Which Whiskey is Best? (Part 2)

Highland Park 12 Year Old Scotch DetailLast week I asked the question what is the best type of whiskey?  By this I mean, in your opinion, do you prefer American (including bourbon), Canadian, Irish, Scotch, or another international variety of whiskey?

I didn’t get a whole lot of responses, but the ones I did get were very interesting.


On Facebook, Dan Williams stated “Eagle Rare 10YO Single Barrel bourbon for this guy“, which we can assume casts his vote for American whiskey.


Ryan from Value Whisky Reviews had this to say:

I can’t give you a positive answer but I can give you a negative one: which are NOT best:

Canadian is NOT the best: up to around 9% “other” ingredients are allowed. And, well, it’s just not very good either.

Irish is NOT the best: they triple-distill and blend away to get as far away from the character of the whisky as possible. Thus, they do not embrace the whisky and so they are not the best.

Among the other contenders, I think whoever is embracing their whisky and not trying to cover it up or pump out mass-volume crap is the best. There are some in each category doing it the right way, and some in each category doing it the wrong way. (yes, I know, some of the Canadians and Irish do it the right way to… credit where credit is due).

So I guess that’s my answer: whoever is doing whisky the right way, embracing their local “terrior” is the best whisky.


Josh Feldman from The Coopered Tot had this to say:

Scotch is better if you’re looking for “terroir” – the taste of a place; how it smells and feels. No other category has such a tremendous range of mood, feeling, flavor, and regional style. Also, at its many various peaks malt whiskeys from Scotland achieve tremendous deliciousness in a tremendous range of flavors from honeyed to fruity to floral to sherried to smoky and/or earthy peaty.

That being said cheap scotch is atrocious and cheap bourbon tends to range from acceptable to amazing. The same $22 that would barely buy a swill like J&B that I would simply flush buys bourbon gold like Elijah Craig 12 which gives the finest spirits in any category a run for it’s money.

In this respect bourbon is like Italian food in Italy and scotch is like French food in France. French food scales the highest heights, but unless you’re on the heights is pretty lousy. Italian food is always good and often even humble meals are amazing and memorable.


This was all very interesting feedback, and of course, no definite conclusion can be made as the original question was entirely subjective.  I have to say, I agree with Josh that, at least in the United States, bourbon remains the best value but Scotch boasts a larger range of flavor and quality.

If you can’t agree with me on this, at least we can agree that whiskey in general is awesome!  Special thanks to Dan, Ryan, and Josh for participating!



1 comment

  1. Thanks for the interesting topic, Ryan. I keep
    toying with the French v Italian food metaphor. Bourbon and rye are zesty like a good red sauce. Scotch’s delicate wood finishes are like a French chef’s delicate emulsions… Kids like Italian food (ie college kids doing doubles in shooter bars like Coyote Ugly)…

    Bottom line, talk is cheap. My favorite whisky is a lovingly crafted dram that’s in my hand…

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