Harry Green, director of Whisky Kingdom, has chosen his top 5 whiskies from around the world. In an effort to highlight some of the talent in distilleries across the globe Harry has described some of the best alternatives to traditional scotch!
Kavalan is Taiwan’s biggest whisky producer and one of its best whiskies, in my opinion, is the single malt Concertmaster Port Cask Finish. This whisky has been produced using the same techniques as in Scotland. However, it’s different to a single malt Scotch whisky, mainly due to Taiwan’s tropical climate. It has a very spicy and fruity flavour. You’ll detect notes of red berries, sweet apples and cinnamon, balanced by ginger, dried fruit, and creamy vanilla.
It was aged and finished in a port cask, so the finish has much more flavour. It’s unique in this aspect. It has a dark colour, which gives it a distinctive appearance and sets it apart from other whiskies. As someone who loves single malt Scotch whisky, I was cynical about trying this whisky at first. But I’d have to say to anyone who’s of a similar persuasion, try this whisky – you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s very underrated.
There is a controversial statement: ‘Taiwanese whisky is like Scotch but in HD’ – and this whisky may be a testament to that statement!
Whereas most Irish whiskies are blended, this is a single malt. Waterford’s whisky is something different to what people would expect – I didn’t understand how distinctive it was until I tasted it. In 2014, the Waterford distillery filled the casks with spirit distilled from individual farms around Ireland, then married them with the single grain origin whisky – and The Cuvee was the result.
It has ginger notes and a sweet, balanced flavour that comes from oranges and apples. This balance is what makes The Cuvee so special. You have a huge mix of sweetness, richness, and body that you won’t find in other single malt whiskies. When you take different types of barley from Ireland, you get a very specific taste – it’s difficult to explain if you haven’t tasted this whisky. That’s why you need to try it.
Amrut Peated Single Malt Whisky (India)
We now move on to the only peaty whisky on this list. Amrut whiskies are highly rated around the world, and its Peated Single Malt Whisky is the most famous of its kind in India. Like the Concertmaster Port Cask Finish, it draws inspiration from Scottish production techniques. The whisky is made with barley that’s peated and malted in Scotland but distilled and aged in the Amrut distillery in Bangalore, 3000 ft. above sea level – a perfect tropical climate. Once distilled, the liquid is matured and aged in oak barrels.
Its flavour is quite distinct from that of its Scottish counterparts. A surprisingly sharp, citrusy taste combines perfectly with a medium smokiness. You will also detect spices like white peppers and herbs. The peat completes the smoky flavour. There are lots of nice notes for the palette. As a fan of smoky whisky, this one is perfect for me.
People know a lot about Japanese whisky these days – it’s very popular. One of the country’s best-known whiskies is Super Rare Old, a famous Japanese blend from the Nikka company. This whisky, which celebrates its 60th birthday this year, contains a high proportion of malt from the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries.
It’s an easy-to-drink blended whisky – it has a light body, a smooth texture, and loads of flavours. You will notice a real sweetness and fruitiness to this whisky – it contains notes of honey, orange, banana, and blackberries, as well as gentle hints of sherry. Although many Japanese whiskies are smoky, this one is not smoky at all. All things considered, this is one of the most well-balanced bottles within the Nikka range. It’s available at a very reasonable price at just under £50 for a 70cl bottle, so it’s well worth purchasing.
The final inclusion on this list is a bourbon whisky. Although it’s much sweeter than Scotch, there are a lot of bourbon lovers around the world, especially those who prefer a sweeter taste. If you like your bourbons, you’ll love this one from Kentucky. The 46 is one of the most unique whiskies that we sell – that’s why I’ve chosen it over the Original or the Cask Strength.
It’s been aged for longer than other Makers Mark whiskies, and finished with 10 French oak staves, so it provides much more flavour – you can really feel the bourbon touch when you drink it. Not only is it a great alternative to single malt Scotch whisky, but the 46 is also perfect for making whisky cocktails. You can really feel the taste in the cocktail. If you love bourbon and you love cocktails, it’s the ideal combination.
To find out more about these and other whiskies from all over the world, check out Whisky Kingdom’s full range here.