12 Best Irish Whiskeys (Tasting Notes, Prices, Investment Tips)

by Hunter Robillard

Irish whiskey is sought-after globally for its smoothness, fruity flavors, and versatility. Although its production was nearly wiped out in the 1970s, it’s now back in the spotlight.

In fact, the best Irish whiskey bottles are in high demand globally – exports crossed $1.07 billion in 2022.

Let’s discover the best Irish whiskey bottles to buy, how it's made, the best way to drink it, and the difference between Irish whiskey and Scotch whiskey.

We’ll also show you how to invest in the best whiskey casks through Vinovest.

Further reading

Irish Whiskey: Characteristics and Styles


As the name suggests, Irish whiskey is a type of whiskey made in Ireland (which includes the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland).   

It’s generally known as the light version of whiskey because of its fresh, fruity, and grassy notes. But some bottles may display peat smoke, dark fruit, and oaky notes.

Irish whiskey is produced in four different styles — some are lighter-bodied, while others are more robust.

  • Pot Still Whiskey: Made in a pot still (usually copper pots) using a mixture of malted barley and unmalted grains.
  • Single Malt Whiskey: Produced in one distillery using malted barley only.
  • Single Grain Whiskey: Made from various grains such as corn or wheat. The term “single,” in this case, indicates that the whiskey is made from one distillery.
  • Blended Whiskey: Made from a mixture of single grain whiskey, single malt whiskey, and pot still whiskey. 

Now, we’ll look at some of the bottles you should try.

12 Best Irish Whiskey Bottles to Buy in 2023

The finest Irish whiskeys you should get your hands on are:

  1. The Devils Keep Single Malt Irish Whiskey
  2. The Brollach Single Malt Irish Whiskey
  3. Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve Blended Whiskey
  4. Bushmills 'The Rare Casks' Pedro Ximenez Cask Finish 29-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
  5. 1994 Knappogue Castle Vintage Single Malt Irish Whiskey
  6. 1975 Mitchell & Son Green Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
  7. 1986 West Cork Distillers West Cork Sherry Cask 12-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
  8. Writers Tears Copper Pot Still Blended Irish Whiskey
  9. Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey - Small Batch Blended Irish Whiskey
  10. The Teeling Whiskey Co. Small Batch Whiskey
  11. Slane Triple Casked Irish Whiskey
  12. Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey

1. The Devils Keep Single Malt Irish Whiskey ($24,788)


The limited-release single malt whiskey is one of the 333 bottles made in 1991 by Craft Irish Whiskey Co.

The Devils Keep Single Malt Irish Whiskey has the aromas of traditional Christmas cake, Vermont maple syrup, and hints of dark chocolate. 

2. The Brollach Single Malt Irish Whiskey ($9,160)


The Brollach Single Malt Irish Whiskey is another limited release from the Craft Irish Whiskey Co. It was matured in ex bourbon barrels and finished in French oak Madeira barrels. 

This single malt, double-distilled whiskey emits apricot and butterscotch aromas, and has the flavors of honeysuckle, caramel, and butterscotch.

3. Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve Blended Whiskey ($1,245)


This Jameson Irish whiskey bottle is one of the top 10 Irish whiskeys based on aggregated critic scores. It’s made from a blend of aged grain whiskey and pot still whiskey. 

It has the aromas of sweet fruits, banana bread, creamy vanilla, chocolate fudge, toffee, and hints of warm spices.

4. Bushmills 'The Rare Casks' Pedro Ximenez Cask Finish 29-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey ($828)


This rare single malt whiskey from the Bushmills Irish Whiskey distillery was triple distilled in traditional Irish copper pot stills. It was then aged in hand-picked bourbon cask for 17 years, and in a sherry cask for 12 years.

The sherry and bourbon casks give this Bushmills Irish whiskey roasted nut and fruit aromas. This single malt whiskey has the flavors of freshly baked bread and stewed fruit, with subtle hints of vanilla bean and bitter cocoa.

5. 1994 Knappogue Castle Vintage Single Malt Irish Whiskey ($208)


The Knappogue Castle Single Malt whisky has a flawless pale yellow color. It was distilled in 1994, carefully aged in an ex bourbon cask for 10 years, and then bottled in 2004.

This vintage single malt whiskey has an oily texture and citrus fruit tasting notes.

6. 1975 Mitchell & Son Green Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey ($81)


The Green Spot Irish whiskey comes from a range of Spot Whiskeys produced by Irish Distillers Ltd. It’s aged in bourbon and sherry casks for 7-10 years.

This single pot still whiskey has the tasting notes of honey, green apple, and apricot.

7. 1986 West Cork Distillers West Cork Sherry Cask 12-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey ($59)


This 1986 single malt whiskey by West Cork Irish Distillers was aged in bourbon casks for 12 years and then finished for 110 days in a Pedro Ximinez sherry cask. 

It has ripe fruit flavors and prune juice aromas with fresh cream hints.

8. Writers Tears Copper Pot Still Blended Irish Whiskey ($43)


This drink from the Walsh Whiskey Distillery is a blend of aged single pot still whiskey and single malt whiskey. This smooth drink was triple distilled and then aged in an American bourbon barrel.

It has honey and citrus aromas, and the flavors of green apple skin, caramel, and soft vanilla.

9. Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey - Small Batch Blended Irish Whiskey ($40)


The Black Barrel by Jameson Irish Whiskey is a classic blend of single pot still whiskey and small batch grain. This drink was aged for 16 years in a double-charred bourbon barrel.

The Black Barrel whiskey has the aromas of a creamy and grassy malt with a hint of a complex fruit blend. It has a citrus flavor and a smooth finish. 

10. The Teeling Whiskey Co. Small Batch Whiskey ($38)


This malt whiskey is aged in old rum casks and ex bourbon barrels. 

It has the flavors of vanilla and raisins, and the aromas of baking spices and caramelized sugar.

11. Slane Triple Casked Irish Whiskey ($34)


The Slane Irish Whiskey is a blend of single grain whiskey and single malt whiskey. It was aged in three different casks — virgin oak, bourbon, and oloroso sherry casks.

It’s a clean, toffee-layered whiskey with the tasting notes of caramel, vanilla, dried fruit, and a hint of spice. 

12. Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey ($26)


This triple-distilled classic whiskey is a blend of pot still, grain, and malt whiskey styles. 

It has the aromas of spice, light vanilla, green apple, and lime. It has flavors of green fruits, vanilla fudge, peppercorn, and oak char with notes of malt.

Now, let’s take a look at how Irish whiskey is made.

Irish Whiskey: Production Regulations and Techniques

The production of Irish whiskey follows a set of rules set by the Irish Whiskey Act of 1980. According to these rules, Irish whiskey must be:

  • Produced and aged in Ireland (The Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland)
  • Made from a mash containing malted barley together with other selected grains
  • Fermented and aged in wooden casks for at least three years
  • Fermented and distilled to 94.8% ABV at most, and should contain an ABV of at least 40% when bottled
  • Colored using caramel and water only (other additives are prohibited)

So, what are the production techniques?

Traditionally, the whiskey production process involves three ingredients — water, grain, and yeast. 

Today, the recipe varies for different Irish distillers and Irish whiskey brands. For example, different Irish Whiskey styles, like pot still whiskey or single grain whiskey, use different blends of unmalted and malted barley. 

Whiskeys with the word “single” (like single grain and single pot whiskey) aren’t necessarily made with only one type of grain. Instead, the spirit was made on the same site — from mashing (mixing grain, water, and yeast) to aging. 

Most Irish whiskeys undergo a triple distillation process, but this usually depends on the distillery's recipe and techniques.

Now, we’ll explore how you can savor a glass of Irish whisky.

How Should You Drink Irish Whiskey?

To enjoy Irish whiskey to the fullest, sip it straight (with or without ice) using a lowball glass. You can drink Irish whiskey neat or with a few drops of water to lighten the spirit.

Irish whiskey is also ideal for preparing cocktails like whiskey sour, old fashioned, Irish coffee, and Irish buck. Serve it in a footed Irish coffee mug for the best drinking experience!

So, how do you differentiate Irish whiskey from Scotch whisky?

The Difference Between Scotch and Irish Whiskey

These whiskies differ in more ways than one.

  • The most obvious difference between Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey is their origins. Scotch hails from Scotland, while Irish whiskey is made in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Their names also have different spellings. Irish whiskey is spelled with an ’e,’ while Scotch whisky is spelled without an ‘e.’  
  • Another difference lies in the production techniques. Scotch is usually made using peated malt and has a smoky flavor and aroma. Meanwhile, Irish whiskey is typically triple-distilled and made from a mixture of grains.
  • Irish whiskey tends to have a smooth and lighter taste compared to Scotch whiskey.
  • Irish and Scotch whiskey also follow different production regulations. Irish whiskey must be aged for at least three years in wooden casks and is commonly distilled three times. Scotch must be distilled twice and aged for three years and a day in oak barrels.

Are the Best Irish Whiskeys Investment-Worthy?

Investing in the best Irish whiskey brands could be a great choice! 

The sales of Irish whiskey bottles tend to outperform those of other whiskeys like Scotch, American, and even Canadian whisky. In 2021 Irish whiskey sales in the United States grew by 17.8%, while Scotch whiskey sales rose by only 3.3%. 

According to the Wealth Report by Knight Frank, Irish whiskey has been experiencing a growth of around 500% in the last decade, and is expected to double by 2030. 

Since 2002, premium and super-premium Irish whiskey have grown by a staggering 1,106% and 3,385%, respectively. 

There’s also a total of $1.55 billion that was invested into the Irish whiskey industry in the last ten years. This is expected to generate an annual output of 7.67 billion USD for 2027. 

Still wondering if it’d be worth investing in Irish whiskey? 

Here are more reasons the best Irish whiskey bottles and casks could be worth it:

  • Whiskey Has Stable Longevity: Irish whisky casks can maintain their quality if left unopened and stored properly. This means investors can hold their casks for several years and wait for the best opportunity to sell them. 
  • Whiskey Shows a Stable Price Appreciation: The finest whisky bottles appreciate in value over time. For example, the price of the Devils Keep Single Malt Irish Whiskey grew by 49.54% — from $16,793 in September 2021 to $25,112 in December 2022.
  • Offers Lucrative Returns Over the Long Term: The whiskey market is one of the world's fastest-growing investment-grade spirit markets. It’s had a compound annual growth rate of 13.4% over the last five years.

Ready to broaden your investment portfolio by investing in whiskey? 

Let’s discover the easiest way to do that.

Invest in the Best Irish Whiskey Casks Through Vinovest

Vinovest is a whiskey investing platform brought to you by Vinovest. It’s an AI-powered site that allows you to buy, store, and sell investment-grade whiskey casks from around the globe.

Vinovest offers a selection of high-end and premium whisky casks from brands like Highland Park, Macallan, and Ardmore.

The benefits of investing with Vinovest are:

  • Hassle-free ownership: Vinovest verifies, stores, and insures whiskey casks. You'll also get a sample if you want to try your whiskey.
  • No middlemen commissions: You no longer have to go through third-party intermediaries and extra commissions when you reserve a cask from Vinovest.
  • Expert guidance: Vinovest has professional advisers ready to help you in building your winning investment portfolio.

Diversify Your Portfolio By Investing in the Finest Irish Whiskeys 

Irish whiskey is an excellent alternative investment opportunity. If you pick the right bottles and casks, then this investment strategy might give you the best returns. 

To make your life easier, you can invest in whiskey casks through Vinovest.

Visit the Vinovest platform today to begin your whiskey investment journey.

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