West Hartford Beverage Buzz is a column providing information and advice about wine, spirits, beer, and other libations and their accompaniments.
By Matt Whitney
St. Patrick’s Day is that time of year where for once everyone is just wee bit Irish. For the average imbiber on this hallowed day, responsible consumption might include one or more of the following: Guinness, mystery “green beer,” or the standard Irish Whiskey. But, here at Beverage Buzz, average imbibers we are not!
As we’ve seen a craft distillery revival here in the United States, the same is happening all over in Ireland. Did you know that for the last 100 or so years there had only been a handful of distilleries in all of Ireland? This is the place where whiskey was invented!
So, below you’ll find three Irish Whiskeys – to sample on St. Patarick’s Day or any other day – that are a step or two above ordinary but at the same time will leave a few extra shillings in your wallet:
Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey (MSRP $33.99)
This triple distilled whiskey is the smoothest of the bunch! Aged in both used bourbon and sherry casks, this self proclaimed “Legendary” whiskey has pretty fruit notes of orange zest and apricot. At 80 proof, this is an easy sipper, but its round complexity is accented by buttery vanilla and wood notes. You’ll find this locally for as little as $25, which makes it quite the bargain!
Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey (MSRP $33.99)
Over the past 10 or so Ireland has seen a renaissance when it comes to whiskey production. Before that there were only a handful of distilleries in the whole country and the idea of “craft Irish Whiskey” did not exist. The folks at Glendalough have revived the art of craft distilling in Ireland. They use a traditional Coffey still (an Irish invention) and age this whiskey in bourbon barrels for 42 months. They then finish it in Oloroso Sherry casks for six months giving a rounded finish. The complexity and history with this distillery is unique and one to seek out!
Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey (MSRP $39.99)
Teeling, like Glendalough, is a big part of the craft revival. Located in Dublin, they are the first new distillery to open in over 125 years. Their master distiller, Alex Chasko, gained expertise as a brewer in Portland, OR and is bringing that craft philosophy to the Teeling family. Teeling Small Batch whiskey is the richest of the bunch at 92 proof. Aged in ex-rum barrels, with no chill filtration, this whiskey exhibits bold flavors of vanilla and sweet spice with woody undertones. Delicious craft whiskey for the more adventurous imbiber!
We always say, drink what you like. But, if you’re interested in straying from the norm this St. Paddy’s Day, anyone of these whiskeys provides a nice introduction into what else is out there. The world of Irish Whiskey goes a lot deeper than the few brands we’ve always been used to! Slainte!
Got a whiskey or general beverage question? Email Matt at [email protected].
About Matthew Whitney
With over 12 years of industry experience, Matt is a manager of all things beverage at Maximum Beverage! Directly involved in business and creative development at both Maximum Beverage West Hartford and Farmington. Email: [email protected].