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It’s International Whiskey Day, and you need to try these whiskeys from around the world

There are many lesser-known international whiskeys worth trying

A trio of whiskies
barmalini / Shutterstock

While we love whisk(e)y every day (only the US and Ireland use the ‘e’ in whiskey), we truly celebrate it every March 27th. This is because that date is International Whisk(e)y Day. Celebrated since 2008, the holiday was created not only as a way to showcase how much of a global spirit whisk(e)y is but also to support Parkinson’s disease research publicly and to honor the late English beer and spirits writer Michael Jackson (a different Michael Jackson) who suffered from the disease. So, not only can you enjoy some tasty drams, but you’re doing it to highlight a great cause.

Whisk(e)ys of the world

Whisky pour
Dylan de Jonge/Umsplash

Originally, the holiday was created to pay homage to American, Irish, Scottish, Japanese, and Canadian whisk(e)ys only. But it’s become a day to enjoy the spirit on a world scale. This is because, on top of the usual well-known whiskey-producing countries, there are a handful of lesser-known countries crafting award-winning, nuanced, complex, highly memorable whisk(e)ys that deserve your attention.

5 great international whisk(e)ys

Whiskey bottles
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We are in the business of helping, and since we didn’t want you to spend all day looking for whiskeys from lesser-known countries, we did the work for you (we even snuck in some great whisk(e)y from some more well-known countries). Below, you’ll find five can’t-miss whisk(e)ys from International Whisk(e)y Day. Keep scrolling to see them all.

Kavalan Ex-Bourbon Oak (Taiwan)

Kavalan Ex-Bourbon Oak

While many might direct you toward Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique, that bottle will easily set you back $250. While a complex, flavorful whisky, there are other expressions from the Taiwanese brand that deserve your attention as well. We suggest Kavalan Ex-Bourbon Oak instead. This 92-proof single malt whisky was matured in ex-bourbon barrels. The result is a sublimely smooth, sweet whisky with notes of vanilla beans, toasted coconut, caramel, oak, and gentle spices. It’s a smooth sipping whisky for a cool evening.

Amrut Fusion (India)

Amrut Fusion

This single malt whisky from India got its name because it’s a blend of 75% unmalted Indian and 25% malted Scottish-grown barleys. This award-winning, no-age-statement whisky was matured in charred oak barrels. This result is complex, sippable whisky that begins with a nose of caramel, candied orange peel, molasses, dried fruits, and oak. Drinking it reveals hints of dark chocolate, raisins, candied orange peels, vanilla, spices, oak, and just a hint of smoke. Overall, it’s a memorable whisky that deserves your attention.

Hakushu 12 Year (Japan)

Hakushu 12

If you’re a Scotch whisky drinker and you’ve never tried Japanese whisky, what are you waiting for? While not inexpensive, a great start is Hakushu 12 Year. Distilled on Mt. Kaikomagatake at Suntory’s mountain forest distillery, it’s aged in oak barrels for a minimum of twelve full years. It’s well-known for its flavors of candied almonds, chocolate, oaky wood, barley, vanilla beans, and just a hint of smoke at the finish. It’s warming, rich, and very flavorful.

Alberta Premium Cask Strength (Canada)

Alberta Cask Strength

Alberta Premium Cask Strength hit the world scene in 2021 when it was named the ‘World Whisky of the Year’ by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. This 127-proof whisky begins with a mash bill of 100% Canadian prairie rye. It’s distilled in a combination of pot and column stills before being aged in a mixture of charred white oak barrels, ex-bourbon barrels, and ex-bourbon secondary casks for at least five full years. This creates a rich, sippable whisky with notes of vanilla beans, toffee, dried fruits, chocolate, and cracked black pepper.

Alfred Giraud Heritage (France)

Alfred Giraud Heritage
Alfred Giraud

This unique whisky is a blend of three different malt whiskies. One is matured in ex-cognac casks, one is American oak, and the last is French Limousin oak. The blend is then matured for longer in barrels that once held XO cognac. The result is a 91.8-proof rich, complex whisky that begins with a nose of honey, candied orange peel, vanilla, and charred oak. The palate is a mix of orchard fruits, almond cookies, candied orange peel, vanilla, sticky toffee, and oak. The finish is warming and sweet and leaves you craving more.

Bottom line

Whiskey tasting
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When it comes to world whisky, your best bet is to try whiskies from many different countries and many different styles to find the right whisky for you. If you enjoy single malt Scotch, you can’t go wrong with a single malt from Taiwan, India, France, or another country that crafts single malt whiskies. If you enjoy bourbon, try a global whisky that was matured in ex-bourbon barrels. The key is to just sample different whiskies and continue to build your palate on the world scale.

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Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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