What is it ? It’s just whiskey born and raised in Ireland.
Color: Pale straw to light amber
Aged: Must be aged a minimum of 3 years in wood casks (new or previously used)
Made from: Barley, malted and unmalted (can also be made with other added grain)
Irish whiskey is also known as “Uisce Beatha,” which means “Water of Life” in Gaelic.
It is believed that Irish monks brought the technique of distilling perfumes back to Ireland from their travels to the Mediterranean countries around 1000 A.D.
The Irish then modified this technique to obtain a drinkable spirit. Although termed “whiskey”, the spirit produced during this period would have differed from what we currently recognise as whiskey.
The Uisce Beatha or whiskey produced in historical times would not have been aged, and was often flavoured with aromatic herbs such as mint, thyme or anise
Start of licensed distillation
Bushmills Distillery, County Antrim, claims to be the world’s oldest licensed distillery.
It is through this licence that the Old Bushmills Distillery lays claim to being the oldest surviving grant of licence to distil in the world.
However, the current Bushmills distillery and company was not registered to trade until 1784 which allows the Kilbeggan Distillery (formerly Locke’s Distillery), founded by the McManus family in Kilbeggan, County Westmeath, which has been licensed and distilling since 1757 (not counting the period between 1954 and 2007) to lay claim to the title of the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland.
Kilbeggan also has what is believed to be the oldest operational copper pot still in the world, over 250 years old.
With a taste of the past there is much more to Explore
Despite its long history, there aren’t very many whiskey distilleries. Some of the most famous Irish whiskies include Bushmills, Kilbeggan, Teeling, and, of course, Jameson.
It only takes a sip of one to know that Irish whiskey is more than just something to make an Irish coffee with.
Irish Whiskey Distilleries Map
For years, Ireland had only three working distilleries: Midleton, Cooley and Bushmills. Midleton and Cooley are located in the Irish Republic while Bushmills is in Northern Ireland. In recent years, the artisan Dingle Distillery opened its doors.
Much like the Scotch Whisky industry, each of the three main distilleries have house brands that they produce as well as 3rd party brands that are produced by contract.
Midleton and Cooley distilleries produce both pot still and grain whiskey, while the Bushmills distillery produces only pot still whiskey (they do, however, source grain whiskey from the Midleton distillery).
- Midleton Distillery – Located in County Cork at the southern end of Ireland.
Produces Jameson, Midleton, Powers, Paddy’s, Redbreast and Green Spot as well as contract whiskeys like Tullamore Dew.
- Bushmills Distillery – Located in Northern Ireland, the Bushmills Distillery.
Produces Black Bush and Bushmills Irish whiskeys as well as contract whiskeys like Slieve Foy.
- Cooley Distillery – Located in County Louth in the foothills of the Cooley Mountains, Cooley distillery was recently acquired by the Kilbggan Distilling Co.
Produces Tyrconnell, Kilbeggan, Connemara and Greenore as well as a wide range of contract whiskeys like Michael Collins.
- Dingle Distillery – The newest (and currently the only independent distillery in Ireland, located County Kerry.
Produces Dingle Gold Irish Whiskey in copper pot stills along with a vodka and gin.
The Kilbeggan Distillery (also known as Locke Distillery) ceased operations in 1954 and reopened in 1982 as a visitor attraction and museum.
Likewise, the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin is available for tours.