Irish whiskey blends are often the first style that a new whiskey drinker tries. It makes sense as they are widely available, affordable and easy to drink. But it is because of these reasons that seasoned whiskey drinkers go back to these blends time and time again. Of course, most of these bottles aren’t going to inspire you to write poetry. They’re everyday drinks that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
Irish whiskey blends are great for cocktails, and you needn’t involve fancy equipment. For example, if you mix ginger ale with Irish whiskey and a squeeze of lime, you’ve made an Irish buck. Adding a dram to a Shandy (wheat beer and lemonade), is great on a warm day. A Boilermaker works too. Serve the shot as a sidecar or in the glass of beer, your choice. Of course, enjoying it on its own isn’t out of the question.
However you drink Irish whiskey blends, you should always have a bottle or two in your cupboards. If for any reason you’ve not had one of the brands listed, it’s high time you add them to your shopping list. Or just head to the nearest bar where you’ll be certain to find them.
And just in case you’ve forgotten the particulars, here’s a quick cheat sheet.
Irish blended whiskey :
-Must be distilled, aged and bottled in the Republic and/or Northern Ireland.
-It is comprised of a mix of at least two styles of Irish whiskey: single malt, single grain, and/or single pot still whiskeys.
-All components must be aged for at least three years in wooden casks not larger than 700L.
Classic Irish Whiskey Blends
It is probably fair to say that if you’ve ever consumed whiskey in your life, you’ve had Jameson Irish Whiskey. A stand-in wingman, Jamo’s been a reliable go-to even in the most barren of bars. As to some technical data, it is a blended whiskey composed of single pot still and grain whiskeys all distilled at the Midleton Distillery in Cork.
Tullamore D.E.W. Original is a blended whiskey composed of single malt, single grain, and pot still whiskey. It ages in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. D.E.W. are the initials of a Mr. Daniel E. Williams, a gentleman that worked for Tullamore back in the late 1880s. He made his way up the ranks from shoveling barley to distillery manager to owner. He stamped his initials on the bottles as a sign of quality and they have remained ever since.
Bushmills Distillery is about 60 miles north of Belfast in the town of the same name. For its Original blended whiskey, triple distilled single malt and grain whiskeys (sourced from Midleton) are used. The blend ages in ex-bourbon barrels. An entire new sister distillery is being built next door to its current location and is scheduled to open in 2021.
Powers Gold Label is the entry level bottling under the brand’s portfolio. This blended whiskey is made of triple-distilled pot still and grain whiskey produced at Midleton Distillery. Earlier this year, the brand announced a new bottle and label design for its three core expressions. The first bottle that will receive a facelift is Gold Label with an expected March 2020 launch date.
This blended whiskey is made from a blend of grain and malt whiskeys and is matured in Teeling’s own warehouses. After its initial aging in oak barrels, the blend is further aged in casks that previously held Flor de Caña rum. It’s bottled at 46% ABV without chill-filtration.
Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey is a brand founded by Mixed Martial Arts champion Conor McGregor under his Eire Born Spirits company. The name refers to the southwest area from where McGregor hails: Dublin 12. McGregor worked in concert with Master Distiller David Elder, formerly of Guinness, to decide on the final blend selected from almost 100 blends. This is a triple-distilled blended whiskey matured in former bourbon barrels.
Launched in mid-2017, this blended Irish whiskey is the first release for the brand while Slane Distillery was under construction. It is a triple-casked whiskey aged in virgin oak, ex-American whiskey barrels, and former oloroso sherry butts. The whiskey is comprised of malt and grain whiskeys. The distillery is now open for visitors and it is producing malt, grain and pot still whiskeys.
Diageo re-entered the growing Irish whiskey category early 2017 by releasing Roe & Co. Blended Irish Whiskey. The Irish blend, made from malt and grain whiskeys, matured in bourbon casks, a great proportion of which were first-fill barrels. Bottled at 45% ABV without chill-filtration.