The 5 Irish Whiskeys You Simply Must Have in Your Whiskey Cabinet

Everyone knows the Irish know how to drink, but they also know how to craft some great Whiskeys. The country is currently seeing a massive boom in interest in their Whiskey and distilleries have been popping up everywhere.

This has resulted in some older distilleries rebranding to keep up with their new competitors as well as some old family recipes being revived through brands like Teeling and Tullamore D.E.W. We’ve gathered some of the best names in the Irish Whiskey market, so you know which ones you simply must have in your Whiskey cabinet.

1. Redbreast 12 Year Old

Redbreast is a single pot still Whiskey that was once made from bonded barrels of Jameson by a company called W & A Gilbey. It was eventually sold to Irish Distillers, who rebranded it at Redbreast and moved distillation to Midleton in Cork.

Redbreast 12 Year Old is a stunning example of how good Irish single pot still Whiskey can be. It has won several accolades, including the Liquid Gold Award from Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible in 2014.


Redbreast 12 year for #whiskeywednesday A great Irish whiskey on another beautiful evening. With as many awards and accolades that this whiskey has won, I don't have to tell you how fantastic it is. If you haven't tried it, you need to. If you have, you know. #irishwhiskey #redbreast12 #potstill #whiskywithaview

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It opens with a nose of sweet nuts and a nice oiliness to it. There is a lovely sweetness with lots of fruits and a little hint of vanilla spice to it. This grows on the palate, which is rich and thick, with more sweet nuts and fruit. The vanilla is deep and oaky, with the casks really coming out. There is a slight hint of citrus fruit that is tangy and lasts into the finish.

Already tried the 12? Make sure you try the Redbreast 12 Cask Strength!

2. Bushmills Black Bush

Bushmills Distillery in the north of Ireland has the legacy of being not only the oldest distillery in Ireland, but also the oldest licensed distillery in the world. This is quite a testament to their quality and proves they have really stood the test of time. Today they are owned by Jose Cuervo having been sold by Diageo in 2014.

Their Black Bush blend is crafted from malt matured in Oloroso Sherry casks and has been triple distilled. This makes it incredibly smooth.


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The nose is spicy and warming, with cinnamon and dried fruits coming out. There is a hint of Christmas cake, with raisins and Christmas spices coming out. The palate is luxurious and fruity, with apples and pears making an appearance. There is also a lovely citrus note that is zesty and really livens up the palate. This continues into the finish, which has more sweet vanilla and oak notes as well.

Look out also for the latest Bushmills Steamship release, it's superb!

3. Jameson Black Barrel

Jameson is a staple of Irish Whiskey and needs to be in your Whiskey cabinet not only because of this but also because it is one of the best. It was originally founded by a Scotsman in Dublin, in 1780, and today is produced at the brand’s Midleton Distillery in Cork.

Jameson Black Barrel is a premium expression and is a shining example of how good they are.


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It is now available in a stunning new bottle, and the flavor? It opens with a nose of citrus fruits and sweet barley. There is a slightly floral note that adds some fragrance to the dram. The palate is smooth and full of honey and orchard notes of oak and fruit, with a bit of oomph versus the classic Jameson. Vanilla and cinnamon spices come through on the body and add a lovely warming note. The finish is soft with a smooth feel and lots of vanilla and spice.

If you fancy exploring their range further take a look at Jameson Makers Series; three bottlings that show you how different influences of spirit, wood and blending can affect the Jameson product.

4. Greenore 8 Year Old

Greenore is made in the Cooley Distillery, which was originally owned by John Teeling in 1987. Today it is owned by Beam Suntory and the Teelings have moved on to their own brand of Whiskey. Greenore is still made at Cooley, alongside other Irish brands Kilbeggan, Tyrconnell and Connemara, which is the only peated Whiskey made on the island.

Their 8 Year Old Greenore is a treat usually saved for duty free, so make sure you ask to try it first - will help the flight go quicker. It's a single grain Whiskey, made from maize/corn sourced from France and one of the few double-distilled Irish Whiskeys! It will give you newfound respect for grain Whiskey.


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It opens with a nose of lemon peel, honey and malted barley. The cereal notes are rich and thick. They come into their own on the palate, which is full of oak and sweet vanilla tones. This dram is full of fruits and sweet notes, with a full body and smooth mouth feel. The finish is sweet, with pecans and hazelnuts and a lovely long oak note.

5. Teeling Small Batch

Although Teeling as we know them today have only been around for a few decades, they have a history in the Irish Whisky industry that dates back to the 1700s.

The family is trying, and succeeding, at reviving their brand and bringing Teeling Whiskey back to the public. They recently brought distilling back to Dublin when they opened the first distillery in the city in 125 years. They have won a number of awards with their malts and their small batch expression is a wonderful example of what they can do.


This is Teeling's way of creating the most interesting Blended #IrishWhiskey in the Whole Wide #Ireland. After 4-7 years of initial maturation this blend of malt and grain Whiskey is further aged for 6 months in Flor de Cana RUM casks, which amplifies the oh-so sweet flavors and notes, yet remains decidedly (and typically) #Irish in core & spirit. #WelcomeToWhisky #TeelingSmallBatch @teeling_whiskey #whiskey #whiskeyporn #whiskeylove #whiskeytime #whiskeylover #whiskeytasting #whiskeygram #whiskeywednesday #whiskeylife #instawhiskey

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The nose is fruity and warming, with orchard tones of grass and oak and a lovely cinnamon tone. There are citrus fruits and lots of ripe green apples coming through. The palate is sweet, with summer berries, vanilla and more spice. There is a delicate floral note to this malt, with a hint of cherry blossom appearing. The finish is rich, with herbal notes and more oak sweetness lingering on the tongue.

Teeling's single cask releases are the stuff of legend as well! Try to pick one up of you see it, you'll never be disappointed!

Think we’re missing any Irish Whiskey from our list? Let us know your favorites in the comments.

By Greg


Greg is a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. His mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about Whisky, Whiskey, Gin, Beer and fine dining through his website, GreatDrams.com, writing, brand building and whisky tastings.



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