What’s The Difference Between Irish And Scotch Whiskey

shelves of irish and scotch whiskey

Typically as a man ages, his taste buds change as well as his social positioning. It is not about a binge on lager followed by some shots with his mates on a Friday or Saturday night. Men start to prefer a more relaxed approach to drinking, choosing wine or whiskey in the comfort of his home instead of the noisy bar.

This more mature approach to alcohol coincides with a greater interest in the craftsmanship, history and varying taste notes of drinks. Alcohol is compared on flavour as oppose to price or ratio of consummation to inebriation.

The TV show Mad Men did great things for Scotch (Scottish whiskey). The main protagonist, Don Draper a man men found inherently cool was often seen drinking it on screen. I personally know men that of the back of the show started drinking Scotch because he drank it.

But Ireland has the oldest distillery Bushmills in County Antrim  making the ‘water of life’ since 1603. So does that mean they know more and are therefore better?

Note: There is a spelling difference (Scotch whisky vs Irish whiskey) but for the sake of my sanity I’m sticking with the whiskey variation.

Key Differences In The Whiskey Distillation

  • Scottish whiskey industry is more regulated than the Irish meaning that the processes are quite restrictive and therefore consistent across distilleries.
  • Irish whiskey is distilled three times to deliver a lighter flavour compared to twice by the Scots.
  • Irish use both raw and malted barley. Scottish distillers soak the barley to start germination then stop it using peat fires helping to give it that smokey flavour.

After the above has been completed then the clear whiskey liquid goes into caskets to mature for as many years as the distiller chooses. The wood of the casket helps the liquid absorb that caramel looking colour. Choosing caskets that have previously been used to store port or sherry can help to alter the taste of the drink.

Ultimately whether one is better than the other comes down to your own personal preference. What do I prefer? Irish whiskey, largely because I feel the land of my forefathers deserves to give me more than just pale skin. Get to know the different brands and distilleries, build up your knowledge. Trust me, you will enjoy the ride.

Headline image is from JD McGillicuddy’s

Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.

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