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The Best Irish Whiskey Under $30

By InsideHook

Powers Gold Label

To quote an Irish whiskey expert we interviewed a few years back: “[This is] smooth, approachable and the right price point … drink it neat. Perfect to aid in washing down a pint of Guinness, Smithwicks or Magners Cider. In that order.”

The Sexton

Made from 100% malted barley triple-distilled in copper pots and aged for four years in Oloroso Sherry casks, The Sexton is blended by one of the few female Master Blenders in Irish whiskey. Spend a bit more and you can now get it with your own aging barrel.

The Busker

“Triple cask, triple smooth” doesn’t exactly make this Irish whiskey stand out, but the bottle’s typeface and the low price certainly do. As does its mission: The distillery wanted to create something that would appeal to bourbon drinkers and also be used in cocktails that don’t normally feature Irish whiskey. This release is matured and finished in three different casks (bourbon, sherry, Marsala).

Clontarf 1014

As Sean Muldoon of perennial “best bar in the world” The Dead Rabbit told us a few years back, “This whiskey is made up of 90% grain and 10% malted barley, meaning it is light, floral and slightly sweet. It’s a good introduction to Irish Whiskey and its delicate flavor means it works incredibly well in an Irish Coffee.”

Slane

This smooth, triple-cask Irish whiskey (which spends time in virgin oak, seasoned oak and sherry casks) hails from the family behind Ireland’s excellent Slane Concert series.

Ballyhoo

This 4-year-old expression is rested at the distillery in first-fill port barrels for between three and six months. It features a real touch of sweetness.

The Pogues

Crafted at West Cork Distillers, one of Ireland’s two remaining independently owned distilleries (more on them in a minute), there’s a surprising amount of maltiness and smoke for an Irish whiskey, almost like a Scotch. Subtle hints of wine and honey as well.

Tullamore D.E.W. XO Caribbean Rum Cask Finish

Aged in Demerara Rum barrels, Tullamore’s whiskey is triple-distilled and a triple blend of pot still, malt and grain Irish whiskey. The end result? Notes of banana, vanilla, spice and citrus, and you can completely use in lieu of rum in tiki cocktails.

Proper No. Twelve

We may not have loved Conor McGregor’s foray (and he’s out now) into Irish whiskey at first sip, but follow-up drinking sessions put it on par with other, similarly-priced Irish tipples. Besides, it was crafted with help from a former operations manager at Guinness, so now you’ve got your drink pairing.

Jameson Cold Brew

Almost all whisky on the nose, while the coffee elements come into play as you sip. The smoothness of Irish whiskey works well with the rounded flavors of the roasted Arabica beans, and you’re left with a surprisingly dark chocolate note. Not robust but overall well balanced and obviously great in an Irish Coffee.

Paddy’s

A classic trait of many Irish whiskies is they’re triple distilled making a light, mellow spirit. Paddy’s is a blend of three types of Irish whiskey. It’s clean and crisp with lots of toffee.

Roe & Co

A newer brand that’s restored and re-purposed the Guinness Power House as its distillery, this blend of malt and grain whiskey is aged in bourbon casks and delivers a creamy mouthfeel, with notes of vanilla and a gentle fruitiness.

Grace O’Malley

A blend that combines multiple batches of whiskey of varying age statements from three to 10 years old, with each batch matured in a range of barrel types (this includes grain whiskey aged in ex-bourbon casks and malt whiskey aged in ex-rum barrels). There’s a bit more sweetness here, and a few notes you wouldn’t pick up in other modestly budgeted Irish whiskeys.

Note, this price range entirely depends on where you live (so, “$30-ish”)

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