«They say shopping makes you feel better, so I always buy a bottle of whiskey in the store.»

Whiskey is an elegant status drink for true connoisseurs of strong alcohol. And although it is produced in different countries, many prefer whiskey from Ireland. It is impossible to imagine national Irish culture without whiskey. Read this article to know more about the features of the drink, and where you can taste it in Dublin. As well as you can book a guided tour with tasting at this link.

Whiskey history

The first written mention of whiskey is found in historical documents of the 16th century. In the 17th century, an official patent for its production was issued. There are several legends about the occurrence of whiskey. The mystical version says that the drink owes its birth to St. Patrick. The second says that whiskey was originally a medicine and was sold in pharmacies.

The production of whiskey started to grow really fast since the drink has amazing taste. At the end of the 18th century, Ireland housed over 1,200 distilleries. However, the British government, seeing this scope of popularity of Irish whiskey, decided to increase the tax on its production. As a result, the number of distilleries has decreased by 13 times over four decades.

Periods of the industry development were replaced by serious recessions, this was facilitated by complicated international relations, hostilities between Ireland and England, as well as the economic crisis and the introduction of Prohibition in the United States.

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Irish or Scotch whiskey?

Which whiskey is better: Irish or Scotch? This is an age-old dispute among all connoisseurs and gourmets. Since tastes differ, we will simply tell you how these drinks vary.

  • Triple distillation is used only in Ireland. In Scotland whiskey is made differently.
  • In Scotland, malt is dried with peat. Thanks to this, its taste becomes rich, with aromas of fuming and smoking. The Irish dry the malt in closed ovens, so the taste of the drink is softer and more subtle.
  • The aging period of Scotch whiskey is at least three years. In Ireland, whiskey is aged from 9 to 12 years.
  • The letter «e» in the name of the drink on the label will immediately tell you where it comes from. Scotch producers always write «whisky», in Ireland only «Irish whiskey». This distinction is formalized, however, both options are allowed in the media.

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Where and which whiskey to try in Ireland?

The most common type is called Single Malt, which is made from barley malt in a classic pot still. This whiskey has the status of an elite drink.

A feature of Single Grain whiskey is the unsprouted grain used in its manufacture. It is used to create various blends.

Pure Pot Still is a unique species found only in Ireland. For production, a special mixture of sprouted and unsprouted barley is required.

Whiskey distilleries in Ireland

There are 3 largest whiskey production enterprises in the country. And along with them there are also smaller productions. In almost every castle in Ireland you will be offered to taste the local whiskey.

  • Tullamore Dew. This plant is named after the city where it was built in the early 19th century. At the factory, in a small bar, you will be offered to taste not only the original whiskey of this brand, but also its experimental variations for a fee. Here you can book a private full day tour.
  • Bushmills. The key to the great taste of this drink is that both malt and whole barley are used in the process. The place of production is County Antrim (a few hours drive from the capital), where the oldest distillery in Ireland is located. Here you can also taste the produced drinks for a giveaway price. You can find tickets for the tour here!
  • Jameson. The drinks of this famous brand have the highest rating. The production was founded at the end of the 18th century in the capital of Ireland, Dublin. Triple distillation, drying malt using closed ovens, long aging, these principles of whiskey production are never violated here. You can get to the plant as part of an organized tour with a professional guide. Here you will visit the old and renovated parts of the distillery, find out how and who makes whiskey, as well as cocktails with this drink. You can try locally produced whiskey both directly from the barrel where it is aged, and in a cozy bar. The duration of the tour is a little less than an hour, so we advise you to book tickets in advance.
  • Teeling has been making whiskey for 230 years. This company owns a new whiskey distillery that has opened in Dublin over the past 125 years. Even though it is young, among the single malts in 2019, Teeling Whiskey was named the best. Book a production tour with tasting here.
  • Pearse Lyons is a small private production located in the building of the former church, which is already very Irish. The owners invite everyone who is interested to take a tour and promise a taste of four unique drinks at once. Book your seats in advance here.
  • Powerscourt is known primarily for its old manor and luxurious garden. We wrote about them here. But Powerscourt also has its own distillery. Book a production tour here to warm up after exploring the garden and waterfall.

» READ MOREPowerscourt Gardens: how to get and what to see at the estate

Interesting whiskey facts

A bit over 1,500 bottles of whiskey are sold every minute around the world.

The price of the most expensive bottle of whiskey is 100 thousand pounds, it was made in 1800 at a factory that closed at the beginning of the 20th century.

Its name is Pure Pot Still Whiskey, the aging period is a quarter of a century.

Whiskey keeps its taste and aroma for 100 years, and an open bottle can be stored for up to 5 years.

Whiskey requires a certain serving, more precisely, maintaining the temperature of the drink. It should be 20 degrees, a deviation of 1–2 degrees in one direction or another is allowed.

For more than three centuries, whiskey has been made exclusively from barley malt. Now, along with barley, rye, corn, oats and wheat are used as well.

In the summer of 1875, a warehouse in Dublin caught fire, where barrels of whiskey were stored. The streets of the capital turned into burning rivers. The fire destroyed more than 250 thousand liters of the drink.

Irish coffee was created accidentally. Passengers from America waited a long time at the airport for the departure of their plane, their mood was also spoiled because of the bad weather. The bartender decided to add some whiskey to the coffee to spice it up. People were surprised by the taste and asked what kind of coffee it was. The bartender replied that it was Irish coffee. There was a writer in the group who recorded their dialogue and recounted the incident in his notes.

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We would like to finish here with an Irish joke:

— What is the difference between alcohol and whiskey?
— One can drink alcohol.
— And whiskey?
— One must drink it.

Make sure to try traditional Irish whiskey but please pace yourself!

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