It seems a bit on the presumptuous side, the title of this article; after all, as the old adage goes, one man’s drink is another man’s poison. What makes a whiskey top shelf to one person is not necessarily the same for someone else. It depends on your personal preferences and individual taste. To determine the five best whiskies in the world is a monumental task at best, but we’ll give it the good ole college try.

What is Whiskey?

Whiskey is produced by distilling a grain mash, or wort, as it’s sometimes known. Grains used to produce whiskey are wheat, rye, corn, barley, malted rye, or malted barley. Once distilled, the whiskey is stored in a wooden cask, or keg, and aged. Different whiskies are aged for varying lengths of time, and in different containers. The wood of the cask or keg imparts flavor to the liquor, so depending on the desired result, the type of wood used will vary between types of whiskies.


Whiskey is primarily produced in America or Scotland, although some very fine brands are produced all over the world. A peculiarity of whiskey is the reputation is tied to the brand, as opposed to a reputation just for whiskey. Johnnie Walker will have a very different reputation from Jack Daniel’s, even though they are both types of Scotch. True Scotch is only from Scotland, so Jack Daniel’s is classified as Tennessee whiskey; Jack Daniel’s is not a bourbon whiskey, but can’t be classified as Scotch, either, hence its designation as Tennessee whiskey.

Types of Whiskey

  • American
  • Bourbon
  • Non-Bourbon
  • Blended
  • Rye
  • Tennessee
  • Single Malt
  • Scotch
  • Blended
  • Blended Grain
  • Grain
  • Single Grain
  • Blended Malt
  • Single Malt

Other Whiskies

  • Irish Whiskey
  • Canadian Whiskey
  • Australian Whiskey
  • Japanese Whiskey
  • Swedish Whiskey
  • South African Whiskey
  • Taiwanese Whiskey

Rating Whiskey


Photo credit: monticello /

Whiskey has been classified as a highbrow drink, and also as a backwoods roughneck drink. In reality, it falls somewhere between the two, and how you view it depends on your social status and why you drink it. Whiskey is viewed as a man’s man type of drink, and it lives up to this description, with a unique kick and a distinctive flavor.

These whiskies have been rated on personal preference alone; if you want to know what the International Wine and Spirits Consortium thinks about it, look up the results of their competitions. These whiskies are viewed with drinking in mind, not having a palate for distinguishing the different flavors found in a brand. With this caveat in mind, here are my picks for the top five whiskies in the world:

Jack Daniel’s

As a southern girl, Jack’s is going to be right at the top. Tennessee whiskey, Jack’s is smooth tasting, but has quite the kick. Useful in cooking as well as drinking, Jack’s imparts a unique flavor to southern barbeque and to the sauce.

Jim Beam

The premier Kentucky bourbon. Jim Bean is wildly popular, and with good reason. Jim Beam is one of the oldest distilleries in the US, and produces a smooth, smoky bourbon.

Glenlivet Scotch


Photo credit: mandritoiu /

American whiskey is usually classed as the country roughneck type of whiskey, and Scotch whiskey is usually classed as the elegant and upscale drink. Glenlivet, in production since the 1800s, epitomizes Scotch whiskey. Out of my price range, it’s still the number one Scotch in the world, with the awards to back it up.

Johnnie Walker

Probably the most popular Scotch in the world. Johnnie Walker is an excellent choice; a blended Scotch, with different grades, Johnnie Walker has two grades (label colors) that fit my price range easily, giving me the opportunity to have real Scotch without breaking my wallet.

Jameson Irish whiskey

Jameson is a blended whiskey, produced by blending single malt whiskey, single pot still whiskey, and grain whiskey. As one of the oldest whiskies in Ireland, Jameson maintains its place among the top whiskies in the world.

Whiskey is not to everyone’s taste; for those who appreciate its finer points, this list of whiskies will give you a start on making your own personal ‘best’ list by giving you five great whiskies, of differing types, to sample and make your own decisions about whether they belong on the list, or where they should be placed. Enjoy your journey into the world of whiskey!