For many whiskey lovers, sampling and collecting alone are not an adequate homage to their poison of choice. These devoted individuals find themselves undertaking a pilgrimage to one of the many global epicenters of their favourite craft.
While many will venture to Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail or the five regions of Scotland, there are those who know that a ticket to the Emerald Isle paired with an airport car rental opens the door to rolling green countryside, endless pub banter, and the world of Irish whiskey.
The new millennium has seen the emergence of several new distilleries in Ireland. That said, those who find themselves stumbling across the island looking for the best that the country has to offer will not be disappointed by a visit to some of the hubs of Irish distilling.
Located in County Louth on the Northern extremity of the Republic of Ireland’s east coast, and an hour’s drive from Dublin Airport, this distillery churns out a wide variety of Irish whiskeys. Unlike most Irish whiskeys, which are triple distilled, twice is enough for Cooley’s line of products. Those keen to taste some of Ireland’s single malt offerings should reach for The Wild Geese Blend, while blended whiskey lovers need not look further than the renowned Kilbeggan.
A trip south through County Cork’s renowned countryside affords one the opportunity to visit Middleton Distillery, home of the world’s most consumed Irish whiskey, Jameson (reviewed by DailyXY here). Luckily, for those who feel adequately introduced to their old friend “Jamie”, Middleton offers a broad selection of single pot still whiskeys, a process that makes use of un-malted and malted barley. High rollers will know to reach for Green Spot (reviewed by DailyXY here), heralded as one of the world’s greatest whiskeys.
In Northern Ireland, near the shores of the North Atlantic, sits the oldest distillery in Ireland: the Old Buschmills Distillery. While Buschmills Original blended whiskey remains their most well-known and popular brand, a stop at their location in County Antrim offers a chance to taste one of their many single malts. Of these, the twelve year old, aged in sherry casks, is among the most prized, available only at the Old Distillery.