Companies and Brands

9 Irish Whiskey Brands to Avoid

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Not everyone who chooses to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is inclined to do so with a vividly green beer or even a Guinness. For many who imbibe, the appropriate choice is an Irish whiskey instead.

This whiskey variety is distilled and matured on the island of Ireland, as well as meeting some other requirements. It was believed to be the most popular spirit in the world at one time, but the industry declined until there were just two distilleries left in Ireland in the 1960s. However, the popularity of Irish whiskey has seen a resurgence since the 1990s, and it may now be the fastest-growing spirit in the world. (See which are the 20 best whiskey brands in the world.)

Barley is the primary ingredient of Irish whiskey, so it is not as sweet as bourbon, which generally has corn as a main ingredient. Moreover, it typically is distilled three times, making it smoother than scotch. Irish whiskey is considered a good sipping whiskey, either neat or on the rocks. And it makes a great mixer too, in coffee, with ginger ale, or in any number of cocktails. For those new to this whiskey experience, or just wanting to try something different for St. Patrick’s Day, we offer nine brands it may be best to avoid. Note though that’s not because any of the brands featured here are of poor quality or unpalatable. In fact, these brands are, by and large, solid, affordable choices. It’s just that it isn’t hard to do better. Of course, tastes and preferences will vary.

Here are nine Irish whiskey brands to avoid, for St. Patrick’s Day or every day.


Irish whiskey
Source: igorr1 / iStock via Getty Images

  • Distilled in: Bushmills, Northern Ireland
  • By: Old Bushmills Distillery
  • Website: Bushmills
  • Note: Established in 1608, it is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world.


Irish whiskey
Source: itakdalee / Getty Images

  • Distilled in: Cork, Ireland
  • By: Pernod Ricard
  • Website: Jameson Whiskey
  • Note: The world’s best-selling Irish whiskey.


Source: SAKhanPhotography / iStock via Getty Images

  • Distilled in: Dublin, Ireland
  • By: Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey
  • Website: Kinahan’s Whiskey
  • Note: Established in 1779 and relaunched in 2014.

Paddy’s Old Irish

Source: jenifoto / iStock via Getty Images

  • Distilled in: Cork, Ireland
  • By: Sazerac
  • Website: Paddy Whiskey
  • Note: The fourth largest-selling Irish whiskey in the world.

Proper No. Twelve

Source: levers2007 / Getty Images

  • Distilled in: Bushmills, Northern Ireland
  • By: Proper Whiskey
  • Website: Proper Whiskey
  • Note: Established in 2018 by UFC champion and Dublin native, Connor McGregor.


Distilling Irish whiskey
Source: LeMusique / iStock via Getty Images

  • Distilled in: Cork, Ireland
  • By: Pernod Ricard
  • Website: Redbreast Whiskey
  • Note: The largest-selling single pot still Irish whiskey in the world.

The Sexton

Source: ArtistGNDphotography / E+ via Getty Images

  • Distilled in: Bushmills, Northern Ireland
  • By: Proximo Spirits
  • Website: The Sexton
  • Note: Distilled in copper pots and aged in sherry casks.

Tullamore Dew

Source: MediaProduction / Getty Images

  • Distilled in: Tullamore, Ireland
  • By: William Grant & Sons
  • Website: Tullamore Dew
  • Note: The second-largest-selling brand of Irish whiskey globally.

West Cork

Irish whiskey
Source: MaximFesenko / iStock via Getty Images

  • Distilled in: Skibbereen, Ireland
  • By: West Cork Distillers
  • Website: West Cork Distillers
  • Note: Founded in 2003, now one of the largest distilleries in Ireland.


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