A less familiar term than many other whiskey classifications, Single Grain Irish Whiskey is a description that is simple to explain once you break it down. Clearly all the whiskey in the bottle must have been distilled and matured in Ireland - that’s what the Irish Whiskey part of the description refers to. The opening word “Single” simply means that all the whiskey in the bottle must have been matured at a single distillery. And the “Grain” part? Broadly speaking whiskey can be divided into two categories; that which is produced by distilling an alcoholic liquid fermented from a combination of water, yeast and malted barley grains; that which is produced by distilling a similar liquid where the malted barley is substituted by other grain - be that corn, maize, rye, un-malted barley etc.
Grain whiskey is frequently distilled in a continuous, or column, still - as opposed to the pot-stills use for malt whiskey production - and after distillation is often, stronger in alcoholic content and more neutral in flavour than malt spirit. As a result it is typically used in blended whiskey. However, good quality grain whiskey, distilled with care and well matured in good quality wood, from a single distillery, can be complex and delicious. In Ireland, Cooley Distillery, makes an excellent and popular example under the Greenore brand name.