Irish whiskey

Jameson Irish Whiskey (Photo by Noah Kroes on Unsplash)

Did you know that the “e” in Irish whiskey sets it apart from its whisky counterparts? That’s right! And Irish whiskey is having a moment, too. You can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style by treating yourself to a sip of true Irish gold or just pop open a bottle for the fun of it. With so many options out there, it can be hard to choose which bottle of liquid luck to pour. But we’ve got you covered with a list of the best Irish whiskeys to enjoy any day of the year. 

Should you indulge? It can be like walking a tightrope when balancing the world of booze and wellness. Some studies say that sipping in moderation can do you good, while others warn against even a drop. But one study says older people may benefit most by moderate drinking. According to Monash University researchers, throwing back a moderate amount of alcohol can help prevent cardiovascular disease in the elderly. And get this: The moderate drinkers in the study had a lower risk of heart troubles than those abstaining from alcohol altogether.

Back to the world of wellness … It turns out that only 34 percent of Americans are feeling good about their well-being, yet at least 70 percent of them are trying to take care of themselves. This survey found that people want to live a balanced life, which includes being fit, healthy and having good relationships. In 2023 Americans are trying to be more in tune with their bodies, but 46 percent still want to have some fun by drinking alcohol in moderation. 

Especially on March 17, many of us will be raising a glass of Irish whiskey to celebrate. Whether whiskey has a permanent home on your bar cart, or you’re a newbie, we’ve got five expert-recommended options for the best Irish whiskey to try in 2023. So sit back, relax and read about the smooth and complex flavors that only Irish whiskey can provide. Cheers to good times and good company! 

Bushmills Irish Whiskey glass
(Photo by Sam Barber on Unsplash)

The List: Best Irish Whiskeys, According to Experts

 

1. Redbreast 12 Year Irish Whiskey

This whiskey has won several awards and is considered one of the smoothest Irish whiskeys in the world. HiConsumption writes, “Redbreast has several highly popular expressions, including its Lustau and its 15 Year, but the 12 Year Old Cask Strength is arguably its most beloved. The barrel-proof factor not only allows the flavors to become deeper and bigger but brings out the true essence of Irish whiskey in a way that few other bottles can do. At 116 proof, this spirit takes you on a flavorful ride of oak, buttery pears, cinnamon apple, baking spices, caramel, and vanilla.” 

Redbreast 12 Yr Irish Whiskey
Redbreast 12 Year Irish Whiskey

“Winning a Master Award was the Redbreast 12 YO Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. It is an extraordinarily flavored whiskey, with the trademark smoothness of Redbreast. The 12 YO is also available in a cask strength expression,” Forbes claims.

The Irish Road Trip says, “You’re going to be in safe hands with Redbreast 12 Year Old if you’re new to whiskey! Often referred to as ‘Christmas Whiskey’ because of the fruit sherry casks that it is kept in, its tasting notes include hints of marzipan, dried fruits and spices and is perhaps one to save for the festive season. This is regarded as one of the best Irish whiskey brands by many for very good reason!” 

2. Jameson Irish Whiskey

This is the most popular Irish whiskey brand globally. According to LiquorLaboratory, “Jameson is also one of the 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.” 

Jameson Irish Whiskey
Jameson Irish Whiskey

The Spruce Eats says this is the best choice for those new to drinking whiskey: “Jameson is arguably the best-known name in Irish whiskey. Not only is it readily available and reliable, but it’s also extremely affordable. Overall, it’s a great introduction for anyone who’s looking for their first taste of this whiskey style. Mix it into any cocktail or sip it straight — this one will not let you down either way.”

“If you’re a whiskey fan who hasn’t tried Jameson — or perhaps hasn’t tried it recently — let this be your chance. Affordable, supremely well balanced, and frankly very drinkable, Jameson has a clear claim to being the drink that made Irish Whiskey famous,” Country Living raves.

3. Teeling Small Batch

The Teeling Whiskey Distillery’s flagship product is Small Batch. It features a smooth flavor with notes of spices, caramelized sugar, vanilla and raisins.

Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey

Esquire recommends this whiskey, and here’s why: “Teeling was the first whiskey distillery to operate in Dublin in about 125 years when it opened back in 2015. The city is now home to several distilleries, but Teeling continues to chug away, releasing a variety of excellent sourced and in-house-distilled whiskeys of very high quality. The core expression is Small Batch, a blend of grain and malt aged in ex-bourbon barrels before being married together in rum casks for up to a year.” 

“This is the ideal whiskey for those who eschew spice in favor of a sweeter spirit. It has notes of baking spices and caramelized sugar on the nose, with flavors of vanilla and raisins on the palate. Typically hovering around $40, this Irish whiskey is a great buy, punching well above its price point. Try it in an Irish Coffee or sip it straight with some dark chocolate for a perfect after-dinner treat,” Liquor.com suggests.

Men’s Journal raves about this whiskey: “To make it, the company ages grain and malt whiskey in bourbon barrels, then brings the two together in rum casks. Depth and substance don’t even begin to describe what you get with the finished product.” 

4. Bushmills Irish Whiskey

Bushmills Irish Whiskey is a light and easy-sipping triple-distilled whiskey with hints of vanilla, honey and cinnamon. Wine Enthusiast thinks youll appreciate the flavors: “Light and easy-sipping, this light-gold whiskey has a grassy, slightly vegetal aroma, with a hint of Granny Smith apple. Look for vanilla and honey flavors, with a bit of cinnamon sizzle on the finish.”

Bushmill's copper pot stills for distilling Irish whiskey
Bushmill’s copper pot stills for distilling Irish whiskey

And The Pioneer Woman talks up the tradition: “As one of the oldest whiskey distilleries in the world, Bushmills has more than 400 years of whiskey making experience. Their light, smooth, triple-distilled variety is perfect for anyone who wants a taste of Northern Ireland. The recipe hasn’t changed since the 1800s!” 

“There’s also a world of single malts from the distillery that you should definitely try if you have been sticking to Bushmills Original. The core range consists of 10-, 16-, and 21-year-old whiskeys aged in different cask types,” writes Esquire.

5. Tullamore D.E.W.

Tullamore D.E.W. whiskey is a smooth and versatile Irish whiskey, with notes of citrus and vanilla that make it perfect for sipping or mixing in cocktails. Town & Country calls it a favorite: “This blended Irish whiskey is a perennial favorite for its smooth finish and versatile, citrus-forward palette that makes it a perfect pick for fruitier cocktails like a classic sour.” 

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey
Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey

Food Network writes about its popularity worldwide: “Tullamore D.E.W. is actually the second most sold Irish whiskey in the world. The distillery was established in Tullamore, Ireland in 1829. Tullamore D.E.W. is a triple-distilled whiskey made from three types of grain that give this tipple a complex nose with lemon, spice, and smokey notes. Connoisseurs remark on its buttery mouthfeel and light almost nutty flavors from the inclusion of malted barley.” 

“It’s an immensely popular blended whiskey, giving Jameson a run for its money in sales around the world. Tullamore has been making whiskey onsite at its own distillery since 2014, after several decades at Midleton,” adds Esquire.

We hope these top five expert-recommended Irish whiskeys give you a taste of the Emerald Isle. As the Irish say, Slainté!

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7 Comments

  1. Patricia Straub says:

    Silkie from Donegal is the smoothest most delicious Irish whiskey I’ve ever had…

    And equally as delicious, if you enjoy a peated whiskey, is Connemara.

  2. Tommie Mitchell says:

    You lost me at John Jamieson. I will not drink a liquor made by a monster. You have no credibility, if you can find it necessary to promote anything that he is associated with. Buying a young girl, just to watch her be eaten by cannibals is not someone who has my vote for the next breath of life.

  3. LP says:

    Is this a joke ???

  4. B Coe says:

    Definitely a paid publication. What in the world?!

    Who are these “experts”?

  5. Kim Hoag says:

    B. Coe has it right. Shouting out the more commercially popular brands is pure advertising. Especially when you’re leaving out the most popular brand in Ireland, Powers.

  6. Boris Macartney says:

    The only way you could come up these these five is when you were being paid to do so! Powers Johns Lane, Green Spot, Blue Spot to name but three knock them out of the water. Shame on the pretent journalist!

  7. Thom says:

    I drink Tullamore daily and think this list is shite. At the least change the headline to ‘Entry level Irish Whiskeys’. And even then the list is shite.