Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey ( _ga. Fuisce or "Uisce beatha") is a whiskey made in Ireland. There are several types of whiskey common to Ireland: Single Malt, Single Grain, Pure Pot Still and Blended Whiskey.

The word whiskey is an Anglicisation of the ancient Gaelic term "uisce beatha" which translates as "water of life". ("The Craythur" is a modern Irish term for whiskey, from "the creature", as in "created"... [ [] - Craythur: (Anglo-Irish) Irish whiskey] )

At one time, all whisky was spelled without the extra "e", as "whisky". In around 1870, the reputation of Scottish whisky was very poor as Scottish distilleries flooded the market with cheaper spirits produced using the Coffey still. The Irish and American distilleries adopted the spelling "whiskey", with the extra "e", to distinguish their higher quality product. [cite book | title = Irish Whiskey: A 1000 Year Tradition | id = ISBN 0862782287 | last = Magee | first = Malachy | date=1980 | publisher = O'Brien Press |location = Dublin] Today, the spelling "whisky" (plural "whiskies") is generally used for whiskies distilled in Scotland, Wales, Canada, Australia, and Japan, while "whiskey" is used for the spirits distilled in Ireland and the United States.

Although it was similar to Scotch whisky in many ways — principally in that it was distilled primarily from barley — traditional Irish whiskey was distilled from a mash of mixed malted and unmalted grains (referred to as "pure pot-still" whiskey, see below) whereas Scotch is either distilled exclusively from malted grain (hence "single "malt") or from unmalted grain (which is generally then mixed with malt whisky to create "blended whisky"). Today, most Irish whiskey is blended from a mixture of pot still whiskey and cheaper grain whiskey. Bushmills, however, is an exception in that it produces no Irish-style pot-still whiskey.

Most Irish whiskey is distilled three times, but so is some Scotch; thus it is a myth, albeit a common one, that this is the main distinction between the two varieties. Irish whiskey also differs in that peat is almost never used in the malting process, so the smoky, earthy overtones common to Scotches (particularly Islay Scotches) are not present. There are notable exceptions to these "rules" in both countries; an example is Connemara Peated Irish Malt (double distilled) whiskey from the independent Cooley Distillery in Co. Louth.

Although Scotland sustains approximately 90 distilleries, Ireland has only three (although each produces a number of different whiskeys): economic difficulties in the last few centuries have led to a great number of mergers and closures. Currently those distilleries operating in Ireland are: New Midleton Distillery (Jamesons, Powers, Paddy, Midleton, Redbreast, and others, plus the independently sold rarity Green Spot), Old Bushmills Distillery (all Old Bushmills, Black Bush, 1608, Bushmills 10-, 12- and 16- and 21-year-old single malts), and Cooley Distillery (Connemara, Knappogue, Michael Collins, Tyrconnell, and others). Only Cooley's is completely Irish-owned. Irish Distillers' Midleton distillery has been part of the Pernod-Ricard conglomerate since 1988. Bushmills was part of the Irish Distillers group from 1972 until 2005 when it was sold to Diageo.


Irish whiskey comes in several forms. There is single malt whiskey made from 100% malted barley distilled in a pot still, and grain whiskey made from grains distilled in a column still. Grain whiskey is much lighter and more neutral in flavour 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 is pure pot still whiskey. While single malt whiskey from both Scotland and Ireland is distilled only in a pot still, the designation "pure pot still" as used in Ireland generally refers to whiskey made of 100% barley, mixed malted "and" unmalted, and distilled in a pot still. The "green" unmalted barley gives the traditional 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. Only Redbreast, Green Spot (which is sold only through Mitchell and Son vintners in Dublin), and some premium Jameson brands are pure pot still whiskies. All of these are distilled at Midleton.

Irish whiskey is believed to be one of the earliest distilled beverages in Europe, dating to the mid-12th century (see Distilled beverage). The Old Bushmills Distillery lays claim to being the oldest licenced distillery in the world since gaining a licence from James I in 1608.


*Blends: Black Bush, Bushmills Original, Inishowen, Jameson, Kilbeggan, Locke's Blend, Midleton Very Rare, Millars, Paddy, Powers, Tullamore Dew
*Pure Pot Still: Green Spot, Jameson Pure Pot Still, Redbreast (12, 15 yrs)
*Single Malt: Bushmills (10, 16, 21 yrs), Connemara Peated Malt (Regular, Cask Strength & 12 yrs), Locke's Single Malt (8 yr), Tyrconnell
*Single Grain: Greenore (8, 10 yrs)

ee also

* Irish whiskey brands
* Baileys Irish Cream
* Saint Brendan's
* Poitín

Irish whiskey distilleries

*Kilbeggan Distillery


External links

* [ The Whiskey Guide]
* [ Kilbeggan Whiskey]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Irish Whiskey — L Irish whiskey est un whisky d orge maltée fait en Irlande. Il faut noter l orthographe du mot qui contrairement à son cousin écossais s’écrit avec un e : Whiskey/whisky. La définition légale du whiskey irlandais a été …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Irish whiskey — n. whiskey distilled in Ireland from a mixture of malted barley and small amounts of other grains …   English World dictionary

  • Irish whiskey — Vieilles bouteilles de Tullamore Dew L Irish whiskey[Note 1] est le terme générique pour parler des différents types de whiskeys fabriqués sur l île d Irlande. L Irish whiskey est une eau de vie fabriquée par distillation de céréale, en… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Irish Whiskey — Single Malt Whisky mit Nosing Glas Blended Scotch Whisky mit Tumbler Whisky (in …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Irish whiskey — noun whiskey made in Ireland chiefly from barley • Syn: ↑Irish, ↑Irish whisky • Derivationally related forms: ↑Irish (for: ↑Irish) • Hypernyms: ↑whiskey, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Irish whiskey — any whiskey made in Ireland, characteristically a product of barley. Also called Irish. [1790 1800] * * * …   Universalium

  • Irish whiskey — noun Date: 1798 whiskey made in Ireland chiefly of barley …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Irish whiskey — I′rish whis′key n. vin any whiskey made in Ireland, characteristically a product of barley • Etymology: 1790–1800 …   From formal English to slang

  • Irish whiskey — /aɪrɪʃ ˈwɪski/ (say uyrish wiskee) noun any of the various whiskeys produced in Ireland, usually made from malt and distilled three times …   Australian English dictionary

  • Irish Whiskey (novel) — Infobox Book | name = Irish Whiskey is cool title orig = sexy translator = image caption = author = Paul Ready illustrator = cover artist = country = United States language = English series = Nuala Anne McGrail series genre = Mystery novel… …   Wikipedia

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