Ireland is believed to have been producing whiskey since 1405, originally from grapes. Since switching to grains, Irish whiskey has gained worldwide recognition. (In 2013, there were only four working Irish distilleries, but this exploded to 24 by 2022.) Like Scotch, Irish whiskey must be aged in wooden casks for at least three years, but it’s different in that any malted cereal grains can be used in any proportion to make it. The minimum ABV for bottling is 40 percent, and it’s the national standard to triple distill the whiskey. Irish whiskey tends to be on the light, smooth side with notes of caramel, fruit and oak.
When shopping, you may notice that some bottles say “single-malt” or “single pot still” on the label. Single malt means the whiskey was made from one type of malted barley at a single distillery. Single pot means the Irish whiskey, although also produced from one grain at one distillery, was made with both malted and unmalted barley. (Single pot whiskeys are only legally produced in Ireland.)