New Irish whiskeys that would make great Christmas presents

John Wilson: Offerings from Dingle Distillery, Wayward Irish Spirits, Lakeview and Teelings

This week some new whiskeys that might solve a few gift problems. Irish Distillers has released Redbreast Birdcage 12-year-old, a limited edition of their 12-year-old single pot still whiskey, which comes in a metal bird feeder. A donation of €3 will be made to Birdlife International (of which Birdwatch Ireland is a member) for each bottle sold. This year there will be 3,850 bottles available, an increase from last year.

Wayward Irish Spirits, founded by Maurice O’Connell, is based on the shores of Lough Leane in Killarney. They have just released a mere 300 bottles of Lakeview single pot still whiskey, their first “estate” whiskey, made from barley grown on the farm. It was aged first in ex-Bourbon casks for three months and then for almost four years in ex-Premier Cru Bordeaux barrels with 10 per cent finished in ex-peated casks for three months.

Dingle Distillery released Samhain, a limited edition single malt whiskey earlier this month. Ten thousand bottles will be produced. This is the first in the Wheel of the Year releases, a series of eight whiskeys each symbolising a period in the ancient Celtic calendar.

Teeling has launched the first in a series of single malt whiskies called The Rising Reserve. Limited to 6,000 bottles, Series 1 has been matured in Bourbon casks and finished in ex-Carcavelos barrels. Carcavelos is a very rare historic fortified white wine produced in Portugal.

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If you want to expand your knowledge of whiskey, it might be worth trying out the new range of four The Busker whiskeys. Produced by The Royal Oak distillery in Co Carlow, each represents one of a different style of Irish whiskey, Single Malt, Single Grain and Single Pot Still, as well as Triple Cask. They are keenly priced from €23 up to €39 and available at travel retail outlets and specialist shops.

Other new releases include the Method & Madness Oat and Malt (€95). If you shop around, you might be able to find one of the remaining bottles of the delicious Jameson Single Pot Still (€60), released in October.

Redbreast Birdcage 12-year-old single pot still

40%, €71-75

Full-on aromas, spice, dried Christmas cake fruits and nuts with real length.

From: Travel retail and specialist off-licences.

Dingle Samhain Single Malt

50%, €85

Lifted fresh, floral, zesty aromas; powerful with red fruits and subtle spice and excellent length.

From: specialist off-licences.

Lakeview Single Estate Single Pot Still ‘Coming of Age’

46%, €195 (including a miniature bottle)

Red fruit aromas, voluptuous smooth honey, red cherries and toast. A special whiskey.

From: Celtic Whiskey Dublin, James Fox Dublin, Carry Out Killarney and Irish Malts.

Teeling Rising Reserve Series 1

46%, €225

Pronounced lemon peel with pears, apples and spice, finishing on a spicy note.

From: Travel retail and specialist off-licences.