Thursday, March 14, 2013

Celebrate St. Paddy's Day With Irish Whiskey

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I celebrated early with the DC Whiskey Walk.
It’s St. Paddy’s Day weekend! Did you think I’d be posting about wine? Well, not today.

Today, we’re talking whiskey, Irish style. I’ll confess: I’m a single malt Scotch guy. I like my Islay malts with tons of sea brine, peat and campfire smoke. I rarely drink Irish whiskeys, which generally take a smoother, more floral approach to this beatiful distilled spirit.

But on a recent sunny, 60-degree March day in DC, drinking Irish whiskey sounded awesome. The DC Whiskey Walk mixes together Dupont Circle’s best Irish bars and pubs, lots of people wearing green and a whole lot of — duh! — whiskey.

I tasted through a few whiskeys with some friends and, obviously, had a great time. I’ve listed the whiskeys I tasted in order of preference, from lowest to highest…

You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve taken shots at bars. You know Jameson. When you drink Jameson and compare it with other whiskeys, however, the harshness really comes out. Not recommended unless you’re looking to get plastered cheap.

Ah, Powers Gold Label. For a mass market blend, you could do a whole lot worse. Creamy body with notes of red apple and honey. A bit harsh on the finish, but it’s still enjoyable. A go-to for cocktails.

Sweet aromatics and flavors of green apple, honey and a distinct rich caramel note. Medium length on the finish. Much better than the entry-level Jameson.

Smooth, sweet, rich and floral. The spicy and nutty notes from the American oak barrels make this whiskey stand out from others. Delicious stuff.

A really smooth whiskey with lots of floral and honey-caramel aspects. Not the most complex whiskey, but for those who dislike the intense smoke and peat of Scotch, this elegant and smooth whiskey is a good way to go.

A floral whiskey with smooth with notes of pine sap, orange peel and sweet herbs. Impressive depth and complexity with a long, malty finish.

This whiskey shows a ton of complexity. A honeyed, silky, yet bold approach, I love the notes of caramel, orange blossom and toasted oak. Long, floral finish. Terriffic for sipping neat or on the rocks. One of the best Irish whiskeys I’ve tasted.

Anyone drinking any good Irish whiskey this weekend? If so, let me know what you’re drinking and what you think of it.


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