On our way home from our vacation in Ireland last month, we bought a sampler of four Irish pot still whiskeys to try. I’ve never been a big drinker, but I have developed an appreciation for whiskey in the last few years. I prefer Irish whiskey, but about all I ever see in the liquor stores in my area are the big names — Jameson, Bushmill, Tullamore Dew — so it was fun to learn a little bit about pot still whiskey at the Irish Whiskey Museum and be introduced to some brands that are less familiar to Americans.
This is the sampler we bought:
Of the four, we had already tried the Powers during the museum tasting, and we had also gotten to sample the Green Spot at a whiskey shop we visited on a foodie tour. The Redbreast had been strongly recommended by the tour guide at the IWM, and my friend Mig had spoken highly of the Midleton. You’ll note that they are all made by Midleton, which also makes Jameson , so it’s all simply brand differentiation. Sort of like how a bunch of the so-called “craft distillers” in this country are all made at the same distillery in Indiana. Doesn’t mean they aren’t good, just that you’re being marketed to maybe a bit more than you think. As ever, capitalism ruins everything.
So far, I have tried the Redbreast and the Midleton and enjoyed them both, though probably the Redbreast was a bit more to my liking. I already know I like Green Spot and have been trying to find a local source where I can buy it. Irish whiskey doesn’t have the same cachet as Scotch whisky or the hipster cred of bourbon and rye, so the “packies” in my neck of the woods are not deeply stocked.
There was much made about the difference between “pot still” versus “continuous still” whiskey on our tour, so I found this webpage quite interesting, as it explains that the difference in modern production is more about the mash bill than the actual distillation process. I imagine there are probably some Irish whiskeys being made by actual craft distillers using actual pot stills, but I doubt any of these were. Again, capitalism.
Once I’ve tried all four, maybe I’ll post some notes about the differences. Meanwhile, the search continues for a bottle of Green Spot.