European whiskey is known for being light, crisp and clean. It can have a variety of flavors including honey, toffee and citrus. Scotch whiskey is similar to Irish whiskey in that it’s made from barley malt. It also has many flavors but typically described as being dry with hints of vanilla and spice. American whiskey is made from corn, which gives it a sweet flavor. Bourbon is the most well-known of these three types but there are now many other varieties in production like rye whiskey, scotch ale malt and Irish spiced pot still spirits.
Here’s a roundup of the best whiskey brands in Europe:
11. Teeling Whiskey
Teelings is a small distillery in Ireland’s County Wicklow, and it makes some of the best whiskey you’ll find. From barrel-aged single malts to fresh blended expressions, Teeling has something for everyone — but we’re partial to its 12-year malt. At 62% ABV (even higher when aged in sherry casks), this Irish Single Malt Whiskey might be the perfect sip on a winter night with friends. It also comes out every year around St Patrick’s Day so that you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it before Lent begins. Not bad. The company also does sales at several fine liquor stores around New York City and Chicago, so if you want more than just the bottle, head over there instead of searching online like we did.
10. Smør, Gin and Vodka Project
Smør is the pseudo-name for this Scandinavian gin company that’s been making spirits since 1881. It was founded in Norway but has now moved to Denmark where it continues to craft its own spirit with a focus on botanicals sourced from around the country. The nine special releases that come out each year are all made in small batches using traditional Swedish distilling techniques — after all, they’re not giving them away. These are also sold exclusively at Scandinavia’s largest department store IKEA so if you have one near you (it should be noted these aren’t cheap), stock up before they disappear. You can also find Smør products online through their website or Facebook page as well as several fine liquor stores across the U.S., including BevMo. With an extensive range of gin styles available, there’s sure to be one perfect for your needs here.
9. New Holland Brewing Company, Michigan, USA
New Holland was founded in 1991 and is based in the small town of Holland near Grand Rapids, MI. With apple orchards as one of its main sources for ingredients (its brewers believe this gives it a better flavor profile than many others), they begin their production with an amber ale brewed using 100% wheat malt. They follow that up by adding hops which are sourced from local farms and then continue through the process until the final product — a dry hopped pale ale — comes to life at 20–24% ABV. If you’re looking for a refreshing summer beer, don’t look further. This brewery also makes several other types of beers including its eponymous Imperial IPA.
8. Glenfiddich, Scotland, UK
Glenfiddich has been making single malt whiskey since 1887 and now produces around 1.2 million gallons per year. Only about 25% of this is sold outside the U.K., but you can find it across Europe at liquor stores and many other fine retailers in the UK (and even more if you’re lucky enough to live in Ireland). It’s a well-known brand for its 12-year Old Reserve Single Malt Whisky.
7. Orkney, Scotland, UK
Orkney is located off the coast of Scotland and was founded in 1868 by a group of friends who were determined to make something special out of their farmlands. The result? Malt whisky that has an earthy taste with subtle notes of honey and vanilla.
6. Glenmorangie, Scotland, UK
Glen Moraga was founded in 1843 and is one of the most well-known Scottish distilleries thanks to its high quality products — not just whisky but also cognac. It has been marketed as “The Highest Recommendation” by The Royal Warrant Holders (a group of experts).
5. Signatory Vintage, Scotland, UK
Signatory is a small distillery based in North East Scotland that was established by Master Distiller Jean-Philippe Martinet in 2000. Their products are hand crafted using the finest American and European malt whiskeys, French wine and aromatic botanicals that are sourced from France.
4. The Macallan, Scotland, UK
The Macallan is the oldest distillery in Scotland and was founded in 1824 by John Jackson. Its flagship whisky is named after this and has been made since 1861 using barley grown on the distillery’s own farm.
3. The Balvenie, Scotland, UK
The Balvenie is a Scottish malt whisky that was originally known as Glenlivet Distillery. It was founded in 1816 by William Matheson and today makes around 100 million liters of whisky a year. It’s currently one of the largest distilleries in Scotland and is known for producing some of the best single malt scotch whiskies on the market.
2. Glenmorangie The Original, Scotland, UK
This whiskey was originally produced in 1820 as an unaged malt whisky, but has since been aged in American oak. The Original is made using 100% malt from the distillery’s own farm and no other single malt is used in its production. It comes out every year around St Andrew’s Day (November 30th) so don’t forget to stock up!
1. Glen Càrn Mòr, Scotland, UK
Glen Caorunn Mor is a small whisky distillery near Spean Bridge in the Highlands of Scotland. The name means “glen with big peat” and refers to the area’s extensive deposits of fire-hardened peat moss. It’s been in production since 1887 and is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Its malt whiskies are made with 100% barley grown on the distillery’s own farm, while its grain whisky (single malt) has a unique nose that combines aromas of honey, vanilla and citrus fruit.
That’s about it for our roundup of the top whiskey brands in Europe. Remember to drink with care and enjoy responsibly!