It’s St. Paddy’s Day once again, a holiday that sends shivers down the spine of anyone over the age of 25. But take heart, because it’s not all Conor McGregor fans throwing up green Bud Light all over McDougal’s Midtown Pub. So lock your doors, bar the windows, and settle in with the most exciting bottles to hit the Irish whiskey world since the last time the Open Championship was visited the Emerald Isle (1951, in case you were wondering). Who knows, with a little luck and a lot of whiskey, you just might survive to see the morning.
Kilbeggan Small Batch Rye
Simultaneously a throwback and a step forward, Kilbeggan’s new Small Batch Rye is just like its single-grain sibling except for one key ingredient: Rye. Lots and lots of rye. With a mash bill packed with over 30% of the versatile grain, the newest expression from Ireland’s oldest distillery dusts off pre-Prohibition Irish whiskey recipes to create something both familiar (see: the classic honey and vanilla smoothness) and totally unique (see: a palate bomb of rye spice) for a dram unlike any other...this century at least.
Writers Tears Irish Whiskey
Joyce, Yeats, Wilde, Jeff at the coffee shop. Whether you’re a literary icon or just plugging away at your first sci-fi novel, there’s always room for a dram or two of inspiration, and what better place to begin than with Writers Tears Irish Whiskey? A singular blend of Irish whiskeys two foremost worlds—single pot still and single malt—Writer’s Tears is bright, sweet, and agreeable, rather unlike Ulysses. But don’t worry, we won’t tell Mr. Joyce if you don’t…
Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old French Oak Cask
Barrels are what make the weird, wild world of whiskey go round. Hogsheads, butts, quarter casks. It doesn’t matter. If it’s made of wood and won’t spring a leak, someone will give it a shot. Just ask acclaimed single malt purveyor Knappogue Castle, who have launched their new Cask Finish series with an elegant liquid finished in barrels from renowned Bordeaux winery, Château Pichon Baron. The result is a palate bursting with ripe red fruit that threatens to turn even the most refined wine snobs into whiskey-swilling heathens (a cause we most definitely endorse.)
Redbreast Lustau Edition
Redbreast 12 is one of the most acclaimed expressions in Irish whiskey, but what’s the point of whiskey if you’re not ruffling a few, er, feathers. Thus in 2016, the Redbreast Lustau Edition was born. It’s still the same single pot still recipe you know and love, only with—you guessed it—a rich sherry cask finish (and if you didn’t guess it, those are all the rage right now). The result is veriatable dessert in a bottle, with notes of milk chocolate and honey accompanied by poached plum, all dusted in crushed walnut. If that doesn’t make you hungry, or should we say thirsty, then you are of stronger stuff than us.
Red Spot Irish Whiskey
If you know anything about Irish whiskey, you know that Irish Distillers’ Green and Yellow Spots are some of the most acclaimed whiskeys on the ol’ Emerald Isle. This year, however, they will be joined for the first time since the 1960s by the infamous, impossible-to-find Red Spot. The oldest of the bunch at 15 years old, this vivid reimagining is aged in barrels pre-wet with bourbon, oloroso sherry, and marsala wine, pitting ripe fruit, sweet red pepper, and cracked peppercorn against each other in a battle for your taste buds. Thankfully, the only true winner is you.
Bushmills Distillery Exclusive
OK, so the Bushmills new Distillery Exclusive is not exactly easy to acquire. You’ll need to hop a transatlantic flight to County Antrim in Northern Ireland and find your way to the Old Bushmills Distillery if you hope to sample this ultra-exclusive elixir. What the Distillery Exclusive lacks in availability, however, it more than makes up for in originality, aged on Acacia Wood—one of the strongest, most tenacious trees on the planet at over 20 million years old—to produce flavors ranging from wild honey to comforting cinnamon. If you needed another excuse to get to Royal Portrush for The Open this summer, look no further than this.