What are the best Irish Whiskeys to collect and invest in for the future?
Collecting Whisky or Whiskey is an art form in it’s self, but it is also very enjoyable if you are doing it for the right reasons. Yes some people will buy whiskey to sell a few years down the line or will flip on popular release due to high demand for certain brands. The hype of the new Waterford Whiskey Releases was an eye opener for many Irish Whiskey fans and certainly made a few heads turn internationally. Historically Midleton releases or possibly some older auction items attracted such attention. But to see young whiskey selling at 6 to 10 times market value only weeks after a new release is a real sign of the diversity and strength in the Irish Whiskey market. But for me collecting whiskey is not just about a price tag, it’s about finding a brand you love to drink and share with friends. Buy some rare releases and stick them on the shelf and then wait for the right occasion or why not get the best of both worlds? Buy one to drink and one to keep like the team in Lough Gill Distillery have packaged nicely with their Athru single malt Collector’s Pairs releases. Below are our Top 10 Irish Whiskeys to Collect or to Drink, what are your favorites, tell us in the comments below?
N0.10 Roe & Co Cask Strength Series
I have manged to get 1 bottle of every whiskey released from Roe & Co Distillery to date. But the Cask Strength Series is one to watch, it is probably not on the radar of most whisky collectors as it is a relatively new distillery. But the 2020 Edition was an eye opener for me. Roe & Co released a 13 year old Single Malt that blew my socks off. It spent the entirety of its life in Port Casks and was priced at a very reasonable price point of only €74. As Roe & Co Distillery is a Diego brand there will be great things to come from this distillery over the next few years. This is the perfect entry point for anyone who is looking at starting to collect whiskey.
N0.9 Knappogue Castle Pure Pot Still & Single Malts
In 1966, Mark Edwin Andrews purchased Knappogue Castle, a 15th century castle in Ireland, which was then in ruins. He and his wife, a prominent architect, then embarked on an ambitious program of restoration, in an effort to return the structure to its original state of glory and grandeur. It was around this time that Andrews began buying casks of fine pot still whiskey from top distilleries in the country. Some of these casks were sourced from the old Tullamore Distillery and further aged and bottled under what is now the Knappogue Castle label. Andrews last bottling, a 1951 vintage aged 36 years, is revered by connoisseurs as the oldest and rarest Irish whiskey on the market. Many years later, his son, Mark Andrews III, would bring Knappogue 1951 and his fathers legacy to the United States and other international markets. Celtic Whiskey Shop have a fantastic range of new and old bottle on sale, check out there Cask Finish Series which is one of my favorites.
N0.8 Celtic Casks Series from Celtic Whiskey Shop
The Celtic Cask Series is a real favorite with Irish Whiskey fans who know their stuff. The range was born from our strong relationship with the Irish distillers and the European bodegas and wine houses. Hand-picked by the staff and owners of the Celtic Whiskey Shop, they choose some of more interesting distillates from the Island of Ireland. They searched out the best single malt and single pot still releases, and matured or finished them in rare casks from Spain, Portugal and Italy. Sherry, Port, Madeira and other wine casks have added richness and complexity to the spirit, from the spicy exotic fruits of Celtic Whiskey Cask Series, to the rich Christmas cake aromas of the Celtic Whiskey Cask Tri Deag. The range is growing all the time, but with each edition being a once-off, they sell out very quickly and are highly collectable (oh and highly tasty too).
N0.7 Method and Madness from Midleton Micro Distillery
Midleton are the true master of distilling in Ireland and Innovation is nothing new from the Masters and Apprentices of Midleton Distillery. But the new micro-distillery in Midleton has given them a real playground of freedom to experiment and create magnificent flavours. Method and Madness is the first branded spirit to come out of the micro-distillery and the whiskeys are not only esquite but they are blazing the way for new taste and wood varieties in Irish whiskey history.
“When great minds collide, incredible creations can emerge. At Midleton, our Master and Apprentice relationship runs deep, with generations of know how meshing with restless curiosity. There will be trial, and error, and brilliant bottled breakthroughs that start with “What if?” Restless hearts making inspired spirits.”Midleton Master Distiller
Method & Madness Single Pot Still Hungarian Oak Finish is fantastic. This Limited Edition release was Initially matured in matured in bourbon barrels and then aged (also known as finished) in wooden oak casks sourced from the Carpathian Mountains of Hungary. A ‘World- First’ for Irish Whiskey, The combination of rich volcanic soils that give rise to Quercus Petraea, Virgin Hungarian Oak and Single Pot Still Irish produce a very special Irish Whiskey. But for me the Method and Madness Single Pot Still Whiskey finished in Wild Cherry Wood was the most unique. A brave and exciting new approach to whiskey maturation, it marks the first time that a single pot still Irish whiskey has been finished wild cherry wood casks. A bold and fresh whiskey with plenty of complexity and spice. Bottled at 46%, non-chill filtered. Buy 3, 1 to drink, 1 to keep and 1 to drink after you’ve finished the first one.
N0.6 Dingle Single Malt and Single Pot Still
Oliver Hughes was a pioneer and hero of the Irish drinks industry. Oliver along with his friends Liam LaHart and Peter Mosley were responsible for the craft beer revolution in Ireland when they forged the way for other great independent brewers with the Porterhouse Brewing Company back in 1996. They founded The Dingle Whiskey Distillery during the cold winter of 2012 who the daunting task to take on the giants of the Irish Whiskey industry and win. And win they did, three years and a day after the pot stills produced liquid on the 19th December 2015, one cask, Cask No. 2 was hand selected.
Dingle Distillery released Batch 1, two Single Malt whiskeys to hit the market in November 2016. Distilled from distinctive, hand crafted copper pot stills and matured in Bourbon casks. The whiskeys were, Dingle Whiskey (46.5%, 7,500 bottles) and Dingle Whiskey Cask Strength (60.7%, 500 bottles). They were presented in bespoke bottles featuring a painting by Liam O’Neill, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1916 rising. These releases are now highly collectable.
Dingle Whiskey is a product of its environment. From the localised well water to the immensely manual mashing, alongside the wooden fermentation vessels that feed into the three bespoke copper pot stills, the production is purely Dingle. The micro climate then creates a maturation like no other.
When the Dingle Whiskey Distillery was founded, 500 casks were made available to the Founding Fathers of the Dingle Whiskey Distillery. The founding fathers were the initial investors and each and every one a true whisky fan. Each cask is as unique as the individual behind them. The casks were painted with the Founding Father’s name, fill date and cask number and aged in port, sherry, madeira and/or bourbon. These too are also very collectable, keep a watch out on Irish Whiskey Auctions for some of my favourites, Old Cannon, Heaven’s Kiss and Zoltan’s Special Single Hungarian Virign Oak Casks.
N0.5 Waterford Whisky
Whether it is your cup of tea or not Téireoir has arrived and Waterford Whisky Distillery is it’s home. Whatever your thoughts might be on Téireoir you’ll have to agree the subject is fascinating. The team at Waterford have brought it to the micro extreme and tracked every facet of the production process and the origins of their locally sourced grains.
Every bottle of Waterford whisky features its own code which can be entered on their website to reveal a host of unprecedented content. You will be able to uncover the true origins of the bottle you hold in your very hand, discover maps, the harvest, the grower, distillation details and all the aging characteristics of the wooded casks. When you are at home with your Tuath Glass in hand you’ll even be able to listen to the sounds from the farm where the grain was grown. Sublime!
We’re embarking on a long journey, a voyage as ambitious as it’s pioneering. The destination is to create not just the most compelling Irish whisky, but the world’s most profound single malt.Mark Reynier, Master Distiller, Waterford Whisky Distillery
The first release was aptly named 1st Cuvée: Pilgrimage marking the journey the first visitors took to get to the distilley for the launch party, a pilgrimage if you will. But Covid19 had other plans for the grand opening… that story is for another day. There was only 1,500 numbered bottles released at 50% ABV. Only 1,000 of these were labelled “I Was There” This limited edition, first bottling had a retail value of €150. But the whisky was delivered and they Irish Whiskey market went wild with bottles selling for 1000’s of euro. Each release has seen the 1st edition bottles sell out almost immediately and this trend doesn’t look to be slowing down. Get your bottle fast and you’ll be hooked too.
N0.4 Dunville Single Cask Series & 18 Year Old Port Mourant Rum Finish Single Malt
The revival of Belfast’s most iconic brand has seen unprecedented success, not seen since the launch of Dingle Distillery. Jartath and the team at the Echlinville Distillery are the proud custodians of Dunville’s Irish Whiskey. Their mission was to produce the finest whiskeys conceivable to echo the triumphs of the past. They have already achieved their founding goal to bring The Spirit of Belfast back to the world and restore it to its place among the world’s best whiskeys.
For more than a century, Dunville’s Irish Whiskey was among the world’s finest and best-known whiskeys. An icon of its time, Dunville’s reign was ended in the midst of family tragedy. For almost 80 long years the only place to buy a bottle of Dunville’s Irish Whiskey was at auction, and even that was a rare find.
The Single Cask Series, showcases the very best whiskeys from the Echlinville warehouses, each release sells out in minutes. The whiskey is exceptional. The collectors are fanatical and envious if they miss out on the initial releases as the bottles fetch a high price at auction. But for the real fans, the drinkers and imbibers, the joy is all theirs as the liquid is some of the best I’ve ever tasted.
For those of you who like super premium grab a bottle of Dunville’s Very Rare 18 Port Mourant Rum Finish Single Malt which is still available on Echlinville’s website at the super premium price of £585.00 – sweet oak and dark treacle molasses layered over magnificently clean barley. Rich, oily and viscous, those sugars combine with the malts natural oils to coat the mouth quite sublimely with pure molasses and buttery barley. Ooooh yeah!!!!
N0.3 Redbreast Dream Cask
Redbreast Irish Whiskey is one of the most loved whiskeys produced by Irish Distillers both at home in Ireland and abroad. It was at the world-renowned Midleton Distillery in Cork, that this Dream began. A dream that started 32 years ago, from the first parcel of Redbreast 21 ever laid down. Dream Cask was unveiled by Redbreast Master Blender Billy Leighton to mark a special celebration of World Whisky Day. All those who had the opportunity to sample it were blown away by it’s complexity of character. Redbreast Dream Cask is a very special rare bottling that celebrates IDL’s signature Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. I was lucky enough to taste the 28 year old Ruby Port Redbreast Dream Cask, but the 32 Year Old (46.5% ABV) is the pinnacle of this journey. This Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey All Sherry Single Cask bottling will be the pearl of many collections. Every whiskey fan dreams of the chance to try a truly rare and unique whiskey. These bottle can be found at auctions such as Celtic Whiskey Auctions or Irish Whiskey Auctions where they turn a pretty penny.
No.2 Teeling Whiskey Vintage Reserve Collection
This series comprises of some of the oldest Single Malt whiskey in the world. All the casks used in this series are hand-selected and specially chosen by the Teeling family for their distinctive characteristics. Most notably in this series is the Teeling 24 Year Old Single Malt which won the World’s Best Single Malt in 2019 at the World Whiskies Awards. Following the astounding success of this whiskey Teeling released the Teeling 28 Year Old Single Malt to much applaud. The master piece of the series has to be Teeling 37 Year Old Single Malt. One of the oldest Irish Single Malts in the world, very limited and extremely collectable. This release was limited to 175 bottles, this is Teeling Whiskey’s rarest release. Whiskey enthusiasts will agree this series consists of the finest and rarest Irish Single Malt Whiskeys available today.
No.1 Midleton Very Rare Series Since 1984
Every year since 1984, Midleton Distillery’s, Master Distiller gets the opportunity to release the ultimate expression of his art and expertise. The Midleton Very Rare tradition began when Barry Crockett handpicked the finest and rarest whiskeys available and carefully blended them to create a rare and unique vintage. Each year Midleton Very Rare is vatted from a select number of casks that are deemed of superior excellence and rarity to bear the Midleton Very Rare name. This is the Pinnacle of Irish Whiskey. What vintage was your favorite release?
One of the rarest of the rare was made in 1974 at the old Midleton distillery, before it closed later that year. The first release in Midleton’s Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection is a 45-year-old peated Irish single malt matured in a third-fill sherry cask for more than four decades. Refined aromas of fresh leather, old oak, nutmeg, grapefruit, boiled sweets and toffee pennies fill the nose. The palate offers notes of tropical fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, salted caramel and black cherries. This bottle is presented in a hand-crafted box from Irish designer John Galvin using up to 200-year-old wood from ancient reclaimed whisky vats.
Honorable mentions and great Irish Whiskeys to drink!!
Ten years ago picking a top 10 whiskeys in Ireland might have been an easy task. But with the wealth of variety and quality in the Irish whiskey landscape this was a very difficult yet enjoyable task. There are a few categories in the Irish whiskey industry that are very exciting and I’ll be doing a top 10 of Irish, Blends, Peated, Malts, Poitin‘s and Single Pot Still whiskeys soon. So watch this space and let me know your top 10 in the comments below…
Every Whiskey Tells a Story, What Will Yours Be?Sláinte from The Whiskey Trail
#EatDrinkExplore – By Paul Kavanagh