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8 Irish whiskeys to try when you want to get serious

By M. Carrie Allan, special to the Washington Post
Irish whiskeys from Teeling, Tyrconnell and Redbreast. [Photo by Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post]

Along with Jameson, Tullamore D.E.W. and Bushmills are two hugely popular lighter Irish blends. But if you want to go a little deeper in your Irish whiskey explorations, try some of these:

Redbreast 12-Year-Old Single Pot Still (40 percent alcohol by volume, around $60-$70): The classic pot still Irish ó a big, rich, spicy whiskey full of dried fruit notes, nuttiness and a sherry note from the Oloroso casks itís aged in.

Teeling Irish Single Grain (46% ABV, around $60): Bourbon lovers might be particularly interested in trying this one, which has a 95 percent corn mashbill. Aged in ex-California Cabernet wine barrels, it has lovely vanilla, dried fruit, pepper and toffee notes.

Glendalough 13-Year-Old Mizunara Finish Single Malt Irish Whiskey (46%, around $130): This whiskey spent most of its years in ex-bourbon barrels but was finished in rare Japanese Mizunara oak; the result is a long, nutty, almost chocolaty finish ó just beautiful.

Tyrconnell 16-Year-Old single malt (40 ABV, $100): Lovely almond and roasted pineapple notes. Tyrconnell whiskeys are known for green apple and citrus flavors, which come from the even climate and double distillation.

Green Spot Single Pot Still (40% ABV, around $60): Spicy, honeyed, caramelly ó another classic Irish pot still whiskey.

Knappogue Castle 12-Year Single Malt (40% ABV, around $45): Itís mellow and fruity with notes of vanilla-butter and a bit of clove and other spices.

Connemara Peated Single Malt (40% ABV, around $50): The rare Irish whiskey that dries its barley using peat. It combines the honeyed, mellow spice character Irish whiskey is known for with a smoky peat note that it definitely isnít.

The Dead Rabbit Irish whiskey (44% ABV, around $40): Produced in partnership with Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, the founders of New York Cityís much-loved Irish bar, this is a nice blend of Irish single malt and grain whiskeys, with a good hit of vanilla and spice.

MAKING A COMEBACK: Irish whiskey was once on the verge of collapse. Now itís booming.