The Ultimate Guide: 5 Best Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight

I am blessed to be within walking distance of one of the best Whiskey distilleries in Ireland, Jameson Distillery in Midleton. My list of the Best Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight is heavily influenced by some of the best Whiskeys our Midleton Distillery offers.

My first Whiskey experience was grabbing a shot of Jack Daniels with a pint in my local on a weekend when I was a member of the Irish Naval Service. Back then, in my late teens, Whiskey wasn’t something you savoured; it was something that got you drunk faster.

If you asked me back then what my list of Best Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight would be completely different from today.

In my late 20s, I gained a greater love for Whiskey, particularly Irish Whiskey. Don’t forget to read my article, packed full of some of the Best Irish Toast, which you can use on any occasion.

Drinking Irish Whiskey

Best Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to drinking Whiskey. Some like it on the rocks (with Ice), some neat (straight shot), while others, myself included, like a bit of water with our Whiskey.

Adding water to Whiskey helps to bring down the alcohol burn so that you can enjoy a smoother tasting Whiskey. Not all whiskeys need the addition of water, so you have to play around with each one to suit your taste.

Adding Ice eliminates the control you have over the flavour of the Whiskey. It dilutes it too much, especially to the end. Hence, you lose out on the full flavour.

All these whiskeys on my list of Irish whiskey to drink straight. I would highly recommend trying neat to start and then adjusting with a slight amount of water, which will allow you to really taste the full flavours of the Whiskey.

Adding Water to Whiskey

I always remember my early 20s buying a glass of Paddy’s Irish Whiskey for my girlfriend’s father, who would eventually become my father-in-law. He asked for a Paddys with water, so I went to the bar and asked for it. The barman gave me the Whiskey with a little jug of water. I added what I thought was the right amount of water into the Whiskey and brought it to my father-in-law. When he saw it, he laughed and asked if there was any whiskey in the water.

Lesson learned. Adding water to Whiskey is a very personal thing, and it is done to personal taste. There’s an old Irish saying that I later learned that goes, “You should never water another man’s Whiskey”. This has a few meanings but illustrates that Whiskey is very personal, and each person enjoys it differently.

Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight

Here is my list of my favourite Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight. I start with one of my all-time favourites and go into many others I love and enjoy.

Each Irish Whiskey is different, with a range of flavours and notes. For example, the river that feeds the Midleton distillery comes from farmland north of Midleton town. The water used can add a unique flavour to the whiskey production. I hope you enjoy this list and try out each one from my list of Best Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight, they are exceptional and will open you up to a world of flavour.

Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight

List of Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight

Redbreast 12-Year-Old: Top of my list of Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight is one of my favourites, Redbreast 12-Year-Old. Widely regarded as one of the finest Irish whiskeys, Redbreast 12-Year-Old is a single-pot still Whiskey known for its full-bodied flavour and rich, fruity notes. It’s often praised for its balance and complexity. Redbreast Whiskey is made in the Midleton Distillery, so I genuinely love this fantastic Irish Whiskey.

Nose: Spicy Fruit with Toasted Wood notes

Taste: Silky Smooth with a balance of Spice, Fruit and Sherry with toasty notes

Jameson Black Barrel: Another Midleton Distillery Whiskey is the Jameson Black Barrel and a worthy entrant on my list of Best Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight. Made once a year and matured in Bourbon Barrels, this one is another favourite of mine. This Whiskey is known for its smoothness and rich flavour profile, with vanilla, caramel, and spice notes. It’s aged in double-charred barrels, which adds depth and complexity to the spirit.

Nose: Butterscotch and Fudge

Taste: Spicy, Vanilla with nutty notes

Green Spot: Produced again in the Midleton Distillery for Mitchell & Son of Dublin. Green Spot is a family of Whiskey produced for Mitchell & Sons, including yellow, red, and blue. The colour of the spots was how the Mitchell family would mark their casks based on age. Green Spot is known for its smoothness and elegance. It offers orchard fruits, honey, and spice flavours, making it a favourite among whiskey enthusiasts.

Nose: Spicy Orchard Fruit, Barley with a hint of toasted wood.

Taste: Full spicey body, sweet Green Apple, a hint of Clove

Midleton Very Rare: Created by three master distillers to be a thing of beauty, Midleton Very Rare is a privilege to taste. Produced in Midleton Cork Cork by master distillers Barry Crockett, Brian Nation and most recently Kevin O’Gorman, Midleton Very Rare is a premium blended whiskey often considered a masterpiece of the craft. It’s known for its exceptional smoothness and complex flavour profile, with caramel, vanilla, and oak notes.

Nose: Can vary year to year depending on the blend

Taste: Can vary year to year depending on the blend

Teeling Single Malt: Teeling is a relatively new kid on the block regarding Whiskey. Made in Dublin in 2015, Teelings was the newest distillery to open in over 125 years. Teelings distillery has been gaining popularity for its innovative approach to Irish Whiskey. Teelings Single Malt Whiskey easily deserves a spot with some of these heavy hitters on this list. Distilled from 100% Barley and aged in five different wine casks, this single malt is a worthy Whiskey I highly recommend. Their Single Malt expression offers a unique flavour profile with notes of fruit, spice, and chocolate, making it an excellent choice for sipping neat.

Nose: Tropical Fruit, Caramel, Oak and Spice.

Taste: chocolate, Orchard fruit and berries with tropical fruit finish.

This list of the best Irish Whiskeys to drink straight showcases some of the best on the market. My favourites are these selections on my Best Irish Whiskey to Drink Straight list. I often have a bottle available for a special occasion, like a Friday or Saturday (every day is a special occasion for Irish Whiskey).

These are just a few examples of the many outstanding Irish whiskeys available to enjoy straight. Each one offers its own distinct characteristics and flavour profile, so I encourage you to explore and find the one that best suits your taste preferences. Cheers!

Before you go…

If you have some regular Irish Whiskey around the house you could try making my delicious Irish Whiskey Cream recipe. Jameson or similar is perfect. Another perfect way to make the most of Jameson Whiskey is by making Traditional Irish Coffee.

About the author
J.J. Sheridan
My Name is JJ Sheridan, born in Cork Ireland but spent most of my childhood in County Tipperary. I've been a Chef for a large number of years and have worked in a number of award winning restaurants. I love using local ingredients whenever possible in my food so that I can showcase the best of Irish. My passion is to share with you the best restaurants across Ireland from a Chefs perspective. For many years restaurants have been at the hands of the "food critic". Most of the time these critics will visit the same old restaurants and heap praise on them. Often forgetting about the smaller restaurants who are paving the way for Irish Cuisine. My Goal is to higlight all restaurants, especially the ones the so called food experts never visit and give you a complete list of the best Irish Restaurants to visit.

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