These Are the 6 Best Irish Whiskeys in the World, According to the Biggest Awards in Booze
This week, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition unveiled the finalists for its three Irish Whiskey award categories: Blended Irish Whiskey, Single Malt Irish Whiskey and Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey.
While Irish whiskey is dominated by a few major producers (think Jameson and Bushmills), there are a ton of smaller producers making awesome whiskeys. For some great Irish whiskey recommendations, check out this roundup we put together for St. Patrick’s Day this year. For more recommendations, keep reading to see which Irish whiskeys the San Francisco World Spirits determined to be the best.
San Francisco World Spirits Competition Blended Irish Whiskey Finalists
Blended Irish whiskeys are spirits that are a fusion of multiple Irish whiskeys. Blended whiskey once had a negative stigma, as the “blended” label was often treated as a way to quietly hide the cheap contents within various bottlings. Today, however, whiskey blending is regarded as an art form, and “master blender” is a prestigious title to hold at a whiskey production company.
Northcross Irish Whiskey Triple Wood
Priced at an affordable $24.99, Northcross Irish Whiskey Triple Wood is made from a blend of whiskeys distilled in copper stills and aged in a combination of ex-bourbon barrels, new American oak and Oloroso sherry casks.
Northcross Irish Whiskey Triple Wood can be purchased from the Northcross online shop.
Cairlinn Bay Irish Whiskey Oak & Coast Blended Irish Whiskey
Cairlinn Bay’s Oak & Coast is a blend of Irish single grain whiskey aged in charred new oak, triple-distilled malt finished in rye casks and pot still finished in sherry casks.
Bottled at 92 proof, Oak & Coast can be purchased from the Cairlinn Bay website for $47.
Teeling Whiskey Small Batch Irish Whiskey
One of our absolute favorite Irish options on the market, Teeling Small Batch might just be the best option out there for for easily findable and affordable (it’s found between $30 and $40) Irish whiskeys. This 92-proof blended whiskey is finished in rum barrels, which marries the light, sweet grainy Irish whiskey notes with an enjoyable rum funk.
To read our review of Teeling Whiskey Small Batch Irish Whiskey, click here.
San Francisco World Spirits Competition Single Malt Irish Whiskey Finalists
Single malt Irish whiskeys are made from 100% malted barley and produced by a single distillery in a pot still.
Keeper’s Heart 10 Year Old Irish Single Malt
Perhaps a surprise on the surface, this finalist for an Irish whiskey category is a brand hailing from Minnesota, USA. However, with former Irish Distillers (the creator of massively successful brands like Jameson and Redbreast) Master Distiller Brian Nation on board, it makes perfect sense that Keeper’s Heart would thrive when it comes to Irish whiskey.
Keeper’s Heart is best known for its Irish-American blended whiskey, but this expression is a pure Irish single malt. Aged 10 years, this is the brand’s first age-stated release. It’s distilled in copper pot stills, aged for 10 years in bourbon barrels and finished in Malaga wine casks from Spain.
Bottled at 86 proof, Keeper’s Heart 10 Year Old Irish Single Malt can be purchased from the Keeper’s Heart website for $99.99.
Egan’s Irish Whiskey Endeavour
Egan’s Endeavour is a combination of four cask types: New American oak, bourbon, sherry and imperial stout.
Bottled at 92 proof, Egan’s Endeavour can be bought for around $65.
San Francisco World Spirits Competition Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey Winner
Pure pot still whiskey, aka single pot still whiskey, is a uniquely Irish category — unlike blended whiskeys and single malt whiskeys, which are made across the world. Pure pot still whiskeys are blends of malted and unmalted barley distilled in a potstill.
The San Francisco World Spirits Competition landed on only one finalist for this category, meaning this whiskey is, by default, the winner of the award.
Redbreast 15 Year Old
Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, Redbreast 15 Year is triple distilled in copper pot stills and aged in a mix of new and refill casks for at least 15 years.
Redbreast 15 Year can typically be found for between $115 and $125.
To read our review of Redbreast 15 Year Old, click here.
About the San Francisco World Spirits Competition
Founded in 2000, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is the oldest and largest competition of its kind.
When it comes to awards competitions in the drinks industry, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is the peak. Receiving a high-tier medal at SFWSC is something almost every brand strives for.
SFWSC judges are experienced, knowledgeable spirits critics. Each spirit is tasted blind, ensuring a lack of bias.
Earlier in May, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition released the finalists for the Best Blended American Whiskey and Best American Single Malt Whiskey awards.
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