Four Boundary-Crossing Whiskeys with International Pedigrees - The Whiskey Wash

Four Boundary-Crossing Whiskeys with International Pedigrees

The Internet. Air travel. Global trade. The world is getting smaller, and whiskey is following suit. So no wonder we’ve noticed more and more distillers taking advantage of the new flavor profiles created by mingling ingredients from two or more different nations. They’re experimental, unique, and distinctive – just don’t call them hidebound. Here are four boundary-crossing whiskeys to check out for yourself.

Basil Hayden Dark Rye

The latest addition to the Basil Hayden line, Basil Hayden Dark Rye combines straight rye from Jim Beam with Canadian rye whisky, plus a touch of California port-style wine. There’s a clear link to Alberta Distilling’s Alberta Dark Batch, introduced last year, which contains a similar set of ingredients (mostly Canadian rye plus a bit of bourbon and a touch of Oloroso sherry). Opinions are divided, but if you like a smooth, sweet whiskey, you might dig it.

Prizefight Irish Whiskey

This subtle spin on Irish whiskey sees spirit from West Cork finished in rye whiskey casks from Tamworth Distilling in New Hampshire. Prizefight Irish Whiskey’s branding supports that story by celebrating the fighting spirit of Irish-American bareknuckle boxers. Admittedly, it’s a subtle collaboration (heck, the vast majority of Scotch whisky is matured in American ex-bourbon barrels), but it’s a successful one, adding a spicy twist to Irish whiskey’s low-key, grassy flavor profile.

Campfire Whiskey

High West has never been one to shy away from new ideas, and their Campfire Whiskey is proof. It’s a blend of three different whiskeys: bourbon, rye, and peated Scotch, all ranging in age from five to eight years. Their ratio? “Top secret!” It sounds like a cacophony, but surprise, it works.

Virginia Highland Malt Whisky

Virginia Highland Malt Whisky (image via Virginia Distillery Co.)

Virginia Distillery Port Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky

Virginia Distillery is owned by a Scot, and that influence shows through in its whiskies (as well as its choice to eschew the “e” in “whisky”). Its flagship Port Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whiskey mingles whisky made onsite in Virginia with whisky made in Scotland, then finishes the blend in port-style wine casks. Eventually, they’re planning to segue to an all-Virginia malt, but for now, their combination appears to be working, as they’ve picked up top accolades at the World Whiskies Awards the past two years.

About the author

Margarett Waterbury

Margarett Waterbury is a full-time freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Spirited Magazine, Edible Seattle, Sip Northwest, Capital Press, In Good Tilth, Civil Eats, Travel Oregon, Portrait Magazine, Artisan Spirit, and many other publications. She is the former managing editor of Edible Portland, as well as the cofounder and former managing editor of The Whiskey Wash. In 2017, Margarett won the Alan Lodge Young Drinks Writer of the Year award. She received a fellowship for the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in 2017 and 2019. When she’s not reporting stories, Margarett likes helping people use words to make interesting things happen in the world. She consults on communications and marketing projects, helps organizations raise money, and writes commercial and advertising copy for companies and brands with stories to tell. @margarett_maria