5 Great Irish Whiskeys to Try Now

While Irish whiskey is celebrated around St. Patrick’s Day each spring, the style is worthy of recognition year-round. Single malt enthusiasts will find Irish examples aplenty, sometimes at considerably lower costs compared to their Scottish counterparts. The curious drinker will have plenty of other avenues to explore, as Irish cask-finishing is often leading the way on the innovation side. And fans of the true Irish style, single pot still, will be delighted by the growing number of expressions on the market.

These five whiskeys from the Fall 2022 Buying Guide are an excellent representation of this diverse category. Mainstays like Redbreast and the Spot range continue to deliver quality and innovation in tandem, while newcomers like Drumshanbo prove worthy of the global spotlight.

Get to Know These High-Scoring Irish Whiskeys

Redbreast Kentucky Oak Edition single pot still
93 points, 50.5%, $95

The Irish-American whiskey trend works both ways. This golden dram serves up oak spices and lashings of creamy vanilla at 101 proof, with aromas of butter biscuits, sliced almond, and creamed coconut. Brown sugar, red fruits, and cherry lozenges on first sip, then cinder toffee, Milky Way, forest honey, and warm apple pie, ratcheting up lush vanilla, oakiness, and sweet concentrated fruitiness to finish. Water adds extra creaminess, if that’s possible.—Jonny McCormick

Gold Spot 9 year old single pot still
92 points, 51.4%, $120

Tumbling waves of spice on the nose, with pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and spicy oak, balanced with whole lime, kiwi, apple pie, dried raspberry, and a hint of watermelon. Smooth and easy drinking, with initial flavors of dried mango and papaya, then a surge of pepper and clove. Its finest moments lie beyond the spice peak when the delicious pot still creaminess spills over with vanilla, Brazil nut, hazelnut, cinnamon, and residual tropical fruitiness.—Jonny McCormick

Drumshanbo Galánta single malt 2021 Release
91 points, 46%, $100

The first single malt from Connacht in 107 years is sweet, juicy, and utterly moreish. It has a bouquet of honeycomb, vanilla sponge, lemon meringue pie, amaretti cookies, marzipan, white pepper, and a spritz of lime. Honey, vanilla, custard creams, peel oils, pepper, and waves of sweet lemon ease into baked fruits, ripe apricot, and sponge fingers soaked in orange liqueur. Gentle spice and Refreshers candy on the finish. (8,400 bottles).—Jonny McCormick

Writers’ Tears Cask Strength blend Vintage Release 2022
91 points, 54.6%, $150

Despite the rolling pot still spices at its core, the aromas paint a sweet, fruity, and mellow picture. Dried mango, banana chips, ripe pear, meringue, and heather honey aromas conceal the spicy mayhem to come. Dominant spices surge through the mango and citrus peel flavors on the palate, leaving notes of fennel and cilantro in their wake. The spices carry on, beating the drum throughout the dry finish.—Jonny McCormick

Method & Madness Japanese Chestnut Finish single pot still
90 points, 48%, $95

Dry peppery spice and ample woody notes at the onset, with peppermint aromas building against a background of nuttiness, waxy leaves, and herbal notes. Licorice, orange peel, and ground pepper are overcome by a deluge of clove, bitter herbs, and woodiness, then the creamy mouthfeel erupts amid notes of menthol, clove, and unsweetened chocolate. This is the choice for the accustomed single pot still drinker who prefers Powers to Redbreast.—Jonny McCormick

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