Be it our love of whiskey-soused shows like Peaky Blinders or a hankering to experience all things Irish from afar, one thing is clear: Irish whiskey is certainly having a moment, and there’s never been a better time to get your hands on a bottle. Correction: Make that at least one bottle.
Outside of St. Patrick’s Day, Irish whiskey’s illustrious history sometimes gets overlooked—but this style of whiskey deserves a spot on your home bar cart all year long. So, what makes Irish whiskey, well, Irish whiskey? Let’s start with the basics: Location, location, location. It must be matured for at least three years in Ireland or the Republic of Northern Ireland.
What goes into the bottle is equally important, though, and just as well-defined. Irish whiskey must include malted barley, for starters (the term Irish malt whiskey gets thrown around to indicate whiskey made with 100-percent malted barley). Malted barley is germinated barley soaked in water, a process with seriously delicious results.
Other variations on Irish whiskey, like pot still whiskey or Irish grain whiskey, use different blends of malted and unmalted barley. (For example, pot still whiskey only requires a 30 percent malted/unmalted split, but some use other variations.) Irish whiskey should clock in at no less than 40 percent ABV when bottled. Finally, Irish regulations prohibit the use of additives aside from caramel coloring and water.
Ingredient lists and numbers aside, what’s really important about this variety of whiskey is that it’s savored and enjoyed, whether alongside friends or in a moment of quiet reflection. Whichever you prefer these days, these are the best bottles of Irish whiskey to buy—and imbibe—right now.
The Best Irish Whiskey of 2022
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