The world’s best whiskey is from Japan, says Jim Murray’s highly respected “Whisky Bible” of 2015. Scoring 97.5 marks out of 100, Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Whisky 2013 is called “near indescribable genius,” much to the chagrin of Irish and Scottish distillers.
The highest-ranking European whiskey was English company’s Chapter 14 Not Peated. No Irish whiskey or Scottish whisky ranked in his top five.
Murray, who bravely sampled 4,700 varieties of whiskey for his ‘bible,’ described the Yamazaki as possessing “a nose of exquisite boldness” and as “thick, dry, [and] as rounded as a snooker ball.” Distilled in Japan’s oldest whiskey distillery, Suntory, which was founded in 1923, Yamazaki is aged for 12 to 15 years.
But what about the Irish whiskey?! One of the earliest distilled drinks in Europe, Irish Whiskey came about in the 12th century. It was once the most popular spirit in the world, and Ireland currently has ten distilleries in operation. Here are the top ten best Irish whiskeys, according to The Drinks Business:
1. Powers Irish Special 15-year-old Whiskey: Powers is one of the first distilleries in the world to bottle its own whiskey - this special 15-year-old whiskey is from the 70s, and is very rare today.
2. Green Spot 10-year-old Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey: hints of peppermint, malt, sweet barley, sugary porridge, creamy vanilla, papaya and citrus.
3. Danny Boy 15-year-old Single Malt Irish Whiskey: “sweet and rich” and “full of deeply exotic fruits with vanilla notes” with “golden toffee notes,” according to its makers.
4. Kilbeggan Distillery Reserve Irish Malt Whiskey: the Whiskey Connoisseur at connosr.com says it has a nose of “asparagus in melted Parmesan butter, with a little red licorice on the side.” On the palate it was described as having notes of “vanilla creme brulee and molten brown sugar” to “kiwis, cornbread and barbecue chicken.”
5. Jameson 18-year-old Master Selection Blended Irish Whiskey: notes of fudge, toffee, spice, hints of wood and leather, vanilla and a gentle sherry nuttiness, according to its makers.
6. The Teeling Whiskey Company Poitin: a blend of 80% triple-distilled corn spirit, and 20% double-distilled malt. Also known as “Irish Moonshine,” Poitin was illegal in Ireland for many years.
7. Green Spot 12-year-old Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey: hints of peppermint, malt, sweet barley, sugary porridge, creamy vanilla, papaya and citrus.
8. The Wild Geese Classic Blend Irish Whiskey: light, sweet, fruity taste, balanced and smooth with a tingle of honey and citrus fruit.
9. The Irishman Cask Strength Blended Irish Whiskey: combination of soft bourbon notes and a light malty subplot with a sprinkling of ginger - long, chocolatey, rich and a sophisticatedly spiced finish.
10. Midleton 25-year-old Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey: a wild array of spicy, oily, fruity and warming flavors.