Four Unique Whiskies To Ease Newbies Over To The Dark Side

I have been drinking Jack Daniel's, Oban, & Four Roses for years now, and I thought it time to expand my palate and add more unique expressions to my vocabulary. I got up close and personal with a few global and local brands at the Whiskies of the World expo to share four brands that anyone curious about expanding their whiskey palate should explore. Tread lightly young Jedi. Most of these were so smooth that they could easily lead to a sneak attack. Always drink responsibly. 


Suntory Whisky Toki ( ~$39.99 depending on your region)

Meaning time in Japanese, Toki honors a timeless blend of whiskies from the House of Suntory’s globally acclaimed Hakushu, Yamazaki and Chita distilleries. This was hands down my favorite of the night. It's new to the market, so once I find it, it will be well stocked. Its smooth, subtly sweet flavor with a hint of spice had me coming back for more. 5th Article 1887 (not suggested for a beginner) is the only other spirit that has had me entranced at a sampling event. I would sip Toki neat or as a highball with sparkling water. 


Cooper's Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey ( ~$22.99 depending on your region

From the same parent company to Woodford Reserve + Jack Daniel's, Cooper's is a smooth sipping expression that lends to being experimented with in mixed cocktails. Its oaky sweetness is smooth enough to sip on the rocks, but take a peek at their cocktail recipes to see the limitless possibilities to ordering this whiskey. It's another newbie to the scene, so it may or may not be in your local area right now..


TazaRay (Contact Dalton Distillery for more information on where to purchase)

TazaRay Sunflower Spirits are gluten free expressions produced from malted sunflower seeds and malted corn being incorporated into their distillation process. Aged in bourbon barrels, TazaRay has a light cinnamon flavor that would be a great alternative for fireball and flavored spirit advocates. Get adventurous by experimenting with adding TazaRay to your Kentucky Mule, whiskey sour, or sipping it on the rocks.


Brenne ( ~$71.00. Click HERE to see where you can purchase online)

Another expression that has me hunting for more is this blueberry deliciousness. I was sold on Brenne Whisky's smell and flavor of sweet blueberries. Sip easy on this fruit-forward whiskey, as you may or may not begin to think it's wine. Created by boss babe Allison Parc, Brenne is aged in french oak + cognac barrels, producing a delicately smooth French single malt whiskey. Every bottle purchased may taste slightly different from the previous bottle because Brenne Estate Cask does not blend whiskey barrels. The aging of the barrels will also depend on how long the Cognac was previously in the barrel. I'll be sipping adventurously with Brenne Manhattans and champagne cocktails this holiday season!

Whiskey doesn't always have to burn a hole in your chest. I highly recommend these expressions for their unique flavor profiles and smooth finishes. If any of these expressions are not available at your local spirits store, ask the clerk if it would be possible to get it in stock for you!

Comment below your go-to spirit(s).