Scotch may lead the global whisky market
but over the past decade many countries with no history in whisky-making have
joined the industry, bringing with them cultural creativity, new ingredients,
and a huge passion for creating new and unique whiskies. While most countries
across the globe are now trying their hand at whisky production, here are the
top 7 we feel have made the biggest splash so far.
This list looks at whisky with no ‘e’,
sorry America and Ireland!
Japan - Suntory
Japan has grown over the years to become one of the
most collected whisky categories in the world. At the forefront, stands Suntory
the owning company of famed brands Yamazaki, Hibiki, and Hakushu. Since the
founding of the Yamazaki distillery in 1923 Suntory has led the charge for
Japanese whisky both domestically and abroad, raking in international awards
and creating ground-breaking marketing campaigns within Japan. If there is one
country that is competing globally with Scotland and its whisky, it’s Japan.
A classic Japanese single malt,
elegant and subtle. Lots of tropical fruit and honey.
Hibiki Blenders Choice
The world’s most
award-winning blended range, the Blenders Choice bring incredible smoothness
with the addition of red-wine aged vintages.
India - Paul John
Located near Goa, Paul John is one of the leading Indian
single malt makers, within a country where sugarcane spirit concoctions can be
classed as whisky. These can’t be exported and still be called whisky, but for
Paul John, the world is open. Paul John exclusively utilises six-row barley,
unlike most distilleries globally that use the typical two-barley. The six-row
variety imparts spicier, more vibrant notes, which help give Paul John whisky
its unique character when compared with other fine single malts on the global
Paul John Nirvana
Paul John’s newest release, this
burst with honey, caramel, and abundant summer fruits.
Paul John Peated
An exciting peated Indian single
malt, smoke and campfire notes meat warm oriental spice, papaya, and roasted
Taiwan - Kavalan
Since its inception in 2005, Kavalan has positioned
itself and, Taiwanese whisky as a whole, as a powerful competitor in the global
whisky scene. The distillery benefits from Taiwan's humid and hot climate which
helps age the whisky much faster than in cooler climates. Sadly, this also
increases the annual loss (Angel's share) from the barrel, but King Car, the
huge corporation behind Kavalan can afford the loss.
Kavalan’s success is seen
in the awards the team receives year after year, over older more established
categories like Scotch and Bourbon. The master distiller, Ian Chang, will leave
the company this month so changes are soon to follow for Taiwan’s whisky maker.
Light and balanced, with lots
of fruit and vanilla, this is perfect for those unaccustomed to Kavalan’s cask
strength Solist series.
Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique
Powerful, deep, and
incredibly complex, this is Kavalan’s most award-winning whisky.
Australia - Sullivan's Cove
Sullivan's Cove in Tasmania enjoys somewhat of a cult
following in the land down under, and for good reason. The distillery’s
American Oak and French oak single cask releases have been named the World's
Best at the World Whiskies Awards numerous times. Every release sells out
instantly and the team aren't yet heavily focused on export as demand is high
enough in their local Australian market.
Sullivan's Cove Double Cask
A release aged in both
American oak and French oak casks, this brings coconut and cocoa to the
forefront, followed by honey, almonds, and oats.
Sullivan's Cove American Oak
ex-bourbon American oak casks delivers smooth vanilla and honey alongside
apples, citrus notes, and an exquisite freshness.
Sweden - High Coast
Previously known as the BOX distillery, High Coast is
headed by Roger Melander, an ex-engineer with a love for experimentation.
Located is Sweden, High Coast began distilling in 2010 and has since
experimented with different malts, yeast strains, and fermentation processes,
however, the real experimentation comes in their use of casks. Due to the cold
climate of Sweden, which fluctuates greatly in the area where High Coast is
located, the team experiment with placing the casks higher above ground and
under, as they say this effects the flavour. The team also uses smaller casks,
which allows the whisky to age faster. Speaking to Melander he also mentions
experimenting with casks of different shapes, and speaks of his experiments
with square casks. A very exciting producer indeed!
High Coast 63 Peated
The was aged 63 months, at 63
meters above ground, bottled at 63% ABV, made using barley peated to 63 ppm,
and aged in 63 litre casks. A clear look into High Coast’s precise,
High Coast Alv
Its name, Delicate Vanilla, speaks
true with the note at the forefront, alongside berries, apricots and toffee.
England - Bimber
While the first Bimber whisky casks were laid down in
2016 in London, the distillery has already build a name for itself. Founded by Dariusz
Plazewski, the Bimber distillery released its first single malt in 2019 but has
also produced a range of impressive premium spirits, which launched to keep the
distillery afloat while the whisky matured. It’s portfolio of gins, infused
vodkas, and rums show immense creativity and a habit of challenging the norm, traits
that have cemented a strong following for Bimber and helped the brand amass a
Bimber Single Malt Re-charred Oak Casks
re-charred cask allowing the whisky to further be impacted by the wood we see
strong notes of caramelized fruit, spice, and a soft hint of vanilla. A great
first release in the Bimber Re-charred series.
Bimber Da Hong Pao Gin
Made with one of the rarest
teas in the world, this gin is flavorful and fragrant with oolong tea at the
centre. Citrus and lavender notes arise, with the influence of campfire smoke
in the background.
Italy – PUNI
PUNI was founded in Glorenza, Italy in 2010 and stands
out as a distillery within a large,
cutting edge orange brick cube. The team at PUNI utilize their own rye variety
that the region is known for which they mix with malted barley to create the
distinct PUNI character. Located within the Alps, the surrounding area is
perfect was whisky production. Taking Italian craft to the next level, PUNI has
also shone by winning awards for their sleek and simple bottle design. Have a
look for yourself.
Aged in both Marsala and ex-Islay casks
delivers an immense balance of smoke, dried fruits and forest fruits, with
pepper and clove on the palate. A great example of the PUNI character.
Lighter than Alba this expression brings
apple, vanilla, and soft caramel forward on the nose, while spice and fruit
bring intensity on the palate. A young yet incredibly complex expression.