The options are endless when you’re looking for the best bottle of Whiskey.
You’ll find plenty of top-shelf options, one more expensive than the next. But what you won’t find a guide to really help you break down and understand which brand of Whiskey you never knew you wanted.
This is that guide.
Whiskey might not be your first choice for an on-the-rocks sipper.
But on this list, you’ll find absolutely divine flavors, and you will learn to enjoy Whiskey like you never have before.
And of course, if you prefer a nice cocktail instead, our recommendations will work brilliantly with all your favorite mixes.
Below, you’ll find our list for the top brands in the world and a buyer’s guide to Whiskey, as well as answers to how it’s made and what types are there.
Finally, we’ll round off this article with tips on how to drink and really enjoy Whiskey as well as the key tasting notes and vocabulary you’ll need to become a true aficionado.
The 10 Best Whiskey Brands you can buy
Before introducing the 10 best whiskey brands you can buy, here’s a quick table to break down the top 5 whiskies by category.
|1||Jack Daniel’s||Best Overall|
|2||Johnnie Walker||Best High-End Option|
|3||TX Whiskey||Best Value|
|4||Macallan||Best For Brand Prestige|
|5||Fireball||Most Easy To Drink|
Now, the following are the top 10 whiskey brands that you must try:
Fireball is a famous Canadian whiskey that has an enriched flavor of roasted cinnamon. This brand is entirely Canada-based and is manufactured by the Sazerac Company. Fireball Whiskey was first introduced in 1984, and ever since, it has been one of the popular choices for young party-lovers.
Additionally, another reason why this brand has spread its popularity is because of its various methods to serve. You can not only enjoy neat shots of this whiskey but also consume it in other different ways that include warm Fireball Cinnamon whiskey with tea, lemon, honey, hot chocolate, Red Bull, etc.
Apparently, this brand only has one signature bottle of whiskey, but in different size ranges. This is designed in such a manner that you can enjoy a proper shot of Fireball anywhere, anytime. Fireball whiskey is 42 Proof ( ABV of 21%) and is made with real cinnamons, and spirit recipes.
Jameson is a popular Irish whiskey brand that was first introduced in 1789 in Dublin. Currently, Irish Distillers under Pernod Ricard manufacture this masterpiece. Jameson is one of the only whiskey brands that has surpassed other brands in 2019. The brand sold more than 8 million bottles locally and internationally.
The production of this whiskey begins from the perfect blend of single-pot still whiskey and grain whiskey. In addition, they use a mixture of green Irish barley and the malted version. Taste wise, Jameson is surely one of the smooth tasting whiskeys you will find in a while.
Moreover, not just a two or three, but Jameson has other popular variants, known as the Original, Makers Series, Black Barrel Cask Strength, Signature, Crested, Black Barrel, 18-Year-Old, and 18 Year Old Bow Street release. Additionally, this whiskey is 80 Proof and has other various related products you can try.
Jameson has also won gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition between the years of 2005-2010. Created by smart people, Jameson is surely one of the classiest drinks you can afford easily.
We do not need to repeat it, but Jack Daniel’s is one of the best, trustworthy, and popular whiskey companies we have indulged in a while. Plus, thanks to evergreen performer Frank Sinatra, Jack Daniel’s has become popular amongst people who worship rock music. In fact, the performer loved this brand so much that Frank was buried with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s with a cigarette and a lighter after he passed away.
However, apart from that, Jack Daniel’s has a solid fan base of its own. Jack Daniel himself founded this famous whiskey brand in 1875. It was and is still served all across the globe. The current manufacturing headquarter is in Lynchburg, Tennessee, United States.
Jack Daniel’s whiskey is made from malted barley, corn, and rye and is copper still distilled. Additionally, it is filtered through sugar maple charcoal or the process known as ‘mellowing’. However, the extra step to purify the whiskey is exactly what makes Jack Daniel’s different from other brands.
The alcohol is then filtered through charcoal and is stored in oak barrels, specially crafted in hands. In fact, the storage is what gives this brand a different color and its original flavor.
Jack Daniel’s has several other flavor and size variations. Plus, you can also enjoy their wide range of limited editions that are worth your time, patience, and dollars.
TX Blended whiskey is another premium whiskey brand that suits occasions of all types. You can mix it with other flavors, have it on the rocks, or gulp it neat. The brand offers five premium bourbon whiskies known as the TX Blended Whiskey, TX Straight Bourbon, TX Barrel Proof Bourbon, TX Barrel, and Bottled in Bond.
TX is just a whiskey brand that sells its other alcohol products under the name of Firestone and Robertson Distilling Company. However, only in recent years, TX whiskey was honored with the ‘’Best American Craft Whiskey’’ at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Apart from that, the brand has gained popularity in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.
TX whiskey gets distilled at the Whiskey Ranch, which is also under the supervision of the owners of the brand. And, the premium whiskies are made of barley, corn, and wheat. However, thanks to the artisan whiskey distillery, the world can experience the exclusiveness of TX premium whiskey.
Crown Royal, aka Seagram’s Crown Royal, is a premium blended whiskey that was introduced in Canada in 1939, and other countries, including the US in 1964.
Ever since its first introduction, Crown Royal whiskey has been a popular choice in Canada. However, once it was launched globally, the response from the consumers was more than just positive. Talking about the history of Crown Royal, you will be surprised to know that this brand was founded by Samuel Bronfman as a tribute to the Royal Tour of Canada of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939.
Currently owned by Diago, Crown Royal whisky is also manufactured by Diago in Canada. Normally, Crown Royal is a Canadian whiskey that is produced in Gimli, Manitoba. The bottling as well as the bottle of Crown Royal whiskey is done in Amherstburg, Ontario. This premium whiskey is produced 10,000 bushels of corn, barley, and rye. These are typically grown in Manitoba, with naturally filtered water by the limestone situated beneath the lake. However, once the production is done, the whiskey is stored in at least 1.5 million barrels, and are then located in 50 different warehouses, situated within 5 acres of land.
Despite being a whiskey specially created for royal bloodlines, Crown Royal is a premium brand that gives you the option to choose the best from their list. Other variants by Crown Royal are Deluxe, XO, XR, Honey, Northern Harvest Rye, Limited Edition, Special Reserve, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Black, Maple, Regal Apple, and Peach.
Virginia Black is a popular, yet brand new whiskey company that was first introduced in 2016. The brand is not all about whiskey, but all the moments you live while enjoying this premium alcohol. Virginia Black is bold, speaks music, and has a smooth American whiskey that defines your night.
This collaboration between Brent Hocking, a passionate spirit producer, and Drake, a famous Hip-hop RnB artist that appeals the Gen Z. The high-standard collab has definitely raised the standards of this exclusive whiskey. Even so, another reason why Virginia Black has become one of the favorites of this generation is because of its rich, bold, and smooth taste and whiskey texture. Thanks to that, the brand has sold 30,000 bottles in the first year after its launch.
Talking about its production, Virginia Black is the only and signature whiskey of this brand. It is a personally selected collection of two, three, four years of age Bourbon Whiskey that is produced with high-content rye. Plus, it has an ABV of 40% and is only available in 750 ml bottles.
Johnnie Walker is one of the exceptional scotch whiskies that was first introduced in 1820, in a grocery store. Later it expanded its market in whiskey blending in 1865. This brand belongs to Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland.
Johnnie Walker was first sold by a grocery shop owner, named John Walker. Later, apparently, this scotch whiskey was sold as the most popular and widely-chosen exclusive whiskey. Johnnie Walker offers special and limited blends such as Red Label, Double Black Label, Green Label, Black Label, Blue Label, Gold Label, Johnnie walker swing, and Aged 18 years, aka Platinum Label. However, Red Label, amongst other products has become the best-selling scotch whiskey since 1945. Each of Johnnie Walker’s labels increases the cost based on their colors.
Johnnie Walker is produced using 100% malted barley and is a blend of grained whiskies and malt whiskies from other distilleries. Perhaps that is exactly why Johnnie Walker is known as a malt whiskey. However, other than the iconic labels of Johnnie Walker, you can also enjoy whiskey varieties within the grand collection.
Buchanan’s is a Scotland-based Scotch whiskey that was first introduced in 1879. It is a private whiskey brand that manufactures whiskey under the supervision of Diago.
Buchanan’s was introduced to the world, rather to the royal household of the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria in 1898 by James Buchanan. James, Canada-born, Scottish immigrant started producing ‘’Buchanan Blend’’ after shifting to London and realizing the market did not did not really have a great knowledge of whiskey. Since 1884, Buchanan set his own business which was named ‘James Buchanan & Co’.
Currently, the master blends sold by this exclusive company are Black & White, Master, De Luxe 12, Red Seal, and Special Reserve 18. Black & White was originally known as the “Buchanaso’s Blend’’. However, later it was changed to “House of Commons’’, and then finally ‘’Black & White’’. Even so, Buchanan’s have been one of the best-selling whiskies we have tasted in a while. Not just that, Buchanan has also performed amazingly at the international Spirit rating Organisations. In fact, it has also won three gold medals, double gold medals, and a silver medal altogether.
Buchanan’s has been a great blend server that enlightens your musical experience by honoring Buchanan’s legacy. Plus, tons of artists are already the most significant fans of this classic whiskey brand.
The Macallan is a Scottish whiskey brand that was founded in the year 1824. Macallan generally is also a single malt Scottish whiskey distillery situated in Craigellachie, Moray, Scotland, and is owned by the Edrington Group,
Macallan is the second-top single-malt scotch whiskey-selling brand all around the world. Macallan, however, was originally matured in oak sherry casks that were bought from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, to the main distillery. However, by 2018, Macallan’s introduced the Fine Oak series as the Triple Cask Matured Range.
You can really enjoy a large number of whiskey varieties by the Macallan’s. In addition, they have introduced various ranges, including the Sherry Oak, Double Cask, Triple Cask Matured, Rare Cask, The Master Decanter Series, and Estate Core ranges.
You can also check out their other exclusive whiskey ranges like The Travel Retail Exclusives and Limited Releases. You can find other various varieties of whiskies under these categories. Let us say Macallan’s do have a large number of iconic whiskies to offer to the world.
The Beginners Buyers Guide to Whiskey
There is no law that states only experienced drinkers are allowed to enjoy the authenticity of whiskey. Unfortunately, however, only a few people exist who know everything anyone must know when it comes to buying and drinking whiskey. But, don’t you worry! The following is a mini-guide that will help you achieve a happy first whiskey-drinking moment of your life.
1) Select the region of the whiskey and where is it made
Unlike old times, several countries have begun their own whisky distilleries. However, every production in a different country offers different flavors, tastes, and aromas, and that happens because of the natural environment bordering them. For example, Canadian whiskies are made with rice, while in the US, corn and a mixture of different types of grains are used to distill the best ever whiskey. Therefore, you would want to perform a quick research based on the flavors you want to try first.
2) Choose the category of the whiskey you wish to buy
Just like whiskies are made up of different ingredients based on the country’s environment, they are also divided into different categories like pure malt, single malt, and blended. These categories are important because they influence the taste of the whiskey.
The pure malt whiskey is produced with malted barley, while the single malt whiskey is only made with malt, so the end results are purer than the other whiskies. The third is blended whiskey. Blended whisky is the result you get after mixing different malt whiskies. Generally, the blended whiskies are smooth to drink and are offered with different flavors.
3) Choose the age of your whiskey-based on your budget
The older whiskey you run after, the more you pay for it. And, we do not make the riles. Apparently, thanks to mother nature, old whiskey is just like a magic potion everyone wants, but not all can afford. This is exactly why it is essential for you to check out the age of the whiskey you wish to drink. However, you can manage your budget issues (if you have one) if you purchase whiskey within the age range of 15 years. Anything above that may cost you more than you expect.4)
4) Choose the brand that is easier to drink
When it is your first time, you need to take care of the smoothness of the brand. However, since this will be your first time, the best thing to do is take a sip of any whiskey and let it sit on your tongue properly. Once done, you can gulp the whiskey down. This will help you to determine the strength of the whiskey and help you understand if you should or should not continue with the brand.
How is it made?
The production of whiskey depends on the style of the brand and the location. Even so, the process of making whiskey remains more or less the same.
The process of malting begins with moistening the barley and letting it naturally germinate. During this process, the secretion of enzyme takes place that converts the starches of barley to sugar.
Mashing is the process that extracts the sugar from the grain before it is sent for fermentation. During the ‘mashing’ process, grains like rye, wheat, or corn are put in a large tank filled with hot water. These tanks are typically known as the mash tun. Once the mixing is done, the result resembles something sort of porridge. Once the maximum possible sugar is extracted from the mix, the overall effect is ready to get fermented.
Fermentation takes place when the mash is mixed with yeast. And the yeast converts the sugar into alcohol. The fermentation takes 48 to 96 hours and results in beer-looking liquid, which is then called ‘’distiller’s beer’’.
Distillation is the process that increases the content of the alcohol of the beer-looking liquid. It takes place primarily within copper filtration to minus any unwanted flavors. However, there are two types of still, known as the Pot Still Distillation and Column Still Distillation.
Pot Still Distillation is the pot stills that are used during the production of whiskey. Mostly malt whiskies from Scotland, Japan, Canada use this process. However, it is a batch process where the liquid is heated up and boiled at a low temperature. The process results in 20% ABV, and within the repetition of the same cycle, the result may vary between 60% to 70%.
Column Still Distillation, on the other hand, is also known as the continuous stills. This process is used to produce grain whiskies from Ireland, Japan, Scotland, etc., by separating unwanted substances from the alcohol. However, the process can result in up to 95% ABV.
Almost all whiskies age in oak barrels. These barrels are then stored in the warehouses, and as the whisky ages, some part of the alcohol starts evaporating. And when that happens, the entire warehouse starts to smell like the sweet whiskey.
Once the whiskey is matured, it requires to be filtered again to make sure it does not turn cloudy once mixed with water or ice. After that, the whiskies are bottled, labeled, and sold to the market.
The Most Expensive Bottle of Whiskey in the world
There are over thousands of exclusive bottles of whiskies in the world. However, only some are worth billion dollars because of their supremity and smooth taste. And, when we talk about the most expensive whiskey, the only name that pops up is The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old.
In 2019, The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old was sold at a price of 1.9 million dollars at an auction. This vintage bottle is popularly known as the ‘’Holy Grail’’ of whiskey. It is a 1926 single malt whiskey, and only 40 bottles were produced, auctioned for 1.2 million dollars. Twenty-Four Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old bottles were designed by famous artists Valerio Adami and Peter Blake. Out of which, one bottle was painted by an Irish artist called Michael Dillon.
Surprisingly, The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60-Year-Old was distilled 90 years ago and has aged for 60 years in European oak, and only 40 bottles were produced from Cask 263 in the year 1986.
Glossary of terms. What do you need to know for Whiskey?
The Whiskey culture has its own language not everyone is aware of. This is why we have mentioned the important terms you must know when you become a certified whiskey drinker!
- Cask Strength
It is the whiskey with high proof that is produced in the barrel.
- Column still
It is a steam injection that strips the beer and produces it to a cleaner spirit (whiskey).
Whiskey is beer first and then distilled till it becomes whiskey.
It is a shot kind of whiskey that is not supposed to be shot.
Whiskey extracts various flavor compounds that are spicy, sweet-smelling.
- Made by
‘’Made by’’ or ‘’Bottled by’’ is different than ‘’distilled by’’.
Neat is when you do not require extra ingredients like water, or ice to feel the taste of the whiskey.
- Mash Bill
It is the ratio of grains that are used in order to make distiller beer.
- On the rocks
Perhaps one of the best ways to enjoy a glass of elegant whiskey is to pour it on a glass of ice.
Methodology, how we select the best Whiskey Brands
Like any other alcohol, we can give you a vast list of whiskey brands available all around the world. But, we only depend on those who have not only gained our trust but have also offered whiskey worth the bucks. The following is how we select the best whiskey brands for you:
Authenticity is very important, especially when we talk about whiskey. Whiskey is an elegant drink; even so, only a few brands have been able to serve the best of the world.
These whiskey brands have not only won the hearts of millions of people but have also secured world-famous ranks.
Age plays a significant role when it comes to buying a bottle of whiskey.