By Martin Isark
It may seem Irish to most drinkers, that in Ireland it’s whiskey, and in Scotland it’s whisky. Is it simply the same brown spirit with a different spelling or are we talking about two very different whiskies?
In most cases the raw ingredients for Irish whiskey and Scotch malt whisky are the same, but their journey from ingredient to the bottle will often follow a different path. Therefore the taste will differ depending on which route is taken by each distiller. Not that dissimilar to the brewing of the many different beers and stouts that sit on the supermarket shelves or behind bar of the local pub.
Is there a benchmark production method and taste spectrum for Irish and Scotch malt whiskies? In the main – yes! Most Scotch malt whiskies are distilled only twice whereas the majority of Irish whiskies are triple distilled. As with vodka, each distillation increases the purity and smoothness of the finished spirit! Therefore the triple distilled Irish whiskies are the smoothest drinkers.
For example, the silky smooth triple distilled Bushmills whiskey and the assertive angular double distilled Laphroaig whisky are two excellent Irish and Scotch whiskies that demonstrate the two very different taste spectrums. Both are top notch drams, but poles apart tastewise.
Just to confuse the pick it off the shelf and put it in the trolley shopper. The Connemara whiskey from Ireland’s Cooley distillery is double distilled with a taste that veers more towards a whisky from Scotland. Likewise the Auchentoshan, a whisky from the Scottish Lowlands is triple distilled and its flavour is more akin to a whiskey from Ireland.
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Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey
Midleton Irish Whiskey
Enjoy a glass of Jameson whiskey? Then the silky-smooth Midleton is a must try! The older the blend the more melded the notes are on the nose, palate and the swallow. Tasted by Martin Isark
Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Not an alternative for the silky smooth triple distilled whiskey drinker, but if you relish the peaty, honey and heather notes from the Scottish Islands – then this double distilled Irish whiskey is one to put in the trolley. Tasted by Martin Isark
Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey
Want a top-notch silky smooth triple distilled deep amber Irish whiskey? This well-crafted dram delivers those qualities with an added sweet sherried lick. If the price and size fits – put a bottle of Black Bush in the trolley.Tasted by Martin Isark
Bushmills 10 year Old Irish Malt Whiskey
Want a silky-smooth well-crafted dram with a rich sherry lick? If the style, size and price fits – put a bottle or two in the trolley. Tasted by Martin Isark
Jameson Irish Whiskey
Jameson is one of the leading Irish whiskey brands on the shelves. This triple distilled Co Cork whiskey is an easy drinking, silky smooth dram that ‘has that I must have another glass’ quality. Tasted by Martin Isark
Sainsbury’s Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Want a cheaper alternative to the brands without trading down in quality? If the size and price fits – put a bottle in the trolley. Tasted by Martin Isark