Our favourite Irish whiskeys and how to serve them. To your good health!
The millennial interest in ‘authenticity’ has resulted in a return to traditional brands and products. The trending tide has turned towards whiskey of late and it has enjoyed somewhat of a global renaissance. In fact, since 2015, sales of whiskey have increased by 135%. Like gin and craft beer before, whiskey has taken centre stage and its time in the spotlight will soon be bequeathed to another. Our bet? Rum and perhaps even fortified wines. Yes really. Dig out the dusty bottles of sherry, port and vermouth, usually reserved for your granny and elderly relatives at Christmas.
But back to the current star. Uisce beatha. Directly translated as ‘water of life,’ from the Latin ‘aqua vitae.’ Although we prefer the alternative translation of ‘lively water,’ which in turn brings us to the most valuable and yet simple of serving tips – a touch of dilution improves the solution. Diluting whiskey with a drop of water brings out the true smoky flavour, as the aromatic oil guaicol rises closer to the surface. Particularly with whiskeys that are more than 50% alcohol, there is a noticeable difference in flavour with the added water. As with every rule, there is an exception, and that is when whiskey is served straight from the barrel. Drink it neat with no ice and enjoy the cask taste.
Raymond Blake and his team of experts put Irish whiskeys to the blind taste taste:
1. Knappogue Castle, 16 Year Old, €89.99
The Knappogue Castle, 16 Year Old spent most of its life in bourbon barrels before being transferred to oloroso casks. The result us a wonderful amalgamation of flavours.
2. Teeling, Single Malt, €55
The Teeling, Single Malt will appeal to those who seek purity of flavour, great balance and intensity in their whiskey - and great length on the finish too.
3. Yellow Spot, 12 Year Old, €79.99
The Yellow Spot, 12 Year Old is mellow and complex with a beautifully 'polished' flavour. There are no hard edges, it comforts rather than challenges the palette.
4. Glendalough, Single Malt, €77.50
The good folk at Glendalough aged this whiskey for 13 years. The warm and spicy nose is combined with a sweet and approachable palette with a caramel and toffee apple, fruitcake finish.
5. Tullamore Dew Phoenix, €52.99
This whiskey is 55% ABV with a marked acidity, spicy mid-palate of sweet honeycomb and and an opulent hint of chocolate.
Where to Buy: Celtic Whiskey, Dawson St