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Expensive Bottles Of Irish Whiskey That Are Actually Worth The Splurge

If I had my way, I’d probably never shut up about Irish whiskey. Yeah, I love me some Tennessee whiskey, Scotch single malt, dark rum, and so on. But besides bourbon, I’m most in love with the triple-distilled tipple from Ireland. Ironically, it’s probably what I drink the most of but write about the least. My favorite whiskey dram of all time even comes from Ireland — Redbreast Dream Cask Aged 32 Years.

There’s a refinement to Irish whiskey thanks to that third distillation, that is touched off nicely by the broad, but not universal, use of both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks in the aging process. The resultant expressions feel at once crisper (cleaner, some would say), brighter, and deeper. The flavors are rarely muddied the way bourbon sometimes gets.

The ten bottles of Irish whiskey below range from the $75 to $300-plus per bottle range. Generally speaking, these bottles are easily accessible for delivery right now and, in my humble opinion, worth tasting to help deepen your overall whiskey palate. Are they pricey? Yes. But they’re not ridiculously expensive and the value is definitely there for anyone craving a truly special sip.

Redbreast Single Pot Still Lustau Edition

ABV: 46%
Distillery: New Midleton Distillery, County Cork (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $75

The Whiskey:

We’re going to start with Redbreast and end with it because… well, because I love the stuff. This expression is a classic Irish whiskey that spends nine to 12 years in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. The juice is then married and spends a final year finishing in oloroso sherry casks from Bodegas Lustau in Jerez, Spain.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a sense of the oak next to a clear sherry plumminess and a hint of dark fruit up top. That fruit turns more towards prunes and dried apricot as a real sense of rye-heavy bourbon pepperiness kicks in with a fleeting sense of fresh herbs and vanilla. The sherry-soaked oak is what leads you towards a mellow finish that lingers for just the right amount of time while beckoning you to take another spicy, plummy, and fruit-filled sip.

Teeling Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

ABV: 46%
Distillery: Teeling Distillery, Dublin
Average Price: $75

The Whiskey:

This limited release could easily cost twice the current price tag. This Dublin-born expression is made from a 50/50 mash bill of malted and unmalted barley. The spirit is then aged in a combination of ex-bourbon, new oak, and ex-sherry casks before coming together in the bottle.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a subtly at play as small flourishes of bourbon vanilla dance with peppery spice and an earthy touch of freshly baled straw. That spice carries through as a note of honey sweetness counterpoints and leads toward a touch of an orchard in full bloom. The sip lasts on the palate as the spice, wood, and vanilla fade with a final note of that grassy/malty nature on the backend.

Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey Aged 12 Years

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Cooley Distillery, County Louth (Beam Suntory)
Average Price: $75

The Whiskey:

This is the Irish whiskey for the single malt scotch lover. It’s also the throwback to the time before Irish whiskey distinguished itself from scotch by being triple-distilled. This expression is twice-distilled from peated malted barley and is then aged in ex-bourbon casks for 12 long years.

Tasting Notes:

There are equal measures of sea brine and peat smoke up front. That peatiness creates a foundation for an oaky, spicy, and slightly vanilla-forward taste that flirts with the idea of fruit. The sip really is a delivery system for peaty smokiness with a sharp spicy counterpoint on the long finish.

Powers John’s Lane Release Aged 12 Years

ABV: 46%
Distillery: New Midleton Distillery, County Cork (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $90

The Whiskey:

Powers is generally a blended Irish whiskey with the exception of this expression. Named after the street where Powers used to be made in Dublin, this single pot expression spends 12 years mellowing in ex-bourbon barrels before heading into the bottle. That focus on bourbon makes this an excellent choice for any bourbon lover.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla, caramel, and Christmas spices with a hint of honey? Is this a bourbon or an Irish whiskey? The palate on this whiskey relishes in bourbon vanilla, more sharp and dark spices, and a honey-ed sweetness next to a clear sense of orchard fruits. The end is short-lived but bold with a sense of the barrel, spice, and vanilla.

Red Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Aged 15 Years

ABV: 46%
Distillery: New Midleton Distillery, County Cork (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $140

The Whiskey:

This masterfully-crafted whiskey is a revival from Dublin’s Mitchell & Sons. The 15-year-old whiskey is aged in a combination of ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, and ex-Marsala wine casks. The juice is then married and bottled with little to no fussing.

Tasting Notes:

Fruit leads the way with a leaning towards ripe stonefruits and red berries. Notes of vanilla, roasted nuts, and spice play supporting roles to the fruitiness of the dram. The sip ends slowly as the sweetness and tartness of the fruit fades away through a very distant wisp of smoke.

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Single Malt Aged 18 Years

ABV: 41.3%
Distillery: Old Tullamore Distillery, County Offaly (William Grant & Sons)
Average Price: $140

The Whiskey:

There’s a lot going on with this expression and it all somehow works. The juice is a blend of pot still, single malt, and grain whiskey that’s been variously aged in four barrels types. Ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, ex-Port, and former Madeira casks are utilized in the 18-year-long aging process. When it all comes together, it shines.

Tasting Notes:

Apple and peach orchards with big notes of wildflowers and honeycombs greet you. That refreshing opening is followed by oily vanilla beans, tart berries, and a spiced crème brûlée sugary nature. The fruit, florals, spice, and sweetness all linger on the senses as the sip delicately fades away.

Bushmills Single Malt Irish Whiskey Aged 16 Years

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Old Bushmills Distillery, County Antrim, Northern Ireland (Casa Cuervo)
Average Price: $150

The Whiskey:

This Northern Ireland classic is familiar yet unique. The juice is aged for 15 years in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry. Then the best casks are married and aged an additional year in old Port wine casks for that little something extra.

Tasting Notes:

The plummy nature of the port and sherry are accentuated by a roasted almond presence. Dried fruit, Christmas spices, and vanilla follow with a malty sense leaning towards an alcohol-soaked Christmas pudding. A splash of water (or cube of ice) brings about a dark chocolate powder bitterness and texture with a hint of tart fruit alongside all that dried fruit, spice, and plumminess.

Jameson Bow Street 18 Years

ABV: 55.1%
Distillery: New Midleton Distillery, County Cork & Jameson Distillery Bow Street, Dublin (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $165

The Whiskey:

This is a big whiskey. The juice is distilled and aged down in County Cork in the classic mix of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks for 18 years. The juice is then sent up to the Bow Street in Dublin where it’s casked in new American oak for a six to 12-month finishing. The final product is bottled at cask strength with no fuss.

Tasting Notes:

Oak, spice, and rich and buttery toffee lead the way on this subtle dram. That toffee becomes spiced with dark, woody spices as notes of vanilla, worn leather, and a fleeting sense of fatty nuts mingle on the palate. The sip takes its time as it walks back through the spice, wood, leather, and toffee towards a smile-inducing finish.

Egan’s Legacy Reserve Aged 15 Years

ABV:
Distillery: P. & H. Egan Ltd, County Offaly
Average Price: $215

The Whiskey:

This unique bottle is a very limited release (only 1,000 bottles made) from the Egan brothers. The sixth-generation whiskey makers hand-selected barrels from their 15-year-old barrels for this rollout and it doesn’t disappoint. Even at this price point, it’s worth it for the uniqueness of the expression and on-point experience of drinking the stuff.

Tasting Notes:

Vanilla toffees mingle with tart apple and a very distant hint of lemon oils. The sip has a velvet texture that carries maltiness underpinned my a mild peppery nature cut by more lemon tartness and brightness. The dram lasts well into the next sip as the vanilla, toffee, spice, and citrus meld.

Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Aged 21 Years

ABV: 46%
Distillery: New Midleton Distillery, County Cork (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $330

The Whiskey:

Before you lay out a few thousand dollars for a Redbreast Dream Cask or even $600 for a Redbreast 27, try a Redbreast 21. This expression is the same distillate that goes into the Lustau above. Except, this expression skips the Lustau casks and instead stays in the ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks until it hits 21 years old. The results are stunning.

Tasting Notes:

Everything is dialed up yet beautifully in balance. The sherry jamminess and nutty nature mix nicely with the tart fruits and dried fruits up top. The sip holds onto the sherry nuttiness as moments of rich vanilla, cedar, dark spice, and pear orchards come into play.

The sip just doesn’t quit, either — near the end, all that spice and wood fade away, leaving a final note of malted barley grain sweetness.

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