Best Irish Whiskey – Audio

Irish whiskey is experiencing tremendous growth around the world. Irish whiskey is becoming more popular as people learn to appreciate its unique tastes and styles. As Irish whiskey becomes more popular, many want to learn more about it and how to enjoy it.

This guide will walk you through the best Irish whiskeys to indulge your palate

The Top Irish Whiskey Brands

Irish whiskey is one of the most popular liquors in the world. Here are some of the top brands available globally.

Popular Irish whiskey brands with tasting notes.
Best Irish Whiskey – The Top Irish Whiskey Brands

Jameson 

It’s no secret that Jameson Irish Whiskey is the most popular brand in Ireland and worldwide. Each bottle is steeped in our rich tradition and handcrafted with our best ingredients. It’s produced at the Midleton Distillery, which has operated since 1780.

Jameson is known for its smooth taste and is one of Ireland’s most significant exports. Aged in bourbon barrels, Jameson is sweet and light with a hint of caramel, honey, vanilla, and spice.

Bushmills

Bushmills is among the most widely available Irish whiskey brands in the United States. Its smooth, traditional style makes it a good choice for a wide range of cocktails.

Bushmills Irish Whiskey has been aging in whiskey casks since 1608 when Sir Thomas Phillips founded the firm. The distillery has become one of Ireland’s most reputable producers, known for variants like Black Bush and 1608 Midleton.

It’s a classic blend with a unique, smooth taste and aroma—the perfect mix of age and flavor. It’s medium-strength, with a light brown appearance and a fragrance that lingers in your nose. You’ll taste vanilla, honey, and citrus.

Powers

Powers has a red label with a gold Celtic knot on the bottle, making it easy to spot. Powers’ Signature Reserve is a single-pot still whiskey aged 12 years and bottled at 80 proof. It is considered an entry-level drink.

Powers gets its best grains from farms in the rich midlands of Ireland. The grains are then aged for about five years in carefully chosen oak casks before being bottled. This careful maturation process gives Powers its rich taste.

Red Breast

Red Breast is one of the most consistent, reliable, and easy-to-find whiskeys. The brand has existed for over 100 years in Ireland but has gained popularity in the U.S.

Irish whiskey is smooth, creamy, and light. Its fruity aromas hint at the rich fruit, vanilla, and honey flavors. It has a nice, smooth finish on the palate and a subtle tartness. The whiskey is rich amber and aged for at least six years in oak casks before bottling.

Tullamore Dew

Tullamore Dew is a smooth and mellow whiskey perfect for sipping over ice or in your favorite cocktail. It’s mostly made from malted and unmalted Irish barley distilled in copper pot stills. The result is a premium blended whiskey that is smooth, has a long history, and tastes great. It’s an easy whiskey to drink because it’s soft and refined with floral notes of caramel and vanilla.

What Is The Best Irish Whiskey?

‘Best’ is a very subjective term, but we’ll take it to mean most universally loved. There are many great Irish whiskey brands, but Jameson Irish Whiskey often stands out. It has a smooth taste and is perfect for sipping on the rocks. It’s affordable and consistently enjoyable, plus it comes in various options.

Jameson Irish whiskey bottle and glass infographic.
Best Irish Whiskey – What is the Best Irish Whiskey

Jameson Irish Whiskey combines the finest ingredients and traditions with a contemporary style. It continues to produce an authentic, smooth, and manageable whiskey with a bold flavor that’s not too sweet or smoky. Aged in oak barrels, Jameson has an appealing amber color and a subtle sweetness. Its lighter palate and delicate finish make it a popular after-dinner sipper and the perfect choice to enjoy neat or on the rocks. 

What Is The Most Popular Irish Whiskey?

Jameson is the most popular Irish whiskey by far, with 40 variants, including White Label, Gold Reserve, and Black Barrel. The brand’s growth has been consistent, with sales increasing annually, showcasing its solid position in the global spirits market. Jameson’s broad appeal is further evidenced by its availability in over 130 countries, making it a truly global brand​.

What Is The Best-Selling Irish Whiskey?

Not only is it the most popular Irish whiskey, but Jameson is also the best-selling one. In 2022, it sold roughly 4.2 million 9-liter cases in the U.S alone.

What Is The Finest Irish Whiskey?

In the eyes of most Irish whiskey connoisseurs, Redbreast 12-year-old from Midleton Distillery in County Cork is the finest Irish whiskey. It is a limited-edition bottle aged in sherry casks, giving it a deep amber color and a rich, complex flavor. It’s smooth and delicate, with nutty, buttery notes and a hint of sweetness. 

Redbreast is a blend with a deep and flavorful depth of flavor that’s balanced and easy to drink. It is available in a barrel-proof version that hasn’t been diluted or chilled.

What Is The Most Popular Irish Whiskey In Ireland?

Just like in the rest of the world, Jameson is the most popular Irish whiskey in Ireland and among the top-exported Irish whiskies. It’s a favorite among locals and tourists visiting Ireland; it sports the largest production output of any Irish whiskey brand and remains family-owned and run.

This isn’t a Fosters beer situation, where it’s popular overseas but not in its home country.

What Is Irish Whiskey?

If you want a closer look, check out our article: What is Irish Whiskey.

Irish whiskey is a liquor derived from the original distillation of grains and fermented malted barley. It’s one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the world, and its taste and history have given it a name. 

Pouring Irish whiskey into glass, characteristics and flavor notes.
Best Irish Whiskey – What Is Irish Whiskey

It has a long and famous history. Its blends and single malts show the true spirit of Ireland and are based on centuries of tradition. It was made to curb the English ban on distilling spirits in the middle of the 18th century. Until the late 20th century, when competition from Scottish and American brands intensified, the beverage became known as “Irish” whiskey. Since then, export sales have increased to over 130 million bottles yearly.

Irish whiskey has an alcohol content of 40% ABV. It’s usually distilled three times, but most modern brands use a column still for the last distillation.

How Irish Whiskey Tastes

There are many kinds of Irish whiskey, each with its unique taste. Many Irish whiskeys are triple distilled and then matured in either traditional oak or bourbon-style casks for a long time. The process results in bold, strong flavors with lots of fruity sweetness and vanilla.

Irish whiskey’s flavors are a bit more complex, but they often include oaky notes, vanilla, and caramel derived from the aged barrels.

It tastes like the rich, rounded flavor of barley, lightly sweetened by limestone water, with a touch of smoke. It’s one of the most complex spirits you can drink—whether you prefer it on the rocks or in a cocktail, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this delicious and unique style of whiskey.

How To Drink Irish Whiskey

If you want a deeper dive on the best way to taste your whiskey, check out our article on how to drink Irish whiskey.

In Ireland, whiskey is an everyday drink. Whether served neat in a single-malt glass or over crushed ice with a small amount of water or soda, the “best” way to consume Irish whiskey will be up to preference. 

Most drink it neat or with a single ice cube. Irish whiskeys have a high level of proof, so though mixers may add interesting flavors, they can dilute the alcohol. The most common addition is water, but it’s better to add a few drops of any spirit to bring out the flavors in the whiskey.

What Can You Mix With Irish Whiskey?

The best thing to mix with Irish whiskey is ice. Using lots of ice removes some of the alcohol’s burns, making it easier to sip on your drink for longer. 

Irish whiskey mix options infographic.
Best Irish Whiskey – What Can You Mix with Irish Whiskey_

Typically, it’s best to mix Irish whiskey in a 1:1 ratio. For example, if you want to make a cocktail with 2 oz of Irish whiskey, add 2 oz of your preferred mixer.

Irish whiskey is more assertive than Scotch, so it mixes well with brandy, rum, and amaretto. When drinking Irish whiskey, you should always be careful to combine it with a lighter, sweeter spirit. For example, mix it with ginger ale, cola, or apple cider.

What Irish Whiskey Goes Best With Baileys?

Baileys is a creamy, indulgent liqueur popularly served in coffee and cocktails. Made from triple-distilled Irish whiskey, it delivers fruity notes with a hint of chocolate and nuttiness.

Baileys tastes like brown sugar, which goes well with Irish whiskey. The caramel and vanilla notes go well with Bushmills and Jameson, which have lighter whiskey tastes.

What Is The Best Irish Whiskey To Drink Straight?

There are many great Irish whiskeys to drink straight, and it depends on your palate and what flavors you like. With so many to choose from, try a few different types and see which one you prefer.

Jameson, Bushmills, and Tullamore Dew are the best Irish whiskeys to drink straight. Each distillery creates its own taste by mixing different things with bourbon grain and malted barley. The three distilleries also offer variants like Jameson Black Barrel, Bushmills Original, and Tullamore Dew 12-Year-Old Single Malt, which are each delicious and worth trying.

Conclusion

Irish whiskey is a unique drink that has balanced tradition and modern innovation. There are many brands and styles, and it’s best to understand what you’re trying to buy. 

If you’re looking for a new whiskey, plenty of excellent Irish whiskeys are worth considering. Among the most notable are Jameson, Bushmills, and Tullamore Dew. Whatever your favorite brand, enjoying those delicious Irish whiskey flavors is essential.