Newly launched Irish Whiskeys & Gins to give this Christmas
The variety and quality of drinks produced in Ireland is renowned at a global level. From the affordable and approachable, to the luxurious and rare, there is an Irish whiskey, gin or other spirits for every taste and preference.
As we get close to the holiday season with a renewed appreciation for the importance of supporting local brands and producers, it is a good time to applaud the resiliency and creativity of those who innovate and have launched new drinks in recent months.
Before sharing a gift guide with a few specific recommendations, it is worth taking a moment to appreciate the response of distilleries that dedicated thousands of litres of their alcohol to the production of hand sanitiser earlier the year.
These include big names such as Irish Distillers, of Jameson fame, as well as medium and small producers like Listoke Distillery, Skelling Six18, Connacht Whiskey Company, West Cork Distillers Clonakilty Distillery, Mor Irish Gin, Micil Distillery, Dingle Distillery, and The Shed Distillery.
The list below features ten recently launched Irish whiskeys and gins that will make great Christmas presents. All of them are available to buy online.
Egan’s 17 Year Legacy Reserve Volume III
This limited edition single malt is the latest release in the Legacy series, aged for 17 years in American Bourbon casks and finished in French Cadillac AOC casks. With only 1,000 bottles launched worldwide and a small allocation for Ireland, it’s quite an exclusive gift.
Contrasting, complex notes combine honey, sweet spices and marmalade in a rish, smooth drop with richness and balance.
Available at: L. Mulligan Whiskey Shop, Celtic Whiskey Shop, Mitchell & Sons, Blackrock Cellar and more.
Midleton Very Rare 2020
The 37th release of one of Ireland’s most premium whiskeys is also the parting gift from prestigious master distiller Brian Nation, who will hand over the honour to long-time collaborator Kevin O’Gorman from 2021 onwards.
This expression is a handpicked selection of the very best whiskeys from the Midleton Distillery in Co. Cork, aged 13 to 35 years in ex-Bourbon American oak barrels. A luxurious and collectable bottle to impress.
Available at: Dunnes Stores, O’Briens, Celtic Whiskey Shop.
Velvet Cap Irish Whiskey
This small batch comes from the multi award-winning Blackwater Distillery in Waterford. It is a blend of malt and grain whiskeys, rested in a combination of Bourbon, Port and stouted rye casks.
Its name and visuals are inspired by the velvet caps worn in point-to-point horse racing, simultaneously nodding to its pleasant, velvety texture.
Available at: blackwaterdistillery.ie.
Irish whiskey renaissance pioneers, Teeling Whiskey, welcomed their second release made at their Newmarket distillery. This unconventional whiskey is a non chill filtered, peated single malt, inspired by the namesake area surrounding them in Dublin 8, which has deep historical connections to Irish whiskey’s tradition.
Expect a smoked character, intertwined with the richness of butterscotch, honey and citrus fruits.
The Celt Irish Whiskey An Chéad Bhlas
The very first small batch of The Celt Irish Whiskey, independently bottled through the Celtic Whiskey Shop. “An Chéad Bhlas”, or Irish for “first taste”, is a single malt whiskey finished in Sherry casks made with an ethos that champions premium quality at a reasonable price, more meant for sharing than for collecting.
It is worth noting that €5 from every bottle sold will be donated to Down Syndrome Dublin.
Available at: Celtic Whiskey Shop.
The Liberator Irish Whiskey
Wayward Irish Spirits hails from Killarney, and presents the second release from The Liberator range of Bonded Whiskeys. Finished in Tawny Port casks, it is Ireland’s first “vatted malt”, a style of whiskey made by blending single malts, in this case from two different distilleries.
Full bodied and with a warm long finish, preceded by notes of cocoa, clove, pears and a mellow nutty character.
Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Gift Pack
A familiar face in the Irish whiskey scene just got a makeover. New packaging, a cork closure and a beautiful gift pack, ideal for the Christmas season. The pack includes a new-look bottle of Writers’ Tears Copper Pot, alongside circular hip flask.
This internationally acclaimed whiskey blends single pot still and single malt Irish whiskeys, distilled entirely from barley and matured in flame charred American oak Bourbon casks.
Available at: Dunnes Stores, O’Briens, Celtic Whiskey Shop.
Grace O’Malley Rum Cask Irish Whiskey
The brand, inspired by the legendary Irish pirate queen Grace O’Malley, revealed a modern and well-rounded blend of malt and grain whiskeys with ages up to ten years, finished in wet casks from Jamaican and Barbados rums, which recently received a Masters Medal at the Irish Whiskey Masters 2020.
One for lovers of fruity, smooth whiskeys with notes of caramel, orange peel and a hint of spice.
Stillgarden Distillers Edition Gin
This is the very first release by Inchicore’s newcomer Stillgarden Distillery. With a solid Macedonian juniper base and 14 botanicals (including smokey cubebs, fruity rosehip and rowan berry), it offers an intense and vibrant serve.
Stillgarden Distillery opened its doors earlier this year and it takes pride in sourcing some of its botanicals from local suppliers and bee-friendly community gardens.
Price: €29 (500ml bottle).
Available at: stillgardendistillery.com
Another distillery that opened its doors in 2020, this time from Cork City, is Rebel City Distillery. It’s a family-run operation co-founded by husband and wife team, Bhagya and Tom Barret, and his father Brendan.
Their motto, “alchemy & artistry” is embodied in their first release, Maharani Gin, crafted with organic botanicals coming from a farming cooperative in Kerala, India, from where Bhagya is from. Expect a bright and harmonious combination of zesty pomelo, cassia and nutmeg character.