St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, which means it’s time for whiskey lovers across the globe to stock up on their favorite beverage and start preparing for the joy of unrivalled celebration. Teaming up with Distiller and Pinterest, we’re putting together a list of the Top 10 New Irish Whiskeys that hit the market within the past year. If you want to spur up some added inventiveness, check out the ‘Pinterest Inspiration’ links for a variety of sophisticated and creative cocktail suggestions from our friends over at Pinterest.
We have the taxman to thank for the existence of Single Pot Still Whiskeys. Back in 1785, the Irish government created a tax on malted barley. As a result, whiskey began to be produced with a combination of both malted and un-malted barley (aka green barley). It is triple distilled in pot stills and is unique to Ireland. The 21 year expression is aged in a combination of ex-bourbon and 1st fill sherry casks.
Re-released in the UK in May of 2010, Yellow Spot is being produced again after not being bottled since the 1950’s. This is a Single Pot Still whiskey that is distilled at Midleton Distillery for the wine merchants, Mitchell & Son. This is not finished in ex-wine barrels but rather is a combination of whiskeys that have aged in American ex-bourbon, Spanish ex-sherry, or Spanish ex-Malaga wine casks (a sweet fortified wine) for a minimum of 12 years. This has finally been released (February 2015) in the US so those days of smuggling the whiskey in from your travels are finally over!
For 32 years, Barry Crockett was master distiller at Midleton in County Cork, where he oversaw production of the monolithic Jameson, as well as Redbreast, Powers and several others. For the occasion of his retirement in 2013, he was given free reign to design this single pot blend. This swan song is made from a mash bill of malted and unmalted barley that’s triple distilled in traditional pot stills. It’s aged in ex-bourbon barrels then goes back for more rest in new American oak. It’s bottled at a robust 46%.
Unlike the standard Powers Gold bottling which is a blended whiskey, John’s Lane Release is a traditional single pot still whiskey. Named after the distillery on John’s Lane in Dublin that James Power founded. The whiskey is aged primarily in American oak barrels for 12 years.
Arriving in the US in early 2014, the Green Spot is a single pot still whiskey produced at the Midleton Distillery and made exclusively for Mitchell & Sons. They were wine merchants that would buy casks of pot still whiskey and age in ex sherry casks. These days, sherry casks only amount for 25% of the barrels with the remainder being ex bourbon. The name is derived from the dab of paint used to identify the barrels by age, which in the Green Spot’s case, is 7-8 years.
This release from Teeling is a corn-based single grain whiskey that’s been column-distilled at the Cooley Distillery. Initially aged in used oak casks, this is finished in California cabernet sauvignon oak barrels. The whiskey is currently only available in Europe, but there are plans for this to be released to the US sometime in 2015. For the time being, add this to the list of whiskeys to pick up on your travels.
The Irishman Cask Strength is a combination of triple distilled pure pot still and single malt whiskies. Aged in ex-bourbon casks, the proof will vary from year to year. The 2013 release is 108 proof and only 2160 bottles were produced in this year’s batch.
After its initial aging in oak barrels, this blended whiskey is further aged in casks that previously held Flor de Caña rum. The whiskey is currently sourced from Cooley Distillery, a distillery previously owned by the Teeling family now owned by Beam. It is then further matured in Teeling’s own warehouses. The Teeling Whiskey Co is expected to begin producing its own whiskey in late 2014. It will be Dublin’s only working distillery.
Single Pot Still whiskeys seem to be making a comeback. Signature Release was released in the fall of 2013. A mixture of malted and unmalted barley, this whiskey is triple distilled in copper pot stills. Aged primarily in ex-bourbon barrels, there is a portion of the whiskey that is matured in first fill Oloroso casks.
The town of Tullamore was nearly lost in 1785 due to a raging fire that occurred subsequent to a hot air balloon accident. The town decided to include a phoenix to their coat of arms as a symbol of their resilience and determination to rebuild what they had lost; the phoenix is a Greek mythological bird that is born from the ashes. The whiskey, like the Original, is a blend of three types of whiskey– single malt, grain, and (a high proportion of) pure pot still, but is finished in Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 110 proof.
(Source: Whiskey discovery and recommendations engine, Distiller)