As the traditional producers of whiskey and whisky, Ireland, the United States and Scotland serve as the most accomplished models. These three nations produce spirits with very strong identities, that are recognised all over the world. From Scottish single malt to American bourbon and Irish single pot still, each boasts its own unique style. Japan offers a textbook example of emulation. With an innovative whisky culture and particularly rich soil, the Japanese archipelago developed unique expertise, shaking up traditional categories despite its status as a newcomer.
Learn the defining characteristics of the four biggest whisky-producing countries.
Scotland accounts for the largest number of distilleries in the world. With over 90 active malt distilleries scattered throughout the islands and the mainland, it offers a broad range of personalities and unique flavours. It is also home to around a dozen grain distilleries, the majority of which are located in southern Scotland.
To make their whiskey, Irish producers use the same grains as their Scottish cousins, but their production methods differ in a number of respects. The absence of peat, the use of unmalted barley, large stills, triple distillation and the art of blending are all responsible for the light, very fruity character of Irish whiskey.
Kentucky bourbon is mainly made from corn and is the most emblematic American whiskey. Yet its ancestor, rye whiskey, lives on within the micro-distilleries spread across the country, from California to New York.
Japanese whisky borrowed the very best manufacturing processes from Scotland while pushing quality standards to the maximum, with the result that the country now systematically scoops up a plethora of awards at international competitions...
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