What is Irish Whiskey?

Your Guide To Irish Whiskey From Jameson’s Insider Secrets

Ask and you will receive. Below, we try to answer some of your most frequently asked questions about Irish Whiskey – from ‘what’s with ‘e’?’ to the differences between blended, single malt and pot still whiskey. Read on to learn more. At the very least, it could win you a table quiz some day!


What Is Whiskey?

Let’s start at the beginning. Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage. Depending on the individual brand and the desired finish, whiskey is made using a variety of ingredients, such as wheat, rye, barley and corn (maize) and matured in wooden casks over a variety of years. There are many different styles and variations of whiskey, including Irish whiskey, scotch and bourbon, among others.


What is Irish Whiskey?

Irish whiskey is an alcoholic beverage made on the island of Ireland. To be recognised as Irish, a stringent law states that a spirit must spend a minimum of three years maturing on the island of Ireland. In fact, the word whiskey originates from the Irish language. It’s derivative from the Gaelic word “uisce beatha”, meaning water of life.

This ancient distilled drink dates back to Ireland in the 12th century. It’s first mention is in a 14th-century manuscript from County Kilkenny, The Red Book of Ossory. It’s said that Irish monks brought the art of distillation back from southern Europe and made it their own, turning it into a drinkable spirit. Cheers to those resourceful monks!

How Many Times Is Irish Whiskey Distilled?

Irish whiskey is typically distilled three times. This process of triple distillation is a traditional method used in Ireland to produce a smoother and more refined whiskey compared to the double-distilled Scotch whiskey.


What is Whiskey Made From?

Whiskey is essentially three ingredients, water, grain and yeast. Yeast is added to the grain and water to kick things off the fermentation process. Then you need to add some heat, a barrel and lots of time (at least 3 years).


How Many Irish Whiskies Are There?

There are four main types or Irish whiskey; single malt, pot still, grain and blended.

Single Malt Whiskey

Single malt whiskey is a type of whiskey that is made from 100% malted barley and produced by a single distillery. Single malt whiskey is aged for a minimum of 3 years in oak barrels, which imparts unique flavours and characteristics to the final product.

Unlike blended whiskey, which is made from a mixture of different whiskies from multiple distilleries, single malt whiskey is a pure expression of the distillery’s particular style, methods and traditions. Single malt whiskey is prized for its depth, complexity, and smoothness, making it a favourite among whiskey connoisseurs.


What is Pot Still Whiskey?

Pot still whiskey is a type of whiskey made exclusively in Ireland, by combining malted and unmalted barley, distilling it in copper pot stills and then ageing it in oak casks. This sets it apart from single malt whiskey, which only uses malted barley.

Historically referred to as “pure pot still” or “Irish pot still whiskey,” this style was once the most common type of Irish whiskey until blends became popular in the 20th century. Try it for a taste of history!


What Is Blended Irish Whiskey?

Blended Irish whiskey is a mixture of single malt whiskeys from either the same or different distilleries in Ireland. This mixing technique allows the blender to reach a specific taste he requires, as the different whiskies are blended together to produce a final product with a consistent flavour profile, with the aim of producing a smooth and well-balanced whiskey.

On the other hand, single malt whiskey is made from a fermented mash (mix) of a single malted grain, in a single distillery.


What Is Jameson?

Jameson, established by John Jameson in 1780, is a renowned Irish whiskey brand produced in the Republic of Ireland. Matured in the world-famous Midleton distillery in Cork, Jameson’s smooth and distinct taste has made it the top-selling Irish whiskey worldwide, with over 20 million bottles sold annually.


What Makes Irish Whiskey Taste Different Than Other Whiskies?

The short answer is our distillation process and how Jameson Irish Whiskey is aged combined give us our unique, smooth flavour. Irish whiskey takes the high road to flavour with its triple distillation process, making it smoother than its Scottish counterpart. And when it comes to ageing, Irish whiskey knows how to barrel its way to deliciousness, spending a minimum of three years in oak barrels that add flavours like vanilla, caramel, and spice.

jameson whiskey tasting glass