5 World Whiskies to Try Now

Sure, there are some uncontested stars among whisky countries—Scotland, the U.S. Ireland, and Japan come to mind. But there’s a big, wide world of whisky to explore, and it’s becoming more accessible with each passing year. Take France, for example: Less than a decade ago, it was nearly impossible to find a bottle of French whisky on store shelves in the U.S., as most of what the country made never left its borders. But now, with 86 distilleries operating across the country and several of them ramping up production, France is positioning itself to become a notable whisky influence in its own right.

Our Winter 2021 Buying Guide features several world whiskies from France, including one highlighted below, as well as drams from Germany, Israel, Japan, and Switzerland. Consider pushing the boundaries of your whisky comfort zone with one of these compelling global options.

World Whiskies From the Winter 2021 Buying Guide 

Eifel Whisky German Peated Duo Malt 2021
94 points, 46%, $90

A nose of Nestle Crunch bar, dates, smoke from green wood, golden syrup, vanilla seeds, cherry gummy bears, and a medley of dried fruits. Respectfully, with its 4:1 mashbill ratio of malted wheat and barley to 35 ppm peated malt, it’s like a fine blended scotch that costs ten times more. The flavors are in perfect balance with a distinctive red wine influence, with dark toffee, black cherry, black currant, runny caramel, and an up-tempo spiciness.—Jonny McCormick

ImpEx Collection 3 year old 2017 (Distilled at Milk & Honey Distillery) Israeli Single Malt
91 points, 58.9%, $90

The PX sherry hogshead finish has imbued a dark sweetness and punchy spices. A nose of raisins, mixed peel, ground ginger, and dark forest honey is molasses-like, with golden syrup loaf, cinnamon, and tamarind. Slightly sticky mouthfeel with dates, apple, pear, and a dark rum sweetness, it crests with a prolonged wave of nippy spices—especially clove—followed by baked citrus, banoffee pie, pecan, and squashed ripe bananas.—Jonny McCormick

Komagatake 2021 Edition Japanese Single Malt
91 points, 48%, $199

Aromas of watermelon, ruby grapefruit, lychee, exotic florals, white pepper, and a little candy sweetness of Cola Cube and strawberry laces are in contrast to the chocolate flavors of the 2020 edition. On the palate, you couldn’t ask for a juicier whisky; fruit salad with red apple, strawberry, watermelon, and that candy sweetness again before an edgier finish of bittersweet citrus and grapefruit acidity ushers in a lengthy fruity finish.—Jonny McCormick

Coperies French Single Malt
90 points, 40%, $60

Double distilled in Charentais copper pot stills more commonly used for making brandy and cognac, this well-made whisky has aromas of zested clementine over orange cake, dry wood spices, milk chocolate, roasted hazelnuts in melted butter, and charred oak. Dark and fruity flavors with baked orange, dried apricot, red apple, creamy milk chocolate, malt, and dried red fruits, it ends on a bright, spicy note. Definitely worth a try.—Jonny McCormick

Langatun Jacob’s Dram Swiss Single Malt
89 points, 49.12% ABV, $150

This pinot noir cask finish honors master distiller Hans Baumberger III’s great grandfather, Jakob, who founded the distillery in 1857. The nose exudes black honey, strawberry conserve, walnut, black cherry, raisin, black currant, and burnt cake. Light-bodied, with strawberry, plum, black pepper, damson, and chocolate cookie sweetness, the oak tannins and spiciness build through to the finish.—Jonny McCormick

More From Whisky List

5 Great Irish Whiskeys to Try Now

Sample single pot still or some of Ireland’s inventive finishing techniques with one of these selections from the Fall 2022 Buying Guide.