15 Best Irish Whiskeys in 2022 (Irishman's Guide) (2022)

Emails with the subject line ‘What is the best Irish whiskey?’ hit our inboxeveryweek, without fail.

And it’s averytough question to answer, as taste is subjective. So, treat any guide to the ‘best Irish whiskey brands’ with a hint of caution (even this one).

So, why should you read on? Well, below I’ve chopped up our guide into the best Irish whiskeys for those completely new to the drink and placedlotsof recommendations for those of you well used to whiskeys, Irish or otherwise.

Below, you’ll find good Irish whiskey brands to try if you’re a first timer to top shelf Irish whiskeys for those of you looking to add to your collection.

The best Irish whiskey brands to try if you’re new to whiskey

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The first section of our guide is for those of you that are looking for Irish whiskeys that are a good first-time-tipple option.

These are Irish whiskey brands that tend to have a less severe taste, and that those new to Irish whiskey tend to find more palatable.

1. Redbreast 12 Year

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This is the smoothest Irish whiskey, in my opinion. With multiple awards to its name, you’re going to be in safe hands with Redbreast 12 Year Old if you’re new to whiskey! This single pot still whiskey has been in existence for over 100 years now and, while Redbreast offers a range of styles, the 12 Year Old is the one you should go for.

Often referred to as ‘Christmas Whiskey’ because of the fruit sherry casks that it is kept in, its tasting notes include hints of marzipan, dried fruits and spices and is perhaps one to save for the festive season.

This is a good Irish whiskey for first timers as it’s smooth and has an almost vanilla or caramel-like taste. This is regarded as one of the best Irish whiskey brands by many forverygood reason!

2. Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey

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Created in 1829 and later prospering under general manager Daniel E Williams (hence D.E.W. in the name), Tullamore D.E.W is the second largest selling brand of Irish whiskey globally.

That popularity makes it pretty accessible for those new to whiskey and the triple blend is known for its smooth and gentle complexity. Expect a good body with notes of sherried peels, honey, grains and vanilla cream with a caramel and toffee finish.

This is a good Irish whiskey to drink straight as it’s smooth, sweet and doesn’t have the harsh finish that comes with some Irish whiskeys. It also tends to be pretty cheap (in Ireland, for example, it retails at around €30 for a 700ml bottle).

3. Jameson Irish Whiskey

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Even the most uninitiated of whiskey newcomers will have heard of Jameson, and may even have tried it during their life at some point. Ireland’s most famous whiskey has been going since 1780 and is a perennial fixture among the spirits behind most bars.

(Video) The Best Irish Whiskeys Of 2022

The body has notes of orchard fruits, both fresh and cooked with a little vanilla cream and the finish is medium-length with spice and honey.

Although you can of course drink it straight, this is one of several Irish whiskey brands that’s often dressed up a dash of ginger and lime.

Related read:Check out our guide to the tastiest Irish drinks (from Irish beers and Irish gins to Irish stouts, Irish ciders and more)

4. Kilbeggan

Established in 1757, Kilbeggan claims to be Ireland’s oldest licensed distillery and, after battling through a painful closure in 1953, it was revived by locals 30 years later who’ve kept it going ever since.

Based in Kilbeggan in County Westmeath, their double-distilled blended whiskey features a good body with honeyed sweetness and malt while the finish is short with oaked dryness. It’s a fine complement to a Coke or a soda, though we’d recommend drinking it neat to truly understand its nuances.

5. Roe & Co.

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Situated inside the imposing former Guinness Power House in Dublin’s Liberties district, Roe & Co. is named after legendary 19th-century whiskey pioneer George Roe and only began distilling in 2017.

Go for their 45% blended Irish whiskey with its palate of velvety texture and sweet flavours including spiced pears and vanilla. This gentle introduction finishes with a light creaminess that’s very pleasant for any whiskey newcomer and it goes great in Irish whiskey cocktails.

Popular Irish whiskies for the experienced palate

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Photo left: Via Midleton Very Rare. Right: Shutterstock

The second section of our guide looks at some of the best Irish whiskey brands for those that are accustomed to the amber fluid.

Below, you’ll find some good Irish whiskeys to sample if you’re looking to extend your collection or if you want to buy a particularly good bottle as a gift.

1. Green Spot Irish Whiskey

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Photo left: Via Greenspot. Right: Shutterstock

There was a time when this single pot still Irish whiskey was only available from Dublin grocer Mitchell’s. Part of Mitchell’s ‘spot’ range, it’s been on sale continuously since the early 1900s but now its reach is global and thus (thankfully for us!) far more widely available.

The nose features hints of peppermint, malt, sweet barley, creamy vanilla and citrus, while the palate is spicy and soft. Enjoy its creamy long vanilla finish.

2. Bushmills 21 Year Single Malt Irish Whiskey

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On the wild north coast of Ireland, the Bushmills Distillery has stood proud for over 400 years. Established in 1608, it claims to be the oldest licensed distillery in the world. With water sourced from the River Bush and named after the mills that made the Barley, Bushmills is an Irish whiskey icon.

(Video) Top 10 "CLASSIC" IRISH Whiskeys (according to whiskey lovers)

Aged in Oloroso sherry and bourbon-seasoned casks, the 21 Year Single Malt Irish Whiskey is Bushmills’ pièce de résistance. With a nose of rich toffee, honey, spiced fruit notes and dark mocha, followed by a chewy palate and sweet syrupy finish, you can’t go wrong with this one.

You’ll see many describe Bushmills 21 Year Single Malt as the best Irish whiskey for those that have developed a taste for whiskeys. This one’s well worth a try!

3. Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey

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The first new distillery in Dublin for 125 years, the Teeling Whiskey Distillery is only a stone’s throw from where the original family distillery stood. Located in the heart of the Golden Triangle, Dublin’s historic distilling district, Teeling opened in 2015 and is part of the area’s vibrant whiskey revival.

Matured in Californian Cabernet Sauvignon casks, Teeling’s Single Grain Irish Whiskey is sweet and fairly light but packed full of flavour. The beautifully presented bottle also makes it the perfect gift.

If you’re looking to sip some whiskey in Ireland during your visit, I’d recommend giving Teeling’s a try. This distillery is going from strength to strength.

4. Powers Gold Label

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Powers Gold Label is a historic Irish whiskey that goes back over 200 years! First introduced in 1791 by John Power & Son, it was originally a single pot still whiskey but eventually evolved into a blend of pot still and grain whiskeys.

Enjoy its buttery shortbread palate with hints of cereal, pears and a little milk chocolate. The finish is short but spicy with honey lingering to the end and it goes really well in Irish cocktails.

5. Yellow Spot Single Pot Still 12-Year-Old Irish Whiskey

Discontinued in the 1960s before a great revival in 2012, Yellow Spot Single Pot Still 12-Year-Old Irish Whiskey is also part of the old Mitchell’s ‘spot’ range (see Green Spot above).

Matured in American bourbon casks, Spanish Sherry butts and Spanish Malaga casks for a sweeter flavour, its nose and palate is fruity and sweet with a velvety texture. The finish is long and sweet with notes of marzipan and dried apricots.

Related read:Wondering what the difference is between Irish whiskey vs Bourbon? See this guide.

6. Writers Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey

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With an evocative name inspired by the creative thinkers and artists that defined Irish culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Writers Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey is a fine drop in a cool bottle.

Crafted and bottled by Walsh Whiskey Distillery, it’s aged in American bourbon barrels, producing a light, smooth flavor profile that’s extremely easy to drink.

7. Midleton Very Rare

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Photo left: Via Midleton Very Rare. Right: Shutterstock

(Video) TOP 5 Irish Whiskeys of 2021!

Produced at the New Midleton Distilleryeast of Cork, Midleton Very Rare is matured for about twelve to twenty years in ex-bourbon American Oak barrels and is one of the most expensive whiskeys regularly produced by Irish Distillers.

One of the coolest things about this lesser-spotted drop is that each bottle is individually numbered and signed by the Master Distiller, and sold in an accompanying wooden display case. Enjoy its ever-changing flavours ranging from fruity to tangy to spicy, with a very long finish.

If you’ve cash to splash (the 2021 vintage is €199 a bottle!) this a top Irish whiskey to add to even the most finely-stocked collections.

Lesser-know Irish whiskey brands that are well worth trying

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The final section of our guide to the best Irish whiskey brands takes a look at some lesser-known Irish whiskeys that pack a punch.

Below, you’ll find everything from the excellent West Cork Whiskey and the popular Slane Whiskey to some often-missed brands.

1. Slane Irish Whiskey

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Often associated with epic gigs and huge crowds, Slane’s whiskey is big on taste too (although an enormous concert probably isn’t the best place to appreciate all its notes and nuances).

The Boyne Valley’s clear water and lush soil provide a fine base for Slane’s triple casked whiskey.

Made using whiskeys drawn from virgin oak casks, seasoned casks (which previously contained Tennessee whiskey and bourbon) and Oloroso Sherry casks, there’s a ton of flavour in their whiskey and is well worth checking out.

2. Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey

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Not all peaty whiskeys come from Scotland, you know! Inspired by the 18th-century art of drying malting barley over peat fires, Connemara is the only Irish Peated Single Malt Whiskey widely available today.

Unsurprisingly, the nose is well-smoked and peated, and features floral notes with a honeyed sweetness and a little wood. Enjoy a full and smooth palate with a long, pungent finish full of honey and peat smoke.

All cards on the table, I struggle with peated Irish whiskeys, as the flavour and nose are so strong, but I know many that sip them on a regular basis.

Related read:Wondering what the difference is between Irish whiskey vs Scotch? See this guide.

3. West Cork Whiskey

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I’d argue that our next whiskey is one of the most overlooked Irish whiskey brands on the market.

(Video) 2022 Irish Whiskey of the Year: Teeling Blackpitts

From a small distillery in Skibbereen, West Cork Irish Whiskey is now sold in over 70 countries. Triple distilled and carefully crafted using the finest of local ingredients, West Cork Irish Whiskey is matured in entirely in bourbon casks and is a fine single malt if you can get your hands on it.

A light blend of grain and malt whiskies with big vanilla notes and a fruity finish, there are plenty of reasons for seeking out a bottle of West Cork.

4. Knappogue Castle Whiskey

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Named after historic Knappogue Castle (built in 1467) in County Clare, Knappogue Castle Irish Whiskey is a brand of premium single malt Irish whiskey. Triple distilled and aged in bourbon barrels for 12 years before bottling, this stuff isn’t easy to find but it’s a cracking drop if you do seek it out.

The palate features gentle oak spice and vanilla with hints of cut grass, while the lingering finish has a touch of orchard fruits.

What Irish whiskey brands have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some top Irish whiskey brands from the guide above.

If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

FAQs about the best Irish whiskeys

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What is the best Irish whiskey for newbie drinkers?’ to ‘What are some good top shelf Irish whiskey drinks?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What are the best Irish whiskey brands for newbies?

If you’re new to Irish whiskeys, Redbreast 12 Year, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Tullamore Dew are all excellent options, as they’re less severe tasting.

What is a good Irish whiskey to give as a gift?

Certain Irish whiskeys make great gifts. If you’re looking for a mid-range bottle, you can’t go wrong with Redbreast 12. If you have cash to splash try Midleton Very Rare.

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James March

James is a freelance travel writer and photographer. He‘s covered travel for everyone from The Washington Post and The Telegraph to Lonely Planet and Condé Nast Traveller. You’ll find him writing about everything from whiskey distilleries in Ireland to the best walks in Glendalough.

FAQs

What is the number one Irish whiskey in the world? ›

The top-ranked Irish whiskey, winning both Master and Taste Master, was Redbreast Ruby Port Casks 27 YO, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. The Redbreast 27 YO is a perennial winner in international spirit competitions and undeniably one of the world's great whiskies.

What is the number one selling Irish whiskey in Ireland? ›

Jameson has continued to reign supreme as it has for years. According to the International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR), Jameson sold eight million cases of product in Ireland alone.

Which is the best selling Irish whiskey in the world? ›

Jameson. Jameson is the world's leader in Irish whiskey, selling 31 million bottles annually.

What is the most popular style of Irish whiskey? ›

Irish Blend

Blended Irish whiskey is Ireland's most popular export with globally-renowned brands such as Jameson. Irish blends are a blend of single grain and single malt whiskies as well as single pot still Irish whiskey - with its 2 distinctive components, malted and un-malted barley.

What is the best Irish whiskey to invest in? ›

  • Best Overall: Knappogue Castle 12 Year Single Malt. ...
  • Runner-Up, Best Overall: The Sexton Irish Whiskey. ...
  • Best Value: Slane Irish Whiskey. ...
  • Best Under $50: Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey. ...
  • Best Splurge: Knappogue Castle 16 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey. ...
  • Best Single Malt: West Cork 8-Year Single Malt.

Is Tullamore Dew better than Jameson? ›

However, in the blind tasting, the Jameson came out better than the Tullamore DEW. The Jameson whiskey's nose is more elegant and softer, and on the palate, the Jamesons is smoother.
...
Side by Side: Tullamore DEW vs Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Tullamore DEW Irish WhiskeyJameson Irish Whiskey
ColourLight amberGold
8 more rows
Feb 15, 2021

What are the 4 types of Irish whiskey? ›

The Four Types of Irish Whiskey are Single Malt Irish Whiskey (both peated and unpeated), Single Grain Irish Whiskey, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey and Blended Irish Whiskey.

What is the best selling whiskey in the world? ›

That title belongs to Jack Daniel's with 12.3 million cases sold. Surprisingly, JD's total was actually down from 13.4 million cases the preceding year. So, even though Jack Daniel's is technically bourbon, since it considers itself a Tennessee Whiskey, that leaves Jim Beam the worldwide leader in the bourbon category.

What Irish liqueur is the most popular in the world? ›

Baileys Irish Cream is the most popular one on the market, and the brand made a light version with 40 percent less sugar and 40 percent less calories for the first time in 2021.

How do you choose Irish whiskey? ›

Choose an Irish whiskey with a smooth finish

That should be your first consideration. That's one major reason why Irish whiskey is so popular – there's less alcohol burn when drinking than with other types of whiskey. As a result, it's viewed as being more approachable.

What Irish liqueur is the most popular in the world? ›

Baileys Irish Cream is the most popular one on the market, and the brand made a light version with 40 percent less sugar and 40 percent less calories for the first time in 2021.

What is the most popular whiskey in the world? ›

What is the number one best-selling whisky brand in the world? For many years, Jack Daniel's has continued to take the spot as the world's biggest-selling whisky brand. The American brand sells around 13 million cases annually.

Where does Jameson Whiskey rank? ›

Jameson is now ranked in 43rd spot in IWSR's top 100 spirit brands, up from 48th place last year and 61st place in 2014. Jameson whiskey was one of the strongest-performing spirits globally last year, according to new figures which show Guinness owner Diageo has the highest number of leading brands.

What are the 4 types of Irish whiskey? ›

The Four Types of Irish Whiskey are Single Malt Irish Whiskey (both peated and unpeated), Single Grain Irish Whiskey, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey and Blended Irish Whiskey.

Videos

1. REDBREAST BUYER'S GUIDE for 2022
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2. The Top 20 Best Irish Whiskey Brands
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3. 4 Single Malt Irish Whiskeys to Try Now!
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4. 03-14-2022- Costco Haul - Whiskey Wandering - St Patrick's Day 5 Irish Whiskeys to buy at Costco!
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5. Top 10 Irish Whiskeys (according to whiskey lovers)
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