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Top Up Your Bar With Some Of The Best Whiskey Brands In The World

Alcohol and anecdotes around alcohol - every bar conversation revolves around these two topics. While your antics post consuming alcohol are left to your own better judgement, it’s always a good idea to get your facts right about your favourite spirit. Considering, the affinity of Indian men (and women) towards whiskey, it’s important to expand your booze trivia beyond Black Label (yes it’s a mighty fine whiskey). 

Before we begin the journey, it’s important to understand the distinction between whiskey and whisky. The two stalwarts of distilled drinks - Scotts and Irish spell it differently. The Scottish (and the Americans) call it whiskey while the Irish prefer whisky. Another distinction is that Scotch typically make their whiskeys from malted barley and double-distilled, while the Irish use unmalted barley and triple distilled. Once this distinction is clear, it’s essential to understand the various nuances of a fine whiskey. 

This drink is made from distilled grains and different countries use different grains thereby changing the flavour and nature of the drink. We round up some of the smoothest whiskey brands in the world, for your drinking pleasure. 

Johnie Walker

Image Credits: Johnie Walker on Instagram
Image Credits: Johnie Walker on Instagram

Origin: Scotland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: Ask any whiskey drinker in India and they will give you the dossier on Johnie Walker’s range of whiskeys. From the pocket-friendly Red Label to the limited edition Blue Label, the brand’s whiskeys cover the colour spectrum to give you a premium Scottish product.

Chivas Regal

Image Credit: Chivas Regal on Instagram
Image Credit: Chivas Regal on Instagram

Origin: Scotland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: Originating from one of the oldest distilleries in the Scottish highlands, Strathisla distillery in Speyside, is the famous Chivas Regal whiskey. Sold by the year of distilling (12, 18, and 25), these iconic whiskeys are considered some of the finest blends in the world.

Glenfiddich

Image Credits: Glenfiddich on Instagram
Image Credits: Glenfiddich on Instagram

Origin: Scotland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: Famous yet more experimental, Glenfiddich offers a wider range of ages, all of which are single malts. For the uneducated, that means that only one type of malted grain can be used in the whiskey’s production, which in the case of Scotch is always barley. Glenfiddich also sells a 50-year-old whiskey which goes for $55k a bottle, funnily enough, available now at Dan Murphy’s.

Glenmorangie

Image Credits: Glenmorangie on Instagram
Image Credits: Glenmorangie on Instagram

Origin: Scotland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: This Scottish single malt is created from two types of malted barley—a single estate Cadboll and malted chocolate barley, lending a unique sweetness to the whiskey. The whiskeys are aged in bourbon casks that are never filled more than twice, thereby retaining the intensity of the whiskey.

Royal Salute

Origin: Scotland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: The upscale member of the Chivas Regal family, Royal Salute was launched in 1953 as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the day of her coronation. This expensive whiskey blend is made from aged malts and comes in a beautiful porcelain bottle.

Image Credits: Royal Salute on Facebook
Image Credits: Royal Salute on Facebook

Monkey Shoulder

Image Credit: Monkey Shoulder India on Instagram
Image Credit: Monkey Shoulder India on Instagram

Origin: Scotland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: The Monkey Shoulder was originally formed using fruity, malty, and smooth components of Kininvie, Balvenie, and Glenfiddich single malts and later re-formulated to create its own essence. This smooth whiskey is aged in ex-bourbon casks and vatted together for up to six months and is now a trendy whiskey popular with millennials.

Ballantines

Image Credits: Ballantines India on Instagram
Image Credits: Ballantines India on Instagram

Origin: Scotland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar:  Popularly called the 'spirit of gods', Ballantine's whiskey is a blend of over 50 single malts and four single grains. With all ingredients aged for over four years and bottled with 40 percent alcohol, Ballantines boasts of a strong flavour and thereby earns its premium price.

Grant's

Image Credits: Grant's India on Instagram
Image Credits: Grant's India on Instagram

Origin: Scotland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: The go-to drink at local bars, Grant's is known for its smooth and mellow whiskey. With the key grain component being sourced from Grant's own Girvan distillery in Scotland, the brand is aimed at the young consumer despite its 100-year-old history.

Dewar's

Image Credits: Dewar's on Instagram
Image Credits: Dewar's on Instagram

Origin: Scotland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: One of the biggest ironies of the brand is their White Label, a yellow-hued whiskey that combines around 40 single malt Scottish whiskeys and is a popular choice for cocktails. Established in 1846, Dewar’s' products are all own made in their five distilleries in Aberfeldy, Speyside, Macduff, Aultmore, Craigellachie, and Royal Brackla in the Scottish Highlands. 

Laphroaig

Image Credits: Laphroig on Instagram
Image Credits: Laphroig on Instagram

Origin: Scotland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: Favoured by the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) who celebrated his 60th birthday at their distillery in 2008, Laphroaig is considered one of the oldest and most prestigious scotch makers in the region. Smoky with a distinct flavour, the Laphroaig whiskey is one of Scotland’s most characterful offering to the world.

Jim Beam

Image Credits: Jim Beam India on Instagram
Image Credits: Jim Beam India on Instagram

Origin: The United States Of America
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: America’s most famous bourbon brand, Jim Beam is a seventh generation family run business in Kentucky. A brand that believes in consistency, the brand’s key ingredients, mash bill and yeast colony has remained the same since the 1700s making its taste stay true to its roots through the years.

Jack Daniels

Image Credits: Jack Daniels on Facebook
Image Credits: Jack Daniels on Facebook

Origin: The United States Of America
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: Jack Daniels is a Tennessee whiskey that is so popular that jazz musician Frank Sinatra choose to be buried with a bottle of Old No.7. Nicknamed JD, the brand has achieved cult status and recognition in the world of bourbons.  

Makers Mark

Image Credits: Makers Mark on Facebook
Image Credits: Makers Mark on Facebook

Origin: The United States Of America
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: This small batch Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey is sold in a squarish bottle with a hand-dipped red wax cover for that vintage effect. While most bourbons boast of 40 percent alcohol content, Makers Mark has 45 percent and despite its attempts at reducing this, the brand on popular demand has stuck with the high alcohol content.  

Bushmills

Image Credits: Bushmills India on Instagram
Image Credits: Bushmills India on Instagram

Origin: Ireland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: As the oldest distillery in Ireland, Bushmills is a slowly matured grain whiskey with a rich spicy note. A wide range consisting of the Bushmills Original Whisky and the popular Irish Honey, the brand usually produced triple-distilled drinks.

Jameson

Image Credits: Jameson India on Instagram
Image Credits: Jameson India on Instagram

Origin: Ireland
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: One of the most popular Irish whiskeys, Jameson moves from the standard 12-year-old to the premium 18-year-old. A mellow yellow-hued whiskey with a sweet fragrance of malted barley, Jameson impresses you with its strong alcoholic punch.   

Yamazaki

Image Credits: Suntory Whisky on Instagram
Image Credits: Suntory Whisky on Instagram

Origin: Japan
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: With Japanese whiskeys gaining momentum, it’s essential that you give Yamazaki’s soft and sweet single malts a try. A medium-bodied whiskey with fruity notes, the brand’s distillery is located in Shimamoto, Osaka Prefecture, Japan.  

Nikka

Image Credits: Nikka USA on Instagram
Image Credits: Nikka USA on Instagram

Origin: Japan
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: This award-winning whiskey is brewed in the  Japanese mountains in order to provide a similar environment to its Scotland counterparts. The range moves from single malts to smoky blended whiskeys.   

Hakushu

Image Credits: Suntory Whisky on Instagram
Image Credits: Suntory Whisky on Instagram

Origin: Japan
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: A distillery located in the forested mountains of Japan, Hakushu uses fresh spring water to make its Scotch whiskey. The Hakushu 18-year-old single malt consists of notes of fruit, malt, and a hint of smoke and cherry. Other options like the tropical flavoured 12-year-old and premium 25-year-old are great options as well. 

Crown Royal

Image Credits: Crown Royal on Facebook
Image Credits: Crown Royal on Facebook

Origin: Canada
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: The Canadian whiskey that is considered 'fit for a king', after all, King George VI on his visit to Canada in 1939 took a bath in 10 caskets of this smooth blend. Hugely popular in the country, this column-distilled whiskey comes with fruity and spicy notes and is made out of an undetermined portion of rye in the mash bill.

Sullivans Cove

Image Credits: Sullivans Cove on Instagram
Image Credits: Sullivans Cove on Instagram

Origin: Australia
Why It Needs To Be In Your Bar: One of the best whiskeys in the Southern Hemisphere, Sullivans Cove is a small-batch luxury whiskey distilled in Tasmania. The bottle is finished in French Oak Port Casks for a fruity flavour and has notes of dark chocolate and red wine gums. A much-in-demand offering, this smooth spirit is a must-have in your bar.

Featured image: Unsplash

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