We all know the usual places from which renowned whiskey hails: America, Scotland, Ireland, and Japan. (Though, if bottles from those locales are your wheelhouse, we’ve got plenty of recommendations for what to buy.)
The Year in New Whiskey: The Best Bottles We Tried in 2019
But as whiskey continues its unrelenting surge in popularity, great distilleries in far-flung and sometimes unexpected countries are producing some incredible juice that may get lost in the shuffle.
If you want to broaden your collection and try something new and tasty, these seven bottles are perfect.
France – Alfred Giraud Heritage Malt Whisky
Would it surprise you to learn that France drinks the most whiskey, per capita, of any nation? Dozens of new French distilleries are cropping up each year, but our hands-down favorite is Alfred Giraud and its Heritage triple malt. The Giraud family has deep cognac and cooperage roots, after decades spent working with Rémy Martin, and all of that expertise has culminated in this wonderful unpeated blended expression that’s aged in extremely rare cognac casks (think 50 years and up). A little of that rare cognac seeps into this luxury whisky, imbuing it with a fruity, floral complex flavor that’s unparalleled. Less than 1,000 bottles will reach the U.S., so act quickly before they’re all spoken for.
South Africa – Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky
South Africans have a solid knowledge of spirits production thanks to all the brandy made there. Bain’s, from The James Sedgewick Distillery in Wellington, is the first single grain whisky the 100-year-old whiskey maker has produced, meaning it’s made entirely from unmalted South African corn. It’s aged in first-fill bourbon casks for about five years, and the extreme heat of the climate accelerates the aging process. While it’s lighter than you may expect, it packs a rich caramel and custard nose and a pleasant fruity and slightly spicy finish. For the price, the bottle is an easy daily drinker.
ALFRED GIRAUD ENCOURAGES DRINKING RESPONSIBLY
The abuse of alcohol is dangerous for your health.
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