Who invented whiskey? The Scots, who spell it "whisky"? The Irish? Even the Welsh make claims. Whatever the truth, the Irish have made a good fist of whiskey for many generations. Their smooth, silky spirit has a growing number of fans across the globe, helped no doubt by a new breed of Irish whiskey makers contributing new chapters to the traditional story with spirits that restate the style in complex, uniquely expressive fashion. The recent arrival of Teeling's Dublin-based efforts has added lustre to the modern Irish whiskey story, with some luxurious variations on the straight malt idea, including a $600 24-year-old single malt that won World's Best Single Malt in 2019.
Teeling Whiskey Stout Cask Collaboration, $75-$80
Matured using barrels seasoned with Galway Bay Brewery Imperial Stout, this Irish-to-the-core spirit has fascinating notes of mocha and dark chocolate, dark malt and liqueur cherry in its complex aromas. It's smooth with lovely flow in the mouth through an almost sweet, yet clean, toffee-ish finish that's warm and complete. 46 per cent alcohol.
Stockists include: Limited stocks available at Dan Murphy stores.
Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey, $56-$60
From County Antrim in Ireland's north, Bushmills Black Bush has a malty nose that's soft and welcoming with honeyed, nutty, smoky characters that run from the nose through a silky, soft palate. Mellow Irish whiskey that's a true crowd-pleaser and good value. 40 per cent alcohol.
Stockists include: BWS stores; Dan Murphy stores.
Teeling Whiskey 17-Year-Old Single Malt Jim Barry Shiraz Cask Collaboration, $190-$200
The best of Irish with an Aussie accent, this whiskey was finished in barrels that once contained Jim Barry's 2016 Armagh Shiraz from Clare. A fascinating interplay of characters on nose and palate, it's reminiscent of plum, cherry kernel, chocolate and sweet oak – very inviting. The delicious palate combines mature spirit flavours, fruity nuances and a vanillin backbone. Lovely. 46 per cent alcohol.
Stockists include: Limited stocks at Dan Murphy stores.