Whiskey is an international spirit that’s not only enjoyed but also distilled all over the globe. And that gives the whiskey-loving masses a chance to discover bottlings that have been distilled and matured in different climates and in different ways, creating an international experience for every fan. Check out these five great New World whiskeys to try right now.
Sullivans Cove Distillery was founded in 1994 in an area of Tasmania that had seen prohibition last for 150 years, winning accolades along the way. But of particular note is this expression ($275), which has been matured in former bourbon casks.
The nose starts with some light nutty flavors and a good, strong background of malt. It also has some delicate spices that combine well. On the palate, it has a wonderfully creamy body, with lots of cereals and fruit. Crisp apples and pears are joined by a dash of tangy citrus, with a lovely, sweet vanilla backdrop to it all. The finish is smooth, with more hints of rich vanilla and a long linger.
Based in Victoria, Australia, Starward seeks to be a whiskey that salutes the past while not being restrained by it. It is a unique expression ($60) and has won several awards for its quality. Everything that goes into making this dram, including the barley and the barrels, is uniquely Australian.
The nose begins with a feast of fruits, from ripe bananas to crisp apples and dried raisins. These create various aromas and textures, drenched in a wonderfully sweet caramel and vanilla overtone that will definitely have your taste buds watering. The palate is also filled with fruit and caramel and brings in a lovely spicy pepper and nutmeg flavor, giving it depth and adding some bite to the fruit flavors. The finish is drying but smooth and warming, with one last nod to peppery caramel notes.
Hailing from the Zuidam Distillery in the Netherlands, Millstone is a whiskey that has won accolades around the world. Zuidam started in 1975 and has been growing ever since. And now it’s one of the best and most highly renowned distilleries in the Netherlands.
Its 12-year-old expression ($100) is an example of just how good its product is. It has been matured in oloroso sherry casks and packs a wonderful flavor. The nose is filled with malty, sherried notes of sweet nuts and spices. The oak of the barrel is also evident but only slightly as a vanilla hint alongside the cinnamon spices. These flavors blossom on the palate, with almonds and caramel covered pecans and hazelnuts shining out. The caramel lends a smooth and easygoing mouthfeel. There’s also a heap of dried apricots and raisins to give a slight nod toward a Christmas cake, with different textures and flavors seeping through. The finish is long and bright, with lots of sweet caramel and nutty notes.
Teerenpeli Distillery, the biggest distillery in Finland, opened in 2002, gaining lots of experience post-maturing whisky from Scotland in smaller casks. This led led it to distilling for itself, and the distillery has thrived ever since.
The 10-year-old expression ($100) has been matured in former bourbon and sherry casks, giving it a lot of sweetness and spice. The nose opens with lots of malt and floral notes, including heather and a grassy tone in the background. These are joined by a zesty tang of lemon and lime, offering a refreshing bite. On the palate, these notes are given depth with some hearty vanilla, which complements the malt perfectly. This vanilla is joined by some ripe green apples, which go hand in hand with the grassy notes. The oak also makes an appearance, with a slightly spicy note to it and a hint of toast oats. The finish is strong and deep, with lots of fruits and sweet caramel coming through.
Amrut Distilleries first opened its doors in 1948, right as India itself was finding independence. Since then, it has risen through the ranks and become an industry leader, creating prize-winning malt for decades.
The Amrut peated cask-strength expression ($90) is an example of just how good Amrut is. It’s made from Scottish barley that has been peated to a level of 23 ppm and was awarded 92 points by Jim Murray. The nose begins with a subtle introduction of the peat, with a heavy dose of toffee and caramel. There are also hints of fruit, such as bananas and apples. The palate blows these flavors up to full size, with lots of peat smoke and bananas. The caramel becomes saccharine and sugary, with boiled sweets and strawberry liquorice coming through. These are complemented by the sweet tang of crisp apples and pears, and the finish is gentle, with more smoke and a final hint of juicy apple.
I can vouch for the Millstone Sherry Cask, but even better is the Millstone 100 Rye. I've found only one source here in the States, also at $100/bottle, unfortunately. Then again, it helps justify the occasional trip to the Netherlands!
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