Irish whiskey has made a huge comeback in recent years, something you may not have believed a few decades ago when the sum total of distilleries in Ireland dwindled to a number small enough that you could count it on one hand without putting your glass down.
Now the once-prominent spirit is rushing back to life, with new distilleries under construction and opening every few months, including the expanding Tullamore D.E.W, which recently opened a new spot (with more coming online soon). It’s one of the many brands that is experiencing a revival since people started looking beyond the Scottish Highlands for spirits across the pond.
“The legal definition only requires that a whiskey be distilled and matured in Ireland for a minimum of three years,” says Tim Herlihy of Tullamore. So beyond that, anything is fair game, and it’s why you’ll see such variety on the shelf these days. The country produces single malts, single grains, blends of widely varying age statements, even a peated whiskey for the scotch lover. They’re often triple distilled, which gives it a palate-friendly demeanor. But the whiskey can be matured in bourbon, sherry, rum, or wine casks of just about every kind, and that’s only going to make the options more bountiful in the future. “I’d expect to see a lot more finishings coming into play,” Herlihy says. “You’re going to see a lot more variety. It’s exciting times for fans of the category.” Here’s a breakdown of what Ireland has to offer.