There are all sorts of whiskeys out there. Scotch whisky has its own unique, smoky flavor. American whiskeys and Bourbon have a distinct taste that's sugary and strong. If you want to enjoy a milder, more subtle spirit, then you need to sample some quality Irish whiskeys.
For a spirit to be considered a true Irish whiskey, it must fulfill certain requirements established by the 1950 Irish Whiskey Act (which was revised in 1980). By law, Irish whiskey must be distilled from Irish grain and stored in a wooden cask for a period of no less than three years. Each Irish whiskey bottle also has to have a 40 percent alcohol volume. Here's a rundown of some of the more popular brands of Irish whiskey out there today.
Kilbeggan is a product of the Cooley Distillery. It has a stiff, bittersweet taste. This malty spirit features a strong, spicy scent. The taste of sweet malt lingers and subdues the grainy flavor that's typical of most Irish whiskeys. There is a hint of an oaky finish, but the sweetness endures after the sip.
Jameson is a mix of grain whiskey and traditional Irish pot still whiskey. It has an intense, honey-like malted flavor. Not as overly sweet as American whiskeys, Jameson's finish has a caramelized, woody edge. The nose has a slight hint of berries.
Tullamore Dew is a smooth and gentle spirit with a subtle, understated taste. This well-balanced whiskey won't overwhelm your palate with uncompromising flavors. Arguably the mildest Irish whiskey available on the market, Tullamore has a mellow malted scent and a brisk, friendly finish. Whether served neat, on the rocks or with a splash of water, Tullamore is a moderate, accessible whiskey that appeals to many different palates.
Clontraf has a certain candy-like quality to it. It isn't overtly sugary, but there are hints of toffee and vanilla in the flavor of this spirit. The scent is more grassy than grainy. Clontraf has almost an almost skunk-like finish. The strong, spicy aroma makes this spirit more of an acquired taste.
Black Bush features a variety of textured flavors and a very long finish. Black Bush has a fruity, almond-like taste. There's a hint of sherry in every sip. Black Bush has a very distinct malty-vanilla scent. There's a smoked quality to the sweet finish that gives this spirit an almost musty ending.
Midleton has a deep and enduring spiciness that strikes you right from the scent and remains on your tongue long after your swig. There's a perfume-like aroma that hits you in layers. The taste is floral, bold and creamy. Midelton has a long, barley-vanilla finish that is very toasty.
Irish whiskey preferences are based entirely on personal choice. If you want complexity and layers, try Midleton. If bittersweet flavor is you're thing, check out Kilbeggan. If you want a mild, mellow and user-friendly spirit, sample Tullamore Dew. If semi-sweetness is something you enjoy, consider Jameson, Black Bush and Clontarf.