Congratulations! You’ve discovered the glory of whiskey and everything that encompasses it. Maybe it was your go-to drink at the bar after work, and you decided to find one that you can enjoy more often. Or maybe someone else showed you the whiskey light, and ever since, you’ve been on a personal quest of discovery to figure out which whiskey you want to make your staple one.
There are some fantastic options out there, but in the end, it is all dependent you, your likes, and your dislikes. Of course, there are also a lot of different types, so we’ll try to go through the more popular options and some examples at the same time.
Then you can take into consideration what exactly you’re looking for. Are you looking for a whiskey to consume and be the life of the party that’s just as spicy as you, or are you looking for something that has a complexity of flavors and is more about being a sipping whiskey that you can enjoy after a long day at the office? Whatever your desire is with whiskey, we’ll go through it step by step.
Bourbon is an excellent starting point to get you into whiskey that’s readily available. First of all, Bourbons are much more affordable than other types of whiskies that are made in smaller batches. They tend to be at the sweeter spectrum of whiskies available and can taste fantastic. Not all bourbons are the same, so since you’re saving up by going this route, head for some of the best available options on the market.
Besides the Henry Mckenna, they tend to be younger in age than some of the more traditional whiskey options out there. Bourbons are one of the two better options when considering whiskey for cocktails. It’s meant to be drunk in a more party setting and isn’t big on how long or how aged they have been, as long as the taste is good.
Bourbons to try: Maker’s Mark, Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon – 10-year, Wild Turkey 101
Another American-based whiskey is rye-based whiskey. While bourbon is primarily made from corn, rye whiskey is a combination of corn and rye. This helps maintain its sweeter tones but also adds a certain spice and kick to it. You may be already familiar with Jack Daniels, which is a Rye whiskey, but there are other options that must be tried as well.
Not only do these flavors tend to be rich and spicy, but they will also give you that punchy strength expected of such a drink. Rye Whiskey is also an excellent option, especially when you look at its flavor or whiskey blends for cocktails. You can produce some delicious cocktails as a result.
Rye Whiskies to try: Basil Hayden Dark Rye Whiskey, Sazerac Rye, Old Overhold Straight Rye
The Japanese version of whiskey is akin to the traditional Scotch whiskey-making methods. That means they take their time and place a lot of effort into the details to ensure that they produce some of the most world-renowned whiskey out there. At the same time, they have the perfect climate and access to crystal clear waters that enhance the process. A fruitier version is typically about sipping it since it’s so smooth. This is for someone who appreciates simplicity and doesn’t need to make a cocktail out of it.
You’ll still be able to tell the various flavors, but there won’t be much complexity to it. In recent years there’s been more of a shift away from simply drinking it neat or on the rocks, and it can be made into complex cocktails. In addition, Japanese whiskey is an excellent option when consuming food.
Japanese Whiskies to try: Yamazaki 12, Hibiki 17 (careful of the price)
Now we’re approaching the originators of whiskey. Irish whiskey is an excellent option for many entering the whiskey world. You don’t need to drink this with a cocktail either, and it is perfect for a setting with friends. It’s smooth and relaxed and, at the same time, has just that hint of sweetness to make it a well-rounded option.
It’s also quite a cost-effective option for the level of quality you’re getting for a more relaxed sipping or ‘on the rocks’ experience with whiskey. It’s also probably going to be one of the first options you try or have easy access to after trying American-based whiskey.
Best Irish Whiskies to try: Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey, Green Spot Irish Whiskey, Knappogue Castle Single Malt
Now we come to the original creator of whiskey. If you’re looking for consistently fantastic options, you typically can’t go wrong with this type of whiskey. Its tradition is what makes it such a popular option. These are meant to be sipped and shared with others as soon as the whiskey is ready. The longer they are aged, the better they can come out.
What makes it so great is that this type of whiskey is simply made with three ingredients, which are malted barley, yeast, and water. There’s actually a law that it needs to be in Scottish wood for a minimum of three years before it can be considered to be this type of whiskey. Keep in mind that because of the amount that is produced and how long it can take to age, Scotch whiskeys that are single malt are going to be heading toward that higher price point.
Best Scotch Whiskey to try: Glenmorangie Signet, Glendronach Revival, Aberfeldy 12-year-old
There are newer areas that are joining the world of whiskies, and those are Canada and India. When you’re looking at these types of whiskies, you’re going to get richer flavors, such as Canadian tending to be spicier and fruitier and closest to bourbon. That makes them fun to drink, perfect for cocktails or mixers, and easy to share at a party.
Indian whiskey, technically, may not even be classified as whiskey but is made from Molasses, making it one of the sweetest options out there. It’s another mixer option that is perfect for those warmer months. That’s because of its sweetness and it being more similar to a rum than a whiskey.
At the end of the day, these options are only growing their diverse selection more with each passing day and can be a great choice for the whiskey explorer, who has tried some of the top quality whiskey options that are common and want to see what else is being fermented out there.
Whiskies to try: Forty Creek Confederation Oak (Canadian) and Solan Number One (Indian) – brewed at the foot of the Himalayas.
In the end
Whiskey is a mix of discovery and exploration. It has its place in different settings, environments, and events, making it one of the more versatile drinks out there. When you start to consume the proper types of whiskey, taking note of the flavors, the smoothness, and the relaxation that follows, you can see it as an enjoyable endeavor while, at the same time, a place to begin a journey of exploration into different styles and flavors. That’s what makes whiskey such a worldwide alcohol of choice. If your looking to get started on your journey to discover new whiskeys come visit us at 2795 Old Washington Rd, Waldorf, MD 20601 or call us at (301) 374-2028.