Japanese whisky may have broken Scotland’s hold on the international market, but it’s not the only Asian dram worth sipping. Asian countries, especially India, have long consumed their fair share of whisky (which is quite a slice of the global pie when you consider population), and local brands have sprung up to compete with imports. Now that brands like Yamazaki and Hibiki have caught the attention of the American drinker, high-end whisky brands from elsewhere in Asia have sailed to U.S. shores, further redefining the global whisky landscape and proving once again that good booze can be made anywhere there are dedicated distillers.
The two countries leading the charge are India and Taiwan. Their subtropical climates, local grains and local water sources imbue regional flavors into a familiar spirit. The hot weather—which often heats distillery storehouses to over 100 degrees—speeds up the interaction between the wood and the whisky, allowing distillers to age whisky twice as quickly as their Scottish and Japanese competitors. Here, five great brands of Asian whisky that don’t come from Japan.