Two things we love on this perfect mish-mash of a highly alcoholic-cultural day with the greatest basketball day in sports history: Irish Whiskey and March Madness.
Here’s 11 great reasons to throw-up today and call in sick tomorrow:
- Paddy; $20, 80 proof
Paddy’s from Cork, if that sort of thing means anything to you, and it’s triple-distilled, as are most Irish whiskies. It’s very smooth and easy to drink, though a bit light on flavor, with hay and Triscuits atop a bit of nutmeg and not much else. Paddy is fine whiskey, particularly for the price, and it’s probably the strongest last-place finisher in any Drunkspin ranking. Sorry, Paddy, but we can’t all win. Or finish second-to-last.
- Kilbeggan, $26, 80 proof
Kilbeggan is slightly better than Paddy due to a deeper flavor profile, with some sweet corn and cinnamon notes that make it one of the more bourbon-like of the Irish whiskies in this lineup.
- Teeling Small Batch; $37, 92 proof
This was partially aged in used rum barrels, and it shows. I like rum, but the molasses and vanilla flavors were overpowering, without much real whiskey character underneath. It tastes objectively pleasant, though: rummy and slightly floral.
- 8. Jameson; $28, 80 proof
Jameson is the most popular Irish whiskey in America by a preposterous margin. It outsells second-place Bushmills by more than 10 to 1. That’s crazy, sure. But just because its market dominance isn’t justified by a strict qualitative accounting doesn’t mean Jameson sucks: This isn’t a Irish Jose Cuervo situation. Jameson smells like vanilla, candied orange peel, lemon, and pepper; it’s simple and clean but assertive enough to be worth the effort, and you should absolute accept it every time it’s offered.
- Bushmills; $25, 80 proof
Bushmills is from Northern Ireland. I like it because it tastes like apples, toast, cinnamon, and wet pine bark, with a light tropical hint underneath.
- Glendalough 7-Year Single Malt; $40, 92 proof
This is the entry-level bottling from one of the newest Irish distilleries, founded in 2011. It tastes somewhat harsh, boozier than 92 proof ought to, but I was won over by the relatively complex flavor profile featuring sweet orange, lemon, cinnamon, pear, pistachio, and wood.
- Powers; $32, 80 proof
Powers has a unique chocolate, cherry, and caramel flavor, along with cinnamon and a touch of clove.
- Tullamore D.E.W.; $28, 80 proof
So the D.E.W. represents an old distiller’s initials, which is nice, but feel free (by which I mean, feel obligated by decency) to pronounce it “Dew.” It opens with a strong, sweet vanilla and butterscotch aroma, with cherry and faint pine needle notes emerging with time. And this is weird, but hear me out: I swear I pick up a little mustard seed? Good stuff.
- Jameson Gold Reserve; $70, 80 proof
Of course it’s good, it costs $14 a gulp! But, price gripes aside, the caramel apple, cinnamon, vanilla bean, oak, indeterminate spice, and light toffee work very well together, and I’ll happily drink this any time someone else is buying.
- Tullamore Dew Trilogy 15-Year; $75, 80 proof
Another super-deluxe model, this one is a blend of whiskies aged in sherry, bourbon, and rum barrels. It tastes like butterscotch, orange blossoms, maybe even mango, definitely cashews, and smoked honey. It’s bonkers and delightful, and I would likely feel that way even if they hadn’t sent me a small sample bottle.
- Redbreast 12-Year; $55, 80 proof
Sweet and spicy, with vanilla, black pepper, plum, anise, and molasses. I will very rarely advocate that Drunkspin readers spend this many of their own dollars on a single bottle of liquor, especially one that’s only 80 proof, but here’s a plan: Get yourself a bottle of Redbreast and have two ounces on the 17th of every month for a year. You’ve done so many worse things with $55.