So with only a few weeks to Christmas I’m sure there are plenty of people in the same boat as me……what in the hell will I buy XYZ. So it got me thinking, why not give you a few of our recommendations as to what to buy that whiskey lover in your life! This isn’t the “best of 2018” list, that’ll follow after Christmas!
So obviously, a bottle of whiskey is the first choice for someone into whiskey but there is more than just bottles to buy someone! In Part two we will cover all the extra bits you can consider but in this article, let’s start with whiskey! So firstly I should say that no choices here were influenced by brands nor was any reward received for featuring them. Most wont even know I featured them until publication. These are purely my suggested bottling in different price ranges to help you pick a bottle. Secondly, while I have linked where you can purchase these whiskeys, this is only to give you an idea of price. Most whiskeys are available from your local off licence and we would HIGHLY recommend that you check out the spirit shops and off licences before going to the big supermarkets. Not that supermarkets are bad, but without shops like Celtic Whiskey and Mulligans and off licences like O’Briens and Fine Wines, we wouldn’t have access to as much whiskey as we presently do. Shop local. Support local and if the off licence is a euro or two more, buy there. After all, most will accommodate you and order in whatever you need if they don’t have it! So…..here are my recommendations.
€100 plus – Red Spot
This must be the new Single Pot Still on the market, the 15 year old Red Spot. Launched in November it was the return of the brand after over 50 years of slumber. What I love about the spot range is that it is all the same DNA. Same whiskey for Green Spot, same for Yellow Spot and now the same for Red Spot but when tasted in comparison together there is such an amazing difference due to the cask finishes. Fruity, sweet and a lovely pepper spice, this well balanced whiskey is a must for any whiskey lover. We reviewed it here if you’re interested in the full story. It retails at €115 and is available directly from Mitchell and Son or from all good whiskey shops.
€90 to €100 – Flintlock
I’m going top end of this bracket and jumping in at €100 for the 16 year old Jj Corry Flintlock. Hailing from Chapel Gate Whiskey Company, the true Irish Whiskey bonder, it was one of the highlights of the recent Whiskey Live for me, so much so I bought a bottle before I left!! I haven’t reviewed it yet (I really need to get the finger out on that front!) but trust me, it’s a lovely blend. It is easy to identify the distillery where the whiskey comes from with its unique finish. It was also the winner of the Best Irish Single Malt (13 Years & Older) at the Irish Whiskey Awards 2018!!
The Flintlock is available from Celtic Whiskey Shop and is a VERY limited run of 400 bottles so don’t delay if it tickles your fancy!
€80 to €90 – Dunvilles 12 yr old
When Echlinville Distillery launched Dunvilles 10 two years ago it was a big hit. It really put them on the map immediately. Fast forward to present day sees Dunvilles 12 being released, once again finished in a PX cask. And boy is it a winner. So much so that it is getting harder and harder to find. I recently stocked up on a few of them. We reviewed it in the latest edition of the Irish Whiskey Magazine so have a look there for our notes! Coming in just inside the catagory, it is priced at €89.95 in Celtic Whiskey Shop.
€70 to €80 – Teeling Brabazon Volume 2
Single Malt finished in Tawny and white Port casks? What’s not to like! Teeling and their Master Distiller, Alex Chasko have proven themselves as one of the leaders in whiskey finishing with more quality releases than I can remember including finishing in some ambitious casks. Volume two of the Brabazon series is bottled at 49.7% and packs a beautiful punch. We had the chance to try and review it with Alex at a Cork Whiskey Society Tasting a few months back and you can read about it here. This comes in at the higher end of the price range, €74.99 and is available from drinkstore.ie among others.
€60 to €70 – Redbreast 12
As their advert says, it’s the quintessential Single Pot Still. The one that really brought SPS back to the fore of Irish whiskey drinkers and a staple part of most whiskey drinkers diet. You really cant go wrong with a bottle. I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t like it! Although I have put it into this price bracket, Redbreast 12 can be found for anything between €55 and €65 depending on where you get it. Celtic Whiskey Shop have it for €59 and if you want to go that little bit further, they will engrave the recipients name on the bottle for €15!
€50 to €60 – Kilbeggan Rye
One of the most exciting releases of the year for any whiskey nerd, Kilbeggan Rye hails the first of the new liquid since Kilbeggan began distilling again. While it is called a Rye, it isn’t an American Rye as people would expect. It is a mixed mash bill which, up to the introduction of the whiskey technical file in 2014 would have been considered a pure/single pot still. 30% of the mash bill is Rye with the remainder being malted and unmalted barley. It is the first Irish Rye to hit the market in YEARS and at €55 it is crazy good value. We reviewed it here and it is available from the distillery shop or in selected shops such as O’Briens Off Licences.
€40 to €50 – Writers Tears Copper Pot
This was the hardest price range for me to pick but I couldn’t but recommend one of the most affordable high quality whiskeys on the market, the Writers Tears Copper Pot. A blend of Single Malt whiskey and Single Pot Still Whiskey, it is unique to Walsh Distillery and was a winner from day one. A real easy drinker and one that never leaves my shelf due to its quality and very reasonable price of approximately €45. It’s available with glasses from drinkstore.ie and in almost all good whiskey shops and off licences around the country. We reviewed it here.
€40 and under – Bushmills Black Bush
For an everyday drinking whiskey, it has to be the sherry matured Black Bush from Bushmills. Such an easy drinker that is thoroughly enjoyable. A blend of Malt and Grain (80:20), this is a whiskey for the ages and one that has survived for nearly 80 years. Prices range from €30 to €35 and it is available in almost every spirit shop in the country!. L. Mulligans Whiskey Shop have it for €32.99. Incidentally, it is one of the first whiskeys we reviewed on the site! You can have a quick read here!
Tune in tomorrow when we will have Part 2 covering a few suggestions outside of an actual bottle of whiskey!