World – Ireland
Irish whiskey (Irish: Fuisce or uisce beatha) is whiskey made on the island of Ireland.
The word “whiskey” is an Anglicisation of uisce beatha or uisge beatha, a phrase from the Goidelic branch of languages (Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx) meaning “water of life” (see aqua vitae).
Most Irish pot still whiskey is distilled thrice, while most (but not all) Scotch whisky is distilled twice. Peat is rarely used in the malting process, so that Irish whiskey has a smoother finish as opposed to the smoky, earthy overtones common to some Scotches. There are notable exceptions to these rules in both countries; an example is Connemara peated Irish malt (double distilled) whiskey from the Cooley Distillery in Riverstown, Cooley, County Louth.
Irish whiskey was once the most popular spirit in the world, though a long period of decline from the late 19th century onwards greatly damaged the industry. Although Scotland sustains approximately 105 distilleries, Ireland has only seven in current operation – only four of which have been operating long enough to have products sufficiently aged for current sale on the market as of 2013, and only one of which was operating before 1975. Irish whiskey has seen a great resurgence in popularity since the late twentieth century, and has been the fastest growing spirit in the world every year since 1990. The current growth rate is at roughly 20% per annum, prompting the construction and expansion of a number of distilleries.