Irish whisky is back and better than ever, says Calgary expert

1 / 2
Irish whisky is back and better than ever, says Calgary expert

Irish whisky is back with a vengeance due to a variety of factors including Irish pride, a Calgary spirits expert says.

"There has been resurgence of distilleries in Ireland due to the political history of Ireland, its independence in the 1920s, famine, all this kind of stuff, Irish whisky kind of went along the wayside as far as whisky in the industry," Will Turner told The Homestretch on Friday.

"Scotch whisky, bourbon and Canadian whisky took over in the 1930s essentially after prohibition. There were only two distilleries in Ireland for about 40 years and now we are seeing this huge resurgence partly due to the pride of the Irish people who want to make whisky like they were making 200 years ago."

Turner says bars and restaurants are starting to take notice too.

"Mixologists and bartenders are picking up on the subtle nuances of Irish whisky, it is a lighter whisky, it is easier to make into cocktails than a single malt scotch."

American bourbon and Indian whisky are just two of many other options for lovers of the "water of life."

"American bourbon is generally sweeter with more intense flavours, big vanillas, big caramels, that sort of thing," Turner explained.

"Indian whisky is a whole new market right now. Most of it is single malt style, done in the style of scotch whisky. Indian whisky, because it is so hot there, retains some huge flavours from the barrel. Most Indian whisky is very strong, very intense tasting, not for everybody."

But Irish whisky remains a staple in the genre, he said.

"It has to be distilled in Ireland but as far as flavour goes, in general, the Irish whiskies we have known for the past 30 years have been a little bit easier drinking than single malt and a little less mouth feel. You get a little more, lighter flavours, lighter vanillas, lighter gingers," Turner said.

"Most Irish whisky on the market now is grain whiskey so you get a little more of those corn sugars, little bit of those light barley sugars but in general Irish whisky is a little more delicate than its Scottish counterpart."

- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Calgary Zoo bridge on 12th Street S.E. to close permanently later this month

- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Java and job seeking: Enterprising Alberta grads hand out resumes on coffee cups

With files from The Homestretch