|UK's favorite whiskey an All-American|
In fact, the highest-selling brand in the UK is America's own Jack Daniel's, a Tennessee sipping whiskey that is sort of bourbon. (It's made about the same way, although with a bit less corn in the mash than the average bourbon, and then is filtered through maplewood charcoal.)
The Grocer, an influential UK trade magazine, has just reported that sales of Jack Daniel's in the UK have soared 9.3% in the past year, pushing it past The Famous Grouse as the nation’s most popular whiskey (or "whisky" without the "e" as they insist on spelling it there).
Sales of the six leading blended Scotch whiskies have slumped 4.4% in the same period, with sales of The Famous Grouse alone dropping by 14.9%. Jack Daniel's now is the ninth biggest alcohol brand in Britain, with The Famous Grouse dropping to 13th.
The shift is attributed to a number of factors: younger UK drinkers preferring American products in general; importers and distributors paying more attention to American whiskies which offer them a higher profit margin, and a general drop in prices to the consumer for American whiskies for several years.
And then, of course, there is taste.
Jim Murray, the guru of whiskey rankings around the world, did not put any Scotch on his list of the world’s five best whiskies of 2016, the second consecutive year he has made that decision. He has for a number of years extolled the virtues of American bourbon over Scotch blends, declaring, "The best whisky is coming not from Scotland any more, but from Kentucky.”
Back in 2011, I wrote in my book "Barrels & Drams: The History of Whisk(e)y in Jiggers and Shots" (Sterling Epicure, still available from online book sellers):
"In 2010, Jim Murray's Whisky Bible, the UK top-selling such guide, shocked many people inside and outside the industry by naming 18-year-old Sazerac Rye from Kentucky the world's best whisky/whiskey, elevating it beyond even the UK's beloved Scotches. It topped 3,850 other whiskies that were considered, with Ardbeg Supernova from the Hebridean island of Islay as No. 2 after dominating the awards for the three prior years."