Recommended Irish whiskeys

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Irish whiskey is perhaps the smoothest, most approachable whiskey in the liquor store, and it offers great values. All six of these recommendations cost well under $50. In the name of value, I veered toward blends rather than single malts, though I do include one "pure pot still," Redbreast, which is a unique "single" made from a mix of malted and unmalted barley. Most of these are triple-distilled and aged in sherry casks, except for John L. Sullivan, which is doubled-distilled and aged in bourbon casks, and Redbreast, which is aged in both sherry and bourbon.

Under $50

Redbreast 12-Year-Old Pure Pot Still, $45
Robust yet smooth, with butterscotch and spiciness, and finish that lasts and lasts.

Bushmills Black Bush, $29
A malty nose and luscious, deep creamy caramel on the tongue. Everything you could want in an everyday whiskey.

Jameson 12-Year-Old, $35
Another great everyday choice: lighter, with a little more sweetness, than Redbreast and Bushmills, with honey and spice.

Under $25

John L. Sullivan, $23
Beautiful golden color. Silky and complex with spice, citrus and honey. An amazing value whiskey.

Bushmills White Label, $20
Sure to cause an argument. For me, it has more flavor and complexity than other standards at this price point.

Powers Gold Label, $20
Light-bodied, nutty, vanilla. Makes a great mixer, and not bad on its own. Hard to beat for the price.

-- J.W.

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