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High Spirits Spotlight: World Whisky

Explore a world of whisky and venture to unexpected lands for your
next dram

words by The Whisky Exchange

While we love the diversity of whisky from Scotland, America and Ireland, there are now more than 20 countries around the globe with whiskies available. Different areas are known for unique styles or distilling techniques, and there is a whole world of new experiences for your taste buds to discover. We’ve picked a few of our favourites – no easy task! – to help you expand your whisky horizons. WE

Starward Nova

David Vitale, founder of Starward, was inspired to create a unique Australian whisky which reflected Melbourne’s famed ‘four seasons in a day’ temperature swings. Although his whisky is young – 3 years old – the variable climate helps the whisky to mature much faster. 

Starward Nova is a fruity and refined single malt, matured exclusively in Australian red-wine casks. It has notes of fresh grape, black cherries and caramel running through the palate.  

While this young whisky is immensely sippable, we recently tried it with tonic for an Australian take on a Highball and it got a definite thumbs up as an ideal aperitif – see right for method.  

Kavalan Vinho Barrique

Kavalan only opened in 2006 – in Yilan in north-eastern Taiwan – but it has already wowed the whisky- world. This is partially because the distillery’s casks are aged in Taiwan’s tropical environment and reach maturity in just 4 to 9 years.  The heat and humidity of Yilan concentrates Kavalan’s signature tropical fruit character and produces exceptionally flavoursome and easy-drinking whiskies, as well as intense cask-strength expressions…  

Kavalan’s Vinho Barrique is a cask-strength, single-cask Kavalan distilled in June 2012, aged entirely in a wine barrique and bottled in 2018, exclusively for The Whisky Exchange. The resulting whisky is a full-on wine cask experience, with layers of rich dried and berry fruit complimented by sweet apple, spice and a touch of the tropical.

South Africa 
Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky

Bain’s is the first South African single grain whisky and is made in Wellington at the James Sedgwick distillery. It made an impressive debut outside of South Africa, picking up a Gold Medal at the International Wine & Spirits Competition and a Silver at the International Spirits Challenge in 2010, before crowning that a few years later with the title of World’s Best Grain Whisky at the World Whiskies Awards in 2013. Its fame has only grown since then. 

This whisky owes its distinctive aromas and smooth flavour to the warm South African climate which accelerates maturation and delivers a soft and rounded whisky at a young age. Expect a combination of toffee and floral notes with vanilla aromas and a hint of spice – that spicy hint makes this a great option for a Whisky Sour.  

Amrut Peated

Founded in 1948, Amrut became the first Indian distillery to release a single malt whisky, discovering along the way that the hot Bangalore climate helps matures whiskies at a much faster rate than in Scotland.  

Due to a lack of suitable peat in India – peat can be found around the world, but each area’s peat will taste different – Amrut’s peated barley is grown in Europe and malted using Scottish peat before being shipped to India. Back at the distillery, the team use traditional whisky production methods to make a rich and complex whisky. Sweet wood and spiced smoke flavours coat the palate with layers of fruit and a gentle citrus zest to finish. 

Tried and Tested Tipples

Wanderlust in liquid form, here are our serving suggestions for a couple of well-travelled whisky cocktails

Kandy Gunpowder 

Created by Hoppers in Soho, this drink accentuates Amrut’s tropical flavours by adding passionfruit. Influenced by Sri Lankan cuisine and flavours, the addition of fresh green peppercorns gives this a delicious, savoury streak.  

40ml Amrut Single Malt Whisky 
15ml Fino sherry 
7.5ml Sugar syrup 
5 Fresh green peppercorns
Whole passionfruit (to garnish)

Bruise the peppercorns in a Boston shaker tin, add the other ingredients and shake with ice. Single strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a quarter of a passionfruit and sprinkled peppercorns. 

Nova & Tonic

The quinine bitterness of tonic pairs perfectly with the fruitiness of Starward Nova in this drink, letting you enjoy whisky as an aperitif or with food.   

50ml Starward Nova
100ml Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic
Red grapefruit wedge to garnish 

Build in a stemless wine glass: pour the whisky and tonic over lots of ice, stir gently and garnish with a wedge of red grapefruit.