Irish whiskey

From Academic Kids

Irish whiskey is barley malt whiskey made in Ireland. Irish whiskey resembles Scotch whisky in its ingredients and production. Note that Irish whiskey is written differently. Peat is almost never used in the malting process, resulting in a whiskey with a smoother, sweeter flavour. In most Irish whiskey, the smoky, earthy overtones of Scotch are absent. Common wisdom says that the Irish invented whiskey, but the Scots perfected it. Both claims are open to doubt, of course. If "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" then "perfection is on the tounge of the glassholder", in other words it is a question of taste. The word whiskey comes from the Irish gaelic term "uisce beatha" which translates as "water of life". And since the Irish named it, it is logical to assume that they first discovered it.

There are far fewer distilleries of Irish whiskey than there are distillers of Scotch. Economic difficulties in the last couple of centuries have led to great number of mergers and closures. Currently there are only three distilleries operating in Ireland (although each produces a number of different whiskies): Midleton, Old Bushmills, and Cooley, and only the last is Irish-owned.

Irish whiskey, like Scotch, comes in several forms. Like Scotch, there is single malt whiskey (100% malted barley distilled in a pot still) and grain whiskey (grains distilled in a column still). Grain whiskey is much lighter and more neutral in flavor than single malt and is almost never bottled as a single grain. It is instead used to blend with single malt to produce a lighter blended whiskey. Unique to Irish whiskey, to which there is no Scotch counterpart, is pure pot still whiskey (100% barley, both malted and unmalted, distilled in a pot still). The "green" unmalted barley gives the pure pot still whiskey a spicy, uniquely Irish quality. Like single malt, pure pot still is sold as such or blended with grain whiskey. Usually no real distinction is made between whether a blended whiskey was made from single malt or pure pot still.

Irish whiskey is believed to be one of the earliest distilled beverages in Europe dating to the mid-12th century (see Distilled beverage).

Examples

  • Pure Pot Still - Redbreast (12 yrs), Green Spot, Jameson Pure Pot Still
  • Single Malt - Bushmills (10, 16, 21 yrs), Tyrconnell, Connemara Peated Malt (Regular, Cask Strength & 12 yrs)
  • Blends - Middleton Rare, Black Bush, Jameson, Powers, Paddy, Kilbeggan, Tullamore Dew

Irish Whiskey Distilleries

See also

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