10 Essential Whiskeys From Around the World (Slideshow)

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Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky 12 Years Old

This isn’t the crème de la crème of what Bowmore has to offer, but the Scottish whisky from Islay is one of the best we tried at Whiskey Fest. Bowmore’s website says that "12 Years Old reflects the raw essence of Bowmore — thrashing waves, windswept landscapes, and generations of tradition." The 12 Year has a warm amber color and offers delicious honey flavors with some peat to it. There’s a long, mellow finish and we love the delicious flavors that Bowmore offers.

Laphroaig Càirdeas

Another Scotch that made the list was Laphroaig Càirdeas. This whisky has an interesting history and it's said that "No one knows the full history of Laphroaig, as much of it has been lost in the midst of time." Laphroaig ages its whiskey is old Maker's Mark barrels and we can see where the delicious flavors come from. Laphroaig’s Càirdeas is a phenomenally smooth whisky with smoky notes and a hint of honey, and the flavor from old Maker's Mark barrels is certainly present. This whiskey is a go-to for sipping and enjoying in front of a fire.

Kilbeggan

Kilbeggan is one of the only Irish whiskeys on our lists and it boasts a blend of the finest grain and malt whiskeys for a smooth, sweet taste and malt finish. Kilbeggan is a great deal for the high quality that it boasts. Those who enjoy whiskeys like Jack Daniel’s Honey will enjoy the smooth honeyed taste of Kilbeggan as well.

Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon

This whiskey hails from where it should — Kentucky. The brand has its origins in the Old Fitzgerald brand, which claims to have been established when John E. Fitzgerald built a distillery on the banks of the Kentucky River in the 1870s and sold his bourbon to rail lines, steamships, and private clubs. The whiskey is drinkable and smooth, but also has some unique notes of fresh bread and toffee. The finish is sweet and savory and you’ll definitely savor every last drop of this delicious find.

Hillrock Estate Solera-Aged Bourbon

We didn’t know much about Hillrock Estate until we met the fine folks at Whiskey Fest, and this bourbon completely stole the show. The distillery’s mission is to produce the finest hand-crafted spirits using their own grain that has been floor-malted and craft-distilled in copper pot stills and then aged in fine oak and hand-bottled on site. The whiskey is the world’s first solera-aged bourbon, which is a process by which barrels are stacked and a small portion of whiskey is periodically removed and then new whiskey is added. The whiskey has notes of dried fruit, molasses, and brown sugar — all flavors perfect for cold-weather drinking. The price may be steep, but you won’t regret a single sip of this outstanding whiskey.

The Macallan 12-Year

Hailing from Speyside, Scotland, The Macallan 12-Year whisky is a Scotch you cannot go without trying this season. With flavors of oak, honey, dried fruit, and vanilla, this Scotch is a complex one that you won’t be disappointed with if you’re a veteran Scotch drinker; however, this particular whisky is also one that is great for beginners. The Macallan website tells us that "90 acres are sown in the spring with our own exclusive Minstrel barley variety to make The Macallan." If you’re in the mood for something a little interesting, The Macallan 12-Year is the bottle for you.

The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14-Year

The Balvenie is a Speyside single malt that has quickly become a favorite on our list, but this whisky is a little different from the other ones. The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14-Year has been aged for 14 years in oak whisky casks and then finished in Caribbean rum barrels. The result is an amazingly smooth whisky with spice notes that will leave you wondering what it is you’re tasting. The whisky is approachable, delicious, and an exceptional alternative to the traditional whiskies out there.

WhistlePig 100/100 Straight Rye Whiskey

WhistlePig comes to us from Shoreham, Vt. The whiskey is 100-proof straight rye whiskey, aged for at least 10 years through a unique double-barrel process. We can’t speak highly enough about the whiskey. It packs a serious punch due to its 100-proof strength, but you’d never know it by the smooth way it goes down. Enjoy WhistlePig with a single ice cube and sip. Even though it's pricey, you won’t regret paying a little extra for this whiskey.

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

This is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey that’s full-bodied with hints of vanilla that will definitely get you excited to make a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned. It’s the perfect whiskey to sip by itself, but it's also delicious enough to be blended into masterful cocktails. The bottle will last you and it's  worth the price.

Alibi American Whiskey

This whiskey wasn’t at Whiskey Fest, but it was so good when we tried it that we couldn’t help but add it to the list. Alibi American Whiskey is all about drinking whiskey — Alibi boasts that they’re not concerned with the aromas or taste of whiskey; rather, they’re concerned with making Alibi a great choice when you're out at the bar at night during good times with friends. Although the company claims they're not concerned with how the whiskey smells or tastes, we were pretty impressed with the spirit — and it’s not too expensive, either, which is why you certainly can’t miss it!