Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey is an all-Irish style of whiskey within the vast and variegated world of distillate, which is having a new rebirth in these last years. Irish whiskey has always disputed the paternity of the distillate to the one from Scotland, although there are no certain and documented evidences about its origin, only suppositions shrouded in legend.

According to the most famous one, it seems that stills were brought to Ireland from Arab countries (where they were invented) by Saint Patrick, the Irish patron saint, whose celebrations are becoming more and more a global phenomenon, also thanks to the strong migrations to United States and to the subsequent American cinematography exported all over the world.

As a matter of fact, some studies have hypothesized that Irish whiskey was one of the first beverages distilled in Europe, around the 12th century, however well after the death of Saint Patrick in 461. The first Irish written document about the beverage is dated back to 1405 (earlier than a Scottish one, 1494), and it is about "l'acqua vitae", Latin for "Uisce Beatha" in Irish Gaelic, different from Scottish Gaelic "Uisge Beatha", a difference, this one, which leads to a different transliteration in English; Irish whiskey, in fact, is called "whiskey".

Irish whiskey has lived in its secular history periods of great success, such as in 1800, when whiskey were sold for 5 times more than Scotch ones, and a phase of decadence, started with the War of Independence from England, the following civil war and American Prohibition. Only few distilleries survived, some of them (such as Jameson) were united under the name of Irish Distillers; subsequently the last remaining distillery, Bushmills, was added as well.

Today Irish whiskey is experiencing a new renaissance, mainly led by Teeling distillery, from a historical family of distillers since 1782, officially reopened in 2015, which with its new releases and experiments is gradually relaunching the Irish brand.

Irish whiskey differs from Scotch whiskey first of all for the number of distillations, Irish whiskey requires at least 3 distillations, as opposed to 2 for Scotch whiskey; the minimum aging period is the same, 3 years. Another difference is in the raw matter: Irish whiskey is obtained by a blend of barley and malted barley, each one present for at least 30% and for a minimum total of at least 95%.

In taste, finally, Irish whiskey in general differs for being more smooth and sweet, as opposed to the intensity, peat and smokiness of Scotch whiskey.

From Teeling to Tullamore Dew, from Irish Hyde to Dunville's, from Bushmills to Jameson and Blackadder, scroll down and discover the selection of the best Irish whiskeys.

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