5. Paul John
First off, I know it is only a top 5 list, but honestly, making 10 is hard. So…yeah…..here are only 5.
I love Indian whisky. I feel it is an up and coming region who is making great whisky, with good abv, at a reasonable price, and is widely available. Paul John is one of the two biggest labels in Indian whisky. Their stuff is rich, malty, and comes in many different forms; peated, sherried, ex-bourbon, etc. And all expressions I have had are worth a try.
Yes, English whisky is now a thing. For centuries, the Scots are the only ones that made any whisky worth a sou on the island. But now, things have changed. Bimber is a single malt out of London, proving that London is more than just a gin region. Bimber stuff is a bit young and pricey, but when you have it….wow. Deep notes, especially for a 5 year old quaff. It is hard to find in the states, but definitely worth a try at bar if you find it.
Yeah, Japanese whisky is hot, hip, and en vogue. It is hard to find and even harder to justify the price tag. And a huge percentage of Japanese whisky is not even from Japan! I know, huh. Japanese regulations is as much the wild west as a Kurosawa film. But Nikka, not Suntory, but Nikka is the best Japanese I have had. The abv is a bit stronger, it does not taste like a copy of a Speyside, and has a ton of character for a Japanese malt. It is a bit on the pricey side again, but it is easier to justify a $100 cost for the Yoichi than almost 50% more for a Yamasaki 12.
2. Midleton Distillery
So Midleton makes pretty much all the big Irish whiskey you know of: Jameson, Redbreast, and the Spot series. Jameson is meh to me, but not bad. Redbreast is a solid step up (especially the 12 year cask strength), but the Spot series is where it is at. From Green to Yellow to Red to…dare I say…Blue….each one of those expressions are legit.
And to bookend the list, let’s go back to India and visit what I deem as the best world whisky maker in Amrut. Located in the heart of India, Amrut makes lush, vibrant, and amazingly flavourable whisky. Be it is their core range to peated offerings to their weird finishes (a rye finished whisky? Yes please…..), Amrut brings powerful, integrity, and well-priced whisky to the table which challenges any Scotch producer.