The true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day

Get the lush of the Irish this St. Patty's Day
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Get the lush of the Irish this St. Patty's Day
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BushmillsSt. Patrick’s Day is only two weeks away. I’m so excited, I can already feel my hangover. If you want to celebrate in style, here are the Short Cellar’s top picks for Irish Whiskey:

Bushmills Black Bush ($36.95, LCBO #61374)
This great bottle offers a full but surprisingly soft palate of fudge, fig and sherry-like notes. If you like your whiskey’s roar balanced with a touch of sweetness, it is difficult to find a better value in a blended whiskey. Although Bushmills has a cheaper brand, I find it a little rustic and raw. It’s well worth a few extra bucks to upgrade to the black magic. 92/100

Connemara Peated Single Malt ($54.95, Vintages #27946 [Ed. Note: No longer available])
The nose on this spectacular whiskey will fool you — it comes on aggressively with heavy notes of pine gum, smoke and lavender. However, the palate is mellow and earthy. Flavours of toasted cereal, dried apple and ginger deliciously linger into a long finish. 93/100

Tullamore Dew 12 Year Old Special Reserve ($44.95, Vintages #179994 [Ed. Note: No longer available])
Tullamore Dew’s Special Reserve is a feathery and fragrant whiskey with notes of heather and candied ginger. Although it’s aged in Bourbon and Oloroso casks, the predominance of grain whiskey makes it light to the point of insubstantiality. Best as an aperitif. 88/100

Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve ($44.95, LCBO #144980)
For a little extra money, this bottle gives you a huge improvement on Jameson’s entry-level Irish whiskey. A complex and almost animalistic nose ushers in a palate with authentic notes of sherry: sandalwood, leather and orange rind. This is a sweaty, leathery delight. 90/100

Redbreast 12 Year Old ($44.95, LCBO #636845)
Ireland has a distinctive style of whisky called pure pot still. Like a Single Malt Scotch, pure pot still whiskey is made from 100% barley, but unlike Scotch, some of the barley is usually left unmalted. Using this “green” barley is unique to Ireland and it gives the whiskey a distinctively spicy character that aficionados call the true taste of the island. Redbreast 12 Year Old is the pure pot still whiskey par excellence. It is matured for a minimum of 12 years in sherry and Bourbon barrels, giving it a satiny undertone of vanilla. Vibrant notes of green apple and tangerine sparkle within the resinous bouquet. This delicate composition is for those who prize elegance above adrenaline. 91/100

Locke’s 8 Year Old Single Malt ($54.95, Vintages #913475)
This is another pure pot still whiskey. It’s made in a traditional Irish mould: spicy, rich and thickened with a hint of sweetness. Despite its youth, its flavours are well-developed and complex: the fruity core is embellished by pepper and vanilla. A hint of peat mixed with a walnuts and cedar emerges on the finish. Excellent. 92/100


Matthew Sullivan is a civil litigator in Toronto. He blogs weekly here on lawandstyle.ca. The Short Cellar column also appears in the print edition of Precedent. Matthew can be reached at matthew@lawandstyle.beta-site.ca. Follow along on Twitter: @shortcellar.