Top Worldwide Whiskies

Spirit news

Wed 23 Sep 2020

Asked to name a whisky, most people would likely land upon a single malt from the Scottish Highlands, or perhaps a robust, fruity Kentucky bourbon. Less likely to cross your mind is a Finnish rye or an Australian blend. Yet whiskies from the unlikeliest of places are now among the most exciting – and increasingly acclaimed – in the world.

The last 20 years has seen the emergence of many new whisky distilleries in countries not typically associated with the spirit. Although access to water and quality grain is important, with climate playing a huge role in developing the flavours during maturation (warmer climates can accelerate spirit’s interaction with the cask), whisky can, in theory, be made in any part of the world. Indeed, whisky is now distilled and matured in over 30 countries worldwide, from Mexico City to Melbourne, Copenhagen to the Cotswolds.

Much like their more established peers in Scotland, Ireland and the US, these ‘New World’ whisky makers take inspiration from their local culture, heritage and agriculture to forge a spirit that is a reflection of its surroundings – a true sense of place. These distillers are innovating in new ways to generate exciting flavours, and harnessing everything local at their disposal, from raw ingredients to climate and even people. The end game, though, remains the same – to craft a whisky that is as unique to them as their culture. Here are 18 of the best, from this year's judging. 

Introduction by Becky Paskin. To read her full piece on the rise of New World whiskies, click here.

Main photo: Kyro Distillery in Finland

The Westfalian Peated 6 YO Single Malt Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskies-1.png
Unique Liquids

Incredible aromas of toasty malted milk and vanilla flowers; there is outstanding depth to the palate: warm flapjacks and sweet honeycomb balanced by aged leather and dried tea leaves, and a building crescendo of intense, savoury peat smoke. 54.6%

Read the full profile here.

Malt Rye Whiskeyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskey-10.png
Kyrö Distillery Company

Beautifully crafted with a delicious nutty nose and a hint of toasted rye bread. Big and buttery on the palate with luscious cooked fruit and high spice from the cask. Absolutely delicious. Shows great maturity for a three year old.  47.2%

Distiller's Choice Kulo 7 YO Whiskeyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskies-2.png
Teerenpeli Panimo & Tislaamo

Well-aged with a rich, decadent palate that highlights the sumptuous cooked fruits and crème brûlée flavours. A welcome bitterness gives a pleasing balance with baking spice depth. Truly amazing for a seven year old. 50.7%

Solist Amontillado Sherry Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskies-3.png
Kavalan Distillery

Opulent and expressive with layered aromas and flavours of dark chocolate, Christmas cake and sweet spice. Dense and rich with chewy mouthfeel and a wonderful, evolving finish of malt, spicy oak, a touch of smoke and a twist of orange peel. Sensational! 57.8%

Mister Sam Tribute Blended Canadian Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskey-1.png
Sazerac Company


Big bold notes of oak, spice and molasses seduce the nose. An abundance of vernal fruits wash over the palate. Sticky raisins with cherry wood spice offer a well-balanced sweetness with a top notch floral finish. 66.9%

Blended Single Grains Canadian Whisky/img/cms/black-fox-blended-single-grains-canadian-whisky.jpg
Black Fox Farm and Distillery

Opulent hazelnut and praline chocolate on the nose. A delicate nutty complexity on the tongue giving balance to the incoming swathes of luscious fruit and spice. A big shot of hazelnut and spicy cherry at the finish. Wonderful! 47.1%


Sherry Aged & Sherry Finished Single Malt Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskies-4.png
Lark Distillery

Deliciously extravagant aromas of hot creme brûlée entice you into myriad delectable sherried fruits, rich caramel and toffee. Big wallops of cherry jam draw you willingly into the powerful depths of this liquid Black Forest gateaux. Divine. 50.8%

Library Collection 20:1 Single Malt Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskies-5.png
Braunstein Destillery

A delightfully complex yet balanced nose that highlights the savouriness of Leerdammer cheese with the richness of sweet sherry and cherry wood. Delectable Yuletide flavours of figs and dried sultanas sing on the palate. A satisfying length that keeps going. 46%

The Whiskymaker's Reserve No.1iwsc-top-worldwide-whiskies-6.png
The Lakes Distillery Company

A beautifully complex whisky, with lovely aromas of warm clotted cream fudge; on the palate it reveals an unexpected dryness: hints of smoke and dry black walnut perfectly balanced against subtle sweet vanilla and toasted coconut, giving incredible depth. 60.6%

Amaethon Single Maltiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskies-7.png Whisky

Truly unique; this whisky is youthful and expressive in character, offering notes of juicy mandarin and young orange blossom, pairing beautifully with vanilla ice cream and subtle nutmeg spice; a balanced interplay heightened by the liquid's brilliant intensity of flavour. 45%

Fusion Single Malt Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskies-8.png
Amrut Distilleries

Complex and attractive nose with vanilla, fudge and hints of peat smoke. Opens up beautifully on palate with flavours of dried apple and apricot, toffee and gingerbread. Waxy mouthfeel and long, spicy finish. 50%

Gulliver's 47 Single Malt English Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskey-3.png
Samuel Gulliver

A powerful blast of peat smoke on the nose, alongside subtler notes of light vanilla and floral heather; that characterful peat remains intense but is layered in fantastic balance with succulent tropical pineapple, building to a warming, peppery finish. 47%

Stork Club Straight Rye Full Proof Whiskeyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskey-4.png
Spreewood Distillers

Fantastically complex for its category, this characterful whisky offers enticing butterscotch and black pepper aromas; then a perfect balance of leathery oak, savoury grain and light vanilla notes; and hints of dry, spicy clove make for a tremendous, long-lasting finish. 55%

The Westfalian 5 YO Single Corn Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskey-5.png
Unique Liquids

Mouth-watering, expressive aromas transport you to a garden of crisp summer fruits: green apples and young pears give bite, but leave space for delicate floral rosewater and warming cinnamon: all set against a background of gorgeous rich oak. 52.8%

The Westfalian 5 YO Single Rye Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskey-6.png
Unique Liquids

A bold, vinous nose of dark, juicy sour cherry heralds the palate's complex interplay between balanced layers of rich flavour: intense nutty almond, buttery coconut, hints of bittersweet cacao and touches of freshly cracked black pepper. 53.6%

The Westfalian 5 YO Single Malt Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskey-7.png
Unique Liquids

Fantastic nose of indulgent espresso coffee and rich manuka honey; then freshly baked banana bread and buttery vanilla fudge notes are carried by a backbone of leathery oak and warm allspice. Hints of wintry bonfire smoke give it real character. 53.4%

Peated Cask Single Malt Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskey-8.png
Cotswolds Distillery

Inviting nose of ripe winter pears; juicy texture with notes of butterscotch, caramelised apple and freshly baked tarte tatin, with a restrained finish of delicate peat smoke. 59.3%

Gulliver's 47 10 YO Single Malt English Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskey-9.png
Samuel Gulliver

A deliciously intense whisky that packs in a lot of flavour: fresh apples and ripe apricots, rich toasted oak with a background of sweet pungent peat smoke. 47%

Penderyn Single Cask PT266 Single Malt Welsh Whiskyiwsc-top-worldwide-whiskey-10.png
The Welsh Whisky Company

Rich and expressive with distinct red apple and cherry notes; beautiful deep port character comes through on the palate alongside spicy gingerbread, dark toffee and sweet cinnamon. 60.5%