While you can find a great bottle of blended Scotch whisky from the likes of Famous Grouse, Chivas, Johnnie Walker, and Compass Box, Scotland is most famous for its single malt among whisky drinkers (even if blended whiskies far surpass the sales volume of single malts). Yet Scotland isn’t the only country that produces incredible single malts worth seeking out.
From Taiwan to the United States to Australia and many places in between, there are amazing, well-made, award-winning single malt whisk(e)ys made across this big, blue globe we call home. Exact rules might be different depending on the country the spirit is produced in, but typical anything labeled single malt is produced at one distillery using only malted barley and no other grains.
If you’re a fan of single malt Scotch, or just a whiskey lover in general, these eight single malts not from Scotland are worth having on your radar.
Westward American Single Malt Stout Cask Whiskey
Westward is a big name in the American single malt whiskey world and, while you can’t go wrong with its flagship single malt, the real standout is the Stout Cask single malt. This 92-proof whiskey is matured for a full year in casks that were “seasoned” with stout beer. This results in a complex, flavorful whiskey that begins with a nose of roasted barley, honey, and chocolate before moving into a palate of chocolate fudge, toasted vanilla beans, candied orange peels, and a gentle, nutty sweetness throughout.Learn More
Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky
If you’ve never tried any of the epic single malt whiskies from Taiwan’s Kavalan, what are you waiting for? One of its best and most award-winning expressions is its Solist Vinho Barrique Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky. It’s matured in American oak barrels that previously held wine. The barrels have been toasted and re-charred before the whiskey was added. The result is a complex, nuanced whisky with notes of dried fruits, toasted vanilla beans, peppery rye, citrus peels, tropical fruits, and oaky wood.Learn More
Penderyn Madiera Single Malt Single Malt Whisky
Scotland’s neighbor Wales might not have as lauded of a whisky making reputation, but one sip of Penderyn Madiera Single Malt Single Malt Whisky can change minds. Aged initially in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in Madeira casks, it’s a flavorful whisky with a palate loaded with flavors like sticky toffee pudding, raisins, toasted vanilla beans, dried cherries, candied orange peel, and oak. The finish is dry, warming, and leaves you craving more.Learn More
Yamazaki 12-Year-Old Japanese Single Malt Whisky
Japan’s distilleries compete with the best of Scotland when it comes to single malt whisky prowess. If you love Scottish single malt whiskies, you’ll love what Japan has to offer, especially Yamazaki with its iconic, award-winning 12-year-old expression. Matured for a full 12 years in a combination of American, Spanish, and Japanese Mizunara oak barrels, it has a flavor profile of candied orange peels, apricots, caramelized pineapple, brown butter, and toasted vanilla beans.Learn More
Balcones Texas Single Malt Whiskey
Balcones is a big name in the world of Texas whiskey (and the American whiskey world as a whole). It makes myriad different styles of whiskey, but one of its best is its classic Texas Single Malt Whiskey. This pot still distilled single malt has a nose of pears, stone fruit, candied orange peels, and vanilla. Sipping it reveals notes of orange zest, butterscotch, brown butter, and roasted malts. It’s sweet, rich, and surprisingly easy to drink neat or on the rocks.Learn More
Paul John Brilliance Indian Single Malt Whisky
With a name like “Brilliance,” you should expect a lot from this single malt whisky from India. One sip of this impressive expression and you’ll know you made the right decision to crack it open. This 92-proof whisky has a nose of brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, and gentle wintry spices. Drinking it brings forth hints of honey, chocolate fudge, candied orange peels, and oaky wood. The finish is a warming mix of sweetness and spice.Learn More
Starward Nova Single Malt Whisky
Australian distillers are quickly racking up awards for their stand-out whiskies. One of the best distilleries in the country is Starward. And if you’re going to dive into this Australian brand, look no further than Starward Nova Single Malt Whisky. This popular single malt whisky was matured in red wine barrels that previously held cabernet, shiraz, and pinot noir. The result is a sublime single malt whisky with notes of ripe berries, dried fruits, vanilla, caramel, and gentle spices.Learn More
Connemara 12-Year Peated Single Malt Whiskey
If you’re a whiskey fan, you’re well aware of the great whiskeys coming out of Ireland. But did you know the country is home to a ton of great single malt whiskeys? One of the best (especially if you’re a fan of Scotch whiskies from the Islay region) is Connemara 12-Year Peated Single Malt Whiskey. This 12-year-old peated single malt whiskey has flavors of wintry spices, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, oaky wood, and robust campfire smoke.Learn More