This year the Irish Whiskey Awards (IWA) celebrated its ninth anniversary. Since their creation in 2013 by Irish whiskey entrepreneur Ally Alpine, they have become the premier awards in the Irish whiskey industry, widely respected among consumers and industry participants for the scope and quality of their judging process.
The award ceremony was held at Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin. Gerard Garland, Brand Engagement and Advocacy Team Manager at Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, presented the awards.
The awards span 19 categories. They honor the very best of Irish whiskey and are a fitting tribute to the revival of the Irish whiskey industry over the last three decades. The industry now has over 40 distilleries either operating or in the planning and construction stage, up from just two distilleries in 1985 and only four distilleries in 2013.
Still, the impressive growth in the number of distilleries notwithstanding, the number is less than half of the 88 whiskey distilleries Ireland had at the peak of the Irish whiskey boom in the 19th century. According to William Lavelle, president of the Irish Whiskey Association:
This increasing choice and supply of premium and high-end Irish whiskeys has been instrumental in driving recent growth in the United States. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, one in six bottles of Irish whiskey sold in the US market last year was sold at the high-end premium price point. We expect this growth to continue as Irish whiskey increasingly takes on Scotch as American consumers' imported whiskey of choice.
Irish Whiskey Awards 2022 Winners
This year’s awards were judged over the summer, with several hundred ballots submitted. Celtic Whiskey Shop, Dublin’s preeminent whiskey retailer, hosted several blind tastings in Dublin’s Three Storey Bar on Stephen’s Green.
It also coordinated tastings throughout Ireland with members of the Celtic Whiskey Club, Irish Whiskey Society — Dublin and Dingle, Cork Whiskey Society, Waterford Whiskey Society, Kilkenny Whiskey Guild, Ennis Whiskey Club, 1875 Whiskey Club, Carlow Whiskey Society, and Belfast Whiskey Club. A large number of industry professionals also participated in the judging.
This year’s awards also saw the return of the White Spirits and Whiskey Liqueurs categories. These entries were judged by a selected group of local bar staff, mixologists, and industry experts who blind-tasted and scored Irish Gins, Poitins, Irish Vodkas, Irish Cream and Whiskey Liqueurs, and other Irish Spirits.
All results have been audited and verified by Serghios Florides, Owner and Editor-in-Chief of Irish Whiskey Magazine, and William Lavelle from the Irish Whiskey Association.
Echlinville Distillery, Dunville’s 21 YO Palo Cortado Sherry Cask Finish (Cask 1197).
William Lavelle presented the Irish Whiskey of the Year award to the Echlinville Distillery for Dunville’s 21 YO Palo Cortado Sherry Cask Finish (Cask 1197).
Echlinville is based in Kircubbin, a small town outside of Belfast. Their Dunville’s whiskies are named for one of Northern Ireland’s historic whiskey distillers.
Lavelle took the occasion to highlight the remarkable progress of the Irish whiskey industry, noting :
The Irish Whiskey Awards have developed to become one of the most important nights in our industry’s calendar, and this year, more than ever, the awards showcased the depth and class of the Irish whiskey category. While the innovation pipeline continues to produce exciting new expressions, we also see more and more age-statement Irish whiskeys, particularly single pot stills and single malts, demonstrating the quality of the character of Irish whiskey.
The official list of winners from the 2022 Irish Whiskey Awards is below.
Overall Winner - Irish Whiskey of the Year 2022
Best Irish Whiskey of the Year – Dunville’s 21 YO Palo Cortado Sherry Cask Finish Cask No. 1197.
Winner: Muldoon Whiskey Liqueur
Gold: The Whistler Irish Honey Whiskey
Gold: St Patrick’s Orange Whiskey Liqueur
Winner: St Patrick’s Irish Cream Liqueur
Gold: Merrys White Chocolate Irish Cream Liqueur
Gold: Five Farms Irish Cream Liqueur
Winner: Boann ‘New Born’ New Make Spirit
Gold: Micil Heritage Poitín
Gold: Bán Poitín
Winner: Zesty Citrus Vodka
Gold: Istil 38 Pot Still Vanilla Vodka
Gold: Istil 38 Pot Still Vodka
Winner: Silks Irish Dry Gin
Gold: Sling Shot Gin
Gold: Method & Madness Gin
Best Other Irish Spirit
Winner: Aqua Vitae
Gold: 1848 Apple Brandy
Single Pot Still 11 Years and Under
Winner: Two Stacks Polorais II- Red Ice Wine Finish
Gold: Writers’ Tears Single Pot Still
Gold: Old Comber Single Pot Still
Single Pot Still 12 Years and Over
Winner: Redbreast 15 YO
Gold: Powers John's Lane 12 YO
Gold: Redbreast 12 YO
Single Malt 11 Years and Younger
Winner: Dunville’s 10 YO PX
Gold: Croithlí, Coillín Darach Oak Series - Quercus Robur
Gold: Shortcross Peated Single Malt
Single Malt 12 – 15 Year Old
Winner: Jack Ryan Finisher's Touch 12 YO
Gold: Pearse Lyons 'Founder's Choice' 12 YO
Gold: The Irishman 12 YO
Single Malt 16 Years & Older
Winner: Dunville's 20 YO Oloroso Sherry Cask
Gold: Fercullen 21 YO
Gold: Clan Colla 20 YO PX Finish 46%
Blended No Age Statement
Winner: Micil Inverin Small Batch
Gold: Foxes Bow
Gold: Michael Collins ‘The Prediction’
Blended Age Statement
Winner: Jameson 18 YO
Gold: McConnell’s 5 YO
Gold: Pearse Lyons 'The Original' 5 YO
Blended Limited Release
Winner: Teeling Small Batch Collaboration – Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple
Gold: Jameson Black Barrel Proof
Gold: Fercullen Estate Series ‘The Italian Gardens’
Single Cask 11 Years & Younger
Winner: Teeling Single Pot Still Chestnut PX Cask No. 29842
Gold: The Whistler P.X. I Love You 9 YO
Gold: Green Spot Greek Wine Cask
Single Cask 12 Years & Older
Winner: Dunville’s 21 YO Palo Cortado Sherry Cask Finish Cask No. 1197
Gold: Powers 15 YO Single Cask No. 10099
Gold: Dunville’s 20 YO Temple Bar PX Sherry Cask No. 1651
Winner: Redbreast 27 YO Single Pot Still
Gold: Shortcross Rye & Malt Cask Strength
Gold: St. Patrick’s Cask Strength
Winner: Celtic Cask Daichead a Dó (42) 2009 Anima Negra Cask
Gold: The Bridge Single Grain- Killunure Release
Gold: Egan’s Vintage Grain
New Irish Whiskey
Winner: Pearse Lyons Genesis Release
Gold: The Busker Single Pot Still
Commenting on the awards, organizer Ally Alpine, Managing Director of Celtic Whiskey Shop and organizer of Whiskey Live Dublin, said: “We are delighted to celebrate the excellence and innovation in the Irish Whiskey industry this evening.”
He also noted that all proceeds from the event went “to our incredible charity partner Mary’s Meals, an organization that feeds two million children every day whilst ensuring they attend school.”
Drinks Industry Ireland was the event’s media partner, as they have been for many years, and key sponsors include the Irish Whiskey Association and Tuath Irish Whiskey Glass.
Most of the award-winning whiskeys above are available from the Celtic Whiskey Shop on Dawson Street, Dublin or through their website.
Article originally appeared in Forbes