The best whiskies in the UK 2023

Irish whiskey is an easy-drinking spirit perfect for whiskey beginners and experts alike: good, pleasantly smooth to sip and fun to mix with your favorite Irish whiskey cocktails. Since there are only a few distilleries in Ireland, the offerings aren't as plentiful as you'll find with other whiskey styles. That doesn't take away from the craftsmanship or appeal of these smooth whiskies.

Jameson- Blended Irish Whiskey 1

Editor's Choice

Jameson- Blended Irish Whiskey

The best Irish whiskey in 2021

Jameson Irish Whiskey is a versatile and smooth blend of pot and fine grain whiskies. It offers unbeatable value for money, and is a drink that embodies elegance and quality.

27,60 £ on Amazon

Jameson Irish Whiskey is a blended whiskey that has been distilled in the pure Irish tradition: it is a clever blend of the best of pot still and fine grain whiskies. The blend has been distilled 3 times, it is this traditional technique which dates back to 1780 that gives it this very characteristic sweetness. Finally, the whisky has been aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 4 years. The result? A unique whisky with a perfect balance of spicy, nutty and vanilla notes with hints of sweet sherry.

Jameson Irish Whiskey has an alcohol content of only 40%, which confirms the legendary lightness of Irish whiskies. It has a light, pale amber color and is very smooth and approachable on the palate, with spicy vanilla flavors. You can drink it neat or mixed with soda or in a cocktail. Or you can add coffee to it. It is packaged in a 1L bottle.

Kilbeggan Traditional Irish Whiskey 2

The best cheapest

Kilbeggan Traditional Irish Whiskey

The best entry-level Irish whiskey

This Kilbeggan-Traditional is marked by sweet aromas. Rated as an excellent product in its line of spirits, this 7 year old beverage reveals a characteristic taste in the mouth.

16,80 £ on Amazon
Redbreast-Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey 3

The best high-end

Redbreast-Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

The best premium whiskey

A well-balanced single pot still Irish whiskey, Redbreast 12 Year Old has been matured in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks, creating a sweet and spicy character. The whiskey fits the description of Irish whiskies: neither too strong nor too light, the perfect balance.

43,92 £ on Cdiscount
Tullamore Dew- The legendary 4

The best alternative

Tullamore Dew- The legendary

The best alternative whiskey

Triple distilled and patiently aged in a combination of old bourbon and sherry casks, this original blended Irish whiskey is known around the world for its complexity and smoothness.

18,40 £ on Amazon

Tullamore DEW is one of the most typical and prized Irish whiskies in the world thanks to its sweet and mellow aroma. It can be drunk neat or as a long drink. This drink has been rigorously distilled 3 times in order to obtain this much sought after sweetness. To make this marvel, three spirits have been combined, and this is what gives it this balance of flavors like no other. The grain whisky gives sweet flavors, the malt whisky gives fruit flavors, and the pot whisky gives spicy flavors.

The whiskey's complex, yet approachable flavors are derived from three types of grain, triple distillation, and the blending of the three Irish whiskies. Triple cask aging for depth and balance. Over a period of several years, it is aged in traditional refill casks, bourbon barrels and sherry casks.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best whisky

Any specific needs?

The best Irish whiskey in 2021

The best entry-level Irish whiskey

The best premium whiskey

The best alternative whiskey

Your guide : Samuel

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Comparison table of the best whiskies

Jameson- Blended Irish Whiskey 5
Kilbeggan Traditional Irish Whiskey 6
Redbreast-Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey 7
Tullamore Dew- The legendary 8
Jameson- Blended Irish Whiskey
Kilbeggan Traditional Irish Whiskey
Redbreast-Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Tullamore Dew- The legendary
Jameson Irish Whiskey is a versatile and smooth blend of pot and fine grain whiskies. It offers unbeatable value for money, and is a drink that embodies elegance and quality.
This Kilbeggan-Traditional is marked by sweet aromas. Rated as an excellent product in its line of spirits, this 7 year old beverage reveals a characteristic taste in the mouth.
A well-balanced single pot still Irish whiskey, Redbreast 12 Year Old has been matured in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks, creating a sweet and spicy character. The whiskey fits the description of Irish whiskies: neither too strong nor too light, the perfect balance.
Triple distilled and patiently aged in a combination of old bourbon and sherry casks, this original blended Irish whiskey is known around the world for its complexity and smoothness.
Tullamore DEW
Alcohol content
4 years old
4 years old
12 years old
1 year
Type of alcohol
Blended Whiskey
Pot Still
1 l
700 mL
70 cl
70 cl

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How to choose your whisky

#1 - Age

The age of the whiskey is an important factor in the quality of the final product, although unlike wine, whiskey does not necessarily always continue to improve with age. This is why the Irish Whiskey Act of 1980 prohibits the export of Irish whiskey in wooden casks, as further aging can alter the taste. When buying Irish whiskey, favor those that are at least 10 years old.

#2 - The ingredients

As a popular alcoholic beverage, Irish whiskey is often counterfeited. To avoid the unpleasant consequences of poor quality alcohol, always pay attention to the ingredients. The composition of an Irish whiskey must include malted barley and other grains (optional, including corn). Food additives, alcohols, and artificial flavors and fragrances are excluded. The only tolerated flavor is caramel.

#3 - The finish

It is best to choose a whiskey with a silky or smooth finish. This should be your first consideration. This is one of the main reasons Irish whiskey is so popular. You won't burn your palate as much when you drink it as with other types of whiskey. As a result, it is considered more accessible. In fact, many first-time Irish whiskey drinkers say the liquid can be "quite delicate" in the mouth, and not as strong as they thought. So if you read reviews of Irish whiskey, look for descriptive terms such as "smooth" or "silky."

#4 - The awards

Whiskey is said to be quality when it wins one or more awards. That's the case with Redbreast, which was named best Irish whiskey in 2010. While Redbreast may not have the same brand recognition as Jameson or Bushmills, it regularly wins awards for being the best overall Irish whiskey. Typically, these awards are mentioned on the bottle labels to help sell them and are always mentioned in reviews for even more publicity. Check out these awards and you won't be disappointed.

#5 - The budget

Generally, the more expensive a product is the more quality it is said to be. However, never underestimate whisky by their price, because you can always have surprises. Also, it is more preferable to associate the price with the brand to be sure of its quality.

Good to know!

If you are new to whiskey, some experts recommend diluting it, and that's not a bad thing. Start with whiskey and ginger, the flavors complement each other and that way you can get used to the taste.

What makes Irish whiskey unique?

Irish whiskey is distinguished first of all by its provenance: it must be distilled in Ireland, this includes the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Secondly, it is distinguished by its manufacturing process: the Irish Whiskey Act of 1980 defines the basic requirements for Irish whiskey with detailed definitions of style from the Food Industry Development Division of the Department of Agriculture. Irish whiskey must:

  • Be made from a mashed potato of malted barley and other grains (optional);
  • Be mashed, fermented, distilled to a maximum of 94.8% alcohol content and aged in wooden casks, such as oak, not exceeding 700 liters for at least three years in the Republic of Ireland and/or Northern Ireland;
  • Contain no additives other than water and caramel coloring (e150a);
  • Retain the characteristics of its raw materials (in other words, the smell and taste of the whisky);
  • Be bottled at no less than 40% ABV.

The basic whiskey making processes generally apply to Irish whiskey. The final product may be bottled outside of Ireland, but no whiskey is allowed to leave the island in wooden casks that might impart additional aging.

The different types of whiskies

Irish blends (Irish Blended Whiskey)

Irish blended whiskey is a mixture of whiskies from the same or different distilleries. Irish blended whiskies can be made by blending malt whisky and grain whisky (similar to Scotch whisky blends), but also by blending single pot still Irish whisky with one of the other two styles, or any possible combination of the three.

The two main distinctive components of this type of whiskey are malted barley and unmalted barley. The most popular brand worldwide is "Jameson."

The Irish single malt

The rules governing single malt Irish whiskey are the same as those governing single malt Scotch. The whiskey must be made from 100% malted barley, sourced from a distillery in Ireland. It is aged for at least three years in oak casks and bottled at 40% abv or higher. Single malt Irish whiskey is also double distilled as opposed to the traditional Irish triple distillation.

Irish single malt belies the idea that all Irish whiskey is triple distilled - Cooley malts are all double distilled, while Midleton produces no single malt. Only Bushmills is officially triple distilled.

The Irish single grain

This is a relatively new category in the Irish whiskey market. Grain whiskey in Ireland is distilled from one or more of the following: corn, wheat, rye and barley. It can be produced in any type of still, although it is usually distilled in a continuous column still. It is, by far, the cheapest and most efficient way to produce alcohol, but it is often much less complex than pot-distilled malt whisky, which must be distilled only from malted barley.

The alcohol comes out of a column still at over 90% alcohol, making it much lighter than its pot and malt counterparts. Maturation in different casks adds the layers of character. It's a style of whiskey that's great in cocktails, but also worth experiencing on its own.

The single pot still Irish

Single pot still Irish whiskey is the only style of whiskey made exclusively in Ireland. No other country produces this type of whiskey. Single spot still is almost like a single malt. Same basic concept: the whisky is produced in a single distillery from a single grain. But what distinguishes single pot still from single malt is that single malt is made from 100% malted barley, while single spot still is made from a mixture of malted and unmalted barley (aka "green barley"). In fact, 30% of each is the minimum required in this category.

It must be produced and bottled in Ireland. The blend of malted and unmalted barley gives the whiskey a distinctive spicy character known as "stillness". Of course, like all Irish whiskies, they must be aged for at least three years.

Irish or Bourbon whiskey

Irish whiskey

First of all, this whisky is native to Ireland, it is distilled and produced in Ireland. The essential component of this type of whisky is the non-peat malt, which gives it a slightly lighter, milder and almost sweet taste than other whiskies. Irish whiskey uses barley as grain, both unmalted and malted, and the drink is distilled mainly in charred white oak.


Bourbon is a type of alcoholic beverage distilled and produced in the United States under an international agreement. Bourbon is best known for its amber character, slightly sweeter and denser than other whiskies. It is made from 51% corn and the rest from barley, rye and wheat malt. Generally, bourbon is made in white oak or charred oak barrels.


Whether it's Irish whiskey or bourbon, both are great for alcohol lovers. However, if you're more of a fan of strong, palate-burning alcohol, go for the bourbon. Otherwise, if you prefer smoothness and finesse, look at Irish whiskies instead.

5 good reasons to buy Irish whiskey

Like everything else in life, whiskey should be consumed in moderation. However, you might be surprised to know that whiskey is more than just a fun drink to share with friends after work or at a special event. It actually has significant health benefits.

Irish whiskey is smooth and light

According to various comparisons and some surveys seen in liquor reviews, Irish whiskies are known for their lightness and smoothness in the mouth. Indeed, they do not give that dry effect in the mouth from the first sip. And this does not really affect the content of Irish whiskey.

It reduces the risk of heart disease

Almost like all types of whiskey, according to several studies, a glass of whiskey a day can help reduce your risk of heart disease and heart failure. According to a Harvard study, a moderate amount of alcohol increases the amount of "good cholesterol" in your blood. This is a natural protection against heart disease.

It can help fight cancer

Whiskey contains ellagic acid, which helps absorb unwanted cells from your body. This acid is also found in fruit and wine, however, it is found at higher levels in whiskey. And so is Irish whiskey. While it should not be used as the only treatment, research shows that whiskey can help fight cancer.

It promotes weight loss

Not only is whiskey delicious in flavor, but it contains very little sodium and no fat. Plus, the sugar in the drink is simple sugar, which is quickly processed by the body. This can help promote weight loss. Moderate beer drinkers tend to lose muscle tone and increase their "beer gut". By switching to whiskey, you can lose weight and still have a good time.

It reduces stress

Between work, family and daily stress, you deserve a break. If you're feeling stressed, a glass of whiskey can help. Alcohol is known to calm the nerves. This is extremely beneficial for people who are highly stressed or anxious. However, alcohol should not be used as the only way to relax. Relying on alcohol to calm your nerves can lead to additional anxiety if abused.

The best brands of whiskies

In our opinion, the best brands of whiskies in 2022 are :

Green Spot
Tullamore Dew

Jameson is the leading brand of Irish whiskey in the mouths of consumers around the world. This brand is famous for its triple distillation and a blend of pot-distilled malt and column-distilled grain. Jameson whiskey is one of the premium Irish whiskeys.

The brand is known for its blend of 8 year old single pot still whiskies, about a quarter of which are aged in sherry casks. Green Spot has an excellent reputation among critics and consumers. The brand is in the premium category.

The brand is distilled by New Midleton under license from William Grant & Sons, the brand's owner. Tullamore Dew comes in several expressions: the Original is a blended. The Black 43 is also blended, but the still component is aged in sherry casks. The Single Malt is a 10 year old single malt, and finally, TD has several Reserve bottlings at different ages. It is a brand of excellent quality.

It is the favourite brand of many Irish whiskey lovers. The rich, deep and complex flavour of this drink has put it in the highest position after Jameson. Its quality is demonstrated by its triple distillation from a mixture of malted and unmalted barley.

Kilbeggan is a smooth, blended whisky. The brand is produced in Cooley since its creation in 1987 and is part of the best quality of the Cooley distillery. This brand is very popular with the Irish and is starting to make a name for itself in the world.

What is the price for a whisky

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

15 £ to 35 £
35 £ to 50 £
more than 50 £
Price range diagram


Start with a pot still whiskey

If you have decided to experiment with Irish whiskey, one term you will start to see almost immediately is "pot still whiskey". This term is very specific and refers to the way the whiskey is produced. It allows for 100% Irish whiskey, produced nowhere else. This is a great product to discover the uniqueness of Irish whiskey.

Store your whisky in a well-sealed container

The biggest enemy of an open bottle of whiskey is oxygen. When oxygen enters the bottle, it reacts with the whiskey, eventually tarnishing the flavor. Minimize your whiskey's exposure to oxygen by keeping it tightly sealed. If the original cork is damaged, you can use a bottle cap that creates an airtight seal or transfer your whiskey to an airtight glass container.

Transfer your whisky to a decanter, if you wish

Unlike wine, whiskey doesn't really need to be decanted. However, decanting your whiskey won't hurt it either, and a decanter makes an attractive and flashy serving vessel. Just make sure your decanter is airtight and store it in a cool, temperature-controlled place. Avoid lead crystal decanters. While these containers are very attractive and shiny, there is a risk of lead leaching into your whiskey if you use them for long-term storage.

Protect your whisky from light and heat

Even when your bottle has already been opened, you will need to continue to protect it from the elements. Store it in a cool, dark place, such as a wine cellar, pantry, cabinet or box. A nearly full, opened bottle of whiskey should stay good for about a year if kept away from heat and light.

Store your bottles upright

Always store your whiskey bottles upright. If stored horizontally or upside down, your whiskey will be in constant contact with the cork, which will eventually cause the cork to deteriorate. This can affect the taste of your whiskey and allow oxygen to seep into the bottle.


What makes Irish whiskey special?

Irish whiskey is generally distilled three times. The more times it is distilled, the lighter and cleaner the spirit. After distillation, they are stored for years in dark aromatic cellars or warehouses to enhance the taste.

How to recognize good Irish whiskey for a beginner?

In general, if you are a beginner you should consider a few criteria: composition, coat, aroma (only caramel), finish, sweetness, etc.. These tips will guide you on the different brands and the different little details to consider.

What is the difference between Irish whiskey and bourbon?

The quickest answer to this question is the origin of the two types of whiskies. Indeed, one comes from Ireland and the other is purely American. On the other hand, to push a little, the Irish whiskey is an alcoholic drink resulting from 3 distillations in general whereas the bourbon varies according to the brand.

Which Irish whiskey to offer to a lover?

To do this, you really need to find out about the different brands and types of Irish whiskey that exist. This will give you some ideas about the quality, the price and the brand of whisky you want to offer.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Jameson- Blended Irish Whiskey 9
Jameson- Blended Irish Whiskey
Kilbeggan Traditional Irish Whiskey 10
Kilbeggan Traditional Irish Whiskey
Redbreast-Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey 11
Redbreast-Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Tullamore Dew- The legendary 12
Tullamore Dew- The legendary


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