Saint Paddy’s Day has lost its way. People stumble blindly from bar to bar, gulping trays of fruit-flavored shots in plastic cups or quaffing beer drenched in green food coloring. That’s no way to treat whiskey.
The Irish take pride in theirs — and you should, too. So take off your shamrock-shaped sunglasses and green top hat, and saddle up to the bar with us for a second. We’ve found some great bottles, specially selected for your appreciation on and after Saint Patrick’s Day.
Named for a winning racing horse in 1876, the Tyrconnell brand is no stranger to success. Tyrconnell 16 is a perfect entree into Irish whisky for the Scotch fan. It’s a twice- (not triple) distilled single-malt aged in ex-bourbon casks for a period of years that Irish whiskey does not often see. The resulting whisky is bright and fruity by Scottish standards, but deeply rich and flavorful by Irish ones. Sip neat or with ice to your tastes; the relative value price allows for experimentation. $100
Tullamore D.E.W. 14
The most traditional Irish whiskey on this list, and also the oldest, Tullamore 14 is a blended whiskey made with three grains, and triple distilled. Like the other releases from the brand, Tullamore 14 spends most of its life aging in ex-bourbon casks, but then the whiskey is divided into three groups, and finished in Sherry, Madeira, and Port casks before finally being blended and bottled. The resulting whiskey is complex and intricate, richly flavored but still very well balanced. $70
One of the newest brands available to the U.S. market just released its first aged bottle. Dubliner 10 arrived for 2017 without much attention, which is good news as far as we’re concerned. This bourbon-cask single malt is sweet and malty — more typical of the Irish whiskey character than some of the others on this list. That, combined with a relatively modest price point, makes this a real contender for the best new all around bottle on the market; perfect over some ice, but forgivable mixed into a cocktail. Just the kind of versatile bottle you want on the shelf. $50
Since last fall when Redbreast Lustau Edition came out, it has already garnered tons of accolades, including Irish Whiskey of the Year from Whisky Advocate. The reason? It’s just that damn good. A single-pot-still Irish whiskey, it’s triple-distilled in bourbon and sherry casks before being finished for an entire year in Oloroso sherry butts. The resulting whiskey is darker, richer, more sweet and savory. It was a limited release but somehow there are still bottles on the market. We’re surprised, too. $70
Jameson St. Patrick’s Day Limited Edition Bottle 2017
Okay, sure the whiskey inside is just your typical Jameson, but there’s something about a special bottle that makes everything a bit more festive. Jameson has been doing this artist program for a few years, and this year Dublin-based illustrator Steve McCarthy incorporated elements of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Jameson’s motto, and other symbols into a really gorgeous work of art. If you’re going to drink Jameson (and plenty of you are) embrace art for a night. (The whiskey is pretty good, too.) $25