It seems that the long, hazy summer days are starting to draw to a close, and we all know what that means: Up and down the country, candle and coffee shops will be breaking out the pumpkin spice goods ready for the new season; the light and airy summer clothes in shop windows will be phased out and replaced with cosy jumpers and chunky-knit scarves; and the leaves will lose their emerald shine for other jewelled hues, drifting from the trees in the cooling air.
For some, autumn isn’t a warmly welcomed season, bringing shorter days, colder weather, and the daunting prospect of a new school year for children. For others, it’s a highly anticipated season that carries the joys of crisp, sunny mornings, cosy nights in, an excuse to indulge in hearty, comforting food and, of course, Halloween.
Whatever the perspective on autumn, we can surely all agree on one thing – it offers opportunities to enjoy a good Irish whiskey. After all, with so many bottles promising a comforting, deep amber glow, along with their varying notes of spice and fruits, what could be more appealing, after a day out in the cold, than sipping on a warming Irish whiskey?
With so many new and exciting Irish whiskeys out there, choosing the perfect autumn dram may seem difficult, but we’re here to help. Here is our simple yet comprehensive guide to some of the best bottles, old and new, for bringing some seasonal delights to your whiskey collection.
This bold expression from the Dublin Liberties Distillery was released to celebrate five years of the world-famous Dead Rabbit bar in New York, and what could be a more fitting whiskey to try in the autumn months? When it comes to autumn, the States know how to have a good time – be it Halloween, Thanksgiving, or a rural harvest festival. The Dead Rabbit Whiskey is pleasantly smooth, and surprisingly complex, for such a young whiskey, and is a fine accompaniment to ghost stories and dark Irish fairy tales shared by candlelight. Be sure to keep the glass on a steady surface – just in case, jumping with fright, you should end up wearing this lovely whiskey instead!
A true, top-shelf trophy of Northern Irish distilling, this beautiful 21 Year Old single malt is a firm favourite with Irish whiskey connoisseurs, and a rare must-have for any aspiring collector. Rich in tones of smooth caramel and dried fruits, it makes an ideal after-dinner dram, curled up by the fire and watching leaves fall through the window.
Considered an icon of the Irish whiskey revival, the Glendalough distillery has made it its mission to create new and imaginative offerings for the modern whiskey market. Their masterpiece, a 13-year-old single malt, is matured for an extra year in honour of the number emblazoned on the shirt of Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll, which may or may not be a comfort to those who are wary of the number 13. With its warming, subtly spicy aroma, and glorious notes of vanilla and malty biscuit, Glendalough 13 Year Single Malt is best enjoyed at the end of an afternoon spent baking sweet and spiced autumn treats.
From the distinguished Cooley distillery comes a beautifully balanced bottling, carrying sherry-cask sweetness and peated smokiness in unique harmony. Thanks to the smoky notes present in this Connemara offering, it’s a Bonfire Night essential. With a dram in one hand, and a sparkler or toffee apple in the other, who could ever be unhappy?
Nestled in the grounds of the illustrious Slane Castle estate in Ireland’s scenic Boyne Valley, the Brown-Forman-led distillery has produced this characterful, triple-cask blend steeped in history, in spite of its newness. Since Slane Castle boasts a long, rich heritage of notable and noble guests, from royal visitors to rock stars, this oaky, beautifully spiced whiskey is best served in one of two ways: as a delightful ice-breaker while entertaining guests; or savoured along with your favourite music while the wind and rain batter against the windows outside.
Matured in flame-charred Bourbon barrels and finished in Burgundy oak casks, the depth and complexity of fragrance and flavour in a dram of Hyde No.5 is guaranteed to bring a sense of warmth and comfort to any autumn evening, and is a particularly fine accompaniment to old movies watched while nestling under the blankets.
Dublin’s Teeling distillery is known for its excellent and exciting range of single malts, and this Bourbon and Sauterne cask-matured expression is certainly no exception to their well-earned reputation. The deep, golden hue of the 1991 Vintage Reserve adequately reflects the depth of flavour within, finished with a delicate hint of smokiness. Savour slowly while perusing a good book, ideally a work by Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett or Elizabeth Bowen.
Laid down in 2002 and bottled in 2016 at cask strength of 53%, this is a rare and delicious single malt brimming with the flavour of rich, autumnal fruits. To that end, it is ideal for warming up after a long country walk, gathering fruit and wild flowers along the way, in line with the whiskey’s name.
A true classic on the Irish whiskey market, Jameson is a wonderfully smooth and versatile whiskey, making it a perfect base for any golden-tinted cocktails that evoke pale autumn sunshine, yellow leaves, or the glimmer of a fresh-baked apple pie.
There is nothing that adds a note of distinction to an Irish whiskey collection more than this elegant, exclusive bottle from “Dublin’s Own”. The Dublin Whiskey Distillery was considered an institution of distilling, winning immense popularity in the US during Ireland’s Golden Age of distilling. With that in mind, aspiring and veteran whiskey collectors alike will appreciate the nostalgic value of this DWD tribute. The brainchild of a Dublin-based group of admirers and master distillers, the nose and palate of this Heritage Edition boast bold tones of toffee apple, warm cake, liquorice and crème brûlée, all leading into a smooth, warming finish. Recommended as a great component of any Halloween celebration.