Noted Irish Distilleries
The names of Old Bushmills, Jameson and Midleton are known the world over. These leading distilleries are conveniently situated for travelers and tourists, and offer daily tours capped off by a complimentary taste of the good strong stuff.
In continuous operation since King James I initially granted it a license to produce “The Water of Life” in 1608, the Old Bushmills Distillery is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world. Only special water from St. Columb's Rill is used, and as with other fine Irish whiskeys, the product is triple distilled in copper stills and matured for many years in oak casks.
Jameson is right in old Dublin's center, just as it has been since 1780. A new visitor center, opened in 1997, presents guided tours that give visitors the full story of John Jameson's Irish Whiskey. There is a restaurant on premises, as well as The Irish Whiskey Corner bar.
The Old Midleton Distillery is located on Main Street in Midleton, County Cork. (Midleton is a Jameson brand.) Although there has been no distilling activity on site here since 1975, the refurbished facilities serve as a major tourist destination. Preserved on site are a 40-foot waterwheel, a vintage steam engine, and – at a capacity of 33,000 gallons – the largest pot still in the world. The flagship product of the Midleton brand, known as Midleton Very Rare, is the most exclusive Irish whiskey in existence. No more than a hundred casks are made annually; the master blender handpicks the finest distillates available to create what is widely regarded as one of the world's most magnificent whiskeys. A bottle of Midleton Very Rare sells in the range of $150-$200.