In honor of this St. Patty’s Day, the Whiskey Goldmine has compiled our list of the best whiskeys from Ireland. From sipping neat, on the rocks or in a shot, we give you a magnum opus of whiskey classics. The following whiskeys are an absolute must try!
1. Powers Special Reserve 12 Years Aged Irish Whiskey
Powers Special Reserve 12 years aged is crafted from the finest Irish Barley and water, triple distilled and matured in American Oak casks. Powers 12 doesn’t need to any ice; this whiskey should be sipped neat. Scoring 91 points from Malt Advocate Magazine, Powers 12 is a complex and flawless whiskey. The regular Powers Gold Label is the best selling whiskey in Ireland. Yes, it crushes Jameson in sales actually.
2. Redbreast 12 Year Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Redbreast 12 Year is perhaps the smoothest Irish whiskey in the world. With a scotch like complexity and slight sweetness, Redbreast has a perfect whiskey flavor with a flawless bite. Redbreast 12 Year is the only aged pure pot still whiskey in the world and is matured in sherry and bourbon casks.
3. Tullamore Dew 12 Year Old Special Reserve
Founded in Tullamore, Offaly County in the heart of Ireland in 1822, this “legendary” Irish Whiskey is famous for it’s copper pot still blend. Triple distilled and aged in American Oak and Spanish Olorosso Sherry Casks, Tullamore Dew 12 is a sweet and complex Irish Whiskey with notes of malt, nuts and oak. “Give everyman his Dew!”
4. Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve
The Jameson 18 is a Blended Irish Whiskey is handpicked by the Master Distiller. Aged in American Oak Bourbon Casks and Olorosso Sherry Casks, the Jameson 18 Year Old is a classic!
5. Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Aged in Madeira casks and scoring a 98 by the beverage tastings institute, the Tyrconnell is a bit pricey but also critically acclaimed. Tyrconnel 10 Year has pioneered the single malt revolution in Irish Whiskey. It’s an absolute must try.
6. Knappogue 12 Years Aged Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Distilled in copper pots with malted barley and aged in oak casks, Knappogue 12 is made with pure Irish spring water which creates a very light, smooth and easy drinking style. Well rounded with medium intensity and a clean finish, Knappogue is a uniquely light but complex whiskey that still retains character.
7. Bushmills 16 Year Old Irish Whiskey
Bushmills 16 Year Old is triple cask matured in a combination of seasoned American Oak Bourbon Casks and Sherry Olorosso Casks, and finished for a few months in Port Wine Casks. The triple cask maturation gives this whiskey one of the best finishes in the world.
8. Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Scoring a 93 by the Beverage Tasting Institute and a 90 by Wine Enthusiast, this little known but critically acclaimed single malt Irish whiskey is very well rounded and one of the most underrated Irish Whiskeys ever made.
9. Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve
The Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve Blended Irish Whiskey is a triple distilled, pot still and sherry cask blend. The 12 year took the gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2007 & 2009. The Jameson 12 is very smooth and dry with a great scent and taste of malts; with notes of oak, wood and spice. The Jameson 12 is a full bodied Irish whiskey, with a slight sweet, rich and full finish.
1o. Tullemore Dew Blended Irish Whiskey
Tullamore Dew is the 2nd best selling Irish Whiskey in the world and is also growing the fastest. Tullamore Dew has won 22 gold medals in the last 10 years and is simply one of the best whiskey shots in the world.
11. Green Spot
12. Powers Gold Label
Powers Gold Label is the best selling whiskey in Ireland. Yes, it crushes Jameson in sales actually.
Only 180 people populate the Isle of Jura, and the Jura distillery lies on the east side of the island. Distilling scotch on the remote island of Jura dates back to the 1600’s and the Jura distillery just celebrated their 200 year anniversary in 2010. The island of Jura is just 7 miles wide and 30 miles long with one road, one hotel and one distillery. In Gaelic, the people of Jura are known as Diurachs and known for their hunting, shooting, fishing, sailing, lobster, and of course, single malt scotch. The Jura 16 Year Single Malt is aged just off the beach on the Isle of Jura and gets much of its complex characteristics from the ocean air. Matured no less than 16 years, this single malt Scotch whisky is simply one of the best in the world period. All we can say is WOW!
The Jura 16 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky Tasting Notes:
With a scent of ocean air, oak and syrup, thw Jura has notes and flavors of oak, syrup, honey and has real complexity. Smooth yet very complex, this is the perfect single malt scotch and comes with our highest recommendation.
One of Ireland’s best and most famous whiskeys, Tullamore Dew was first distilled in 1829. Now, this staple of Irish whiskey has released a signature single malt that could be the most unique Irish whiskey’s on the market. Tullamore Dew 10 Year Single Malt is the only Irish whiskey aged in four different casks, Old Bourbon, Dry Oloroso Sherry, Port and Madeira casks. When most people think single malt, their assuming single malt scotch, however, single malt merely means the whiskey is made with malt only and whiskey from one distillery. As opposed to most whiskies which are blends and a mix of grains and different whiskies from different distilleries, this Irish single malt is a contemporary distinction in the maturation of whiskey.
Bourbon casks are used in most Irish whiskeys and Scotches, however, the Sherry, Port and Madeira Cask addition is where this whiskey separates itself. Most will claim that these three casks are used to ad sweetness to the whiskey and many times that is the case, however, the Tullamore Dew 10 Year Single Malt isn’t just an Irish whiskey with added sweetness, but an Irish whiskey with real character.
The Tullamore Dew 10 Year Single Malt Tasting Notes:
A very unique flavor for any whiskey, there are notes of oak, wood, malt, fruit and vanilla. Slightly smooth and more complex than the average Irish whiskey, this is solid and we recommend giving it a try.
The Crown Royal Cask No 16 is a blended Canadian Whisky made up of more than 50 different individually aged whiskies. Winning the award of best Canadian Whisky of the year by Malt Advocate, the Crown Royal No 16 is a hand crafted blend. The whiskey is matured for the majority of its aging in whiskey barrels but then transferred to oak cognac barrels made from the Limousin forest in France. The cognac casks are marked with the signature 16 to indicate their place of origin in Limousin. This is an exceptional Canadian Whisky, with character and complexity not often found in Canadian Blends. For the first time ever, Crown Royal Master Blender Andrew Mackay brought together Crown Royal Whisky with Cognac.
Crown Royal Cask No 16 Tasting Notes:
With scents of oak, malts, grains and sugar, and a sweet scent with slight hint of honey or syrup, the Crown Royal Cask No 16 is a very smooth whisky. More complex than the average Canadian whisky but sometimes too smooth and a thin mouth feel with thin smooth finish the flavors of oak are very cognac esque while the flavors of grain distinct to Crown Royal. This is a very good whiskey for a Canadian Blend. We highly recommend this for Cognac drinkers. Priced at about $70.
A Blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero & Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes
By Matt Goldstein
When choosing Chianti, the first rule is to always choose a Riserva. A Chianti Reserva has been aged at least 27 months in the winery and has much more character as a wine. The Riserva Chianti might be a few more dollars but it’s worth it, as the complexity of the wine, more than makes up for it. The second rule for drinking Chianti is to always let it breath. Most red wines should breathe for a few minutes but the Chianti must breathe for at least 30 minutes to reach its full potential. Open the bottle of wine, and don’t touch it for 30 minutes. When you pour the Chianti in your glass, make sure you swirl it around a bit. You can also swirl the bottle. The glass swirling does not make you a wine snob; it just makes the wine good. As evident with all Chianti’s the Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva was flat and almost flavorless when first opened. However, after it opened for about a half hour, the wine reached its full complex potential. This is a solid wine with a well balanced dry and bitterness in the finish. Most all Chianti’s are made with the Sangiovese grape, about 70-80% of the blend. The other grapes in the Banfi Riserva are the Canaiolo Nero and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. This is a solid wine for $15 but we probably wouldn’t pay $20 for it. The Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva is worth a try, just make sure you let it breath.
About the Banfi Chianti Classico Reserva
Almost exclusively Sangiovese.
The alcoholic fermentation with a medium period of maceration is followed by 2 years of aging in Slavonian oak barrels (60-120 hl). The wine concludes its evolution with an at least 6-month bottle aging.
Colour: mauve red. Bouquet: intense with notes of vanilla, liquorice and chocolate. Taste: round, spicy, elegant and well structured.
Celebrating the best Tuscan tradition Banfi offers a family of Chianti wines varied and complementary, unique in its style. Chianti Riserva is produced from selected grapes grown in the “Classico” region of Chianti between Siena and Firenze. It is elegant, well-balanced, full-bodied with a very long aging potential.
It superbly accompanies meat dishes and typical Tuscan cuisine.
Alcohol content: 12,5 to 13% vol. following the season condition.
This Highland Malt is Perhaps a Bit Overpriced and Pedestrian
By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight
After recently being named Distiller of the year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, we tasted the Glenmorangie 18 Years aged Single Malt and we can understand the enthusiasm behind this great distillery. On the other hand, we also tasted the Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or at Philadelphia’s Union Trust Streakhouse. First, the Union Trust overcharged for about $22 per glass. Maybe the bartender made a mistake considering the Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon was only $15. Any who, not to hold that against Glenmorangie, but the Nectar D’Or seemed to under perform. Perhaps a bit pedestrian, and perhaps a bit overpriced, the Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or was solid, but nothing special. Non chill filtered, the Nectar D’Or is aged in French Oak which is rare for a single malt scotch. We respect and appreciate Glenmorangie’s willingness to be different but we’re not sure if they created anything special here by branching out. The Casks are hand selected wine barriques from Sauternes, a famous and ancient sweet wine growing region of France and the whisky is casked for a minium of 10 years.
The Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or is thin with an average scent. Having good flavor but thin overall and thin on the finish, this is a solid single malt scotch, but nothing great when compared in its class. The Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or won a few silver medals in 2008 and 2009.
When the Whiskey Goldmine releases our Top 10 Single Malt Scotch list in the next few weeks, the Macallan Cask Strength is destined for the top 5. This single malt is a flat out masterpiece. The Macallan Cask Strength is aged for a minimum of 10 years in Spanish Oak casks, handcrafted and seasoned by Sherry in Jerez. The Macallan cask strength is bottled straight from the barrel without chill filtration or adding any water, as opposed to what is normally done in almost all scotches, not to mention all whiskeys. The genius of this whisky is just that, it’s just the single malt Scotch whisky in its natural state making the statement in your glass. One could search their entire lives looking for a 10 years aged single malt with this much complexity and undoubtedly come up short.
The color is a deep red, almost a mahogany. The flavor and mouth feel are a complex and sweet syrup, with beautiful notes of wood. With hints of vanilla, fruits, spices and oak, the flavor, mouth feel, and finish is just on another level than other premium single malts. Almost like a pancake meeting maple syrup for the first time, no other premium single malt is this rich and complex.
Perhaps the craziest attribute of the Macallan Cask Strength is just that, its strength. There is no water added and the whisky is bottled straight from the barrel, 58.5% ABV, 117 proof. Yet, with the strong character of the cask strength is still an exceptionally smooth and beautiful whisky. Compared to other premium single malts, the Balvenie 15 year Single Barrel is 47,8%, the Talisker 10 year is 45.8%, Highland Park 12 year is 43%, and the Oban 14 year is 43%. That would mean that the Macallan Cask Strength has almost a 35% higher ABV than Highland Park and Oban.
This Macallan Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch comes with our highest recommendation. This is perhaps the most exception single malt we’ve ever tasted and in its price range and maturation, one will find it extremely difficult to match.
We’ve already tasted the Herradura Anejo Tequila multiple times and it’s simply of the best tequilas on the market, complex and exquisite. The Herradura Blanco is quite the same when compared to other silver and blanco tequilas. Smooth, refreshing and flavorful, the Herradua Silver Tequila is a better tequila than Patron, but for about half the price. We highly recommend all Herradura tequilas. This smooth, clean tequila is aged for 45 days to add a hint of color and oak to its tangy citrus character, which brings more agave flavor and unparalleled pleasure to a margarita.
Color: Light straw
Aroma: Green and cooked agave with herbal and slightly woody notes
Taste: Agave, woody notes and slightly citric flavor
With the recent resurgence of Bourbon, America’s signature whiskey, Rye whiskey has also experienced a major resurgence. This year’s sixth release of the Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection begins arriving in stores this week. It includes dual 375ml bottles – one that has been matured in a new charred cask and one matured in an aged cask. Both are from a 100% rye recipe but the difference in the final product is the manner of maturation.
Tasting Notes for Woodford Reserve New Cask Rye
Color: Golden brown.
Aroma: Cinnamon and delicate mint spice sweetened with a balance of oak aromatics, tobacco leaf, honey vanilla, caramel and ripe apple fruit.
Taste: A creamy balance of new cask sweetness with spiced apple and rich berry fruitiness.
Finish: Smooth with rich fruit and warming spice hints.
Tasting Notes for Woodford Reserve Aged Cask Rye
Color: Light straw.
Aroma: Grassy rye grain with hints or citrus, vanilla and spice.
Taste: Distinct soft fresh rye and malt grain dusted with vanilla and sweet oak character.
Finish: Fresh and clean with caramelized green apple crispiness and a hint of rye.
A Complex Three Time Double Gold Medal Winning Tequila
By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight
Made with 100% blue agave, Herradura is considered the only 100% hacienda made tequila in the world. The Herradura Anejo Tequila is barreled for two years making it an exceptionally refined tequila. Since 1962, Herradura has been proud to offer this delicious aged tequila. Barrelling for two years in oak is twice as long as suggested by the category standards. The Herradura Anejo Tequila is smooth with a heavy oak flavor and no sour aftertaste. This anejo is refined and complex with the flavor of a whiskey, an attribute only found in the most aged exquisite tequilas. We highly recommend the Herradura Anejo. See below for more facts, tasting notes and awards.
Color: Dark amber
Aroma: Intense cooked agave and spice, toasted oak and nutty notes
Taste: Very smooth with cooked agave and dried fruit
Finish: Smooth, creamy finish
Age: 2 years
Alcohol Content: 40%
HERRADURA AÑEJO TEQUILA
2010 The SIP Awards Platinum Award
2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Silver Medal Award
2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Silver Medal Award
2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Silver Medal Award
2008 International Wine and Spirits Competition Bronze
2007 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold Medal Award
2007 Spirits of Mexico Gold Medal Awards
2006 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Gold Medal Award
2006 International Wine and Spirits Competition Gold Medal Award
2001 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold Medal Award
2000 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold Medal Award