Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible is the world’s leading whiskey guide. Each edition contains roughly 4,500 detailed, professionally analysed tasting notes on the world’s leading and lesser known whiskies.
According to Murray, one of the world’s leading whiskey critics, Scotch malt whiskey is now being outmatched by “vastly improved” American brands.
Murray says generally speaking, bourbon has overtaken Scotch, and the best whiskey is coming not from Scotland any more, but from Kentucky.
“Everyone automatically thinks that the best whiskey is made in Scotland, but there are too many bad casks rattling around,” he told The Telegraph.
Buffalo Trace, a bourbon distillery, is “arguably the best distillery in the world”, Murray said, and argued that the main reason for the deterioration in Scotch’s quality is the use of sulfur candles to sanitize some barrels.
“The copper pot stills used to distill whiskey remove unpleasant odors. But many whiskies are then matured in Spanish barrels that used to hold sherry, which have often been treated with sulfur candles.”
Murray said this can give the whiskey a “bitter finish.”
Tainted batches can go unnoticed because of the inability of some people to detect the contaminated odor. Another reason for the reduction in quality is the use of caramel as a coloring agent.
Murray points out that Bourbon, by contrast, is matured in virgin oak casks, which do not require sulfur treatment, and the industry is banned from using caramel.
Rosemary Gallagher, the spokeswoman for the Scotch Whiskey Association, predictably disputes Murray’s view by stating the obvious: “This is really about Jim Murray’s personal taste.”
In the spirit of furthering Murray’s view, we’ve listed 10 top bourbons from our article, “Whiskey: The Essential Guide.”
Top 10 Most Popular Bourbon Brands
10) Jim Beam Whiskey
Extremely popular and made the list on quality for price alone..
9) Elijah Craig Whiskey
No one can ignore the quality for the price.
8) Old Rip Van Winkle Whiskey
A strong whiskey at 107 proof, but not lacking in taste. This whiskey has a great color.
7) Wild Turkey Whiskey
An extremely popular whiskey. It’s also offered in a 101 proof bottle. This whiskey is a best seller and well known all over the country.
6) Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
This is one of the most popular whiskeys in the world. There always seem to be wild party stories associated with Jack.
5) Blanton’s Whiskey
This whiskey has a great flavor that teases with Vanilla and Caramel.
4) Woodford Reserve Whiskey
This is argued by many whiskey lovers as the best whiskey for the price. This whiskey is premium, delicious and light.
3) Four Roses Whiskey
The best retained Whiskey secret in America. This whiskey used to be very hard to find, but it’s slowly becoming more achievable in the states. The taste of this whiskey has an edge to it and is a very close runner for the top location.
2) Knob Creek Whiskey
Yet another powerful fan favorite and had a classy sense to it. Knob Creek is wealthy and dark and sturdy (100 proof). This Whiskey is quality and you may need to shell out additional money for it then other whiskeys.
1) Maker’s Mark Whiskey
This bourbon is on everyone’s top rated 3 for American Whiskeys. If you wish to try out great whiskey and don’t know much, start right here.