irish whiskey alcohol content

irish whiskey alcohol content

irish whiskey alcohol content

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How much alcohol is in Irish whiskey? 

Most Irish whiskey is 40% ABV (alcohol by volume), though some are bottled at up to 60% ABV.

What Is Irish Whiskey?

Irish whiskey is one of the world’s great styles of whiskey. It’s most often triple-distilled from unmalted barley that is typically blended with grain whiskey, though there are single malts as well. Made entirely in Ireland, it’s a favorite worldwide, especially in the U.K. and U.S., due to its exceptional smoothness. Irish whiskey sales are growing, as are the brands available, so it’s a perfect time to pour a sipper or mix up an Irish whiskey cocktail.

Irish Whiskey vs. Scotch

Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky are the oldest styles of the dark distilled spirit. Which was created first is a matter of historical debate. The most obvious difference is that Irish whiskey is always spelled with an “e” in the word “whiskey”; scotch always uses the spelling “whisky.”


irish whiskey alcohol content
irish whiskey alcohol content

In terms of production, the two styles have customary practices that generally characterize the style. However, there are whiskeys that borrow practices of the other, which can lead to confusion. Generally, both are fermented with barley—scotch is often malted and Irish whiskey largely unmalted—and the blended whiskey of either may include grain whiskey. Irish whiskey is typically triple-distilled while scotch is often distilled only twice. Both styles include blended and single malt whiskeys, though scotch is more famous for the latter. It’s the peaty smokiness in scotch and the smoothness of Irish whiskey that typically distinguish the two. The catch is that there are peated and double-distilled Irish whiskeys as well as nonpeated and triple-distilled scotch whiskys.

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What Does Irish Whiskey Taste Like?

Irish whiskey has a distinct flavor profile that can generally be described as light and fruity with evident cereal grain notes. The aging also imparts that signature whiskey oakiness and caramel.


  • Blended Irish Whiskey: Blends account for 90 percent of all Irish whiskey production.
  • Single Malt Irish Whiskey: Made from 100 percent malted barley, this whiskey is produced by a single distillery in a pot still.
  • Single Pot Still Whiskey: Formerly called “pure pot still,” this whiskey is a blend of both malted and unmalted barley distilled in a pot still. It’s a style of whiskey that is unique to Ireland.
  • Grain Irish Whiskey: A particularly light style made from corn or wheat, grain whiskey is produced in column stills rather than Ireland’s often preferred pot stills.
  • Single Grain Irish Whiskey: This style has the same characteristics of grain whiskey, except a single grain is used in the distillate
  • Potcheen: Also called poitín or poteen, this is essentially Irish moonshine because the distilled spirit doesn’t meet the age requirement to be labeled as Irish whiskey. Similar to American white dog, it’s a new-make spirit that has seen little to no time in the barrel.
irish whiskey alcohol content
irish whiskey alcohol content

Why we like it?

Irish whiskey is so mellow, it’s like bourbon or rye’s easy drinking cousin. We love the way that it seamlessly melds into the flavors in an Irish Sour. And there’s nothing like combining with with coffee in the famous Irish Coffee.

How much does it cost?

Compared to other liquors, Irish whiskey can range in price from mid-priced to expensive. A 750 ml bottle of Jameson costs about $20. Mid-priced brands cost $30 to $40, and high-end aged whiskey tops out at $250 per bottle or more.

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