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The Tastiest, Best-Value Bottles Of Irish Whiskey In The $50 Range

Stumbling into a really good bottle of Irish whiskey at an accessible price range isn’t too difficult in the U.S…. yet. But as Irish whiskey becomes more and more ubiquitous on liquor store shelves, the chance for confusion as to what is and what isn’t tasty is increasing. That’s why you have us.

Speaking personally, I have a deep love for Irish whiskey. In fact, I’d say I prefer it to bourbon. Sorry Kentucky, I hope you’ll forgive me. The beauty of Irish whiskey is in the refinement of the triple distilling and the practice of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casking. For me, those flavors hit notes I deeply enjoy — brighter and lighter than bourbon’s honeyed sweetness.

The ten bottles below are all standouts in the $30 to $50 price range. Obviously, some of them are preferred to others — I ride-or-die for Redbreast — but they’re all perfectly drinkable, excellent value, and are readily available for delivery.

Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Eire Born Spirits, Old Bushmills Distillery, Ulster
Average Price: $30

The Whiskey:

Conor McGregor’s tipple is not without controversy. That’s built into the brand of McGregor himself, at the end of the day. The juice here is a blend of 100 Irish whiskeys under the supervision of master distiller David Elder, who McGregor lured away from Guinness. Ex-bourbon barrels are used for the finish.

Tasting Notes:

This is a lighter dram, with a note of bourbon vanilla and oak on the nose. There are hints of orchard fruit alongside a bit of butterscotch alcohol burn. This isn’t the best sipper of the bunch but makes for a great mixing whiskey for cocktails or highballs.

Powers Gold Label

ABV: 43.2%
Distillery: Irish Distillers, Midleton (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $35

The Whiskey:

Powers has a long, deep line of solid Irish whiskey expressions and this is the gateway to that label (and, I’d argue, the gateway to Irish whiskey overall). The bottle is made from a blend of single pot and grain whiskeys produced at the famed Midleton Distillery in County Cork.

Tasting Notes:

Wildflowers and honey with a sense of cereals greet you. There’s sourdough bread essence with salted butter and lots of jam. A mild alcohol warmth comes through the florals, fruits, and sour grains on the short finish.

Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Irish Distillers, Midleton (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $37

The Whiskey:

Jameson aged in stout casks feels like the best possible finishing technique there is for Irish whiskey. Jameson sends used whiskey casks to Eight Degrees Brewing where they age their stout in them. Then those casks are sent back to Jameson so they can finish their whiskey in those same casks for an additional six months.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a bit of a bourbon vanilla creaminess up front that lends itself to a bolder nose. The taste ebbs into dark chocolate, more vanilla, and a bit of spice. There’s a whisper of creamy stout on the end but it’s really the whiskey flavors themselves that shine through.

Roe & Co. Irish Whiskey

ABV: 45%
Distillery: Roe & Co. Distillery, Dublin (Diageo)
Average Price: $40

The Whiskey:

Speaking of stout, Roe & Co. is the Diageo distillery built on the grounds of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin. The juice in the bottles is a blend of grain and malt whiskeys that are aged in former bourbon barrels.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a creamy spicy pudding sense with a clear note of oak up top. Tart apples baked in cinnamon-spiked brandy lead towards a baked bread maltiness. The finish is long and keeps the spice, tart, and sweetness all toying with the senses.

Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey

ABV: 46%
Distillery: Teeling Distillery, Dublin
Average Price: $40

The Whiskey:

Teeling is the craft distillery that brought distilling back to Dublin after a century of quiet. The juice in this expression is unique in that it’s first aged using bourbon but then goes into Central American rum barrels, adding a new dimension to the tipple.

Tasting Notes:

This whiskey almost has a Tennessee whiskey feel to it with a note of banana and vanilla on the nose. There are hints of citrus next to dark spices as a hint of coconut milk rushes through the palate. Finally, the sip lingers as the fruit and sweetness fade, leaving a bit of oaky spice.

Tullamore D.E.W. Aged 12 Years

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ABV: 40%
Distillery: Tullamore Distillery, Tullamore (William Grant & Sons)
Average Price: $45

The Whiskey:

This is a classic Irish whiskey expression. The juice is a blend of single malt, grain, and single pot still whiskeys that have been aged in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks.

Tasting Notes:

Bourbon vanilla and fruit orchard florals dance together on the nose. The sip has a note of herbals and nuttiness that leads back towards a plummy vanilla essence. The end lingers as hints of spice warm the senses and a tiny wisp of smoke finishes things off.

Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey Original

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Cooley Distillery, Cooley (Beam Suntory)
Average Price: $47

The Whiskey:

If you love peaty scotch, then this is going to be your jam. This single malt uses malts dried over heavy peat fires to imbue a real sense of smokiness into the dram. The juice is still triple distilled and is then mellowed in former bourbon barrels.

Tasting Notes:

Yes, you’re going to get smokiness from the get-go alongside wildflowers and a little bit of barrel char touched by honey. The charred bitterness leans towards dark chocolate as the honey rises to the top of the palate. In the end, it’s the peat and honey that win the day as the taste slowly fades out.

Egan’s Vintage Grain

ABV: 46%
Distillery: P. & H. Egan Ltd, Tullamore
Average Price: $48

The Whiskey:

This is a new Irish whiskey operation that’s a heritage brand, or reopening, much like Teeling above. The juice is still being sourced for these bottles. But the single grain expression inside is quality whiskey that’s aged for at least eight years in ex-bourbon barrels.

Tasting Notes:

Single grains are a bit lighter than more robust blends. This one has a clear sense of orchard fruit and vanilla upfront, not unlike a young bourbon. Fruit, spice, vanilla, and a hint of malty sweetness carries the easy-drinking sip towards a short end with a note of barrel and a bit of alcohol warmth.

Bushmills Single Malt Aged 10 Years

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Old Bushmills Distillery, Bushmills (Casa Cuervo)
Average Price: $50

The Whiskey:

This Irish single malt is classically rendered. The mash is triple distilled in old copper pot stills before aging in mostly ex-bourbon barrels (though ex-sherry is used too). The end result is a masterful expression of Irish whiskey.

Tasting Notes:

Tart apples, fatty walnuts, over-ripe bananas, and a hint of bourbon vanilla lead the way. There’s an even spiciness that’s supported by a honey sweetness as the nuts, florals, and fruits mingle on the tongue. A bit of malt and oak come in late and linger as the sip fades out.

Redbreast Aged 12 Years

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Irish Distillers, Midleton (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $52

The Whiskey:

This is a little above the $50 mark but 100 percent worth the extra couple of dollars. The juice is a mix of malted and unmalted barley that’s triple distilled in old copper pot stills. The juice is then transferred to both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks for over a decade before they come together to make this exemplary expression.

Tasting Notes:

Soda bread baked with orange zest arrives first. Christmas spices in a candied-fruit-filled fruit cake mix with a vanilla pudding creaminess. The sip takes its time to fade out, as all of those spices, vanilla, and fruit fade away — tempered by the oakiness and malt.

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