10 Best Irish Whiskeys

Besides being our pick for the best Irish Whiskey, Redbreast 21 Year is old enough to join you at the bar. 

The ageing process of this whiskey introduces deep flavours, creating a complex and enriching experience. But the Irish have been making whiskey for centuries. The first written record of whiskey comes from Ireland way back in 1405, and the word whiskey comes from the original Gaelic uisce beatha, “water of life,” or “aqua vitae” in Latin. 

So when it comes to whiskey, the Irish know what’s up, and there are dozens of options to consider.

But evaluating all these Irish whiskeys could topple even the stoutest of barmen. Luckily Great Foodie did the legwork and scoured the web for the best Irish Whiskeys in the world in 2022. We’ve compiled our discoveries in the ranking below.

The Top Irish Whiskeys


Redbreast 21 Year


Connemara Peated Single Malt 12 Year


Clontarf 1014 Classic Blend Irish Whiskey

What Makes an Irish Whiskey Special?

Before getting into the best Irish whiskeys, let’s find out what makes Irish whiskey Irish whiskey. There are a lot of rules: 

  • Irish whiskey must be distilled and must reach maturation in Ireland.
  • Irish whiskey must be made from a mash of malted cereals with or without whole grains of other cereals.
  • Only water and plain caramel colouring may be added to the distillate to retain its colour, aroma, and taste.
  • Irish whiskey must have a minimum ABV content of 40%.

There are even some rules about labelling Irish whiskey:

  • Nothing may be labelled, packaged, sold, advertised, or promoted as Irish whiskey or a subvariety unless it meets the above-stated relevant requirements.
  • Age statements must refer to the age of the youngest whiskey used.
  • Traditionally spelt “whiskey” may also be marketed as “Irish whisky.”

How is Irish Whiskey Made?

Let’s examine four more terms related to the process of making Irish whiskey:

  • Single pot still: Single pot still simply means your Irish whiskey was made at a single distillery from a mixed mash of malted and unmalted barley and was distilled in a pot still. 
  • Single malt: Single malt whiskey is nothing more than whiskey made from a single malt, originating from a single distillery. 
  • Single grain: Irish whiskeys may be distilled from grain or a mixture of malted or unmalted grains at one distillery and aged for at least three years. NOTE: The “single” here refers to a single distillery, not the number of grains used in the distillation process.
  • Blended: Blended whiskeys are the product of blending different types of whiskey and sometimes other neutral grain spirits, colourings, and flavourings. 

Unlike Scottish whisky, Irish whiskey’s malting process rarely uses peat, which is what gives Scotch that smoky, earthy overtone. In general, Irish whiskey is smoother than Scottish whisky. However, there are always exceptions to the rule, and some Irish whiskeys are made with peat.


You don’t have to go to Dublin to find the best Irish whiskey — but that does sound fun, doesn’t it? Instead, read our ranking of the best Irish whiskey.

When we put together this ranking, we diligently examined hundreds of product reviews from Irish whiskey fans. We also consulted Irish whiskey experts, connoisseurs, professional mixologists and bartenders. 

We even sampled some Irish whiskey ourselves — you can thank us later.

Here’s what we looked for when we examined dozens of different Irish whiskey brands and distilleries:

  • Price point
  • Distillery of origin
  • Distinctive or unusual flavour notes
  • Whether the rye whiskey is best suited for sipping, mixing, or both

Read this ranking for everything you need to know about Irish whiskey. Great Foodie loves Irish whiskey, and after reading this list, we’re confident you will too.

The Best Irish Whiskey

1 Redbreast 21 Year

Our pick for the best Irish whiskey is Redbreast 21 Year.

Originating from County Cork, Ireland, at 46% ABV, Redbreast 21 Year is a rich and spicy single pot still Irish whiskey matured exclusively in first-fill sherry and bourbon casks.

On the nose, Redbreast 21 Year delivers a nuanced and energetic aroma of fresh tropical fruit, nuttiness, and dried fruit. And you’ll enjoy the flavour of vanilla, oak, sherry, nuts, and pot still spice.

Overall, Redbreast comes through as rich and very deep on the palate, with notes of fruit, menthol, spiciness, and leather with a creamy mouthfeel. Additionally, some reviewers report ripe mango, brioche, and toffee on the palate.

Redbreast 21 presents oak, even more pot still spices, and barley on the long, textured, and smoky finish.

No matter how you drink it, simply try this award-winning Irish whiskey, and you’ll agree that, without a doubt, Redbreast 21 Year belongs at the top of any best Irish whiskey ranking.


  • Mixable
  • Pot still spices
  • Aged 21 years


  • Very expensive
  • Spicy
  • Sharp for 21-year-old

2 Knappogue Castle 16-Year Single Malt

Bottled at 40% ABV, the easy-going Knappogue Castle 16-Year Single Malt is an exceptional Irish whiskey. It’s triple distilled and aged to perfection in both bourbon and sherry barrels.

The brand is named for the historic Knappogue Castle in County Clare, initially built in 1467. Knappogue is also one of the last independently bottled Irish whiskeys available.

This 16-year ageing process adds complex notes of nut and sherry. Deep amber gold in colour, there’s also chocolate sweetness on the nose, with grainy malt and spice.

Sip this single malt, and you’ll notice a soft mouthfeel with a smooth, varied profile that presents sherry, spice, and pepper off the top but soon develops into the wood, with subtle undertones of fruit and nut.

At the finish, expect more pepper and wood, giving way to spiciness and malt and vanilla. The warmth of this whiskey stays with you long after your last sip.

Those familiar with Knappogue 16 Year suggest pairing it with a chocolate dessert. But however you enjoy it, Knappogue is definitely one of the best Irish whiskeys on the market.


  • Independently bottled
  • Soft mouthfeel
  • Pairs well with chocolate


  • High-end price
  • More sherry than wood finish
  • Limited availability

3 Green Spot Irish Whiskey

Any Irish whiskey that counts Mick Jagger and Daniel Day-Lewis as fans is worth trying, and both legends are known to be partial to a drop of Green Spot Irish Whiskey.

Amber in colour with no age statement, Green Spot Irish Whiskey is a single pot still Irish whiskey aged up to a decade in new bourbon, refill bourbon, and sherry casks.

Green Spot is 80-proof and one of the few remaining bonded Irish whiskeys made in Cork, Ireland.

Green Spot is fresh and aromatic on the nose, with the scent of fruit orchards, barley, and toasted wood. You’ll also notice a bit of peppermint, malt, sweet barley, sugary porridge, creamy vanilla, papaya, and citrus.

Taste this full-bodied whiskey and discover a hint of cloves and sweet green apples. Toasted oak rounds it all off with the lingering flavours of spice and barley on the finishe.

There’s also gentle bourbon oak, green woods, menthol, and potpourri, leading to a long, smooth finish punctuated with creamy vanilla.


  • Bonded
  • Aged in bourbon and sherry casks
  • Smooth finish


  • No age statement
  • Menthol flavours
  • Mid-range price

4 Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey 16 Year

Tyrconnell is a historic Irish whiskey brand revived by Cooley Distillery in County Louth.

Using Irish spring water, Tyrconnell double distils their Single Malt Irish Whiskey in a traditional copper pot still, strictly using barley from the Emerald Isle.

Bright gold in colour, this spirit is then aged 16 years in ex-American oak bourbon barrels and proofed at 46% ABV.

Tyrconnell’s nose evokes fruit with underlying notes of oak. There’s also apple, peach, orange zest, vanilla, and coconut on the tail end.

The fruitiness continues on the palate with melon, green fruit, candied pear, vanilla custard, and coconut making an appearance.

Overall, the palate is light and approachable, with an oily and viscous mouthfeel, building to a fruit climax before rewinding down to a dry almond flavour.

Tryconnell’s long finish is subtle and sweet, with oakiness and plenty of spice.

Best served straight or with just a little bit of water, Tyrconnell is a full-bodied, rich, and fruity single malt that earns its spot on any list of the best Irish whiskeys.


  • Uses Irish spring water
  • Strictly Irish barley
  • Aged 16 years


  • Not ideal for mixing
  • Mid-range price
  • Oily mouthfeel

5 Clontarf 1014 Classic Blend Irish Whiskey

Clontarf 1014 Classic Irish Whiskey hails from County Cork. It is triple distilled in bourbon barrels with only the best Irish ingredients, blended to perfection, and milled in Atlantic Irish oak charcoal.

The result is medium gold, smooth, full-flavoured, and perfectly balanced, with a rich, welcoming aroma. At only 40% ABV, Clontarf is relatively low-proof. But on the nose, the classic blend is honeyed with toasted oak, vanilla, and just the right amount of malt.

On the palate, Clontarf 1014 is delicate, complex, and smooth, with vanilla, malt, and toffee flavours. There’s also citrus, ripe fruit, white pepper, spice, oakiness, and just a touch of cut grass.

Clontarf’s finish is short, continuing the subtle oak flavours alongside a slight sweetness and generous bitterness.

Mild, refreshing, and versatile, Clontarf 1014 is best enjoyed on the rocks, poured over ice in a tall glass. Or, add a dash of water or your favourite mixer.


  • Triple distilled
  • Aged in American oak
  • Affordable


  • Short finish
  • Low proof
  • Grassy flavours

6 Writer’s Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Is there a better name for an Irish whiskey than Writer’s Tears? We don’t think so.

Triple distilled without grain and 40% ABV, Writer’s Tears is a unique single pot still with single malt whiskey. It is golden-coloured, non-peated, matured, and aged in American oak bourbon casks.

Over the unique pot still base, there’s an apple, with hints of vanilla and honey on the nose alongside dark honey and candied lemon zest.

On the soft palate, Writer’s Tears is gently spiced, with bursts of ginger and butterscotch, with notes of toasted oak in the background.

There’s also a flavour like Cookie Crisp Cereal and small amounts of vanilla and baking spices. With Writer’s Tears’ long, elegant finish, you’ll enjoy subtle milk chocolate and almonds.

Writer’s Tears is best enjoyed on its own or with just a little water. No question, it’s one of the best Irish whiskeys available.


  • Triple distilled
  • Single pot/single malt
  • Non-peated


  • Soft palate
  • Not ideal for mixing
  • Pot still spices

7 Tyrconnell Sherry Cask Single Malt

After spending a decade in bourbon barrels, Tyrconnell’s Sherry Cask Single Malt Whiskey spends up to an additional eight months in Oloroso sherry casks from Spain and is bottled at 92 proof.

You’ll notice the influence of the casks on this whiskey. Dessert-like with a dark finish, this single malt retains notes of sherry up against hints of tarte Tatin and custard.

Pale golden bronze in colour, Tyrconnell’s Sherry Cask Single Malt is smooth in texture, with caramel toffee, dried fruits, and citrus peel flavours.

The aroma is spicy and leathery, with chocolate, crѐme caramel, dried fruits, exotic spices, and toasty oak. There is also peach, raspberries, and nuts on the nose.

You may even notice dates, walnuts, and raisins.

Despite the warm and earthy flavours of the spirit, this single malt remains fresh and fruity. On the palate, it’s dry and tangy, and the finish settles nicely into the flavour of cherry cola.

Definitely the best Irish whiskey for those with a sweet tooth. Tyrconnell’s Sherry Cask Single Malt is best enjoyed neat — it’s like a cocktail all on its own!


  • Aged in sherry casks
  • Smooth texture
  • Best enjoyed neat


  • High-end price
  • Sweet
  • High proof for Irish whiskey

8 The Irishman 12-Year Single Malt

The Irishman 12-Year Single Malt is matured in a first fill, hand-selected, and flame-charred bourbon barrels.

Only about 6,000 bottles are produced annually, and each non-chill filtered bottle is numbered by batch and quality marked.

Amber in colour and 43% ABV, the influence of the ex-bourbon casks becomes immediately apparent on the nose, with light, sweet, and spicy notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and just a little bit of clove.

There’s also peach, marzipan, honey, bubblegum, and grain on the nose. It’s balanced with apples and pears, charred wood, and freshly cut hay. Sip this whiskey, and it bursts with flavours like vanilla, black peppercorn, and grassy cereal. There are also the flavours of barley and oak before it all concludes with creamy dairy fudge and a dark chocolate finish.

You may also notice raw honey, tropical fruits, barrel tannin, and charcoal fading to a dry and herbal woodiness.

Add a little water to this 12 year to heighten its flavours. No matter how you enjoy it, there’s no question that The Irishman 12-Year Single Malt is one of the best Irish whiskeys available.


  • Non-chill filtered
  • Flame-charred bourbon barrels
  • Best with water


  • Mid-range price
  • Limited availability
  • Wine influenced flavour

9 Connemara Peated Single Malt 12 Year

With a smoky flavour from peat, Connemara Peated Single Malt 12 Year appeals to Scotch fans, and it’s the only peated Irish whiskey on the market today.

At 40% ABV, this whiskey is very pale and has no caramel colouring. On the nose, Connemara 12 Year is fresh and lively, with zesty orange, lemon, and a touch of creamy vanilla. There are also fruit and honey aromas.

The peat smoke is a constant throughout the experience, but it remains well-balanced in the mix, from the first inhale to the finish.

When you taste this whiskey, it is initially sweet and fruity, with the flavour of pears, apples, vanilla cream, ginger, and spicy oak. You may also experience honey, vanilla, cinnamon, dried apples, and light woodiness.

Overall, Connemara 12 Year is light in body, with some typical Bourbon cask character. The long finish includes notes of dried fruit, pine, sugary sweetness, char, and old wood.

Try it, and you’ll agree this rare peaty Irish whiskey belongs on any list of the best Irish whiskeys.


  • No caramel colouring
  • Peat flavour
  • Bourbon cask character


  • High-end price
  • Milder peat than Scotch
  • Light-bodied

10 Powers Gold Label

Powers Gold Label is said to be “cut from the heart of the distillate,” meaning only the good stuff gets in the mix.

It’s a blended Irish whiskey made of triple distilled pot still and grain whiskey produced at Midleton Distillery in County Cork. There is no age statement.

Powers matures its Gold Label for up to six years in American oak casks before bottling it at 43.2% ABV, or 86.4 proof. This ageing process is responsible for the spirit’s spice and bold character.

Overall, Powers Gold Label has a complex and honeyed taste, with cinnamon, clove oil, white pepper balanced with apple, pear, and a charred oak background.

The oils and spices of the long pot still fade nicely into barley, toasted wood, and the complex flavour of honey.

There are oats, honey, Frosted Flakes, and even honeysuckle on the nose. The palate is creamy with a malt flavour alongside buttery toast.

A little bit of spice comes through from beginning to end, and spiced honey lingers throughout the long, easy-drinking finish.


  • Affordable
  • Triple distilled
  • Creamy palate


  • No age statement
  • Exclusively ex-bourbon casks
  • Small amount single grain

Related Rankings

  • Best Whiskey
  • Best Bourbons
  • Best Rye Whiskey
  • Best Scottish Whisky
  • Best Japanese Whisky

Have you picked out your Irish whiskey yet? Get on it! We’ll wait.

While you’re still deciding, let’s answer some commonly asked questions about Irish whiskey and how to best enjoy it.

Best Mixers for Irish Whiskey

You can enjoy Irish whiskey either neat or on the rocks. But if mixing whiskey is more your style, consider these great mixer options when you are sampling the best Irish whiskey:

  • Coca-Cola

The sweetness of Coca-Cola helps offset the sometimes bitter flavours of whiskey. Here’s how to properly mix a little Coca-Cola with the best Irish whiskey:

  • Fill a tall glass with ice
  • Add 60 mL Jameson 
  • Add Coca-Cola to taste
  • Mix gently
  • Enjoy with a lime garnish
  • Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer

Bring out the floral aspects of your Irish whiskey by adding the sweet zing of ginger ale or ginger beer. Here’s how:

  • Fill a tall glass with ice
  • Add 60 mL Irish whiskey
  • Top off with ginger ale or ginger beer to taste
  • Stir 
  • Add lime juice, and feel free to go ahead and drop that lime wedge in the mix
  • Lemonade

Try this recipe for an Irish lemonade at your next St. Paddy’s Day party:

  • Mix one part Irish whiskey, two parts lemonade, two parts ginger beer, and a dash of bitters in a pitcher or punch bowl
  • Serve in a tall glass with ice
  • Garnish with a lemon slice or fresh mint
  • Coffee

Irish whiskey, particularly Jameson, mixes well with coffee. To find out for yourself, try this recipe using Jameson and espresso:

  • Dissolve two parts Demerara sugar and one part muscovado sugar in three parts boiling water to make a syrup
  • Stir sugar syrup into 35 mL Irish whiskey (we suggest Jameson)
  • Add whiskey to 90 mL of espresso coffee or two espresso pours 
  • Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon
  • Guinness

What goes better with Irish whiskey than Guinness beer? Just add a shot of Irish whiskey to your next pint to enjoy this combination. To add a little creamy sweetness, blend some Irish cream liqueur.

Irish Whiskey Cocktail Recipes

There’s a common misconception that Irish whiskey is best enjoyed straight or on the rocks. We at Great Foodie say forget that noise. Here are some great Irish whiskey cocktails:

Irish Coffee

  • 1 ½ oz Irish whiskey
  • 2 tsp brown sugar syrup
  • Hot brewed coffee
  • Garnish with whipped cream

Mix to taste.

Irish Jack Rose

  • 1 oz Irish whiskey
  • ½ oz Calvados
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz Grenadine
  • Garnish with a lime wedge

Mix to taste.

The Kilbeggan Secret Sour

  • 1 ½ oz Kilbeggan Irish whiskey
  • ¾ oz dry Vermouth
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz grapefruit juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • 1 ½ oz club soda
  • 1 dash of orange bitters
  • Garnish with a lemon twist

Mix to taste.

Irish Gold

  • 2 oz Irish whiskey 
  • 2 oz ginger ale
  • ½ oz peach schnapps
  • 1 splash of orange juice
  • Garnish with a lime wheel

Mix to taste.

Irish Martini

  • 2 oz vodka
  • ½ oz dry Vermouth
  • ½ oz Irish whiskey

Mix to taste.

The Massey Cocktail

  • 1 oz Irish whiskey 
  • 1 oz gin 
  • ¾ oz sweet vermouth 
  • ¼ oz Green Chartreuse
  • ⅛ oz Campari
  • Garnish with an orange twist

Mix to taste.

Zesty Irishman

  • ¾ oz Drambuie
  • 1 oz Irish whiskey
  • ¼ oz triple sec
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 1 splash of ginger ale
  • Garnish with a lemon twist

Mix to taste.

Is Irish whiskey smoother than Scottish Whisky?

It is a misconception that all Irish whiskey is smoother than Scottish Whisky since it is triple distilled.

The fact is that many Irish whiskeys are triple distilled, and some Irish whiskeys are smoother with more mellow flavours than Scottish Whisky. 

But not all Irish whiskey is triple distilled, and not all Scottish whisky is double distilled. 

Another misconception about Irish whiskey is that it’s smoother than Scotch because it’s made without peat. This is sometimes true, but it is now a hard and fast rule about Irish whiskey vs Scottish Whisky. 

Peat is what gives whiskey its strong and smoky flavour. Many Scottish whiskys are made with peat, and most Irish whiskeys are made without peat, but not all of them. 

The last misconception about Scottish and Irish whiskey is that the Irish invented whiskey, and the Scottish just stole the idea. The Irish have been making whiskey for centuries and were once the powerhouse in the industry. 

That dominance eventually fell off to Scotch and bourbon, however. Lately, Irish whiskey has rebounded somewhat. But there’s no evidence of who invented whiskey first, the Irish or the Scottish. 

That’s a secret that’s pretty much lost to history. 

How is Irish whiskey different from Scotch?

Scotland and Ireland — two countries with long and proud histories, exemplified in many ways by Scottish and Irish whiskeys. But which one is better? How are they different, and how are they similar? We found out.


Irish whiskey must be made in Ireland, and Scottish whisky must be made in Scotland. So there’s one similarity between the two whiskeys.


Both Irish whiskey and Scottish Whisky are made with water and barley. With Scottish Whisky, the barley is allowed to sprout before it is dried with peat moss smoke, giving the spirit a more robust aroma and taste. Irish whiskey is more neutral in flavour and aroma.


Irish whiskey contains alcohol continually distilled from barley and other grains. Many Irish whiskeys are distilled three times (but not all), while Scottish Whisky is distilled only twice (but again, not all). Some say this process contributes to the more robust flavour and aroma of Scotch.


Irish whiskey must age for at least three years, while Scottish is aged for two. Both typically use a wooden cask for ageing.