The history of spirits made from malted grain is long and varied. The pride and passion from different regional distilleries is amazing. Never get caught calling Scotch a whiskey, huh? It's a whisk(y) Only Scotch is spelled with just a "y". Irish, Canadian even American Bourbon is spelled with an (ey). Now. Bourbon is only allowed to be called Bourbon if it is distilled in Kentucky. Most people see the word Bourbon and they instantly think of Jack Daniels, not Bourbon. Jack is Tennessee Whiskey. Very good just not Bourbon. So where do I fall on all of this? I love and appreciate the passion of all the masters of the art. Now I am not going to get into the bad side of how liquor has ruined many lives. I have fortunately been able to escape the addictive side of "the drink" So my eh hem, "research" has been only to find the best of the best and comment on my findings so you don't have to risk becoming a lush in your own pursuit, yeah right. The following reviews are what I have gravitated towards (so far)
If I am out and am in the mood for a drink, most of the time I will lean towards Bourbon. I have had everything from Basil Hayden's to Wild Turkey. My top choice is Woodford Reserve. I think the balance is just about as perfect as a Bourbon can get. Next would be Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve, Makers Mark, Knobb Creek. There are hundreds of Bourbons and more "micro-distilleries" on the horizon.
ahhh... the beloved smoked malt know as Scotch. Scotch Whisky is an acquired taste. As soon as the grain germinates, it is smoked over peat fires to dry before mashed up and fermented. If you have a Scotch from the Isles of Scotland the peat can take on a ocean flavor. Highland Scotches can be a little more pleasing to the pallet.
Good Scotch is spendy so my experience is limited but Linkwood has risen to the top of my list. Balvenie, Linkwood, Talisker, Lagavulin are all fine Scotches and the great thing is there hundreds more. I look forward to rich people letting me try more...ha.
Irish whiskey dries it's malt in hot air kilns so there is no smoky taste. Some feel it had a cleaner taste, others say if it's not Scottish..."It's CRAP" I think there's a place for all styles in this world depending on what you're in the mood for. Most people recognize either Jameson or Bushmills. Oddly enough they are both owned by the same company. I have a great 21 year old bottle of Bushmills aged in Port, Bourbon and Sherry Barrels. What a wonderful sweet aftertaste it has. Redbreast is an amazing everyday whiskey. Connemera is one Irish that smokes it's malt so it's a Whiskey that tastes like a Whisky...oy.
Man this was tiring, I need a beer.
(I'll finish the links later)