There are various brands across the world that produce whiskey. Each whiskey has its distinct taste and this taste draws patrons. The taste, aftertaste, blend and smell of whiskey are the major contributors to its demand in the markets. The top 10 brands of whiskey in the world today are:-
1. Jack Daniel’s – Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey is the largest selling brand of American whiskey in the world. The Jack Daniel distillery was established in 1866 in Lynchburg and is the oldest registered distillery in the United States. The whiskey is made out of mash that mainly contains corn, a little bit of rye and barley malt. Jack Daniel’s best-selling variant Black Label was introduced in 1911 in honor of Jack Daniel’s death. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey won the Monde de Selection 7 times. After winning it 7 times, the company stopped entering the awards.
2. Johnnie Walker – Johnnie Walker is a scotch whiskey brand owned by Diageo. The whiskey brand was set up by John Walker in 1825. Its variants Red Label, Black Label, Blue Label, Gold Label Reserve and Platinum Label, are best-sellers throughout the world. The striding man logo and the trademark slogan – ‘Born 1820 – and still going strong’ have been used together since 1908. John Walker and Sons received their first Royal Warrant in 1934 and they continue to supply whiskey to the Royal household till this day. In 1966, the company was awarded with the Queen’s award for Export Achievement. The brand has won many other awards over the years and has also been associated as a sponsor for golf and formula racing events.
3. Jameson Irish – Jameson Irish is a blended Irish whiskey brand that was set up by master distiller John Jameson in 1780. It is triple distilled to give a rich and smooth taste. The main ingredients of this whiskey are barley, maize and pure Irish water sourced from the Dungourney River. While Jameson Irish is sold internationally since 19th Century, its largest market is in United States where sales were around 12% in 2013. The whiskey brand has won awards at the San Francisco World Spirits competition and Proof 66.
4. Canadian Club – Canadian Club was established by Hiram Walker in 1858. It was very popular in Canada where it originated and later spread to the United States where it was sold only in select clubs. Due to this, it later came to be known as Club Whiskey. Eventually the whiskey became so popular in the US that it began to rival the sales of the American Bourbon and this led to a regulation that required the Canadian distillers to put the country of origin on the labels. Thus, Club Whiskey came to be called Canadian Club.
5. Suntory – Suntory whiskey traces its beginnings to the set-up of Torii Shoten store by Shinjiro Torii at Osaka in 1899. In 1907, Shinjiro launched the Akadama Sweet Wine which became a huge success. Shinjiro then went on to launch a whiskey for the Japanese people in 1929. This first whiskey Suntory Shirofuda (white label) was a failure and a huge learning for Shinjiro. He realized that to be successful he must come up with a whiskey that suits the delicate palate of the Japanese people. With this learning, he launched Suntory Kakubin in 1937 which is still one of the best-sellers in Japan. Suntory had won the ISC Distiller of the Year award for 3 consecutive years from 2010 to 2013. It also won the Gold award for International Spirits Challenge in 2003.
6. Jim Beam – Jim Beam is a Kentucky Bourbon brand that was established by Jacob Beam in 1795. In 1788, Jacob moved to central Kentucky. The weather was perfect for the cultivation of corn. Infact the produce was in excess so Jacob decided to use it to produce Bourbon. The company over the course of time battled many events – the Great Depression, two wars and Prohibition. In 1964, Congress recognized Bourbon as the native spirit of America and there has been no looking for this brand since then. It has sponsored quite a few sporting and music events. Jim Beam whiskey got the highest rating from the Beverage Testing Institute of Chicago in 2008.
7. Ballantine’s – George Ballantine set up Ballantine’s in 1827 in Dumbarton, Scotland. In 1883, George Ballantine discovered that a distinct flavor can be achieved if he lets malts age. In 1895, Queen Victoria awarded Ballantine’s a royal warrant. While many distillers concentrated on local markets, George Ballantine travelled across the world to take Ballantine’s distribution ahead. The brand is sold across the world and is one of the best-selling scotch whiskeys.
8. Crown Royal – Crown Royal whiskey was created as a gift for the King and Queen of England for their visit to Canada in 1939. The finest fifty whiskeys are blended to create the smooth Crown Royal whiskey. The whiskey brand sponsors many sports events.
9. Black Velvet – Black Velvet whiskey is a product of Canada. It is owned by the Constellation group. Black Velvet whiskey has a strong distinct taste and was initially called Black Label. Master distiller Jack Napier felt it had a velvety taste and he suggested renaming it as Black Velvet in the 1940s.
10. Black Nikka – Black Nikka is a Japanese whiskey brand owned by the Asahi Group, Tokyo. The whiskey makes use of non-peat malt and has a dry flavor. The brand was started by Masataka Taketsuru who set for Scotland in 1918. His family owned a ‘sake’ business and while in Scotland he enrolled for a whiskey-making course at the University of Glasgow. In 1934, he set up the Nikka Whiskey brand and set-up its first distillery at Yoichi, Hokkaido.