The Instant Expert: Irish Whiskey

Five essential things to know about Irish Whiskey that will make you an "Instant Expert."

1. Triple distilled: Irish whiskey is distilled not once, not twice but three times. This extra distilling gives the whiskey a smoothness and creaminess unique to this spirit.

2. Aged for a minimum of 3 years: According to Irish law, the whiskey must be aged a minimum of three years. They take their whiskey very seriously in the land of 40 shades of green. It's another reason Irish whiskey is so smooth.

3. Usually contains only malted barley and water. It may have other cereal grains and caramel coloring but absolutely nothing else in the original whiskey (according to the Irish).

4. Made from kiln-dried barley.  It's not smoky like Scotch whisky which is made by drying malted barley over peat fueled fires. Aromas of honey, pear and vanilla are frequently found in Irish whiskey.

5. It's very reasonably priced. While you can spend hundreds of dollars on a bottle, many delicious bottles are $30 or less. You CAN drink well on a budget! A personal favorite, Tullamore Dew, is only $27 a bottle.

The Instant Expert is a series of short articles about wine and spirits written by The Wine Counselor, Michael Schafer. Look for more coming soon in the series and be sure to sign up for the Wine Counselor email newsletter to learn when new Instant Expert articles are posted.