Credited for being the first whiskey distillers, the word whiskey comes from the Irish phrase “uisce beatha” meaning “water of life.” Just like neighbouring Scotland, the Irish distinguish malt whiskey from grain whiskey.Irish whiskey is different from Scotch in several ways. Irish malt is very rarely smoked over peat, meaning it lacks the smoky savoury component found in heated scotch. In Ireland, there is a category of whiskey called pot still whiskey, which is made from a mix of malted and unmalted barley. The unsalted barley adds a dimension of flavour that sets pot still whiskeys apart both from scotch and other Irish whiskeys.
Irish whiskey must be made in Ireland or Northern Ireland. In terms of taste, Irish whiskeys vary widely, from grassy to grainy to more bourbon-like.