Single pot still whiskey
Single pot still whiskey is a style of Irish whiskey made by a single distillery from a mixed mash of malted and unmalted barley distilled in a pot still. Somewhat similar to single malt whiskey, the style was defined by its inclusion of unmalted raw barley in the mash in addition to malt. However, small amounts of raw oats or wheat may have been used at times. This unmalted component is said to give single pot whiskey a "spicier bristle" and "thicker texture" than the otherwise similar single malt whiskeys. If the whiskey is not distilled completely on the site of a single distillery, then it may be termed pot still whiskey but not single pot still whiskey.
|Country of origin||Ireland|
|Alcohol by volume||minimum 40%|
|Colour||Pale Gold to Dark Amber|
Once the most popular type of whiskey in the world, this style of whiskey was historically referred to as pure pot still whiskey, Irish-style pot still whiskey, or – especially in Ireland – simply as pot still whiskey. The term "single pot still" was only introduced in recent years to overcome the United States Tax and Trade Bureau's objections to the use of the term "pure" in the labelling of food and drink.
The term should not be confused with the theoretical concept of whiskey produced solely in a pot still (which would also apply to single malt whiskey as well as some examples of pot still bourbon and rye whiskey).
Whiskey has been distilled in Ireland since at least the 1400s and most likely as early as the 6th century. Single pot still whiskey emerged as a means of avoiding a tax introduced in 1785 on the use of malted barley. Although this tax was later repealed, the popularity of the style endured until the emergence of blends in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In the 1800s, single pot still whiskey was the most popular style of whiskey in the world and formed the bulk of Ireland's whiskey exports. However, with the rise of cheaper, milder blended whiskeys in the 20th century, single pot still whiskey declined in popularity, and many formerly all-pot-still brands changed their production to become blends. By 1980, only two specialist bottlings remained in existence, Green Spot and Redbreast, with one in danger of being discontinued. However, in recent years, a resurgence in whiskey distilling in Ireland has led to the launch of several new single pot still whiskeys.
In addition to the general regulations governing the production of Irish whiskey (e.g., geographical origin, aging in wooden casks for a minimum of three years), Irish government regulations stipulate that Irish pot still whiskey must be:
- Distilled from a mash of a combination of malted barley, unmalted barley, and other unmalted cereals
- Distilled in a pot still so that the distillate has the aroma and taste of the materials used
- Made with a minimum of 30% malted barley and 30% unmalted barley
In addition, the regulation documents state that:
- Up to 5% of cereals other than malted and unmalted barley, such as oats and rye, may be used
- Either double or triple distillation may be used, although traditionally most Irish pot still whiskey is triple distilled
- The term "single" can be added if the Irish pot still whiskey is distilled on the site of a single distillery
As of 2018, there are a handful of single pot still whiskeys on the market. However, due to the construction of several new distilleries in Ireland in recent years, several more single pot whiskeys are expected to be released in the coming years. Those available as of mid-2018 include:
- Dingle Single Pot Still (released in late 2017)
- Green Spot, Yellow Spot, and Red Spot
- Method & Madness Single Pot Still
- Midleton (Barry Crockett Legacy, Dair Ghaelach)
- Powers (Three Swallows, Signature Release, John's Lane)
- Redbreast (12, 12 Cask Strength, 15, 21, Lustau Edition)
- Teeling Single Pot Still (released in August 2018)
- "Irish Whiskey Society Interview". Whisky Cast.
- O'Connor, Fionnán (2015). A Glass Apart: Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey. Images Publishing. ISBN 9781864705492.
- Technical file setting out the specifications with which Irish whiskey / Uisce Beatha Eireannach must comply (PDF). Food Industry Development Division: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. October 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
- "Old Comber 30-year-old whiskey (bottled in 1980s)". The Whisky Exchange.
- Hansell, John (26 January 2011). "Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey Is Now Single Pot Still". Whisky Advocate.[dead link]
- Mulryan, Peter (2002). The Whiskeys of Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: O'Brien Press. ISBN 0-86278-751-3.
- Murphy, Mark (27 October 2017). "Dingle Distillery's New Small Batch Releases". FFT.ie. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
- Bellwood, Owen. "Teeling to Auction First 100 Bottles of Single Pot Still". The Spirits Business. Retrieved 31 August 2018.