The Irish have been making whiskey for 700 years and are said to have invented the stuff. The main difference between Irish and Scotch whiskey is that Irish Whisky is entirely lacking in the smoky taste that characterizes Scotch. The reason for this is that the Scots use peat in the kilns in which they dry their malt, while the Irish use coal. Irish whiskey is distilled from a grain mixture that consists of malted as well as unmalted barley, along with small proportions of wheat, oats, and rye. Irish whiskey tends to be old (at least seven years) and more mature than Scotch, probably because it is not purchased at the same rate as Scotch. Full-bodied, unblended Irish whiskeys produced in pot stills have a very pronounced character, which makes them very unpopular with many american palates. There are many blended Irish whiskeys that are lighter and less strong in character. The distillery at Bushmills in County Antrim dates from 1608 and is believed to be the oldest in the world. Irish whiskey is unique in that it is the only whiskey distilled 3 times.
By law, the term Irish whiskey can only be applied to whiskeys that are fermented from grain, distilled and then matured in oak casks in Ireland for a minimum of 3 years. Irish whiskeys produced by Irish Distillers Ltd. are triple distilled for extra smoothness.
By law, Irish whiskey (as it is customarily spelled) has to be distilled and matured in Ireland for a minimum of three years. Although Irish pot still whiskeys - usually made using malted barley and unmalted cereal - are still produced, most of today's readily available Irish whiskeys are blends of pot still whiskey and continuous still grain whiskeys.
A blend that contains barley malt whiskeys and grain whiskeys. The malt is dried in coal-fired kilns. The aroma of the fires does not influence the malt. Irish whiskey is heavier than Scotch and is usually 86 proof. It is produced only in Ireland.