Blended whisky is at the very heart of the world market for Irish Whiskey as a whole, with Jameson being the best-selling by a considerable margin. With only three distilleries operating in Ireland, the production of blended whiskey is, while still a mix of malt and grain, very different from that found in Scotland. The Midleton distillery, the home of Jameson, typifies the nature of Blend production in the country. It is a very large distillery with a capacity of around 19 million litres produced each year. This annual output covers each of the different styles of distillate it requires for its blends from the lightest grain to the richest pot still.
Irish blends are known for their particularly light, smooth and undemanding style. This accessible nature, combined with Jameson’s availability throughout the world, makes Irish blends a common introductory whiskey. That said, there is much within the category to interest the experienced whisky enthusiast, with Bushmills producing a reliable range that succeeds in maintaining a loyal following, while Cooley distillery continues to win fans and numerous awards for its approachable and beautifully balanced Kilbeggan blend.