The Busker Irish Whiskey

The Busker Irish Whiskey

Meet Luke

Luke is a Level I Certified Whiskey Specialist with a passion for exploring and unearthing the best whiskeys around. Luke has a preference for Rye whiskeys but has tasted over 250 different whiskeys to date varying from bourbons to scotches. He continues to expand upon his whiskey knowledge by tasting dozens of bottles monthly and reviewing them here on Barrel and Brew as he pursues his Masters of Whiskey certification.

In the past, we reviewed a couple of the most popular Irish whiskeys such as Jameson, Bushmills, and Tullamore Dew, but now we are going to take a look at Busker Irish Whiskey. It’s a fairly new brand that has grown in popularity since it’s release in 2020. If you’re a fan of lighter whiskey / Irish whiskey, then this is for you.

We’re going to cover the four whiskeys that The Busker Irish Whiskey produces, and go over a full review of their single malt whiskey. We’ll discuss the price, tasting notes, distillation, and how it compares to other Irish whiskeys we’ve reviewed.

The Busker Irish Whiskey

The Busker Irish Whiskey History

The Busker is a brand under Disaronno International, a US based subsidiary of Illva Saronno SpA. These companies have focused on producing Italian liqueur’s and wine. In 2020, they’ve expanded their reach to Irish whiskey with the release of The Busker.

The Busker Irish Whiskey is produced at the Royal Oak Distillery located in County Carlow, Ireland, which is owned by Illva Saronno. The company purchased the distillery in 2019 and focused their efforts on producing the four selections of Busker Irish Whiskey.

The Busker Irish Whiskey Selection

The Busker offers all 4 types of Irish whiskey – malt, grain, pot still, and blended. The malt, grain, and pot still selections all boast the ‘single’ label, meaning that all the whiskey that goes into it is produced at the Royal Oak Distillery. I’ll discuss more about each type of whiskey below.

The Busker Single Grain

  • ABV: 44.3%, 88.6 Proof
  • Age: NAS (no age statement). We do know it’s aged a minimum of 3 years per Irish whiskey laws
  • Finished in: Bourbon and Marsala casks
  • Mashbill: Unknown (no more than 30% malted barley)
  • Price: ~$30

So let’s start by explaining what it means to be a ‘single grain’ whiskey. Single refers to the distillery – all the whiskey inside a bottle of The Busker Single Grain Irish Whiskey was produced at a single distillery – the Royal Oak Distillery. ‘Single’ whiskeys are, most of the time, blends of whiskey.

Single grain does not mean that just one grain was used in the mash bill either. Grain Irish Whiskey uses no more than 30% malted barley with other grains, such as corn, wheat, and unmalted barley. lastly, grain whiskey is distilled in column stills. This allows for larger scale production.

The Busker Single Grain takes grain whiskey and ages it in bourbon casks and Marsala casks. Once finished, they are blended together.

The Busker Single Pot Still

  • ABV: 44.3%, 88.6 Proof
  • Age: NAS, minimum of 3 years
  • Finished in: Bourbon and Sherry casks
  • Mashbill: Unknown. Minimum 30% malted barley and minimum 30% unmalted barley
  • Price: ~$30

Here, single means the same thing as it did with single grain whiskey – all the whiskey in a bottle was distilled at Royal Oak Distillery. The key differences are how the whiskey is made and what it’s made out of. First, pot still whiskey is made out of pot stills, specifically copper pot still, not column stills. Pot stills operate on a batch by batch basis whereas column stills run continuously.

Next, pot still whiskey must contain at least 30% malted barley and 30% unmalted barley, with up to 5% of other grains allowed. When it comes to The Busker Single Pot Still, they only use barley, but we do not know what ratio of malted to unmalted barley is used.

This whiskey is a blend of pot still whiskey that is aged in either bourbon or sherry casks.

The Busker Single Malt

  • ABV: 44.3%, 88.6 Proof
  • Age: NAS, minimum 3 years
  • Finished in: Bourbon and Sherry casks
  • Mashbill: 100% malted barley
  • Price: ~$30

As you guessed it, single still refers to the fact that this whiskey was made at a single distillery. However, Irish (and Scotch) malt whiskey uses 100% malted barley in it’s mashbill. Malt whiskey also also must be distilled in pot stills. While it’s not as efficient as using column stills, it allows for more character and slight differences between batches.

This is why blending is important when it comes to whiskey. Each blend may be slightly different from batch to batch, so the blending must change in order to stay consistent. The Busker Single Malt is finished in Bourbon and Sherry casks and then blended. Stay tuned, we will give our full review of the single malt below.

The Busker Triple Cask Triple Smooth

  • ABV: 40%, 80 Proof
  • Age: NAS, minimum 3 years
  • Finished in: Bourbon, Sherry, and Marsala casks
  • Mashbill: Unknown, a blend of the three aforementioned whiskeys
  • Price: ~$27

The Busker Tripe Cask Triple Smooth is the last of the styles of Irish Whiskey, blended. But wait? weren’t the other three whiskeys blended, too? Yes, but that doesn’t necessarily qualify them as a blended whiskey. A blended whiskey, in Ireland, means that two or more of the three styles of whiskey – all represented above – are blended together.

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In the case of The Busker, all three are blended together, hence the name. It takes pot still whiskey, malt whiskey, and grain whiskey aged in Bourbon, Marsala, and Sherry casks and blends them together to form the Triple Cask Triple Smooth.

The Busker Single Malt Tasting Notes

Now that we’ve fully covered The Busker Irish Whiskeys, it’s time to get into the specific flavor profile of their single malt. I haven’t had the opportunity to do a tasting with all of them as my local liquor store only carried this option.

Nose: light fruit and floral aromas. Sweet honey and leather.

Taste: Dried fruits and cherry, oak. There’s a nutty undertone with malt rounding it out.

Finish: Medium to long finish, fairly easy without being too light.

Taste Summary

There’s nothing overtly amazing about this whiskey, but it’s still very good. It’s light and easy while maintaining flavor. Balanced is the word I’d use to describe it. It lacks a certain depth and complexity to it, but that’s totally okay because it’s not meant to have that. Overall, a solid Irish whiskey.

The Busker Single Malt Irish Whiskey

The Busker Single Malt Value

We’ve discussed the tasting notes and the price of The Busker Single Malt, now we can ascertain it’s value. I purchased my bottle for $27.99 and thought it to be an amazing value. It’s not a bottle I’m going to give as a gift to a whiskey aficionado, but it’s great for casual drinking.

Irish whiskey is considerably lighter than your typical bourbon, and that’s no different here. Enjoy this bottle with friends around a fire. It’s light enough to take shots, make cocktails with, and enjoy neat or on the rocks. You can also make a nice Irish Car Bomb with this. Just add a shot of The Busker to some Bailey’s, and drop it in a Guinness.

However you plan to drink it, The Busker Irish Whiskey Single Malt is a solid option when you’re looking for a light, easy, and flavorful whiskey.

The Busker Irish whiskey Summary

The Busker isn’t the most historic Irish whiskey on the market, not even close. However, so many new distilleries and brands are popping up in Ireland after so many closed down throughout the late 1900’s and early 2000’s. In the recent years whiskey consumption has skyrocketed allowing Irish whiskey to make a comeback.

The Busker has four selections of whiskey in it’s collection, and each represents one of the four legal whiskeys produced in Ireland. Those include malt, grain, pot still, and blended whiskeys. While I’ve only had the privilege to enjoy the single malt, I am excited to try the others.


Below are frequently asked questions regarding The Busker Irish Whiskey. Many of these are answered in the article above.

Who Makes Busker Irish Whiskey?

Busker Irish Whiskey is made by Disaronno International, a subsidiary of Illva Saronno. The whiskey is made at Royal Oak Distillery which was purchased by Illva Saronno in 2019. Prior to the purchase it was called Walsh Whiskey Distillery.

What is a Busker?

A Busker is a term for a street artist who typically performs for monetary or other valuable donations.

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