Most people are under the mistaken impression that Irish whiskey is an inferior product to that of its Scottish counterparts. Irish whiskey is in fact a wonderful drink that is often as good as, if not better, than many Scotch whiskies.

 

Many credit Ireland as the original birthplace of whisk(e)y and at certain points throughout history, Irish whiskey has even been considered to be a superior product to that of its Scottish rivals.

The Irish whiskey industry has suffered from long period of decline, with most of its once famous distilleries now having been shut down. Thankfully though, Irish whiskey has enjoyed a huge growth in popularity of late and is currently enjoying a resurgence.

Here we’ve picked out some of the best examples of Irish whiskey available for under £50 for you to enjoy.

Jamieson classic

It’d be impossible to start this list without covering the ubiquitous Jamieson, perhaps the most recogniseable, if not the most famous, Irish whiskey in the world. Interestingly, John Jameson, the man who created the whiskey, and indeed who is named after, John Jameson, was Scottish.
Originally one of the six main Dublin Whiskeys, Jameson is now distilled in Cork, and is the world’s third largest single distillery whisk(e)y. A mixture of malted and unmalted (green) barley, the spirit is then blended with a delicate grain spirit before being triple distilled. Matured in both sherry and borboun casks, Jameson Classic is perfectly smooth and delightfully fruity.

Approx. price: £18-20 Available from: All good supermarkets

Bushmills single malt 10 years old

The Old Bushmills Distillery claims to be the oldest surviving licenced distillery in the world (the distillery claims a heritage to a licence from James I in 1608), however the Bushmills distillery company was established in 1784. The fact that this claim is often disputed shouldn’t let the fact that this is a great whiskey be forgotten and Bushmills is quite rightly one of the most popular whiskey brands in the world.

We’ve chosen the ten year old malt because it is a single malt and therefore of interest to those who are more accustomed to Scottish whisky, but to be honest there are several bushmills from the core range that would be equally acceptable so we recommend you try them all. Bushmills ten year old malt, is like the rest of it’s Irish kin, exceptionally smooth, with heay tones of vanilla and light zest. Perfect for a warm summer’s evening.

Approx. price: £25-28 Available from: Most supermarkets or www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Tullamore DEW

The first instances of distilling in Tullamore can be traced back to 1829, however the primary blend ingredients of the new Tullamore Dew are from the New Midleton Distillery in county Cork. Recently, Grants, owners of Tullamore Dew, have opened up a new distillery in Tullamore in a bid to expand what is fast becoming a massively successful brand. Tullamore Dew itself is interesting for several reasons, most notably that it is a blend of the three different styles of Irish whiskey; Pot still, malt and grain. This gives it a complexity rarely seen in such a light whisky. Well worth a try for its rich citrus and spice notes.

Approx. price: £20-22 Available from: Most supermarkets

Kilbeggan single grain

What is it they say? “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, many an Irish whiskey fan will be hoping this rings true with this particular whiskey. Kilbeggan is the new name for the whiskey formerly known as Greenore. This single grain was rightly lauded and Kilbeggan pretty much takes over where Greenore left off. Again it’s something different that really makes this whiskey stand out and if you haven’t been introduced to the wonder of single grains yet, well there’s never been a better time than now.

Approx. price: £23-25 Available from: www.thewhiskyexchange.com
Green Spot

Baby brother to the wonderful Yellow Spot, the excellent Green Spot is loved by whisk(e)y critics and fans alike. The Single Pot Still whiskey has built up a cult following for good reason. With hints of vanilla, mint and spice, you’ll spend most of your time trying to tease out the complex array of flavours before going back for more.

Aprrox. price: £38-40 Available from: www.masterofmalt.com

Connemara peated

The wolf in sheep’s clothing hidden among the lambs, the Connemara peated Irish whiskey is an altogether different beast from its Irish brethren. This ones for anyone who has ever helped an Irish relative add fuel to an open fire and has experienced the wonderful smell of Irish peat.

Connemara is Ireland’s answer to Scotland’s Islay malts, though by no means as powerful in terms of flavour, it’s well worth a look for its unusual style. The award winning Connemara will change the way you view Irish malts.

Approx. price: £25-30 Available from: all good online stockists

Red Breast 12 years old

Oh Red Breast, so wonderful, so sweet. Widely considered to be one of the finest Irish whiskies at its price range, the Red Breast is cracking whiskey. Sweet and complex, this single pot still whiskey is definitely worth the purchase price. Beautifully balanced, once you’ve tried the Red Breast, you’ll wonder why you have wasted so much time not drinking Irish whiskey. Go on you know you want to.

Approx. price: £38-40 Available from: www.thewhiskyexchange.com/

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things whisky-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over six years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink.

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