Despite the popularity of Scotch, it is not the only whisky out there. Time and time again the world’s best selling Scotches come up against real competitors.
The ten whiskies in the selection below form just a smattering, in no particular order, of the many underrated whiskies from around the world. Check them out and maybe you can find an exciting alternative to your favourite tipple!
Wild Turkey 101 is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon, made up of 6, 7 and 8 Year Old bourbons. This whisky is 50.5% proof, making the flavours that bit bolder. It explodes onto the tongue with a rich sweetness of vanilla and caramel before finishing off with a hint of tobacco. The flavours wrap up and intertwine in the finish, creating a true taste sensation. This is an impressive bourbon and is one of the better exports from across the pond.
2. Amrut Fusion – India
Not a lot of people know about the vast and burgeoning affair India has with whisky. Not only is it one of the biggest consumers of whisky, but also a massive producer of its own variations. While some of those may not make the mark (check out of molasses based whisky to discover why!) but Amrut Fusion is one of the best. Winning Jim Murray’s Third Finest Whisky of 2010, Amrut Fusion is packed full of flavour. Beginning with creamy spices and subtly moving into a bitter dark chocolate and coffee punch, Amrut Fusion is everything you look for in a good malt. It ties together the spices and sweetness with a lasting finish that you are not going to forget in a hurry.
An incredible offering from Australia, Crazy Uncle not only looks good, but also tastes the fantastic. Fresh out of Whipper Snapper Distillery in East Perth, this is a new make spirit that hits all the right notes. Crystal clear, it sparkles like a fine gin, but tastes like an even finer new make. Crazy Uncle has all the nutty, graininess that one would expect from an unaged spirit. It complements these earthy tones with a vanilla and caramel sweetness that rises up and is really expressed in the finish.
4. Jefferson’s Reserve – America
Another offering from America to make the Underrated list, Jefferson Reserve is an expressive bourbon with a high proof. Unlike Wild Turkey 101, the body of Jefferson Reserve is not a full, but serves a fantastic dram. The nose holds a deep spiciness that is set off against a vanilla sweetness. On the palette it is soft and light, with only hints of tobacco. These pique the interest of deeper saccharine notes that are rounded off in a good, long finish with the return of those spices and a splash of toffee
5. Sullivan’s Cove, French Oak – Tasmania
Tasmania may be full of devils, but it is definitely heaven for whisky. Only last year did the small batch, luxury brand steal the title of World’s Best Single Malt Whisky at the World Whisky Awards with their French oak expression. Keep in mind; this is a title that has only ever been previously won by Scotch or Japanese whiskies. This is a fruity malt with highlights of dark chocolate that moves into a sweet and saccharine body. The taste of caramel is offset with the cinnamon and spice finish that rests just long enough to be truly appreciated. Investing in some Sullivan Cove will not disappoint.
6. Mackmyra Midnattssol– Sweden
This is a truly intriguing whisky. Matured in sherry and bourbon casks as well as Swedish and American oak, this single malt is finished in casks that once held wine made from birch sap. The result is fruitier than your granny’s Christmas cake. From an introduction of tart fruits and berries, the nose moves onto a palette that is intense with pear and citrus fruits. The floral undertones mix beautifully with the overlay of tangy sweetness. Not only does this malt taste incredible, but it looks pretty classy to boot.
7. Bakery Hill Peated Malt – Australia
Scoring an impressive 93/100 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, this Australian peated offering is worth the import tax. The peated flavour lasts from nose to finish and does not fail to satisfy those smoky cravings every whisky drinker gets from time to time. But when a Talisker just won’t do the trick Bakery Hill is the dram to turn to. Combining an amazingly rich earthy undertone with the peated flavourings of a well-stoked fire, this is a smoked malt to truly challenge the best Scotland can offer.
8. Connemara Peated – Ireland
On the other side of the world to Bakery Hill is Kilbeggan Distillery in Ireland. This is another peated expression on the list, but one that does not disappoint. Connemara takes the husky Irish landscape and bottles it, filling the glass with floral notes and rich earthy undertones. On top of these is a honeyed sweetness that comes through beautifully in finish. Top it all off with a bold peated kick, and you’ve got a fantastically complex whisky.
9. Kavalan Single Malt – Taiwan
Coming from the only whisky distillery in Taiwan is Kavalan Single Malt. Winning Gold at the 2011 International Wine and Spirits Competition, Kavalan is not a malt to be taken lightly. It boasts big floral notes that move and intertwine with a vanilla sweetness. The tropical fruits coming through only serve to transport the drinker back to rich forests Kavalan is born from.
The Miyagikyo 12 Year Old is simply magnificent. While japan may be one of the best and popular whisky producers in the world, this malt is one that is frequently forgotten about. Produced by Nikka, this is an intensely complex floral and fruity expression, from the nose to the finish. It maintains a malted quality throughout, a quality that is greatly served by the hints of toffee and juicy apple that run riot over the palette. The Miyagikyo 12 is not a whisky anyone should overlook.