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The History of Irish Whiskey

Irish whiskey holds a special place in the hearts of whiskey enthusiasts worldwide, and its story is as captivating as the taste itself. Dating back to the 6th century, Irish monks are credited with bringing the art of distillation to Ireland from the Mediterranean. These early pioneers recognized the potential of the fertile Irish lands and pure water sources, which would become essential ingredients in the creation of their whiskey.

Over the years, Irish whiskey evolved and flourished, becoming a staple of Irish culture and a symbol of national pride. By the 19th century, Ireland boasted over 1,200 distilleries, making it the largest whiskey-producing nation in the world. However, the industry faced numerous challenges, including political unrest, economic downturns, and the devastating blow of Prohibition in the United States.

Despite these setbacks, Irish whiskey persevered, and today it is experiencing a renaissance. With a renewed focus on craftsmanship, quality, and innovation, Irish distilleries are once again producing exceptional whiskeys that rival the best in the world. From the smooth and light-bodied blends to the rich and complex single malts, there is a whiskey to suit every palate.

At O'Connell's

We take great pride in curating a whiskey tasting experience that showcases the diversity and excellence of Irish whiskey. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through a selection of carefully chosen whiskeys, each with its own unique story and flavour profile. Whether you're a seasoned whiskey connoisseur or a curious novice, our tastings offer a chance to explore the nuances of this iconic spirit and deepen your appreciation for its heritage.

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Learn About Irish Whiskey Types

In order to be called an “Irish Whiskey”, distilled spirit must be;

Aged in wood barrels for a minimum of 3 years, a minimum of 40% ABV, distilled and matured on the island of Ireland.

There are several types of Irish Whiskey including;

Pot still whiskey

Pot still whiskey is whiskey made from a combination of malted barley and unmalted barley and is distilled in traditional copper pot stills. Pot Still Irish Whiskeys are characterised by full bodied flavours and a wonderful creamy mouth feel.

Blended Irish Whiskey

A blended whiskey is a combination of 2 or more styles of whiskey (grain, pot still or malt whiskey).

Grain Irish Whiskey

Grain whiskey is typically produced from a mash of maize and malted barley. Grain whiskey is lighter in character than pot still whiskey and generally the characteristics display delicate, fragrant and floral notes.

Malt Irish Whiskey

A single malt whiskey is made exclusively from malted barley and is distilled using a pot still.

Tasting Our Whiskeys

The Nose

Terms to describe the ‘nose’ can vary from light to rich, robust to mellow and simple to complex. The addition of a little water brings the full bouquet of the spirit to the fore. However, be careful when adding ice to a whiskey as it can mute the aromas slightly.

The Taste

As the first sip is held in the mouth, the numerous, acutely
sensitive taste buds of the tongue differentiate the taste profile of the whiskey. The tastes that you will experience are often described in terms of the following; Sherry richness, spicy, nutty, vanilla, dark chocolate, woody, honey, full bodied and creamy. A good whiskey will stimulate your taste buds to enjoy many of these flavours.

The Finish

Having savoured the taste, the finish refers to the more defined flavour that is left in your mouth. This may be quite different from the initial sips, leaving either a sweet, dry or smooth essence on the tongue.

So, join us at O'Connell's Bar in Galway, where the warmth of Irish hospitality meets the allure of Irish whiskey. Let us transport you back in time as we uncover the fascinating history behind each sip, and raise a glass to the enduring legacy of Irish whiskey making.


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