Raise a glass to Ireland. The country’s iconic whiskey, with flavors of vanilla, apple, pear and fresh-cut grass, makes a fitting toast on St. Patrick’s Day, but it plays well with cocktails any time of year. Here are six Wine Enthusiast-recommended bottles to break out today and beyond.
Bushmills Black Bush; $29, 96 points.
Ideal for sipping solo, this rich, flavorful dram was finished in oloroso Sherry casks. The Sherry influence shows in the baked apple and dried apricot that round into caramel and butterscotch tones on the finish.
Jameson 18 Years Old Limited Reserve; $85, 95 points.
This special-occasion bottle represents “the master blender’s special selection of very old Jameson Irish Whiskey.” It’s a bright, vibrant sipper that marries fruit and honey, finishing with complex nuances of white chocolate, banana, leather and nutmeg.
2 Gingers Irish Whiskey; $20, 94 points.
Ideal for mixing into hot toddies or “Irish Bucks” (ginger ale and lime), this velvety blended whiskey offers sweet, malty flavors that incorporate baked apple, honey and warm butterscotch.
Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix; $55, 94 points.
Teasingly sweet on the palate, it’s rich with honey, vanilla, fruit and spice. The finish is long and warming (at 55% abv). It’s delicious, but not too precious to mix into cocktails.
Redbreast Single Pot Still Aged 12 Years; $40, 93 points.
A bartender favorite for sipping or mixing, this whiskey features enticing notes of honeysuckle and buttery brioche. A light touch of smoke tapers off to layers of honey, dried fruit, cinnamon and ginger.
Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey; $50, not yet rated.
Coming to the U.S. just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, this rose-gold whiskey is finished in former California Cabernet Sauvignon casks. It’s light-bodied and reminiscent of nuts, custard and vanilla, with just a fruity tinge in the aroma.