Irish whiskey is some of the best whiskey in the world. There’s a straightforward reason for this: It’s triple distilled. The Irish started this practice way back in the 1800s, to differentiate their spirits from the Scotch and American whisk(e)ys, which were a lot dirtier and less refined at the time. More distillation meant cleaner booze. Add in a great aging regimen with bourbon oak or used sherry casks — or both — and you have a fine spirit that’ll warm you down to your very soul.
This tradition of great whiskey making has taken some serious hits over the last 100 years, thanks to unfair British trade tariffs, American prohibition, and the resurgence of Scotch after World War II. But as whiskey became more popular in the last decade, so did Irish whiskey. And, now, stills are expanding and reopening. One of the most remarkable among these came when the Teeling Brothers brought whiskey distilling back to Dublin after a 100+ year hiatus — officially marking a renaissance (whiskeyaissance, if you will).
With St. Paddy’s day here, Christopher Osburn and I decided it was high time to pool some of our favorite Irish sips into one spot. Below are some of the best bottles you can buy for under $50, just in time to celebrate. Sláinte!
THE SEXTON SINGLE MALT
Broadly speaking, Irish whiskeys tend to be blends (often of maize and barley). So Irish single malts are something to be revered. The Sexton is one worth getting excited about.
This little bottle was just released through the Bushmills still up in Northern Ireland. It’s aged for four years in sherry casks, which imbue a sweetness that leans towards toffee. There’s a real sense of the Spanish oak underpinning the bite of alcohol with echoes of chocolate in the background. It’s a real delight and a steal price-wise. A single malt for under 30 bucks? Sign us up!