The best of bourbon and North American Whiskey

The art of fine bourbon has been refined over centuries and we look to North America to find some of the finest bourbon and whiskies in the world. Drinks Industry Ireland focuses on a few of the stand out brands

Between 2018 and 2021 sales of American whiskey here decreased in value by 14% from $34.2 million to $29.4 million, according to Euromonitor figures due to the closure of the on-trade during covid. Now that normal trade has resumed and with the cessation of EU tariffs on American whiskeys and bourbons, we see an upward trajectory. We look at the most popular brands making waves at present.

Taste of Kentucky

Buffalo Trace Distillery has more than 200 years of bourbon making history

Buffalo Trace Distillery is the longest continuously run distillery in the US, with more than 200 years of bourbon making history. Buffalo Trace Straight Kentucky Whiskey is the distillery’s flagship bourbon, produced in small batches and aged for years in new oak barrels to produce a rich and complex whiskey. With notes of vanilla, toffee, and candied fruit, each barrel is tasted by the master distiller and his team to ensure the consistency and exceptional quality of Buffalo Trace Whiskey.

A balanced rye

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is comprised of more than 200 detectable flavour notes

The art of making fine bourbon first took place on the site of the Woodford Reserve Distillery, a National Historic Landmark, in 1812. The perfectly balanced taste of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is comprised of more than 200 detectable flavour notes, from bold grain and wood, to sweet aromatics, spice, and fruit and floral notes.
Woodford Reserve Rye uses a pre-prohibition style ratio of 53% rye in its mash bill to pay homage to history’s original rye whiskeys, making spice and tobacco the dominant note among a sea of fruit, floral, and sweet aromatics, which yields a nice sweetness and overall balance. This rye whiskey can deliver complex flavours – neat, on ice, or in a cocktail. A balanced rye makes a more balanced cocktail.
Jack Daniel’s Old No 7

Jack Daniel’s Old No 7 is charcoal-mellowed drop-by drop, then allowed to age in our own hand-crafted barrels. This Tennessee Sippin’ Whiskey is ready only when the tasters say it is. They use their senses, just like Jack Daniel himself did. In fact, more than a century later, Tennessee Whiskey is still judged by the way it looks, smells and of course, by the way it tastes.

A real gent

Gentleman Jack is the only whiskey in the world to be charcoal-mellowed twice – once before going into the barrel and again after reaching maturity, giving it ultimate smoothness.
Gentleman Jack is full-bodied with fruit and spices and its finish is silky, warm and pleasant.
Cocktail Serve:
• Gentlemen’s Manhattan
• 50ml Gentleman Jack stirred with Martini sweet vermouth and a dash of Orange bitters finished with a light spray of Ardbeg 10 Year Scotch and Orange twist.
Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel uniqueness
Once the whiskey has been mellowed, drop-by-drop, through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal it begins its journey towards maturation, resting in hand-made charred American White Oak barrels. After some time and careful tasting by the master tasting panel only the very best barrels are put to one side. These barrels are highlighted as Jack Daniel’s Single Barrels as they show signs of a unique flavour. Each barrel is distinctly unique due to its location in the barrelhouse and the personality of the wood. As a result, every single one has its own individual flavour and character. The barrel is never blended with another barrel, the whiskey in your bottle is one of 149 bottles available. Hence the unique neck strip with the date, bottle number and even where it was rested in the cellar!

All Heart

Keeper’s Heart is a new style of whiskey, bringing together the best of Irish and American whiskey-making traditions

Keeper’s Heart created by whiskey icon Brian Nation, formerly master distiller for some of the most well-known Irish whiskeys including Jameson, Redbreast, and Midleton, Keeper’s Heart is a new style of whiskey, bringing together the best of Irish and American whiskey-making traditions.
Keeper’s Heart Irish + American Whiskey launched in 2021, and quickly expanded its portfolio with Keeper’s Heart Irish + Bourbon. With its innovative liquid and expert craftsmanship, Irish + American became the most awarded new whiskey brand in 2022, including International Wine and Spirits Challenge Platinum, Ultimate Spirits Challenge 94, Critics Challenge International Platinum and Proof Award Double Gold honours.
Speaking about the foundation of O’Shaughnessy Distilling Co., co-founder Patrick O’Shaughnessy said: “What started as an O’Shaughnessy family reunion became the birthplace of Keeper’s Heart, a celebration of our family’s Irish-American heritage.
“Our great-great grandfather came to the United States from Ireland, and our large extended family has stayed close to our Irish roots. Keeper’s Heart was created to celebrate that. We are extremely proud of the Keeper’s Heart team and the reception the brand has received since we launched. It has made it possible to continue to grow Keeper’s Heart and evolve the liquid offerings, and now, as we begin international distribution, Ireland was at the top of the list. We hope the Irish people enjoy what we have created as much as the American drinkers have.”
Liquid development is led by master distiller Brian Nation, who has more than 22 years of experience working on some of the most renowned and high-quality Irish whiskeys in the world. Born and raised in Cork City, Ireland, he moved to Minnesota following a meeting with the O’Shaughnessy family to embark on a new adventure and create a new style of whiskey, marrying the best of Irish and American whiskey-making traditions.
“I never thought I’d leave Ireland until I met the O’Shaughnessy family and heard what they wanted to create,” said master distiller Brian Nation.
“Their vision was inspiring, and together, along with American Whiskey visionary David Perkins, we’ve created an innovative liquid portfolio and a brand that celebrates family, and heritage. Keeper’s Heart is my passion project, and I’m proud to share with my friends and family what we’ve been up to across the pond.”
Keepers Heart is a multi-award winning whiskey with officially 106 awards received across 37 competitions! Keepers Heart is distributed in Ireland by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

Make your Mark

In this year’s Drinks International Annual Brands Report, compiled by the World’s Best 50 Bars, Maker’s Mark re-claimed its place as the Number 1 Bestselling American Whiskey Brand

Maker’s Mark was delighted to partner with this year’s Bar of the Year Awards, held at the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road, Dublin 4 on Monday 21 August. As proud sponsors of the Cocktail Bar of the Year Award, Maker’s Mark congratulates overall category winners Bar 1661 in Dublin, and runner ups Paladar (Cork) and 9Below (Dublin) in this prestigious, and ever-more competitive category which recognises the top mixologists, stirrers and shakers in the game, who serve up best in class cocktail experiences.
In this year’s Drinks International Annual Brands Report, compiled by the World’s Best 50 Bars, Maker’s Mark re-claimed its place as the Number 1 Bestselling American Whiskey Brand. Let us explain why…
Smooth and subtle, Maker’s Mark is bourbon with a distinguished history. Created by Bill Samuels Sr, it took six years of trial and error to perfect the recipe – a corn, barley and wheat combination, that makes this whiskey so special. The result is a lighter tasting, premium bourbon whisky with caramel and vanilla notes that’s perfect for mixing and delicious over ice. Maker’s Mark is matured in seasoned American oak barrels that are charred on the inside before being matured for three Kentucky summers. Every barrel of Maker’s Mark is still hand-rotated throughout this process and each bottle is hand dipped in wax to create the distinctive Maker’s Mark seal.
Across Autumn and Winter, we’ll be encouraging bartenders and consumers to ‘Make Your Mark’ through a new advertising campaign, and showcasing timeless cocktails like an Old Fashioned with Maker’s Mark. Make sure you add Maker’s Mark to your menu today.

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