If you haven’t yet pledged allegiance to a particular brand, a whiskey tour of Dublin is the ideal way to work your way around the city’s single malts. Barrel aged, blended, distilled, tasting notes – all of this and more is helpfully explained by your guide on a whiskey tour – and by the individual distilleries themselves. But there’s much more to Dublin’s whiskey scene than a few punchy swigs and a look around a distillery.
Whiskey has played a huge part in the Irish economy. We’ll not be spoiling anything when we let slip that the industry had quite the rollercoaster ride back in the day. History aside, the tasting sessions are where things start to get interesting. Whiskey cocktails, small batch malts and Dublin’s distilled gems are on the menu. Whether you’re new to whiskey and want to know more or you’re a connoisseur on the hunt for a rare batch for your collection, Dublin’s whiskey scene is a great place to be.
Dublin Whiskey Tours
If you can overlook this tour group’s tagline – ‘we distill knowledge’ – you’ll find yourself on one of their much celebrated tours. Yes, Dublin Whiskey Tours are popular – but these guys know their stuff.
For our money, the standard tour is, well, fairly standard. Three bars, five whiskeys. Yes, you’ll meet some fun folk along the way, but those in the know could just skip straight to Yamamori and stop off at a couple of bars on the way home.
So what’s the attraction? Shimmy along their website’s menu bar until you see the ‘Deluxe’ option. Herein lies the whiskey gold we’re all after. Premium, aged whiskeys are subtly paired with some tastebud tingling artisan Irish cheeses to really cram in those Dublin flavours. Your tour takes in two locations, plenty of whiskey, cheese, fruit, crackers, chocolates, tales from Ireland’s whiskey heritage and new found whiskey knowledge.
Newcomers needn’t feel intimidated. Your guide will run everyone through the whiskey dos and don’ts – from proper taste technique to flavour enhancing tips and tricks. Perfect for those on a Dublin stag do.
Cost: €64 per person for the Deluxe tour
Dublin Whiskey Experience
If you picture the kind of man that might be a full-time whiskey guide, Gareth Downey fits the bill. Suave and sophisticated, this is the person you want leading you through the best Dublin whiskey bars.
He’s got three tours lined up in his Dublin Whiskey Experience repertoire and it’s a tough call on which one to pick. The Hidden Dublin Whiskey Tour is a must for anyone who’s familiar with Dublin’s whiskey scene and wants to dig a little deeper for those hard to find gems. If history and pubs is your bag, the Historical Dublin tour is a great shout.
George Roe / Roe & Co
A good whiskey owes almost as much to its history as its flavour. Once as recognisable as Guinness is today, George Roe’s Thomas Street Distillery was the largest in Ireland. All that remains of the original 17-acre site is the old windmill tower and an ancient pear tree.
Much of the history was lost when the distillery closed its gates, but decades on, Roe & Co are celebrating the pioneer who did much to bring whiskey to the fore in Ireland. Master blenders have combined rich malt whiskey with grain whiskey aged in bourbon casks to create the new Roe & Co flavour.
Visits to the distillery don’t just get you a look around the factory. You’ll be treated to some punchy samples with a whiskey tasting and learn to mix up your own cocktails before sampling a Roe & Co cocktail for yourself in the Power House Bar.
Cost: £19.50 per person
Unlike Roe & Co, Jameson are still distilling whiskey in the very same spot they’ve occupied since 1780. So straight out the gate, you know you’re touring a Dublin whiskey spot that can really swing some clout in the heritage department.
The birthplace of extra quality Dublin whiskey, which now fetches a very healthy price on the collectable whiskies market. Their 40-minute distillery tour promises tales of whiskey shenanigans, a fair amount of the legendary Irish craic and a chance to sip a Jameson’s in the spot where their first ever gallons were distilled. Bold promises, but this distillery tour does deliver.
You’ll also get a complimentary drink in their stylish JJ’s bar. A good choice if a bottle of Jameson is always on your Christmas list.
Teeling can trace their whiskey heritage all the way back to 1782. Which means they’ve been in the game long enough to distill some steadfast drinks. But they are also forging ahead with new, small batch drinks that are receiving significant attention in the awards circuit.
What does all that mean for you? Well, you can pop along to the distillery and see what the Teeling brand is up to for yourself – along with getting your tastebuds around their small batches. You’ll be guided through the production process before a tasting session.
Helpfully for any whiskey newbies, they offer three tasting packages to suit your comfort levels. If you can tell your barrel-aged single malts from your blends, we’d recommend the Select Tasting session.
The standard Teeling tasting session does end with a Teeling cocktail and a small dram – so no one misses out.
Cost: €17 – €30 per adult, depending on the tasting session chosen.
More from Dublin’s whiskey scene
Irish Whiskey Museum
Ok, so this one’s not quite a tour and not a distillery either – but still one of the best places to really learn about Dublin whiskey. And, yes, you’ll get to taste a tipple too. Though, we’d recommend forking out the €3 extra for the Irish Whiskey Museum’s premium tour. This gives you a crack at the good stuff. Matured for a minimum of 10 years – they’ll even give you a souvenir glass to remember your visit with.
Perhaps the real gem of the museum – aside from the wealth of whiskey facts, history and memorabilia – is the whiskey blending experience. Put your whiskey knowledge, and taste buds, to the test and craft your own blend.
Cost: Classic tour €20 for adults (includes fully guided tour and 3 whiskey tastings)
Yes, you’re in Dublin for the whiskey distilleries and more than a swig of the good stuff. But broaden those whiskey horizons for a second and skip along to Yamamori. We could talk for days about this Japanese restaurant’s stellar sushi, but you’re here for the whiskey bar.
Inside Yamamori’s North City location, you’ll find some of the world’s most coveted whiskies. Notable for its Japanese whiskies, Yamamori slings you shots of some seriously different drams distilled in very different locations. Mostly at the foot of famous Japanese mountains. A fantastic chance to compare the local flavour with an altogether different style of whiskey.