The big names—the good John Jameson, Mr. Bushmills, and Tullamore D.E.W. to name a few—still dominate any conversation on Irish Whiskey. Or at least, they dominate the shelves. But fans of the style are in a happy place, especially if they want to broaden their horizons a bit.
Featuring an unusual mash, adding 2.5 percent oats to the malted and raw barley, the new Kilbeggan Single Pot Still offering is a great example of the more sophisticated generation now on the rise. This limited edition had the misfortune to debut early this Spring, when I, at least, felt drawn to familiar favorites. But this 86-proof charmer is worth a little hunting.
On the palate the whiskey shows a classic Irish profile of barley and spice, with an alluring warmth and brightness. But after a moment the specialness here comes through, with hints of citrus and even mint that yield to an unusual creaminess. That’s the oats. This notably smooth whiskey begs for simple sipping—neat, to my taste.
Kilbeggan says the recipe was “inspired” by mashes used at its original operation into the late 19th century (the current brand is the result of a happy resurrection of the facility a decade ago), and it’s double distilled in copper pot stills, one of which is the world’s oldest working whiskey pot still today. What’s old is new—and delicious.