Whiskey. The Irish invented it, arguably drink the most of it and doubtlessly write the best songs about it. And there’s no better time to dip a toe into the world of Irish whiskey than Saint Patrick’s Day, which staggers back into everyone’s lives this Saturday. Here a few new interesting bottles you may want to seek out for shamrock season.
Teeling Whiskey 34-Year-old Vintage Reserve Single Malt is one of the oldest bottlings of Irish single malt in existence. It was distilled back in 1983, making the spirit older than the first Macintosh computer. Only 38 bottles are available at a $5,000 per-bottle price.
Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest Edition is a single pot whiskey aged partially in Irish oak, part of an experimental series from Cork distillers Midleton. The whiskey is first matured in American oak bourbon casks, then finished in barrels made of Irish oak from County Kilkenny’s Bluebell Forest of Castle Blunden Estate. It’s the rare Irish whiskey series tinkering with the flavors found within Ireland’s own natural woods. $299
My my, doesn’t Green Spot Chateau Montelena have quite the fancy name? Maybe that’s because it’s Ireland’s first whiskey aged in sherry and bourbon casks, then finished in French oak zinfandel wine casks, marrying the flavors of wine, whiskey and oak. Or maybe it’s because it went abroad and filled its head with all kinds of fancy larnin’? $99.99
Poitin is essentially what moonshine is to U.S. whiskey, white, unaged and a drinkable tribute to the kinds of things Irish villagers once made illicitly. The poitin made by Straw Boys is distilled in copper pot stills using traditional malt barley for a 90-proof spirit that will kick you in the teeth. In the good way. $35
Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey: Just released in the U.S., this is an affordable, four-year-old sourced whiskey from Ireland’s west, distilled from French 93% corn and 7% malted barley then finished in used port barrels. The corn-heavy mash bill might make it more of an Irish cousin to U.S. bourbon, while the port barrel gives it red undertones and a light infusion of spice and vanilla notes. $29.99
And let’s say you’re the kind of Yankee with a Celtic knot tattooed somewhere on your body. You’re proud to be American, but until the day your 23andMe results reveal you’re actually Dutch, you’re also proud of your Irish roots. Then you may want to try Brothership Irish-American Blended Whiskey, or what I’m calling the House of Pain of Grain. It’s a blend of 48% American whiskey to 52% Irish whiskey, which is bottled in Philadelphia. It also recently took home a Gold Medal at the 2017 Ultimate spirit Challenge, roots for Conor McGregor and thinks the cops in Boston get a bad rap. $50