This type is unique to Ireland. It’s made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, which is triple-distilled in traditional copper pot stills. Expect full, complex flavours and a wonderful, creamy mouthfeel. Midleton Distillery has nurtured and developed this type of whiskey since 1825.
Malt whiskey is made exclusively from malted barley and also distilled using a copper pot still. Although malt whiskey is made in Ireland, this style is generally associated with Scotland.
Grain whiskey is typically produced from a mash of maize and malted barley, usually in a continuous distillation apparatus known as a column still.
Blends, marriages and staying single
Though these are the most common styles, with Irish whiskey growing so quickly there are new styles appearing, like Method And Madness Rye Malt!
A blended whiskey is one that contains two or more types of whiskey. Jameson is a blend of pot still and grain whiskey. In the case of a whiskey like Redbreast, pot still whiskeys – of which some have been aged in ex-bourbon barrels and some in ex-sherry casks – are married together to create that particular brand. The term ‘married’ rather than ‘blended’ is used to avoid confusion, as all the whiskey used to make Redbreast is pot still whiskey.
You may also come across the term ‘single-cask’. This is simply a whiskey bottled from one single barrel. It’s usually numbered and labelled with the cask it came from. These whiskeys are sometimes considered very exclusive, as each barrel would have its own unique colour, flavour and character.