For decades, most discerning Americans got their beloved whisky from a smattering of trusted brands located in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ireland, and Scotland. When it comes to hooch, we're drinkers, not travelers. But in the past few years, expert tasters (perhaps exhausted by the endless supply and dizzying array of artisanal, small-batch varieties on store shelves) have embraced a whole new breed of spirits hailing from places more often lauded for their exotic cuisine—and beer—than for their spirits. You could spend a lifetime exploring the whiskies of the world; we'll save you the trips. Below are the top nine whiskies to try from places other than the U.S. and Scotland.
Whisky: Amrut Cask Strength Single Malt
Whisky: Kavalan "King Car Conductor"
Whisky: Brenne Estate Cask Single Malt
Whisky No.1: Nikka Yoichi Single Malt 15-Year-Old
High Praise: The other natural pick in Japan comes from the venerable Suntory. The Yamazaki has lots of sweet floral and herbal notes, some light, creamy caramel flavors, and a smooth finish—a very harmonious whisky that should appeal to bourbon lovers.