Ireland, by a mile. On Monday I proposed a whiskey apocalypse scenario in which you could only drink Irish or Canadian whiskey for the rest of your whiskey drinkin' days. I received answers on the blog and on Twitter, and Ireland was the clear winner with Canada receiving only a few measly votes (Note to Davin de Kergommeaux, you should have voted).
I used Canada and Ireland because, of the major whiskey producing nations, they are the underdogs. They both produce some good stuff but standouts are few and far between and few whiskey aficionados would put either nations' whiskeys at the top of their list. The oversized margin for Ireland may mean that they are closer to the hearts of whiskey lovers, but it may also reflect the fact that in the US, where most of my readership hails from, we don't get much in the way of good Canadian Whisky.
For my part, though, I cast my vote for Canada, and here's why.
Ireland's advantage is diversity. If you chose Ireland, you would have your pick of single malts (both peated and unpeated), blends, pure pot still and even single grain whiskey. What they have in variety, though, they lack in quality. Some of these whiskeys are good, but I'd say I have yet to be blown away by any Irish whiskey; Green Spot is probably my favorite. If I picked Ireland, I worry that I'd spend my days drinking Connemara and wishing it was Lagavulin.
Canada has less diversity. They have one single malt, which I really disliked, and a lot of blends, but recently, we have been seeing Canadian straight ryes that are quite good. Rye Whiskeys like WhistlePig and Masterson's are bold and flavorful, akin to American straight ryes. Now maybe this is cheating a bit because these are American style whiskeys bottled for American companies, but hey, it's my game and these are Canadian Whiskies so I say they count. I guess it comes down to the fact that I'd rather drink a small variety of very good whiskey than a wide variety of mediocre whiskey.
That was fun, I'll come up with some more reader polls for the future; maybe I'll even use the Blogger polling function to make it official. (Wales v. Sweden anyone?)