Irish Whiskey

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The word whiskey is derived from the ‘Uisge Beatha’, meaning water of life in the tongue of the ancient Celts. You’d be forgiven for thinking that whiskey originated in Scotland but history suggests otherwise, alluding to the fact that it was originally distilled in Ireland. Irish monks are reported to have learned the secrets of perfume distillation in the Far East and built upon this knowledge to craft a drinkable product around the turn of the first millennium A.D. It is a widely held belief that it was the Irish monks who first taught the Scottish how to distil the precious liquid; the fact the Scottish vehemently deny this doesn’t stop it from most likely being true! Bushmills is the oldest surviving distillery in the world having been granted a license in 1608, lending some credence to the Irish’s claim as to being the true innovators behind whiskey distillation.


Irish whiskey is traditionally triple distilled and with the exclusion of peat in the distillation process. This generally creates easier drinking whiskies that are fruitier and lighter bodied than the heavy smoke laden drams of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. This is not always the case as all whiskeys from the Cooley distillery are double distilled; Tyrconnell, Connemara and Greenore are all fine examples. Interestingly, Connemara is the only peated whiskey to come from Ireland and Greenore is only one of two grain whiskey commercially available from any Irish distillery, the other being Teeling. Triple distilled offerings originate at the Bushmills distillery and include Bushmills Black Bush, Bushmills Original and Bushmills 10 Year Old. Legendary brands like Jamesons, Redbreast, Green Spot and Paddy are all produced at the Midleton distillery.


Like Scotch, Irish whiskey also has certain perquisites that must be met in accordance with the Irish Whiskey Act Of 1980. The first stipulation is an obvious one; the whiskey must be distilled and aged in Ireland, be that Northern Ireland or the Republic Of Ireland. Secondly, the distillate must be under 94.8% and created from cereal grains from a yeast fermented mash; this must be matured in wooden barrels for a minimum of three years. The only other rule is that if two or more of the produced distillates are mixed together, the resultant spirit must be called a blended whiskey.


There are several variants of Irish whisky, namely single pot still, single malt, single grain and blended. Unlike the Scotch Whisky Regulations Act 2009, the Irish Whiskey Act 1980 does not provide implicit definitions or even guidelines as to what these terms consist of. You can see the individual pages for a description of these terms by following the links above.


Irish whiskey was the most popular spirit in the world, selling over 12 million cases a year at the beginning of the 1900’s. That was until the Prohibition Era in the US severely hampered the export revenue of Irish and Scottish distilleries, forcing many to close. The War of Independence and resultant Civil War in Ireland meant that Britain enforced a trade embargo preventing them from trading with any Commonwealth country. The results were disastrous, with Irish distilleries closing in droves until only two remained in the seventies. Luckily, global drinks giant Pernod Ricard purchased both of these in 1988 and undertook an aggressive marketing campaign that put Irish whiskey back on the map. Since the early 90’s, Irish whiskey sales have risen exponentially every year up to the present; this has made Irish whiskey the fastest growing spirit globally for over 20 consecutive years. It’s predicted that sales will reach their previous zenith of 12 million cases in 3 or 4 years time.


There are only four distilleries in Ireland that are producing whiskey of sufficient age to sell although there are several others planned, under construction and currently aging their whiskey for sale. Three distilleries available to buy today are the previously mentioned Cooley, Midleton and Bushmills. The fourth is Kilbeggan, which has only been in operation since 2007 and has just bought their whisky to market in their own right. Previously, Kilbeggan whiskey was produced at the Cooley distillery.


It’s worth noting that the Irish spell whiskey with the addition of the letter ‘e’ before the ‘y’ as opposed to the traditional spelling of ‘whisky’ used when referring to Scotch. This is also true of the majority of American whiskies. The spelling was changed in the late 1800’s when Irish whiskey was at the peak of its popularity, probably to help distinguish it from the particularly poor quality Scotch that was about at that time.

  • Green Spot Irish Whiskey 40% 70cl
    Green Spot dates back to 1887, and originally bottled for Mitchell & Sons, Green Spot possesses a vibrant and fruity taste character making it an ideal entry point into Irish Single Pot Still whiskey.

    GREEN SPOT is a non age statement Single Pot Still Irish whiskey and is comprised of Pot Still whiskeys aged between 7 and 10 years. The whiskey has matured in a combination of new bourbon and refill bourbon casks as well as sherry casks. Only small quantities of Green Spot are bottled each year. No real reason why. Drink some more and we'll bottle more.

    NOSE
    :Fresh aromatic oils and spices with orchard fruits and barley on a background of toasted wood.
    TASTE
    :Full spicy body. A hint of cloves along with the fruity sweetness of green apples, rounded off with toasted oak.
    FINISH
    :Lingering flavours of spices and barley.
    £39.99
  • Tullamore Dew 12 years old 40%
    The worlds best blended Irish Whiskey : Tullamore Dew 12 Year Old Special Reserve " Voted Best Irish Whiskey of the Year, Icons of Whisky 2011"
    The new Tullamore Dew is made from 3 different types of triple distilled Irish whiskey, aged between 12 and 15 years and matured in bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks. The whiskey is rounded and smooth, yet extremely complex.
    £51.25
  • Bushmills 21 years old 40% 70cl
    Bushmills 21 years old Single Malt whisky has spent 19 years in Oloroso and Bourbon casks. It is then finished in Madeira casks for a further 2 years. This exceptional malt shows dried fruits, spicy maltness and subtle nutty raisin notes to this complex malt.
    Each bottle is individually numbered.
    £168.00
  • Redbreast 15 years old 46% 70cl
    Redbreast 15 years old Port still has all the characteristics of Redbreast 12 but delivered in a more intense fashion. The extra years spent in both Sherry and Bourbon cask, and the fact that it is bottled at 46% abv, contribute to a wonderfully powerful taste experience.
    NOSE Full and rich with a complex yet balanced mix of berry fruits and aromatic oils.
    TASTE Fully round and mellow with the succulence of fleshy fruit combined with spices and toasted wood.
    FINISH Long and sophisticated.

    What is Single Pot Still?
    POT STILL IRISH WHISKEY is a style of whiskey which is unique to Ireland in general and to the Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork, in particular. It is regarded as the quintessential style of Irish whiskey.

    Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, which is then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Pot Still Irish Whiskeys are characterised by full, complex flavours and a wonderful, creamy mouthfeel. The inclusion of unmalted barley to the mashbill, along with the tradition of triple distillation, defines the character of Pot Still and this uniquely Irish approach to whiskey distillation.

    Single Pot Still Whiskeys (whiskeys originating from a single distillery) were once the norm in Ireland and from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey was the most sought after whiskey style in the world.

    Indeed, by the turn of the 20th century, more Pot Still whiskey was exported from Ireland than any other whiskey style from any other country. However, a number of unfortunate coincidences led to the demise of full flavoured Pot Still Irish Whiskeys and to the rise of the lighter, more accessible blended whiskeys, which combined lighter grain whiskeys with the fuller flavoured Pot Still whiskeys or Malt whiskies.

    While Pot Still Irish Whiskey continues to be used as a key component in many well known brands of blended Irish whiskey, by the turn of the millennium only two Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey brands had survived Redbreast & Green Spot. However, in recent years this style of whiskey has enjoyed a renewed groundswell of interest from whiskey writers and enthusiasts alike, giving rise to demand for new expressions and now, to the Single Pot Still Irish Whiskeys of Midleton range.
    £72.75
  • Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey 46% 70cl
    This new whiskey from the Teeling whiskey Company is a small batch blend of malt and grain whiskey. It has a higher proportion matuared in first fill bourbon barrles and a higher proportion of malt to grain. It then has extra maturation in ex-rum barrels to add sweetness and a smooth flavour. Bottled at 46% vol.
    £36.99
  • Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy 70cl
    This expression represents Barrys personal selection of old and elegant Pot Still whiskeys, exclusively matured in American bourbon barrels. Bearing the name of the celebrated second generation Midleton Master Distiller, Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy represents a selection of pot still whiskeys which have been matured exclusively in American bourbon barrels with a subtle contribution from a pot still distillate which has been matured in an unseasoned or virgin American barrel.

    The aromatics, which are typical of the character delivered by Pot Still distillation, are generously complimented by a touch of lime, succulent green berries, pears and some green sweet pepper. The sweetness of vanilla and the deeper charred oak notes represent the seamless contribution made by maturation in best quality casks.
    The aroma leads to the expectation of an irresistible taste experience, and it does not disappoint. The Pot Still spices carry a light peppery note into the fresh citrus, limes with mandarin orange sweetness. A little hint of cinnamon, vanilla with pine freshness and charred wood acknowledge the years spent in American oak.
    The full complexity of flavour lasts well into the finish, slowly fading to expose the clean American Oak foundation.
    Bottled at 46% ABV and not chill filtered, there is no age statement with the whiskeys selected ranging in age from 10 to 22 years.

    What is Single Pot Still?
    POT STILL IRISH WHISKEY is a style of whiskey which is unique to Ireland in general and to the Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork, in particular. It is regarded as the quintessential style of Irish whiskey.

    Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, which is then triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, Pot Still Irish Whiskeys are characterised by full, complex flavours and a wonderful, creamy mouthfeel. The inclusion of unmalted barley to the mashbill, along with the tradition of triple distillation, defines the character of Pot Still and this uniquely Irish approach to whiskey distillation.

    Single Pot Still Whiskeys (whiskeys originating from a single distillery) were once the norm in Ireland and from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey was the most sought after whiskey style in the world.

    Indeed, by the turn of the 20th century, more Pot Still whiskey was exported from Ireland than any other whiskey style from any other country. However, a number of unfortunate coincidences led to the demise of full flavoured Pot Still Irish Whiskeys and to the rise of the lighter, more accessible blended whiskeys, which combined lighter grain whiskeys with the fuller flavoured Pot Still whiskeys or Malt whiskies.

    While Pot Still Irish Whiskey continues to be used as a key component in many well known brands of blended Irish whiskey, by the turn of the millennium only two Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey brands had survived Redbreast & Green Spot. However, in recent years this style of whiskey has enjoyed a renewed groundswell of interest from whiskey writers and enthusiasts alike, giving rise to demand for new expressions and now, to the Single Pot Still Irish Whiskeys of Midleton range.
    £153.75
  • Powers Johns Lane Release 46% 12 years old
    This expression, Powers Johns Lane Release, celebrates the origin of the Powers whiskey tradition and provides a glimpse of the whiskey style that made Powers famous. Using a pot still distillate which is true to the original style of Johns Lane, the whiskey has been matured for not less than 12 years, mainly in 2nd fill American bourbon casks, with a small contribution of distillate which has been matured in Olorosso sherry butts.
    The result is a Single Pot Still whiskey of outstanding flavour and complexity which provides a fitting tribute to the spiritual home of one of Irelands most loved whiskeys.
    NOSE An abundance of earthy aromas, leather, tobacco with layers of charred wood, dark chocolate and treacle toffee.
    TASTE Full bodied spice front followed by vanilla, honey and dried apricot.
    FINISH Lingering honey sweetness on toasted oak.
    £49.99
  • Redbreast 12 year old Cask Strength 57.7% 70cl
    Rebreast cask strength is very limited and is the result of of malted and unmalted barley, tripled distilled in copper pot stills. It displays the the characteristic full and complex flaours of Pot still whiskey, with distinctive influence from maruration on sherry casks. This expression shows Redbreats in it most natural full flavoured state.
    £69.99
  • Yellow Spot 12 years old Single Pot Still 46% 70cl
    Mitchell & Son are delighted to announce the re-introduction of Yellow Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey!Inspired by the original Yellow Spot and last bottled in the 1950s, Yellow Spot is the rare taste of a bonders style Single Pot Still Irish whiskey. Rather than being simply a finished whiskey, Yellow Spot is special in that it contains single pot still whiskey that has been matured for a full 12 year period in three oak cask types: American bourbon barrels, Spanish sherry butts and uniquely, Spanish Malaga casks. Bottled at 46% ABV, the influence of the Malaga cask brings an exotic sweet note to the whiskey making it a truly delightful taste experience.
    £65.50
  • Teeling Single Grain Whiskey 46% 70cl
    An award winning Single Grain whiskey from Teeling having just won The Award for The Worlds Best Grain Whiskey 2014 at the World Whisky Awards. It is fully matured in Californian red wine barrels resulting in an intensely fruity and beautifully amber with lush berry notes. Hand selected casks, bottled at 46% with no chill filtration to ensure all the unique flavor is captured.

    Nose
    Spice and fruit notes mingle with an underlining sweet nose.
    Taste
    Strong spice at the start developing into lush red berries and grapes influence with drying tannin effect at the end.
    Finish
    Dry finish dominated by wood and spice.
    £44.99
  • Kilbeggan 8 years old Grain 40% 70cl
    Kilbeggan is the new name for Greenore Grain whiskey. Aged for 8 years this whiskey is sweet and smooth and delicately balanced. A gold medal-winner at the International Wine & Spirits Competition, this unique concoction is a 100% Single Grain Irish whiskey, from the multi-award-winning Cooley distillery in Dundalk
    £35.50
  • Dunvilles 10 years old Single Malt 46% 70cl
    Dunvilles was establish in Belfast in 1801 and grew to become one of the best known Irish whiskies until it closed in 1935. The name has been revived by Kircubbin based distillery Echlinville which has been granted the first license to distill whiskey in Northern Ireland for 125 years. This expression has been finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. It was recently crowned best Irish Single malt under 12 years old at the World Whisky Awards.
    £45.99
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