7 Great non – Scottish Single Malt Whiskies you MUST try
Upon hearing the phrase “single malt whisky” images of the misty Scottish Highlands are likely to come to mind. Or maybe not?
Recently, single malts from all around the world have successfully disputed the superiority of their Scottish rivals. Whisky has enjoyed a rising popularity lately and an increasing number of distilleries – even in countries that have no tradition in producing any type of whisky, like Taiwan and India - have discovered the secret of making single malts of the highest quality.
Irish or Canadian and American whiskies and bourbons are well known, but unless you are a whisky buff, you are probably unaware of the following first-class single malts whiskies being produced by unlikely - seeming countries from around the world.
1. India - Amrut Kadhambam 50% vol
The Amrut Kadhambam distillery in India is in fact the only producer of single malt whisky in the country. Founded in 1948, the year of independence from the British, the firm, which for decades supplied the Indian military with spirits, has won the esteem of the London Mayfair wine and spirit suppliers Berry Brothers, who describe the Kadhambam’s taste as ‘’intense notes of candied fruits, subtle oak with a light dusting of peat and integrated spice.’’
2. Japan - Yamazaki 12-Year-Old 43% vol
Now Japanese whiskies you may know of, but were you aware that the Suntory distillery, which was established as Japan’s first commercial one in 1923, has been producing primarily 12, 18 and 25 year old varieties, and that it’s “Yamazaki 2013” Single Malt Sherry Cask was given the accolade of the World Whisky of the year by J. Murray’s “Whisky bible”?
3. Taiwan - Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique 57,8 % vol
Whilst we are in Asia, let us turn our attention to the Kavalan distillery of Taiwan, which although only founded in 2005, has won the “Whisky of the Year” as well as the “World Whisky” award with its ‘’Kavalan Solist Barrique’’. Whisky expert A. Gwilt admitted that ‘’the whiskies from Kavalan have shocked many of those in the whisky world since they first began hitting shelves. For such a young producer, Kavalan’s whiskies are wonderfully rich, complex and interesting.’’
4. England - English Peated "Chapter 15" 46% vol
How about English single malt whisky? Ever heard of the ‘English Peated Single Malt, Chapter 14’? The English Whisky Company has proud access to the Breckland aquifer in Norfolk, which provides clean water from deep beneath their distillery, and they use local Norfolk barley too. In 2014, the ‘’Chapter 14’’ won J. Murray’s Whisky Bible’s “European Whisky of the Year” award.
5. New Zealand - South Island 23 Year - Old 40% vol
Here’s another country that you would probably never associate with making fine single malt whisky - New Zealand. Well, in fact, it doesn’t any more, but after the closure of its last distillery in 1997, it’s “Cask Strength” whisky was auctioned off, and in 2010, 80,000 litres were bought by traders and are now available on the market. For the connoisseur’s information, the malted New Zealand barley has matured in American Ex - Bourbon casks and is described as having the taste of ‘’sweet fruits... supported by the vanilla and oak flavours from the barrels’’.
6. Sweden - Mackmyra Iskristall 46,1% vol
Let’s address our Swedish candidate, the “Mackmyra Iskristall”, which is described as a ‘’spicy whisky with sweet raisin notes, caramel and vanilla’’. It is matured in Swedish and American casks that were previously used for the storage of “Pedro Ximenes” sherry, and, according to the distillery, the whisky stored in casks of Swedish Oak features a “harsher” taste than that stored exclusively in American casks.
7. Wales - Penderyn Madiera 46% vol
And to finish off, back in the UK, is the award - winning Welsh distillery at Penderyn. Founded in 2000, almost a century since the last Welsh distillery was closed, and located in the small Brecon Beacons village of Penderyn, it produces the widely acclaimed “Penderyn Madiera” Single Malt.
So next time you wish to buy a fine single malt whisky, why not broaden your horizons before you go for the classic Scottish brands?
Co Founder of www.singlemaltlodge.com