There are 3 main whisky producers in the World today – namely, Scotch Whisky, American Bourbon Whiskey and Irish whiskey.
There are other countries that produce this hugely popular drink such as Japan, Germany, Canada and even England. However, these countries do not produce anything of volume that can challenge the top 3 whisky producers listed above.
One small point of note, depending on where your whisky was made, the spelling of the word may be different, ie Whisky or Whiskey. There is no real documentation as to why, just one of these things in life. Generally whiskies produced in Scotland, Japan, Canada, Taiwan and several other countries use the term ‘whisky’, while countries such as America and Ireland [this only changed recently] use the term whiskey.
Without further ado, we will run through the top 10 whiskies from each country…this list is purely based on the view of Drinkoid.com so feel free to air your views and opinions in the comment area – we would love your feedback on what you feel should be added to these top 10!
American Bourbon Whiskey
- Hudson Baby Bourbon – This comes from a micro brewery in New York is made with 100% NY corn and aged in oak casks. A great bourbon that can stand alongside the more expensive varieties available.
- Basil Hayden’s – From Jim Beam, this is part of the Small Batch Collection and is 80 proof. A very light, slightly sweet, smooth texture this easy to drink bourbon really ticks all the right boxes.
- Maker’s 46 – While Maker’s Mark is a great whiskey in its’ own right, this premium offering from Maker’s Mark does not disappoint. A smooth bourbon to enjoy at any time and (almost) any occasion.
- Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit – A well balances, smooth flavor with sweet fruit and caramel hints brings this Wild Turkey Bourbon in at number 4.
- Four Roses Single Barrel – From the Four Roses Bourbon distillery in Kentucky, this bourbon is smooth with a great palette. Limited in supply, so if you see it I recommend that you buy and give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.
- Blanton’s Original Single Barrel – Comes in a stunning bottle and the contents don’t disappoint either. A smooth texture with strong hints of caramel and spicy finish. This is at the higher end of the pricing, but would be a great choice for a gift.
- Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select – This little known brand is one of the best value bourbon on the market today, a soft, smooth finish it can be sipped at any time.
- Maker’s Mark – If you have a friend that you are trying to introduce bourbon whiskey to this has got to be one of the best out there. A smooth, mellow drink that will keep them coming back for more.
- Wild turkey 81 – One of the cheapest bourbons on the list, but that doesn’t make it bad. A great flavor that gives you most bang for your buck.
- Jim Beam Black – Another of the budget range but as it is an aged bourbon, there are no burning sensation you get from similar priced varieties. A great everyday drink that won’t break the bank.
Top 10 Affordable Irish Whiskies
- Jameson 12-year-old – A soft, smooth whiskey due to being aged in sherry casks. A great everyday drink and one of the best value Irish Whiskies out there.
- Tullamore Dew – Recently voted best Irish Whiskey in the Third Annual New York International Spirits Competition in NY, this light, fruity whiskey is perfect for sipping almost any time of the day.
- Black Bush – From the Bushmills distillery in Antrim. This is a blend that uses whiskies up to 11 years in age. A full palate drink with a chocolate/ sherry type finish.
- Redbreast 12-year-old – a full bodied irish whiskey with sweet tones of apply, sherry and toffee.
- Green Spot – from the Middleton distillery in County Cork, limited in supply, this is made in sherry casks which makes it slightly sweeter to drink with a smooth caramel tone finish. If you manage to find a bottle, get it.
- Connemara Cask Strength – One of the smokier Irish whiskies available and not one to use if you want to introduce a friend to Irish Whiskey. This is a full bodied palate with sweet caramel and spicey finish.
- Powers Gold Label Special Reserve 12 Year Old Blended – A little bit pricier than some of the others on the list but this blend has a full flavor with hints of spice.
- Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey – This light single malt has a rich palate with strong, fruit finish will leave you coming back for more.
- Michael Collins Single Malt Whiskey – Compared with most Irish whiskies that are triple distilled, this is double distilled. A fully smokey palate with a slightly sweet afternote.
- Kilbagen Blended Irish Whiskey – An easy whiskey which is one of the sweeter whiskies on the chart. A great everyday option that can be sipped neat, with rich flavors and a slightly smokey end.
Top 10 Affordable Scotch Whiskies
- Highland Park 12 Year – A winner of numerous awards, this balance single malt has a slight smokey flavor with sweet undertones.
- Cardhu 12 Year single malt – One of the main ingredients to Johnnie Walker blended whisky, the Cardhue is one of our personal favorites. It is light, easy to drink with just the right sweetness. Highly recommended for those looking for an easy introduction to Scotch.
- Ardbeg Uigeadail – This is in the slightly higher price range, but if you can afford it you should try. Matured in bourbon and sherry casks, this malt is complex with a sweet, smokey finish.
- The Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year Old – The Doublewood may be a little overpowering for some, but for the price it is a great option if you are looking for a slightly stronger palate. It is firstly matured in traditional Oak casks then transferred into Sherry, to give this mildly peaty single malt a sweet finish.
- Laphroaig 10 Year Old – This is certainly not a starter whiskey, but rather one for an experienced whisky drinker who likes the full on palate with a strong smokey, peaty finish. A good after dinner malt from the Isle of Islay.
- Talisker 10 Year – No affordable top 10 scotch list would be complete without the Talisker from the Isle of Skye. If you haven’t tried this, get a bottle today! A great after dinner drink that is is slightly smokey, but not overpowering, with fruity undertones.
- Dalmore 12 Year Old – A great value single malt, it has a slight smokey finish but with the use of Sherry casks, gives this single malt a smooth sweet caramel finish.
- Macallan 12 year old single malt – One of the lighter, sweeter single malts on the list. This Macallan is slightly smokey, with a definite fruity finish. Not for those who like a full peaty, smokey finish.
- Cragganmore 12 year – Another Speyside single malt, this light gold coloured whisky will tantalize your nose and gives and gives a balanced smokey and fruity finishing notes.
- Lagavulin 16 Year Old – Another one of the slightly more expensive single malts to make the list, simply because it is so good. At around $60-$70 per bottle, this Islay malt is not for the light hearted. A strong smokey whisky with a long spicy finish.
So that’s the lists, let us know your favorite whiskies in the comments below.
As they say in Scotland, there is no such thing as a bad whisky. I will leave that argument for another day!