Photo: Jay’s photo (Getty Images)
Every year, the third Saturday in May is a special day for fans of Glenlivet, Old Forester, and Jameson. That’s because it’s World Whisky Day, the day where people all over the globe celebrate their favorite aged spirit.
In honor of this holiday, we’re going to rank our favorite whiskeys. We decided not to worry about breaking them up into groups. Instead, each ranked whiskey will be our favorite from each style, including Scotch, bourbon, rye, Irish, Canadian, Tennessee, and Japanese. Then, we ranked each of these based on which we enjoy the most. Got it?
You’ll probably disagree with our choices and that’s okay. That’s what’s so great about whiskey. Check out all of our choices below.
7. Tennessee Whiskey – George Dickel Superior No. 12
Fans of Tennessee whiskey get really annoyed when you refer to it as bourbon. Because, well, it’s not. Bourbon has a specific rules including the fact that it must be made up of at least 51 percent corn. Tennessee whiskey is made in Tennessee (duh) and is produced using the Lincoln County Process of filtering it through charcoal. George Dickel No. 12 is 90 proof, but smooth with hints of vanilla and caramel. All in all, a great slow sipping whiskey.
Photo: George Dickel
6. Rye Whiskey – Whistlepig Straight Rye Whiskey
Shoreham, Vermont’s Whistlepig has become a big name in the whiskey world in the last decade. This is especially true in the rye whiskey industry as the brand has racked up numerous awards. It’s flagship rye is its Straight Rye Whiskey. It’s 100 proof, aged for 10 years, and, like all good ryes, starts off with a nice oaky, vanilla, and toffee flavor that progresses into a spicy, peppery finish.
5. Canadian Whiskey – Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
There’s a reason this was named as the best whiskey in the world a few years ago by whiskey expert Jim Murray. Even though it’s extremely reasonably priced, it’s an outstanding whiskey. Rich, buttery, caramel flavors make way for a subtly spicy finish.
Photo: Crown Royal
4. Irish Whiskey – Bushmills Black Bush
Picking a favorite Irish whiskey is like choosing a favorite child. There are so many great ones and we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But we fell in love with Bushmills Black Bush. Perfectly suited for sipping, Black Bush is smooth, rich, and full of vanilla, oak, cinnamon, and dried fruit flavors.
3. Japanese Whisky – Suntory Toki
Japanese whisky and the Japanese whisky highball have become really popular in the U.S. in the last decade. A perfect substitute for fans of Scotch, Japan has been winning awards for its whisky prowess for years. One of the best low-cost options is Suntory Toki, a blend of whiskies from Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Chit. It’s sweet, rich, smooth, and full of vanilla, caramel, and even subtle ginger flavors. Sip it on its own or mix it into a highball.
Photo: Beam Suntory
2. Scotch Whisky – The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years Old
It’s really hard to pick just one Scotch whisky for this list so we chose one we go back to again and again. It’s not overly expensive (unlike some Scotches), but it’s seemingly perfect in every way. Part of the appeal is the extra aging the whiskey gets in Sherry casks from Jerez, Spain. This imparts an extremely smooth flavor with the expected oak and vanilla as well as subtle dried fruit flavors and a hint of spiciness.
Photo: The Macallan
1. Bourbon Whiskey – W.L. Weller Antique 107
If you know about bourbon, you’ve probably heard all about Pappy Van Winkle. It's a very rare, crazy expensive bourbon that people gloat about trying. Well, you might be happy to learn that Weller Antique 107 is a wheated bourbon that is made at Buffalo Trace just like Pappy. It’s more or less the same recipe as Pappy, made at the same facility as Pappy and a whole lot less. Pappy purists will tell you it’s not at all like Pappy, but we don’t care and we love it.