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Midleton Very Rare 2022 Irish Whiskey Midleton

The 11 Best Irish Whiskeys to Drink Right Now

The Emerald Isle is putting out some truly impressive bottles these days.

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If you’re in the market for the best Irish whiskey you can find, there are some factors to consider. The best known expressions are inexpensive blends, and while these are fine there are much more interesting options to explore. Irish whiskey has a range of styles, including single malt, single pot still and single grain, along with the aforementioned blends that can include any of these styles. The good news is that there are so many excellent choices of distilleries and brands from the Emerald Isle out there for you, so we’ve put together this list to help steer you towards some of the best bottles to buy in different categories. Happy hunting, and cheers.

Our Best Irish Whiskey Picks

Best Overall Irish Whiskey

Redbreast 15 Year Old

Cordero Studios

Irish whiskey has exploded in popularity over the past few years, with blends from well-known brands like Jameson leading the way. But for a superior drinking experience try Redbreast, a single pot still Irish whiskey made at Midleton (the same distillery that produces Jameson). “Single pot still” means the whiskey is made at one distillery in a pot still from a mash bill of malted and unmalted barley. This 15-year-old whiskey was aged in bourbon and sherry casks, imbuing it with rich notes of dried fruit, vanilla, spice and a bit of fruitcake on the palate. It has more complexity than its 12-year-old sister, but it’s a bit easier to sip than the 21-year-old.

Buy Now on Caskers: $140

Buy Now on ReserveBar: $150

Best Ultra-Aged Irish Whiskey

Teeling 32-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Purple Muscat Finish


This ultra-aged single malt from Dublin distillery Teeling had a long an interesting history leading up to its bottling. It was part of the Teeling family’s private reserve distilled in 1990, and spent 28 years maturing in bourbon barrels before being re-casked into a Portuguese purple muscat French oak cask for another four years. The resulting whiskey is the first bottle in the new appropriately named Very Rare Casks Collection, and is a US exclusive. Less than 300 bottles were released, but you can still find one for sale.

Buy Now on ReserveBar: $3,500

Buy Now on Caskers: $4,444

Best Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Bushmills 21 Year


The most popular whiskey from Northern Ireland’s Bushmills distillery—the oldest licensed operation in the world—is an affordable workhorse blend. But the fact is that this distillery only produces single malt whiskey, and the core range of age statement expressions are fantastic. Scotch drinkers, take note—Irish single malt should not be ignored. The 21-year-old expression is aged in bourbon and sherry casks, and then blended and finished in Madeira barrels for an additional two years. This brings a deep richness to the palate with notes of fig, spiced apple, lemon and some buttery caramel.

Buy Now on Drizly: $258

Best Single Grain Irish Whiskey

Method and Madness Single Grain


Irish single grain refers to the fact that the whiskey is made at a single distillery from a mashbill of a mixture of grains (most commonly in a column still as opposed to a pot still). It’s usually made with a large percentage of corn, and in this case the mashbill is 96 percent corn and 4 percent malted barley, making this a lovely option for bourbon fans. It was matured for eight years in American oak and then finished in virgin Spanish oak for a final year. There’s a nice bit of almond and toast on the palate, along with some citrus and caramel.

Buy Now on Total Wine: $60

Buy Now on ReserveBar: $73

Best Cask-Finished Irish Whiskey

Glendalough 7 Year Old Mizunara Cask


Glendalough claims to be the first Irish whiskey brand to use mizunara oak and specifically wants to highlight how it affects the Irish single-malt category. This whiskey comes after 13- and 17-year-old mizunara-finished releases and stands tall with these prior bottles. After seven years in bourbon barrels and just a few months in mizunara oak, the liquid is transformed with notes of chocolate, cedar, incense and fruit on the palate.

Buy Now on Caskers: $95

Buy Now on Wine.com: $100

Best Irish-American Blend Whiskey

Keeper’s Heart Whiskey Irish + Bourbon

Keeper’s Heart

You’re certainly familiar with blended Irish whiskey, as that is what anchors the category in terms of popularity. But how about a blend of Irish and American whiskey? That is what the folks at Keeper’s Heart have come up with, combining three different styles—bourbon, pot still and grain whiskey. Each is at least four years old, and the resulting flavor has a nice range of vanilla, oak, spice and orchard fruit. If you can’t decide what type of whiskey to drink, this is a good option for you.

Buy Now on Caskers: $43

Buy Now on ReserveBar: $69

Best Cask Strength Irish Whiskey

High N’ Wicked The Wild Rover

Brandon Cummins

These days it seems like everyone is looking for cask strength whiskey. And for good reason, as drinking whiskey that has not been diluted really allows you to experience flavors that you would not in your average 80 proof bottle. One great example of cask strength Irish whiskey comes from Altamar Brands’ High N’ Wicked The Wild Rover. This is a single malt that was matured in bourbon barrels and then finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks to give it a bit of sweet, spice and dried fruit notes. The ABV is 58.7 percent, so add a bit of water if you’d like to tame this whiskey a bit.

Buy Now on Drizly: $165

Buy Now on Wine.com: $150

Best Newcomer Irish Whiskey

Waterford Whisky Gaia Organic 2.1

The Whisky Exchange

Waterford is a relative newcomer onto the scene, and a very welcome one. Mark Reynier opened this Irish distillery after his tenure as Bruichladdich CEO, and his entire focus has now been on the concept of terroir in whiskey—and he has the science to back him up on this. The distillery also is committed to using barley from individual farms and the use of organic grains as much as possible. Such is the case with Gaia Organic 2.1, the latest entry into the distillery’s Arcadian Series. This single malt is made using organic barley from six farms, and aged in a combination of American and French oak barrels. It’s a good entry point for those looking to explore this fascinating new Irish whiskey more.

Buy Now on The Whisky Exchange $76

Best Under Irish Whiskey $100

Green Spot

Green Spot

Green Spot is another whiskey produced at Midleton, but sold under the auspices of the Mitchell family. Mitchell & Son filled wine casks with whiskey and aged them in their own warehouses starting in the late 1800s, but now everything is done onsite at Midleton. Green Spot is an excellent option for less than $100, a blend of pot still whiskey aged between seven and ten years in bourbon and sherry casks. According to the brand, Mick Jagger and Daniel Day Lewis are both fans of this Irish whiskey.

Buy Now on Wine.com: $67

Best Irish Whiskey Under $50

Writers’ Tears Copper Pot

Writer’s Tears

This blend from Ireland’s Walsh Whiskey, Writers’ Tears Copper Pot, is unique in its makeup. Instead of combining grain whiskey with another style, this is a blend of pot still and single malt whiskey. It’s triple distilled, unpeated and matured in American oak casks. This is a blend that people who tend to steer away from that category should give a try, with a complexity and depth of flavor that belies its affordable price point.

Buy Now on ReserveBar: $150

Best Splurge Irish Whiskey

Midleton Very Rare


This is yet another whiskey from Midleton, and really is the cream of the whiskey crop from that distillery. Each year a different vintage is released, and the details of the 2023 edition will be announced soon. In the meantime splurge on the 2022 vintage, a blend of pot still and single grain whiskey aged between 12 and 33 years in American oak. Kevin O’Gorman is the master distilled behind this release, and he has put together another winner.

Buy Now on Caskers: $459

Buy Now on The Whisky Exchange: $316



What is Irish whiskey?

There are some key requirements for a whiskey to be called Irish whiskey. It must be made on the island, either in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. It must include malted barley in the mashbill, aged at least three years in casks and be bottled at a minimum of 80 proof. The main styles of Irish whiskey are blends, malt (made from 100 percent malted barley), pot still (made from malted and unmalted barley) and grain whiskey (made from malted barley and another cereal grain).

How should you drink Irish whiskey?

The short answer is however you like it. There is no wrong or right way to enjoy Irish whiskey. If you prefer cocktails, there are plenty of options and certain whiskeys go well with other ingredients. But consider trying Irish whiskey on its own as well to explore the flavors. A Glencairn glass is a good way to nose and taste it neat, and some people like to add a splash of water. A tumbler works just fine if you’d like to add some ice. Just remember to drink it in the way that you like best.

How did we choose the whiskeys on this list?

We considered different factors when picking these whiskies, with the emphasis being on taste. Because after all, despite a bottle’s availability or the hype surrounding it, that is the most important thing. Tasting single malt involves a combination of sensations, including the nose, palate, mouthfeel and finish. And each category has different characteristics, so part of the process is to consider how an individual pick fits into its style overall. The bottles on this list represent the best Irish whiskeys based on all of these options, providing a good overview of selections you can easily purchase in person or online that are good examples of each individual category.

Why should you trust us?

Jonah Flicker has been writing about whiskey and other spirits for nearly a decade, visiting distilleries around the world to meet the people behind the bottles and find out more about their stories. He is a judge for the John Barleycorn Awards, and his work has appeared in many national other lifestyle outlets besides Robb Report, including Esquire, Food & Wine, CNN, USA Today and more.

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