Is the Best Whisky Now Being Made Outside of Scotland and the USA?

A Taiwanese bottle took the gold in the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and an Aussie upstart nabbed a top spot at a major 2014 award ceremony. Is it time to redraw the whisky map?

Photographs courtesy of manufacturers.

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.

Photographs courtesy of manufacturers.

Whisky: Sullivans Cove Small Batch French Oak Cask Single Malt

Price: $150

Photographs courtesy of manufacturers.

Whisky: Amrut Cask Strength Single Malt

Price: $71

Photographs courtesy of manufacturers.

Whisky: Stalk & Barrel Cask 5 Single Malt

Price: $80

Photographs courtesy of manufacturers.

Whisky: Kavalan "King Car Conductor"

Price: $120

Photographs courtesy of manufacturers.

Whisky: Brenne Estate Cask Single Malt

Price: $59

Photographs courtesy of manufacturers.

Whisky: English Whisky Company Peated Single Malt

Price: $70

Photographs courtesy of manufacturers.

Whisky: Penderyn Madeira Finish Single Malt

Price: $71

Photographs courtesy of manufacturers.

Whisky No.1: Nikka Yoichi Single Malt 15-Year-Old

Price: $130

Photographs courtesy of manufacturers.

Price: $67

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.

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