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The Best Asian Whiskey Brands You Need to Know

When it comes to Asian whiskey, it goes without saying that Japanese whiskey has taken the global market by storm. Their demand and popularity are such that distilleries struggle to supply the high quality dram. In fact, Japan had a whiskey crisis a few years ago as the market skyrocketed exponentially and takers were willing to shell out as much as needed for premium malts.

But that didn’t slow things down even a bit. Distilleries and brands have also spread their wings accordingly to fill highball glasses.

Moving on to single malt Scotch whiskey and a classic bourbon, other non-Japanese Asian grain whiskeys and blended spirits will also tantalize your taste buds and give you a smooth sip. In a nod to the art of crafting exquisite whiskies, the third Sunday in May is celebrated as World Whiskey Day, with the day falling on May 21 this year.

Speaking of whiskeys, a question that often comes up is what makes bourbons so special and how to distinguish them from other whiskeys. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

How is bourbon different from other whiskeys?

Image credit: Anastasia Zhenina/ @disguise_truth/ Unsplash

All bourbons are whiskey but not all whiskeys are bourbons. To be classified as a pure bourbon, there are a few criteria that must be met.

All whiskeys are made from malted barley or other fermented grains, but the type of grain used and its proportion makes all the difference. According to American Bourbon Association, a classic bourbon is made from a mixture of grains or mash, which is 51% corn and distilled at 160 degrees or less. This is what gives the sweet taste to the drink. Bourbon barrels must be new charred oak and cannot contain any additives or colorings. In addition, the drink should be stored at 125 degrees or less.

For top quality, the drink must age for at least two years in these barrels. Bourbon takes its name from Bourbon County in Kentucky, United States. However, it is not mandatory that to get the name it must be produced in Kentucky.

Japanese whiskey may have hit whiskey connoisseurs hard, but several other Asian brands are also becoming increasingly popular. From Asian malt and grain whiskeys to blended whisky, beverages from Taiwan and India are fast catching up and providing fierce competition to some of the best Japanese whiskey brands.

Here are some of the best attention-grabbing Asian whiskeys

(Main and feature image credit: Yuri Shirota/ @itshobastank/ Unsplash)