashed together.

This mash is then fermented and distilled, ensuring that the alcohol by volume (ABV) does not exceed 94.8 percent. Additionally, the aging process is crucial, with the whiskey being stored in wooden casks for a minimum of three years.

Notably, Irish whiskey can be produced through either pot still or column still distillation methods. It also has the versatility to be sold as a single malt from a single distillery or as a blend.

What is the difference between a scotch whiskey and an Irish whiskey?

The primary difference between Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey lies in their geographical origins. Scotch whisky can only be produced in Scotland, while Irish whiskey is exclusively made in Ireland, encompassing both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Additionally, the spelling of the word distinguishes the two, with Irish whiskey being spelled with an ‘e’, while the Scots omit the ‘e’ and call it whisky.

While there are no significant official variances between the two categories, there are stylistic distinctions that can often be observed. Scotch whisky is frequently (although not always) made using peat, resulting in a distinct smoky flavor and aroma.

On the other hand, Irish whiskey typically exhibits a very bright and crisp character. However, it is important to note that there are exceptions within both categories, allowing for diversity and individual expressions of flavor profiles.

What is the best whisky for hot toddies?

When considering the ideal Irish whiskey for hot toddies, one notable recommendation comes from Passage_1. In their insightful analysis, they suggest that McConnell’s Irish Whiskey excels in this regard. Not only is McConnell’s Irish Whiskey renowned for its excellent quality, but it is also commended for its affordability, making it an appealing choice for those looking to indulge in hot toddies.

With its ability to perfectly complement the flavors and enhance the overall experience of cocktails such as the hot toddy, McConnell’s Irish Whiskey emerges as a top contender for the title of the best Irish whiskey for this delightful beverage.

What is the best splurge Irish whiskey?

The finest splurge for Irish whiskey enthusiasts is the Knappogue Castle 16 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey. This exceptional spirit can be purchased for $80 at Drizly, ensuring an unmatched indulgence for those seeking a top-tier Irish whiskey experience.

What is the best Irish whiskey under $50?

If you’re looking for the best Irish whiskey under $50, the Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey emerges as the top choice. This particular whiskey is highly regarded for its exceptional smoothness and balance, boasting enticing aromas of baking spices and caramelized sugar.

On the palate, you can expect flavors of vanilla and raisins that beautifully complement its rich profile. One of the key factors contributing to its unique taste is the aging process in both ex-bourbon and ex-rum barrels, which adds a touch of sweetness to the overall experience.

With a typical price tag around $40, the Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey is widely regarded as an outstanding purchase that offers exceptional quality in its price range.

What is the best value Irish whiskey?

The best value Irish whiskey that comes highly recommended is Slane Irish Whiskey. This particular whiskey offers an exceptional combination of quality and affordability. Known for its bold and layered taste, Slane Irish Whiskey boasts flavors of caramel, vanilla, and dried fruit.

One of the highlights of this whiskey is its unique aging process, which involves being matured in three different casks: virgin oak, seasoned whiskey, and Oloroso sherry.

Despite its rich history and complex flavor profile, Slane Irish Whiskey remains surprisingly affordable, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a great value option.

It can be enjoyed on its own or used as a versatile ingredient in lighter whiskey cocktails. Additionally, the soft and approachable nature of Slane Irish Whiskey makes it appealing to a wide range of palates.

With its unbeatable price point, Slane Irish Whiskey truly stands out as a top choice among value Irish whiskeys.

What is the runner of the best overall Irish whiskey?

The runner-up for the best overall Irish whiskey is The Sexton Irish Whiskey. This exceptional whiskey is crafted through the process of triple distillation in copper pot stills and then aged in ex-Oloroso sherry casks.

The result is a smooth and pleasant finish with subtle hints of honey. The Sexton Irish Whiskey is renowned for its distinctive flavors of roasted pear, accompanied by the classic crispness often found in Irish whiskeys.

This makes it a delightful choice for savoring on its own or with a single ice cube. Notably, The Sexton Irish Whiskey stands out as it is produced under the expertise of a talented female master distiller. Furthermore, its memorable appearance is marked by a unique angular bottle, adorned in a striking combination of black and gold.

As an added advantage, this particular Irish whiskey is reasonably priced, ensuring accessibility for whiskey enthusiasts. Furthermore, its versatility shines through as it can be enjoyed in various cocktails, such as the hot toddy or whiskey smash.

In Conclusion

Overall, our team concludes that the Redbreast whiskey (particularly the 12-Year-Old) is the best Irish whiskey for drinking straight up. But, we got a lot of other options for you to enjoy. 

Irish Distilleries have come a long way, providing the best Irish whiskey to drink straight up. If you’re a fan of Irish whiskies, you better try all those spirits on our list. Not only on St. Patrick’s Day but this list of the best Irish whiskey is also perfect to be enjoyed all year round! 

References

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemicallef/2019/02/03/the-sexton-irish-malt-whiskey-is-well-worth-a-taste/
  2. https://www.irishcentral.com/culture/food-drink/redbreast-whiskey-named-best-world
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