What Is Irish Whiskey?

Irish Whiskey is very different to Scotch…

Often I hear people state that they don´t like whiskey, as they think that whiskey taste all the same. Irish and Scotch whiskey is very different as they also are produced in different ways. The traditional explanation is that Irish whiskey is that it is distilled three times where Scotch is only twice. Of course, the more distilling processes makes the spirit more clean and soft, however it also removes more taste, and in fact many of the newer Irish whiskeys such as Teeling is only distilled twice and is also non-filtered to add more taste. The most obvious difference is that the malt is Ireland is dried in closed ovens, where in Scotland the smoke usually goes through the malt to add the distinctive smokiness of Scotch. Also the climate adds to the smoothness of Irish whiskey as the milder and more even climate in Ireland with warm winters and cold summers results in a more homogeneous maturation – and a smoother taste. However, the most important difference might be the adding of up to 30-50% unmalted barley to Irish whiskey – known as pot still whiskey - which gives a much more fruity, smooth and delicate taste. A very visible difference between Scotch and Irish whiskey is that Irish whiskey always is spelt with “ey” and not whisky as Scotch.        

All this makes Irish whiskey much more drinkable and enjoyable as well as appeals to more people, and during the years I have introduced many skeptical men and women to Irish whiskey with their immediate comment: “this doesn´t taste like whisky; this taste great!” to which I always reply that ”this is how whiskey should taste: smooth, nice, and with a variety of tastes from fruit and spices.” Whiskey should be a tasteful and delicate experience – which is the trademark of Irish whiskey. Do try it...