Last night, October 15th, saw the Teeling distillery open its doors after hours to host this year’s Irish Whiskey Awards.
The Irish Whiskey Awards are organised by the Celtic Whiskey Shop’s Ally Alpine. Members of the Celtic Whiskey Shop’s Celtic Club and members of the Irish Whiskey Society are invited to judge each year’s awards.
The whiskey awards are by far one of the most anticipated events of the year, only overshadowed by whiskey live perhaps. Industry professionals and whiskey geeks alike, come together to celebrate the best parts of the booming Irish whiskey industry.
Companies can submit their entries for free and all profits of the event go to local charity Mary’s Meals.
It’s not just whiskey that makes an appearance at the awards though!
Poitins, gins, vodkas, liqueurs and even barrel aged beers were submitted this year for judging!
Judging consists of a blind tasting. Each of the whiskeys and spirits that have been submitted for the current year’s awards are tasted by members both in Ireland and up to 40 members are available to register from abroad.
Each entry is marked out of 100 points and all of the voting is completely anonymous.
This is a very transparent and logical voting process. The winners are what the public deem to to be the best of the best. The judges have varying degrees of whiskey knowledge, from complete novices to master distillers. The results reflect the true quality of the whiskey before them!
This year there were a lot of familiar faces at this year’s awards. Big brand names and famous bars throughout Ireland all in attendance. 2015 was witness to several triumphant returns to the top spots! Redbreast 21 year old picked up Irish Whiskey of the Year for a second year running and Garavan’s bar Galway retained the Connaught Irish Whiskey Bar of the year! Although there was a whole heap of new entrants in nearly all of the categories, including my favourite Irish whiskey bar in North America The Shebeen/Irish Heather in Vancouver BC, which took home a gold medal for best international bar.
Before we get to this year’s winners and runners up, if you too want to try a whole host of the whiskeys and spirits that hauled in the gold at these awards make sure to check out Whiskey Live in Dublin Castle on the 24th of October. Not to be missed for any Ireland based whiskey fans!
Results for the Irish Whiskey Awards
Irish Whiskey of the Year (Overall winner)
Redbreast 21 Year-Old
Irish Single Malt Whiskey (13 Years & Older)
Trophy Winner – Knappogue Castle Vintage 2000 Batch 2 Mongeard Mugneret Burgundy Cask
Gold Medal – The Palace Bar Three Generations Batch 14 Year-Old
Gold Medal – Glendalough 13 Year Old Single Malt
Irish Single Grain Whiskey
Trophy Winner – Kilbeggan Single Grain
Gold Medal – Glendalough Single Grain
Gold Medal – Teeling Single Grain
Trophy Winner – Teeling Poitín
Gold Medal – Bán Poitín
Trophy Winner – Mrs Doyle’s Irish Cream
Gold Medal – Coole Swan
Gold Medal – The Wild Geese Irish Honey Liqueur
Trophy Winner – Thin Gin
Gold Medal – Blackwater No 5
Gold Medal – Dingle Gin
Trophy Winner – Dingle Vodka
Gold Medal – Untamed Irish Vodka
Gold Medal – St Patrick’s Distillery Vodka
Irish Whiskey Barrel Aged Irish Craft Beer
Trophy Winner – O’Hara’s Barrel Aged Series
Gold Medal – Independent Whiskey Stout
Gold Medal – Franciscan Well Jameson Stout
Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year (Overall Winner)
Dick Mack’s, Dingle
Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year (Ulster)
Trophy Winner – The Duke of York, Belfast
Gold Medal – Bittles Bar, Belfast
Gold Medal – McCuaig’s bar, Rathlin Island
Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year (International)
Trophy Winner – Whisky and Alement, Melbourne, Australia
Gold Medal – The Shebeen/Irish Heather – Vancouver, BC, Canada
Gold Medal – Scholars Lounge, Rome