Awarded over and over throughout the years, some whisky brands just don’t go out of style. We gathered the Top 10 whisky brands in the world to present you options of what whisky should be a part of your home selection.
Table of Content – Sip this Article
- What Makes a Top Whisky Brand?
- The Top 10 Whisky Brands in the World
- Dewar’s Double Double 32-Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky
- Glenmorangie Signet Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Ardbeg Uigeadail Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Glasgow 1770 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Amrut Fusion Indian Single Malt Whisky
- W.L. Weller Special Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- Kavalan Solist Port Single Cask Strength
- Mackmyra Svensk Rök Swedish Whisky Destination
- WhistlePig The Boss Hog VIII – Magellan’s Atlantic
- Kinsale Spirit Spanish Earl Single Malt Irish Whiskey
We picked several brands for this Top 10 Whisky Brands in the World based on the awards these expressions have won throughout the years. But there are reasons for them to be multi-awarded brands: quality and innovation.
Of course, it all depends on the opinion of the person or team who is tasting and judging the competition. In the end, though, it’s the quality and achievements of a brand that guarantees their gold medals.
How does one determine that a whisky is good enough to be awarded? First, we look at the ingredients: the quality of the barley and the yeast, the purity of the water. High quality ingredients not only impact the price of the whisky, but it impacts the overall flavour of the spirit.
The aging time and the maturation barrels are also important to determine the overall quality of a whisky. When aging, a whisky acquires most of its flavour from the barrels it sits on. And, the longer it sits in barrel, the more complex its character will be.
The complexity of a whisky has to do with every stage of the production process, from mashing to aging, passing through the distillation. And, the more complex the whisky, the higher the chance of being awarded.
Innovation is another factor that counts for the complexity of a whisky. When a brand is able to innovate in the production process, without compromising flavour, aromas and character of a dram, that whisky is likely to be awarded.
As innovation is taken in consideration, so does respecting the heritage and the legacy of a brand, as it happens with many Scotch whisky brands.
As said previously, we picked these 10 brands given that they have been awarded several times in the last couple of years in many whisky and spirits competitions. However, you might have noticed that some giant names are missing. Names such as The Macallan, The Balvenie, Knappogue Castle, Garrison Brothers and so many others.
We chose these brands and expressions as an alternative to the brands you might find over and over in other articles. Those are relevant and whisky giants we absolutely respect. But we also think there are brands from different countries and innovative spirits that deserve the spotlight.
Dewar’s is the scotch whisky brand that proves blended scotch whisky is as premium as single malt expressions.
This is one of the best-selling brands in the market, especially the Dewar’s White Label. Known for its smoothness, the Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky has been perfecting the art of double ageing for 150 years.
The production process of the brand is unique. The Dewar’s Master Blender ages the single malts, blends them and put the final spirit to age again. This process happens for every expression, excepting for the Dewar’s Double Double 32-Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky.
Stephanie Macleod, the brand’s Master Blender, created the Double Double series and elevated blended Scotch to a whole other level. What makes this series stand out from the crowd is the fact that it is double aged… twice! And, since it was released, in 2019, these expressions win awards year after year.
The 32-Year-Old, like the other expressions from the same series, goes through a four-stage ageing process. First, the single malts are put to age, then they are mixed together, put to age again and finished in Pedro Ximenez Sherry Casks.
This expression has won several awards since the year it was released, being nominated the 2020 Whisky of the Year. Since then, it has won gold and double gold awards.
Glenmorangie has a different take on whisky. Besides carrying it heritage of whisky production since 1843, this brand presents itself in a colourful, contemporary and astonishing way. If we had to classify Glenmorangie in artsy terms, it would somewhere between pop-art or avantgarde with a Le Corbusier palette.
This is just one thing that makes Glenmorangie Single Malt Whisky so special. The other factor is that this distillery from the Scottish Highlands creates whisky in an innovative way. Every expression is created differently to achieve different flavours, but there’s one thing that is common to all of them: the giraffe-high stills, the tallest in all Scotland.
The Signet is the expression that made Glenmorangie win several awards and, if this expression is going in competition, there’s a high chance for it to win. In 2019 and 2020, it won Gold in the International Spirits Challenge; in 2022, it won the ‘Master’ title in the The Luxury Masters awards by The Spirits Business.
The Glenmorangie Signet is created with two different mashes. One of them is created with Cadboll barley and the other with chocolate barley. This mix gives the Signet its tiramisu flavours with chocolate and coffee notes, as well as the velvety mouthfeel.
After the mixing of the two mashes, the Signet is distilled twice in the giraffe-high copper-pot stills and then matured between 35 to 40 years in American Virgin Oak Casks.
This is how this expression ends up with aromas such as cinnamon and ginger, coffee, chocolate and toffee, as well as orange. Regarding the flavours, it has rich spices, dark chocolate, mocha and hazelnuts. It ends in a chocolaty, citrus and cappuccino-like finale.
The Glenmorangie 10-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky was already sent to some of our customers in previous Whisky Tasting Boxes!
Such a peated whisky giant had to be part of this Top 10 Whisky Brands in the World. For those who like an audacious scotch whisky, this is the brand to go. As a whisky enthusiast, Ardbeg should be part of your collection, at least once in your lifetime!
Placed in Port Ellen, Islay, the Ardbeg distillery have been creating amazing drams for over 200 years. The brand’s reputation speaks for itself, when someone is sipping its peated whisky. But if you need more proof, you should know that 6 expressions of this scotch whisky brand have been winning titles, like World Whisky of the Year and World’s Best Single Malt.
The expression that made us choose this brand is Ardbeg Uigeadail, a peated Scotch whisky that has been awarded year after year in international competitions. Aged in ex-sherry casks, this expression is the epitome of how opposite flavours can be balanced and work together to create an interesting and outstanding whisky expression.
In the nose, this whisky might resemble Christmas, with smoky and nutty notes, as well as pine, baking spices and dried fruit. In the mouth, the flavours wander between smoky, sweet and spicy notes, with flavours of sweet winter spices, peat and honey. The finish is long and highly aromatic.
Recently, the Ardbeg Uigeadail Peated Single Malt Scotch Whisky has won Double Gold in the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Gold in the 2022 International Spirits Challenge and the 1st place in 2021 the International Spirits Awards.
We now present you something a little bit different from you are used to see on Top Whisky lists. However, this Lowland distillery have put the Glasgow distillery in the map again, with at least two awarded expressions.
The Glasgow 1770 was inactive since the beginning of the 20th Century until 2014, when Liam Hughes, Mike Hayward and Ian McDougall decided to bring the whisky production back in town. Glasgow is now richer and with a higher reputation, since their expression have been winning awards since they were bottled for the first time.
The Peated expression is the Glasgow 1770 that have won more gold medals, from the 2021 Scottish Whisky Awards to the 2021 San Francisco Spirits Competition or even the 2022 International Whisky Competition.
Using peat to malt the barley and slowly distilled in copper-pot stills, the Glasgow 1770 Peated Single Malt ends up maturing in American Virgin Oak Casks and is finished in Pedro Ximénez Sherry Casks.
This process gives the whisky floral notes in a peat smoke background. In the mouth, it is possible to taste dark and dried fruit, with spices, tobacco and toffee with rich peat smoke.
The Glasgow 1770 Original, the Peated, and The Triple Distilled are expressions we often send to the people who sign up for our Whisky Subscription
No, it is not the most awarded whisky in the world. But yes, it is delicious enough for us to include it on our Top 10 Whisky Brands in the world. We said in the beginning that we were choosing whiskies based on innovation too, and here you have it: Amrut Fusion, and Indian Single Malt that is as complex as the name states.
Amrut was the first brand to produce Single Malt whisky and, therefore, to compete with the European whisky market in this category. We have to say: so far, so good.
Given that this is Indian whisky, the mash is made with 6-row barley, instead of the 2-row barley that grows in Scotland. This barley makes the whisky gain complex flavours such as sweet, spicy, fruity and smoky.
Amrut Fusion is the expression that have won most awards within the brand’s range. In 2019, it has won World Whisky of the Year in the Bartenders Spirits Awards and scored 95/100 points in the International Wine and Spirits Competition.
In terms of tasting notes, the Amrut Fusion is complex, with notes of oak, barley, citrus and hints of smoke. On the mouth, it has flavours of peat smoke, sweet vanilla and dark chocolate.
The W.L. Weller is known for creating wheated, full-body and well-balanced bourbon. Besides these overall characteristics of the brand’s range, W.L. Weller is also part of the Buffalo Trace family – that has won the title of Global Distiller of the Year by Whisky Magazine, in 2022.
And, if the distillery wins several awards every year, what to say about its whiskey brands? It’s only logical that the bourbon Buffalo Trace produces will be awarded as well.
The spirit that made us include this brand on the Top 10 Whisky Brands in the World is the W.L. Weller Special Reserve, that have been awarded since the day it was released. Most recently, it won the Silver Medal in the 2022 American Whiskey Masters and the Gold Medal in the 2022 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition.
To produce this bourbon whiskey, the distillery substitutes the rye percentage for wheat, ending up in a softer and sweeter dram. Regarding its aromas, its possible to detect caramel, citrus and strawberries, with floral aromas in the background. On the mouth, one can taste oak with hints of cinnamon and fruit like apples and citrus. It is sweet, with vanilla and honey tasting notes.
A whisky from Taiwan that matures in Portuguese Port casks. This Single Malt is a unique dram, not only because it is made in Taiwan, but because it goes under a lot of details during its production. Those details are the ones that give Kavalan Solist Port Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky its rich and complex character.
To begin with, it is made under the Taiwanese climate: the humidity and heat with the mountain and sea air influences the way the whisky ages and collects its flavour along the production line. In particular, this is why most Kavalan whiskies have their fruity and smooth characters.
The Solist Port is a Single Cask whisky, which means that it matures solely in Port barriques. There are no other casks involved, meaning that the whisky gathers a lot of its dried fruit and spicy flavours.
This whisky is also bottled at cask strength, meaning it goes straight from the barrel to the bottle, without diluting with water. This technique conservates all the flavours, as the alcohol volume lowers within the bottle.
In the nose, the Kavalan Solist Port Single Cask has tropical fruit, sweet and nutty aromas, with pineapple, black tea and caramel aromas. On the mouth, it is rich in nutty and fruity flavours, as well as full with nutty flavours. It is possible to taste citrus and figs, chocolate, roasted nuts and wood-spice flavours.
Such a complex whisky, it is only logical that it has been awarded several times since it was released in 2016. It was awarded the gold medal in the International Spirits Challenge 2020, and was awarded the Platinum medal by the Beverage Testing Institute in 2021.
And now, for something completely different… Swedish whisky! The Mackmyra distillery was founded in 1999 to revolutionize the European whisky made outside Scotland and Ireland.
One of the distinctive factors that make Mackmyra distillery so special is the infrastructure itself. It was built as a vertical building so gravity helps production itself. In addition, it reduces the carbon footprint.
Just by the architecture of the distillery, it is possible to see how innovation lives within Mackmyra. But that’s not the only factor: the distillery is one of the few that produces its own smoky distillate in the whole world.
The Mackmyra whisky expression we chose to integrate the Top 10 Whisky Brands in the World, is the Svensk Rök. It is 100% Peated Swedish Single Malt Whisky and have scored highly in recent competitions (such as 96/100 in the International Spirits & Wine Competition)
The distillery collects peat from the Karin bog – Karinmossen – that is used to malt the barley. However, the barley itself is seasoned with juniper twigs for an extra Swedish taste in the whisky.
In the nose, the Mackmyra Svensk Rök is smoky with hints of spice and vanilla. On the mouth, it has peat smoke and juniper flavour notes, with oak and anise. It is also a bit salty and fruity.
The WhistlePig distillery is one of the Rye whiskey giants on the market. And, for several years, the brand has taken us in a journey through the Spanish Conquest with the whiskey range: The Boss Hog.
This series has several bold rye whiskeys with finishes in different kinds of cask to create a richer character in every expression. The WhistlePig The Boss Hog VIII LapuLapu’s Pacific is no different and was aged in Rum Casks for an extra kick.
The Boss Hog VIII is also a single barrel, which means that it matured solely in Rum Casks. Besides, it was bottled as barrel strength, in order to keep the flavours intact.
In the nose, it has aromas of vanilla and fruit such as bananas and lemons. On the mouth it is much spicier and sweeter, with notes of cinnamon toffee and butterscotch. The finish is long with notes of black pepper, nutmeg and brown sugar.
With the battle of Kinsale as a background story for their range, Kinsale Spirit Company entered the Irish Whiskey market in 2015 to win awards year after year.
Celebrating the Earls that fought for Ireland in the battle of Kinsale, the brand created 3 different Irish Whiskey expressions. The brand puts an extra effort in the maturation and finish of the whiskeys, and the Great Earl the epitome of that.
The Kinsale Spirit Great Earl is a single grain and a triple cask Irish Whiskey, given that it is aged for at least 3 years in Rechar and Virgin Oak and finished in Italian Sangiovese casks.
This triple cask maturation gives the whiskey sweet aromas of caramel and vanilla and flavours of honey and white pepper. The Sangiovese casks gives it hints of red wine that go along in its creamy and long finish.
We have an exclusive Whisky Tasting Box just for the Kinsale Spirit Company Expressions. You can check it out, here: https://www.whiskyflavour.com/shop/kinsale-spirit-company-whiskey-box/