Irish Whiskey: The Comeback Kid

22nd November 2016

Taking the World by Storm…


History, it’s said, has a habit of repeating itself. It’s not always a good thing but every now and then, a comeback is a thing of pure beauty. Enter Irish whiskey. The rise, fall and rise again of our native spirit is well documented but Irish whiskey is now well and truly back in the spotlight. Consumers today are more discerning and demanding than ever. They want brands that have a story to tell, that are crafted and nurtured, but that are also innovative and creative. Irish whiskey has stepped up to the challenge and this once traditional spirit has been reborn. Driven by Jameson – the world’s number one Irish whiskey – the category is undergoing a revival and is growing globally, bringing a whole new legion of fans along with it.



Producing whiskey is a combination of art, craft and science. Patience is a virtue and this is certainly the case with whiskey. Many are produced in small quantities and occasionally in limited runs. Ageing is arguably the most important factor; to be called whiskey in Ireland, the spirit must be aged in wooden casks for at least three years. Some rest for 12, 15 or 21 years. It’s not a quick process but then the best things in life are worth waiting for. Barry Crockett, master distiller emeritus of Midleton Distillery once said: “Nothing happens in the whiskey business in days or weeks, not even years. It takes decades of effort to effect change.” In every sip of Irish whiskey, there’s a rich history of Irish craft and tradition at play. Irish whiskey has a great story to tell and it’s this authentic and captivating heritage – and its superior taste – that’s winning over legions of new fans around the world.



A style of whiskey that’s unique to Ireland and synonymous with the world-famous Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork, pot still Irish whiskey is enjoying a huge comeback. Made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, which is triple-distilled in traditional copper pot stills it has full, complex flavours and a wonderful, creamy mouthfeel. Some of the best discoveries happen by mistake and it was a happy accident – and a tax dodge – that led to the breakthrough in this particular style. Pot still style whiskey came very close to extinction but the foresight of distillers at Midleton in laying down stocks of single pot still Irish whiskey saved the day. The popularity of pot still styles is now skyrocketing, leading to the development of new and exciting expressions from Redbreast, Powers, Midleton and the Spot range.


For the novice, Irish whiskey is a great place to start. Compared to its Scottish and American cousins, Irish whiskeys are very approachable, and considered balanced in taste and aroma. They are not as extreme in certain flavours, such as peat-smoke from peat-kilned barley or heavily oaked notes from fresh casks; flavours that newbies often find overwhelming when trying whiskey for the first time. Irish whiskey is no longer an old man’s drink with strict rules like ‘never water down your whiskey’ long shaken off. Today, Irish whiskey has a much broader appeal, largely thanks to bartenders bringing it to life in cocktails, inventive new serves and mixed drinks, creating a whole new generation of modern day whiskey enthusiasts. There are endless options when it comes to whiskey cocktails. If you’re starting out, begin with a Jameson, Ginger and Lime over ice and then move onto the classics – a Manhattan, Whiskey Sour or Mint Julep. And don’t rule out the classic Irish Coffee – it hasn’t become famous the world over for no reason.