Irish whiskey is one of the world’s best-known and most popular spirits. It has also been around for longer than you might think: Irish whiskey first appeared in the 18th century and was initially used as a medicinal spirit. But since then, its popularity has continued to grow thanks to how smooth it is to drink.
Wondering how it gets created before it gets into your hands? Let’s take a look at how Irish Whiskey is distilled.
How Irish Whiskey is Made
Irish whiskeys are made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, maize, or rye and usually matured for at least three years. Irish whiskey distilleries use a few different types of stills for distilling their whiskeys; these include pot stills (for making single malt), column stills (for making grain whiskey), or a mix of both for blended whiskeys.
The Triple-Distillation Process
Irish whiskey is almost always triple-distilled.This is because of the climate in Ireland, which requires a longer maturation process than warmer clients would need. This process also produces a smoother, lighter flavor, and allows for more delicate and expensive whiskeys to mature more quickly.
The distillation process begins with a wash still, which is run at a low temperature. This distillation produces an intermediate product called low wines. The second distillation takes place in a spirit still and uses high-proof alcohol from the first distillation as its feedstock. This produces an intermediate product called distilled spirit, or feints. The third and final distillation occurs in a pot still using new wash as its feedstock. It produces whiskey of different colors and strengths depending on how long each step of the process is carried out.
The Four Types of Irish Whiskey
There are four main types of Irish whiskey. Let’s break down what they are:
- Irish Single Malt: Although single malt whiskey is often a term used to refer to Scotch whiskeys, it also applies to Irish whiskey as well. Single-malt Irish whiskey differs from its Scottish counterpart in that it’s distilled entirely from malted barley and is guaranteed to be made entirely within one distillery. This means that the whiskeys don’t have to be double-distilled or triple-distilled, just that they are all produced at an Ireland distillery.
- Single Pot Still: This type of Irish whiskey is made using a combination of malted and unmalted barley. This unique blend produces a creamy and earthy whiskey. It’s also unique in that it has been distilled in a copper pot still as opposed to an industrial column still.
- Single Gain: Irish grain whiskey tends to be light and alluring, with an unmistakably sweet character. This lightness comes from the whiskey’s production method: massive, multiple-story-high column stills that distill its mix of ingredients into one single spirit. It’s this unique process that allows Irish single grain to retain its signature lightness, even when flavored with smoky peat.
- Blended Irish Whiskey: Irish grain whiskey tends to be light and alluring, with an unmistakably sweet character. This lightness comes from the whiskey’s production method: massive, multiple-story-high column stills that distill its mix of ingredients into one single spirit. It’s this unique process that allows Irish single grain to retain its signature lightness, even when flavored with smoky peat.
Work with the Experts at Brindiamo Group
If you have an idea for a brand, business, or distilling process, you are in the right place. At Brindiamo Group, we like to think of ourselves as the one-stop-shop for businesses operating in the alcohol beverage space.
Contact us today about strategy, branding and marketing, and more. We look forward to working with you.