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Whisky (or whiskey) is produced in various guises all over the world. Japanese Whisky, Irish Whiskey and American Whiskeys (including Bourbon) are challenging Scotch Whisky, with of them many winning notable awards and accolades. Meanwhile, whiskies from countries as diverse as India, Canada, Sweden, Wales, Taiwan and England are also becoming increasingly noteworthy in both quality and abundance.

The distillation process spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 15th century via Alexandrian Greeks, Medieval Arabs and Latin Europeans. The Scots and the Irish, who already had a well-developed tradition of farming cereal crops, used the technique to distil from a variety of fermented grain mashes to produce a spirit, most closely resembling today's new make spirits.

This spirit was used 'for medicinal purposes' for some time, but started to become widely adopted as a beverage of choice and a good way to use up excess grains, keeping them safe from the rats' clutches. Once the spirit started to be stored in oak barrels, it was noticed that this had the delightful consequence of providing flavour and colour, giving it a deeper and more mellow taste than the raw spirit. Today, whisky must be aged for at least 3 years in an oak Barrel before it can legally be called "whisky".

The process of distilling fermented grain mash and aging it in oak barrels to make Whisky (or whiskey) has spread the world and has resulted in a remarkable range of styles, including Single Malt Whisky, Blended Malt Whisky, Grain Whisky, Rye Whiskey and Blended Whisky (containing both Single Malt Whisky and Grain Whisky).

Scotch Whisky

Scotch Whisky The most famous and revered of all the Whisky producing countries. Despite the country's small size, the range of whiskies available from Scotland is incredible, from the briney and peaty flavours of Islay Whisky and Island Whiskies to the lighter, sweet whiskies often found in Speyside. Notable producers include Johnnie Walker, Ardbeg, Glenmorangie, The Macallan, Glenfiddich and The Glenlivet.

Best Selling Scotch Whisky

American Whiskey

American Whiskey The whiskeys of America tend to have more spicy notes and a vanilla sweetness, due to the new, charged-oak barrels that are used for maturation of Bourbon, especially. This massive generalisation doesn't do the range of whiskey styles justice, however. American Whiskeys include Bourbons, Ryes, Tennessee Whiskeys and Straight Corn Whiskey, all of which offer a distinct flavour profile. More recently, the craft distilling movement has led to even greater variety, led by the likes of St. George Spirits and Balcones.

Best Selling American Whiskey

Japanese Whisky

Japanese Whisky The whisky production methods of Japan most closely resemble those of Scotch Whisky, and the results speak for themselves. Multi-award winning producers Suntory and Nikka have proven credentials in consistently producing excellent whiskies including single malts from Yamazaki, Hakushu, Yoichi and Miyagikyo. Whisky from the closed distillery of Karuizawa, meanwhile, has become the stuff of legend including releases of the kind of vintages rarely seen outside of Scotland.

Best Selling Japanese Whisky

Irish Whiskey

Irish Whiskey The triple distillation process widely used in Irish Whiskeys tends to lend them a smooth and fruity flavour. They are also unique in their production of single pot still whiskey. The Irish have been producing whisk(e)y for as long (or longer, according to some sources) as the Scots, and that heritage comes through in fantastic spirits from producers such as Midleton, Bushmills, Cooley and, of course, Jameson.

Best Selling Irish Whiskey

Other World Whisky

Other World Whisky Welsh Whiskies, Indian Whiskies, English Whiskies, Swedish Whiskies and even Taiwanese Whiskies are among the world's fastest growing whisky categories with exceptional new products coming through from the likes of Penderyn, Amrut, St George's, Mackmyra and King Car. Canadian whiskies meanwhile have a proud history dating back to the 18th century.

Best Selling Other World Whisky

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