Recommended Irish whiskeys

Wednesday, March 10, 2010; E05

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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