The year 2012 marked the beginning of World Whisky Day, an annual event that honours the makers of the universally loved, amber-coloured spirit. Every year since has seen the event gain momentum, with over thirty countries taking part in local festivals and celebrations to enjoy the rich flavours and history of whisky. Translated from Gaelic to ‘the water of life’, whisky has come a long way since its original medicinal roots, to become a go-to tipple for many. Whether you enjoy yours neat, on the rocks or even in a cocktail, World Whisky Day is the perfect time to get together with friends to enjoy a drink (responsibly, of course). Here are six we’ll be tasting this year from around the globe…
Starward Wine Cask Single Malt Whisky
Starward began with a simple vision to create distinctly Australian whisky that they could stand behind and be proud to present to the world. Distilled in Melbourne, regarded as the microbrewing capital of Australia, founder David Vitale set out to create a spirit that was specific to its location and that reflected his hometown. Surrounded by some of the nation’s best wineries such as the Yarra Valley and Barossa regions, Starward whisky is matured in locally sourced Australian wine barrels. Straying from the Scottish norm of charring barrels, the Melbourne whisky makers steam them instead to retain the unique flavour of strong and rich iconic Australian red wines. Starward pushes the boundaries of perceptions around whisky making, using Melbourne’s unique climate and flavours to produce affordable options to enjoy.
Wine Cask is an award-winning whisky, taking out both Best Single Malt Whisky and Best Craft Distilled Whisky titles. Individually selected wine barrels remain untouched as they depart the winery, achieving a full-bodied red wine profile. With influences from uniquely Australian red wines, it lives up to its reputation, leaving a superb balance of sweet and savoury on the palate. Spice driven notes of cinnamon and red berries are followed by a long, dry tannic finish.
Produced in the Matsui Distillery located northwest of Kyoto, Kurayoshi Pure Malt Whisky is aged for more than three years to give it a smooth overall profile and its signature mellow characteristics. Known for its sweet, rich aroma this light amber whisky has a watery malt flavour from the spring water of the area’s rugged coastlines. A roughness gradually builds on the tongue followed by a sweet aftertaste.
Buffalo Trace Distillery is the ‘World’s Most Award Winning Distillery’. With countless national and international awards under their belt, it’s safe to say they know how to make great bourbon whiskey. In fact, they’ve been making their signature drop for over two-hundred years and were even given approval to stay operational throughout prohibition for medicinal purposes. Buffalo Trace is distinctly American, a tribute to the nation’s rugged pioneers and the mighty buffalo. Their signature Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is aged for years in new oak barrels until the peak of maturity. There’s a complex combination of vanilla, mint and molasses to the aroma, while the taste provides notes of toffee and candied fruit. A smooth, dry finish lingers on the palate.
Rampur is a single malt whisky hand-crafted in the foothills of the Himalayas. With a rich heritage of distillation expertise spanning over seventy-five years, Rampur is steeped in tradition. The whisky is distilled in copper pot stills, while the polarising climate conditions gift it with an individual, deep taste. Indian whisky matures much faster in comparison to Scottish or Irish whiskies. This results in a more mellow, smooth taste with hints of fruits and creamy vanilla. Aromas of cinammon and apricot are chased with a long lasting finish.
Small Batch is Teeling‘s flagship whiskey and challenges the idea of what an Irish blend should be. Their process involves ageing in bourbon casks, followed by further maturation in hand-picked rum barrels. This enables a unique dried fruit profile to evolve. On the nose you’ll find sweet notes of rum, and aromas of spice and vanilla. Approachable in its taste, the effect of the rum barrels presents as smooth, sweet and woody on the tongue. Those woody tones are complemented by a sweet spice finish.
Produced in tropical Goa, India, this single malt draws on its local characteristics and ingredients to achieve a full-flavoured whisky. Paul John have gained critical success with this drop by using Indian six-row barley from the Himalayas and bourbon casks to create their Indian Single Malt Whisky. A perfect pairing with meat dishes and fruit pies, the sparkling copper whisky gives off sweet fragrances of honey and cinammon. The smoothness of honey continues into the palate and is offset by the sensory experience of a crunchy bar-like crispness. Brilliance’s finish is relaxed, with vanilla and mild spices.