Irish libations get a lot of press around St. Patrick’s Day, but the vastly improved slate of high quality whiskies from the Emerald Isle in recent years are worth considering on a full-time basis. For a complete list click here, but today this article is looking at a few favorites and recent releases.
The Irish like stories and chatting, and they appreciate good craic, or lively conversation. So the Tyrconnell story is a story to appreciate – and the Tyrconnell whiskey is a whiskey to enjoy. In 1876, people gathered at The Curragh, Ireland’s answer to Churchill Downs, the most revered thoroughbred racecourse in a country that loves horse racing, for the National Produce Stakes Horse Race. A 2-year old chestnut brown colt won that race, despite being a huge underdog.
The colt’s name was Tyrconnell and the whiskey was named in his honor, as was its indefatigable slogan: Victorious Against All Odds.
More than 140 years later, The Tyrconnell whiskey has built a winning reputation, but just took another bet, releasing the first aged expression this old, the limited edition Tyrconnell 16-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey. Only a limited number of bottles have been produced. All The Tyrconnell is rested in American Oak barrels for a long maturation, resulting in an approachable whiskey with a rich, round finish. The 16-Year-Old follows the family heritage, but with a longer finish that’s more herbal and spices. It still has plenty of fresh fruit notes up front, and aging has not dulled the initial deliciousness. It will be available in major markets by mid-March ($100). The Tyrconnell is produced at the Cooley Distillery in County Louth, part of the Kilbeggan Distilling Company. Other labels are Tyrconnell Original and a trio of 10-Year-Old cask finished expressions: Madeira, Sherry and Port.
Another favorite of luxury whiskey lovers is “The Spirit of Dublin,” Teeling. The Teeling family began producing Irish whiskey way back in 1782, but the new Teeling Distillery opened two years ago as the first new distillery in Dublin in more than 125 years. Teeling is now the fastest growing whiskey brand in Ireland, and I wrote about them last fall when they introduced several new products. Their mainline portfolio is known as the Teeling Trinity Range and includes the Small Batch ($40), Single Grain ($50), and Single Malt ($60) labels.
But the big news was the rare 24-Year-Old Vintage Reserve Single Malt, which includes some of the oldest Single Malt Irish Whiskey bottled. Distilled in 1991 and matured in Bourbon casks, the elixir then did a stay in sweeter Sauternes wine casks for a rich, full, and exceedingly smooth product. It won World’s Best Irish Single Malt at the 2016 World Whiskies Awards. Since it runs $500 a bottle, it’s quite the delicacy, but it is excellent, much more complex and layered than most Irish whiskies. A whiskey connoisseur says, “The dual cask maturation imparts an extra depth of fruit flavors that complement the light hint of smoke that comes from using a small amount of peated malt in the original production.” The release was limited to just 1,000 bottles, each hand filled using unique decanter bottles, in a gift box with a certificate of authenticity.”
This blog originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.