Whiskey Tasting Guide

Ireland has a very long history when it comes to the production of whiskey. Mostly it is produced on the island of Ireland. The Irish whiskey is well known for its smoothness. Irish whiskey goes through three distillation processes and this makes it one of the best whiskeys worldwide. Irish whiskey is not smoky (unpeated) and feels smooth. However, some brands like Connemara can be smoky.

Irish Whiskey Production

Irish whiskey is produced by mixing both unmalted and malted barley. During the process, for the unpeated brands barley is dried, ground and added into water for fermentation. It is then distilled thrice and put in the barrels for aging which takes at least three years. For some, the distillery might decide to blend using grain whiskey before the bottling process.

How to Taste Irish Whiskey

Normally, you would say tasting whiskey all you have to do is sip the drink slowly, let it stay on your tongue a little bit so the saliva can dilute it and then let it go down nicely. This is true but whiskey tasting takes more than that. The important thing is to try and pick up the different smell and flavour in the drink. What you have to do is pour a glass of the whiskey in this case Irish. You can collect some wonderful smells if you just swish the drink. If you drink it slowly then definitely it will have a certain taste. All these are the flavours and aromas of the drink.

If you are new at this all you need is a glass and pure water. After pouring the drink, you can take a good look at it, swirl it and observe the trails made as it drops down, if the trails are long it means the alcoholic content is high. You can also observe the colour. As you swirl the drink, you can also smell the flavour. Now you can dilute your whiskey and start drinking it. As you do so, detect the smoothness and texture of the whiskey. Feel the taste as you swallow, if it is a good whiskey the taste will remain on your tongue for some time.

For the experienced whiskey tasters, the whole process is somehow different. For example, the tasting is done in a very sterile area, avoid using perfumes and the glasses are rinsed carefully. The types of glasses they use are the whiskey-nosing glass.

Remember that if the whiskey has a 40% ABV it means that it has that percentage of pure alcohol. A good example is Jameson Black Barrel.

The Current Distilleries and the Whiskeys they Produce

There are several distilleries that produce Irish whiskey:

Old Bushmills

Owned by the Spirits Conglomerate Diageo Bushmills is one of the oldest distilleries in Ireland. You can go for tours and these are the brands it distils; Bushmills Black Rush-it is blended and has a lower amount of grain alcohol compared to the Original. This drink is age in the sherry casks.
Single Malts-the age statements for this drink are 10, 16, and 21 years. Bourbon casks are used for the 10 years while for the 16 and 21 they use both sherry and bourbon casks.

New Middleton Distillery

  • Jameson-this is the stronghold of Middleton. Jameson is known all over the world and many people recognise it as one of the best whiskeys. The original brand of the Jameson is distilled three times and it has a blended label. It is a combination of both column and pot stilled malt. It can be aged in bourbon, sherry or virgin oak casks.
  • Redbreast-it is a single pot and a mixture of both unmalted and malted barley. It has a very rich and deep flavour. It comes as a 12 year aged but there is also a 15 aged recently.
  • Powers-it comes as Powers Gold and another 12 aged release with 46% ABV. It is a blend of grain whiskey and pot still.Tullamore Dew-the original brand is blended and so is the Black 43. Tullamore dew has reserve bottling during some ages.

Cooley Distillery:

All their brands are double distilled. They produce these four brands:

  • Kilbeggan-it is a blended whiskey. This is one smooth brand. It is aged in Kilbeggan Distillery.
  • Greenore-it is an 8 year aged, a single grain whiskey made of corn. It is quite smooth and somehow sweet.
  • Connemara-this is one example of a peated Irish whiskey, single malt that is delicious to taste.
  • Tryconnell-it is single malt made of malted barley and has a fruit-like taste and it is somehow spicy.