There are over a dozen Irish whiskeys reviewed in the Spring 2020 Buying Guide, spanning blends, single malts, and single pot still—the uniquely Irish style that reigned supreme in the 19th century, nearly vanished into history in the 20th, and has since come roaring back; you can read all about it in the issue’s comprehensive feature.
Here, we highlight six of spring’s most exciting Irish whiskeys that embody the category’s incredible diversity of flavor. For the full lineup of reviews—including a very rare, and collectible, Midleton—check out the Spring 2020 Buying Guide.
6 of the Best Irish Whiskeys for Spring 2020
Redbreast Small Batch Cask Strength Single Pot Still (Batch A)
93 points, 58.6% ABV, $100
Prominent red apple, tropical fruits, pot still spices, and oloroso sherry notes; this shows great balance. The spices are powerful, with a roasted aroma like a crooked burnt match. The palate is gripped by the high alcohol as pepper and clove break open over the tongue into a bed of red apple, baked citrus, and caramel. Unquenchable layers of flavor usher in a likable, bubble gum finish. (252 bottles) —Jonny McCormick
Method & Madness Acacia Wood-Finished Single Pot Still
93 points, 46% ABV, $99
Equal parts fascinating and delicious, this has a clean and creamy nose with notes of Golden Delicious apples, vanilla, golden sugar, snuff, and a sprinkle of lime zest. Brown sugar, praline edging on chocolate flavors, stone and orchard fruits, vanilla, light toffee, and a late sensation of spices nipping the tongue. Dark toffee, coffee grounds, and bitter chocolate join the spices in the finish (2,500 bottles). (€92) —Jonny McCormick
Bonus Score: Compare this acacia wood-finished whiskey to its sibling Method & Madness Wild Cherry Wood-Finished.
Kilbeggan Single Pot Still
93 points, 43% ABV, $45
The follow up to Small Batch rye, this single pot still is double-distilled at the historic Kilbeggan Distillery with a mashbill containing 2.5% oats, inspired by a Locke family recipe from the late 1800s. Pot still spices hit the nose first, with candied peel, baked peach, apricot, creamy vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground pepper. Flavors of orange, apricot, cake, and vanilla combat fizzing pot still spices. Sublimely good Irish whiskey. Best Value —Jonny McCormick
Glendalough 17 year old Mizunara Cask-Finished Single Malt
92 points, 46% ABV, $299
Beginning with more mature whiskey than Glendalough’s Japanese oak-finished debut, which was 13 years old, this has all the aromatic hallmarks of mizunara, as well as golden pastry, cooked peach, heather honey, light malt, baguette, and white pepper. A honeyed dram of melon, white grape, and clementine peel, with sparkling spices of black pepper and ginger root. It concludes with notes of gingerbread through to a spicy finish, though the sweetness remains a constant. (3,000 bottles for U.S.) —Jonny McCormick
Teeling Single Pot Still
91 points, 46% ABV, $65
With a delicacy often missing from single pot still, this shows melon fruitiness, white grape, and rose water, with spice markets, cinnamon breakfast cereals, and wafting barbecue scents. Apple, pear, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and ground almond mingle with velvety smooth caramels. An impressive Dublin-distilled pot still debut from Teeling, with its diverse cask mix for the 1:1 ratio of unmalted and malted barley to develop texture and complexity. (6,000 bottles for U.S.) —Jonny McCormick
Bonus Score: The Spring issue also has a review for Teeling’s unique, U.S.-only Chestnut Cask-Finished Single Cask single malt.
Jameson Triple Triple
89 points, 40% ABV, $36/liter
Named because it’s triple-distilled and matured in sherry, bourbon, and malaga casks, this has a syrupy, fruity sweetness with notes of red cherry, green apple, pear, peeled clementine, vanilla toffee, and a generous helping of pot still spiciness. Orange and lemon segments, red apple, caramel, Jell-O cubes tossed in powdered sugar, and background spices make this sweeter and fruitier than regular Jameson, though the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. (U.S. Travel Retail exclusive) —Jonny McCormick