Edward Everett Hale’s 1863 short story The Man Without a Country is the tale of an American Army lieutenant who renounces the United States and is sentenced to spend the remainder of his days aboard a ship, aimlessly adrift with no word of his homeland. Not long ago, a whisky without a country might have met a similarly bleak fate. After all, most drinkers select their whisky precisely by where it was made—be it Scotland, Ireland, the U.S., or elsewhere. Without a country of origin, a whisky has no welcoming compatriots on the liquor store shelf. However, this hasn’t deterred a few enterprising blenders from combining whiskies from different nations in the same bottle. Liberating or treasonous? We’ll let taste be the judge.
Oola Distillery Discourse Series Three Shores—$66, 84 points
The blend: Highland Scotch malt whisky and Canadian whisky combine with Oola’s house-made high-rye American whiskey. The Scotch and Canadian whiskies also receive up to an additional year of aging in American oak barrels before final blending.
Tastes like: Inviting aromas of stewed red fruit, pomegranate, and mint lead to a delicate whisky with stone fruits and white flowers, as flavors of white chocolate and biscotti lend ample sweetness.
Connacht Brothership—$50, 85 points
The blend: A combination of 52% single malt Irish whiskey and 48% American whiskey, both 10 years of age. The American whiskey, made from 99% corn and 1% malted barley, was distilled to a high proof and matured in bourbon barrels, much like Irish grain whiskey.
Tastes like: Grass, cereal grains, flowers, and apricot on the nose. The creamy, fruity palate is more Irish than American. Hints of chocolate and spice on the finish.
High West Campfire—$70, 91 points
The blend: Straight rye whiskey, straight bourbon whiskey, and peated Scotch malt whisky, ranging in age from 5-8 years old, blended, and finished in heavily toasted French and Hungarian oak barrels. The Scotch whisky distillery is a mystery, but Islay fans will find lots to love.
Tastes like: Sizzling rye spice, red fruit, and dark chocolate meet seaweed, salt spray, and peaty goodness. Powerful, yet well-knit, balanced, and beguiling.
Alberta Rye Dark Batch—$30, 87 points
The blend: While liberal labeling laws permit this to be labeled as Canadian blended rye whisky, in reality the spicy Canadian rye comes mixed with 8% bourbon whiskey plus the addition of 1% sherry, contributing to its wonderful dark hue and fruitiness.
Tastes like: Unmistakably sherry-laden with dried and stewed fruit aromas. Light-bodied on the palate with sweet vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, raisins, and prunes. The generous sweetness and proof handle a touch of water nicely.
Ichiro’s Malt and Grain—$115, 87 points
The blend: All the great whisky nations join together in this blend of Scotch, Irish, American, and Canadian, with whiskies aged 3-5 years then aged for an additional 1-3 years in Japan before the final blending with Japanese whisky.
Tastes like: Wonderfully floral—marigolds and gardenias—with peaches, apples, and vanilla married with cereal notes. Elegant with gentle spice.