St. Patty’s Day Irish Whiskey Rankings

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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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Powers; $32, 80 proof

Powers has a unique chocolate, cherry, and caramel flavor, along with cinnamon and a touch of clove.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

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