Whisky is a beautifully complex drink that comes in a variety of types and flavours. It can even be mixed into a whiskey sour for a special after-dinner drink. Depending on where you find your whisky you’ll be spelling it differently, with “whisky” being the proper Scottish name and the Japanese spelling, while “whiskey” refers to the Irish and American liquors. Your choice can come down to many factors, such as blended or single malt, or just something that won’t hurt on the way down. So here are nine choices from around the globe to help you find the right whisky for you.
One of the founders of the Japanese whisky family, Yamazaki is made in Kyoto and offers a rich 12-year-old that also comes with tropical fruit undertones that any whisky connoisseur will enjoy. This single malt really stands out as one of the best whiskies coming out of the ever-growing Japanese scene.
Balvenie boasts the only establishment that has every process involved in whisky-making under one roof, from growing its own barley and malt to the producing the finished product. This famous Speyside whisky is something very unique. It delivers dried fruit and vanilla notes, which are brought about by maturation in American oak and European sherry oak barrels and it is very hard not to enjoy a drop of Balvenie.
A favourite among anyone looking for a smoked whisky Ardbeg is an award-winning Islay liquor from West Scotland. Made on small strip of land, it offers some truly stunning choices with peaty finishes and hints of tobacco and coffee. The maker has even experimented with sending whisky into space.
Although not the most well-known or popular whisky, Compass Box has many surprises. Made with 100 per cent grain and blended from whiskies all over Scotland, this one will leave you with a toffee and coffee finish and even a slight hint of coconut. A nice choice if you’re still finding your feet in the whisky world.
With a strength of more than 50 per cent ABV, you’ll need a touch of water to release all of this one’s hidden aromas and tastes. Due to its strength, many may turn away from this Japanese whisky, but Nikka has a few subtle tricks up its sleeve and should be tried at least once.
A popular choice among many bartenders, this whiskey offers a slightly sweet finish that lends itself well to cocktail making. Coming from Kentucky in the US means Woodford has a real pedigree, especially with it being made in the longest-serving distillery in Kentucky. The most well-known is the Distiller’s Select, although you should try the Master Collection bottling as it offers a drink that should only be enjoyed straight up.
Bourbon is a cocktail bartender’s friend for many reasons and FEW bourbon is the perfect example of this. Coming from Evanston, Illinois FEW offers a blend of corn, rye and malt. Match this with a dash of bitters and sweet vermouth and enjoy. Or if you are looking for something more complex use it your next Old Fashioned.
Slightly pricey due to winning the WWA World’s Best Blended Whisky back in 2015. This is a 50/50 malt-to-grain blend that includes well-known brands such as The Macallan. The Boutiquey 35yr is amazing to enjoy straight and offers a smooth finish with no sharp edges. Perfect for breaking out when a fellow whisky-lover comes to visit.
An Irish whiskey that truly reminds us that Ireland really does produce some world-class whiskeys. Red Breast comes at 59.9 per cent ABV and is a little bit friendlier after adding a dash of water. But don’t be deterred: afterwards, you’ll be rewarded with complex flavours and a dark rich colour.
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