The term "Irish Whiskey" defines whiskey that is exclusively made in Ireland. The word "whiskey" comes from the ancient Gaelic term "uisce beatha" which translates as "water of life". It was back in the 11th century that Irish monks brought the technique of distilling perfumes into Ireland and started distilling the first whiskey. The world's oldest whiskey distillery still in operation is the Bushmills distillery in Co Antrim, which was founded in 1608. As many as 1,200 distilleries were operating in Ireland in the 18th century, the majority of them unlicenced, with their number gradually decreasing in the 19th century, and down to only 3 in the start of the 21st century.
Irish Whiskey has been reborn in the past decade, with a lot of new distilleries now producing Irish whiskey. New brands and labels like Teeling, Glendalough, Connemara, Irishman, Knappogue Castle and Writer's Tears have come in to join the all-time classics such as Bushmills, Jameson, Redbreast, Midleton, Paddy and Powers, providing a huge range to please the most demanding whiskey aficionados.