Irish Whiskey 101: A History and Tasting Guide

  
Irish Whiskey 101: A History and Tasting Guide

Tastings Pt. 1:

With the exception of Greenore, which is made solely of corn, Clontarf has the highest grain content of any Irish whiskey in the market. “Ninety percent grain and ten percent pot still,” Baker says, pouring. “This is very light, very sweet . . .” Light and uncomplicated, it tastes like a whiskey fitted for cocktails – and so it is. “We use this in our Irish coffee on the first floor,” Baker says. “It really lets the coffee flavor come through.”

Next up is something familiar to just about every drinker. “Jameson whiskey is the leader in the Irish whiskey market,” Baker says. “A lot of that has to do with the Midleton Distillery opening in the seventies.” Loads of tradition, innovation and plain hard work go into that distillery in Cork. It’s the source of pride as well as whiskey, and Jameson’s drinkers reap some flavorful rewards from the work. “Jameson is seventy percent grain and thirty percent pot still,” Baker says. “This is still sweet, light . . . a little more flavor.”

As she pours, Baker notes that, “Jameson Black Barrel was released a few years ago . . . This is sixty percent pot still and forty percent grain.” It’s almost the polar opposite of the daily Jameson. “This has a much more robust flavor.” Black Barrel earns its label with its barrels. “They’ve charred these bourbon barrels intensely. You taste the vanillins.” The pot still contributes fattiness. Sweetness comes from the grain whiskey.

“All Jamesons,” Baker says, “are all chill-filtered.” A beat later, she continues. “If you have any spirit that is non-chill-filtered below forty-four percent, you’re going to get cloudiness when you add ice. That’s because of the remaining esters.” It isn’t bad – any more than cloudiness in olive oil is bad – but it isn’t attractive. “At forty-six percent, you do not have to chill-filter.”

That brings us to Powers. “This is also sixty percent pot still and forty percent grain.” If you want to know what Irish whiskeys a bartender chooses, then take note. “This is my go-to,” Baker says, smiling with the memory of drinks gone by and glasses yet to come. “I get off work and I like to have a cider and a Powers.” It is a rich, warm, welcoming drink. “There are subtleties to this,” Baker says. “There’s the fatness, the creaminess. The honey and vanilla come through. It’s got a spice to it. It has more of a burn. It has a little bit more of an ABV, so it’s a little bit hotter. This is what we use in the Irish coffees on the second floor. On the first floor, we use the Clontarf, which is accessible to all people, whether they have an experienced palate or not.”

5/8

Photo via Flickr 

Recent Articles
The History of The Boulevardier Cocktail - and How You Can Make it at Home
Inside Look: Campari's Stylish North American Headquarters in New York
Behind the Bar: Liana Oster of Dante

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Behind the Bar: Liana Oster of Dante

Behind the Bar: Liana Oster of Dante

For this exciting installment of Behind the Bar, we had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Liana Oster, the head bartender at Dante in New Yo...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jan 7, 2020
Pabst Blue Ribbon Launches Blue Ribbon Whiskey in Select US Markets

Pabst Blue Ribbon Launches Blue Ribbon Whiskey in Select US Markets

PBR has launched their own whiskey. Let's keep an open mind and see what is inside this bottle....read more ›

by Carrie Dow Sep 24, 2019
The Master Sommelier Scandal is Now the Subject of a New Investigative Series

The Master Sommelier Scandal is Now the Subject of a New Investigative Series

There's a new investigative series about one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the wine world....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Sep 13, 2019
SPONSORED
Drink Nation Store Rectangle
Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Using Peas to Make Gin Might Lead to More Environmentally Friendly Spirits, Studies Show

Scientists may have discovered a more environmentally friendly way to make one of the world's most popular spi...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jul 23, 2019
Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Negroni Week 2019 is June 24-30, so drink this classic cocktail for a good cause....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 19, 2019
What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

If you're taking an Uber, Lyft, or cab and feel unsafe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself....read more ›

by Nina Starner Jun 19, 2019
Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

This time on Behind the Bar, we spoke to Kat Corbo of The Study, who recently won Speed Rack 2019....read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 15, 2019
Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

In a huge move for the American craft beer community, Boston Beer and Dogfish Head have agreed to a merger valued at $300 million dollars. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 10, 2019
A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A new, high-end blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, known as Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold, which was previously only ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 15, 2019
Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon has debuted an entirely new label design, has expanded to more states...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 3, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close