This guide to the best cheap Irish whiskey brands only features whiskeys that I have enjoyed on 15+ occasions and that I feel very comfortable recommending.
Like many young lads growing up in Ireland, my first encounters with alcohol was budget Irish whiskey – usually drank with a grimace in a field with friends.
In my early days of drinking, I thought cheap always meant bad, but that really isn’t the case – the fact is that there are some excellent affordable Irish whiskey brands on the market today.
Over the years, I’ve amassed a collection of go-tos when I’m looking for a whiskey that’s both pocket-friendly and tasty. Find my favourites below. Cheers!
The best cheap Irish whiskey
Below, you’ll find the best budget Irish whiskey brands, each of which has a $ and € price listed in its title.
These prices, which are based on a 70cl bottle, may vary, but they are accurate at the time of typing.
1. Tullamore Dew (€26/$29)
Tullamore D.E.W is, in my opinion one of the best Irish whiskey brands… period! The fact that it’s so well-priced is the icing on the cake.
Produced in County Offaly, it was created in 1829 and later prospered under Daniel E Williams (hence D.E.W in the name). It’s now the second largest selling brand of Irish whiskey globally.
The reason that this is my favourite of the many cheap Irish whiskey brands is down to its smoothness – this is a very easy-to-sip whiskey with little-to-no harshness in its flavour profile.
- Where it’s made: Tullamore Distillery, Offaly
- The smell/nose: Fruity, oak, vanilla, and apple notes
- The taste: Sweet caramel and vanilla taste with spicy tones
- Why I keep going back to it: It’s affordable, easy-to-drink and very pleasant with an ice cube plopped in
2. Bushmills Black Bush (€32/$35)
On the wild north coast of Ireland, the Bushmills Distillery has stood proud for over 400 years. Established in 1608, it claims to be the oldest licensed distillery in the world.
With water sourced from the River Bush and named after the mills that made the Barley, Bushmills is an Irish whiskey icon.
There are many types of Bushmills, but it’s the Bushmills Black Bush I’m focusing on here. This is a good cheap Irish whiskey that’ll stand proud in many whiskey collections.
- Where it’s made: Old Bushmills Distillery, Antrim
- The smell/nose: Sherry, spicy and nutty notes
- The taste: Full flavoured with nutty hints along with cinnamon, sherry and spices
- The best cheap Irish whiskey for: Those with a more experienced palate
3. Jameson (€33/$36)
Jameson is arguably both the best known and the best value Irish whiskey brand (it’s also a good Irish whiskey to drink straight as it’s smooth, sweet and doesn’t have a harsh finish).
There’s a lot to like about Jameson, in my opinion – it’s well priced, easy-to-sip and has a reassuringly familiar flavour (there’s also plenty of Jameson cocktails you can knock-up!).
- Where it’s made: Midleton Distillery, Cork
- The smell/nose: Floral on the nose with sweet and spicy wood notes
- The taste: Nutty, spicy with plenty of vanilla and sweet sherry
- Why I always keep a bottle at home: The light, sweet flavour of Jameson and the lack of a harsh after-taste makes it a handy option when friends are over
4. Teeling Small Batch (€35/$38)
The first new distillery in Dublin for 125 years, the Teeling Whiskey Distillery opened in 2015 and is part of the area’s vibrant whiskey revival.
Their wonderfully full-flavoured Small Batch Irish whiskey, bottled at 46% proof, is arguably one of the best value Irish whiskey brands.
Made with a blend of malt and grain whiskeys and initially aged in the ex-bourbon barrels, Small Batch is given extra character by then being moved to mature in ex-rum barrels!
- Where it’s made: Teeling Distillery, Dublin
- The smell/nose: A combination of fruits and spices with a sweet undertone
- The taste: Expect a smooth and spicy sip with notes of berry and rum
- The best budget Irish whiskey for: Those looking for a great Irish whiskey to sip straight (or to gift – the bottle is gorgeous)
5. Paddy (€30/$33)
Notable for its use of all three styles of Irish whiskey (single pot still, single malt and grain), Paddy is a famous old triple distilled blended whiskey produced in Cork.
Dating back to 1779, it got its name from the distillery’s gregarious travelling salesman – Paddy Flaherty. It was said that Paddy made sure that everyone who crossed his path tried a glass!
With a recognisable bottle that can be found in cupboards around the world, this is another of the best cheap Irish whiskey brands and it goes very well as part of an Irish coffee recipe.
- Where it’s made: Midleton Distillery, Cork
- The smell/nose: Expect notes of wood, vanilla, honey, malt and spice
- The taste: Surprisingly light with a nutty, malty flavour
- Why I like it: It goes very well with in Irish whiskey cocktails
6. Kilbeggan (€29/$32)
Based in Kilbeggan in County Westmeath, their double-distilled blended whiskey features a good body with honeyed sweetness and malt while the finish is short with oaked dryness.
For some reason you don’t tend to see Kilbeggan in guides to the best value Irish whiskey, which is odd as you’ll get real bang-for-your-buck here.
- Where it’s made: Kilbeggan, Westmeath
- The smell/nose: Toasted wood, vanilla and sweet caramel
- The taste: Vanilla, caramel, peach and nuts
- A good budget Irish whiskey for gifting: I’ve always found that a bottle of Kilbeggan looks much more expensive than it is
7. Glendalough Double Barrel (€37/$40)
With its distillery located deep in a narrow glacial valley in the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough’s whiskey is produced in what’s known as ‘the garden of Ireland’.
Their Double Barrel is one of the best budget Irish whiskeys, coming in at around €37/$40 (the bottle is beautiful and will stand-out in any collection).
Initially matured in American Bourbon barrels before enjoying a finishing period of six months in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks, it’s bottled at 42% ABV.
- Where it’s made: Glendalough Distillery, Wicklow
- The smell/nose: Rich with floral notes
- The taste: A sweet and smooth whiskey with butterscotch and nutty notes
- Why I like it: This is just a great value whiskey. Add the gorgeous bottle and you’ve a great addition to any collection
8. Slane Whiskey (€33/$36)
Often associated with epic gigs and huge crowds, Slane’s whiskey is big on taste, too. County Meath’s Boyne Valley’s clear water and lush soil provide a fine base for Slane’s triple casked whiskey.
Made using whiskeys drawn from oak casks, seasoned casks (which previously contained Tennessee whiskey and bourbon) and Oloroso Sherry casks, there’s a ton of flavour in this drop.
If you’re looking for a smooth, complex and flavour-packed drop, this is one of the best cheap Irish whiskeys around!
- Where it’s made: The Slane Distillery, Meath
- The smell/nose: Fruity with notes of caramel, toasted oak, brown spice, butterscotch and vanilla
- The taste: Spicy at first then sweet with caramel, vanilla and butterscotch notes
- What I like about it: This is an affordable Irish whiskey that’s big on flavour
9. West Cork Glengarriff Bog (€40/$43)
Last but by no means least in our guide to the best cheap Irish whiskey brands is West Cork whiskey.
From a small distillery in Skibbereen, West Cork Irish Whiskey is now sold in over 70 countries but their unique Bog Oak Charred Cask whiskey is a cracking pick-up for around €40/$43.
Matured in sherry casks and then finished in casks that have been charred using fuel sources taken from the Glengarriff Forest in West Cork, this a spicy and smoky Irish whiskey that’s truly superb value considering its unique process.
- Where it’s made: Skibbereen, Cork
- The smell/nose: Spicy and fruity with notes of leather
- The taste: Spicy with notes of malt and pepper
- For a more experienced palate: One for those with some experience under their belt
The best value Irish whiskey: What have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some good cheap Irish whiskey brands from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about cheap Irish whiskey brands
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What’s the best value Irish whiskey that’s still nice and tasty?’ to ‘Which is the cheapest?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What is the best cheap Irish whiskey?
In my opinion, the best budget Irish whiskey brands are Paddy, Jameson, Kilbeggan and Bushmills Black Bush.
What is the best budget Irish whiskey that packs a punch?
A good cheap Irish whiskey is the Teeling Small Batch. It comes in a beautiful bottle and has a tastebud tantalising flavour profile.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.