Did you know that Turks had a whiskey until very recently? Sounds very strange doesn't it?

Ankara whiskey has the distinction of being Turkey's first, only and "unfortunately" last whiskey. In this article, I have described the emergence of this whiskey and its slow mingling with the dusty pages of history. Most importantly, I shared my comments about the Ankara whiskey that I just tasted in this article.

How Ankara Whiskey Comes Out?

The story of Ankara whiskey began in the 1960s. By producing Turkey's own whiskey, which was a closed economy in those days, it was aimed to prevent foreign exchange from going abroad and to increase the incentive for domestic goods.

For this purpose, Tekel added a small whiskey section to its Ankara Brewery. When the trials between 1957 and 1964 were successful, whiskey production was started in 1964. The production volume is said to be around 200,000 liters. While this volume remained the same for many years, it was increased to 500,000 liters with the investments made in 2002. Within the scope of the investment, 1000 whiskey barrels of 500 liters were also imported from France.

Grain and rice (at most ratio) were used in the making of Ankara whiskey. Although the use of rice is contrary to the definition of whiskey in the Food Codex today, it is said that rice is preferred both in order to reduce the cost and because of the appreciation of whiskey with added rice in the trials.

In the production process, in which two distillation processes are carried out like Scotch whiskeys, alcohol levels of 30-35 degrees after the first distillation and 72-75 degrees after the second distillation are obtained. Oak barrels were preferred in accordance with the rules of the main whiskey countries for the maturation of the produced alcohol.

After distillation, the alcohol level was diluted with water to ratio and left to mature. Maturation period is determined as 5 years. Although it is not very obvious, this phrase is also on the bottles.

It is possible to find Ankara whiskey in different bottles in the market. “Do all these bottles contain the same whiskey, or do they contain different expressions of the Ankara brand?” Unfortunately, we do not know the answers to their questions.

History of Ankara Whiskey

Although the reviews about it were not very bright, Ankara whiskey took its place on the shelves for a long time. With the abandonment of the closed economy policy in the 1980s, import of liquor became free, and thus many suitable imported blended whiskeys entered the domestic market.

Although Tekel took some actions to combat these imported whiskeys, these efforts were inconclusive. In the following years, the demand for Ankara whiskey and production decreased accordingly.

'This malt whiskey exceeds the quality of foreign whiskeys. But due to the shortcomings of Tekel in marketing, it was not presented to the manufacturer with a good appeal. Now we will give our people the same taste with a European bottle.”

Tekel Chairman and General Manager Sezai Ensari – 2003 / Hürriyet – News by Sefa Özkaya

The production of Ankara whiskey started when Tekel was privatized in the early 2000s. Mey Drink, and later in 2011, the world liquor giant diageoIt ended in the process of being sold to .

The Scottish type stills used in the production of Ankara whiskey were purchased by the Virginia distillery and sent to America.

Ankara Whiskey, which was once on the shelves of all houses and bars, is now very difficult to find in the market. I can say that the ones found are collectible bottles and their prices are quite high.

Ankara Whiskey Tasting Notes

As of my age, I did not have the opportunity to taste this whiskey when Ankara whiskey was still in production and was easily available. But I am very lucky that a close friend of mine shared with me the Ankara whiskey in his whiskey collection so I could taste it.

I feel really lucky to be able to taste this hard-to-find whiskey, which, even if found, probably has an antique value.

Let's get to the tasting notes…

Ankara Whiskey (Turkish Single Malt, abv)

Nose: Sugar and vanilla stand out in the first sniff. Immediately after, there are chemical odors that I can call glue and cleaning material. With a little airing of the glass, vanilla becomes clear. Following that, I got coconut (like Malibu) notes.

Palate: It has a very burning, sharp character and numbs the palate a lot. I can compare it to the numbness in the palate after smoking a heavy cigar.

It is sweet as on the nose, but spice is more prominent. Although not intense, there are also oak, sugar and vanilla flavors.

Finish: It's pretty short. Warm, spicy and very little vanilla.

In general, I can say that I found Ankara Whiskey better than I expected. In that sense, it really surprised me.

I can't say that I enjoy its very spicy and sharp character on the palate. In addition, its unbalanced structure and short finish are its other downsides. However, some aromas and bodily structure on the nose and palate are satisfactory.


Who knows, maybe if production hadn't come to an end, different Turkish whiskey brands would still be in our lives in addition to Ankara whiskey. In fact, whiskeys with different characters would be produced in every corner of our wide geography.

Think about it, elegant and balanced whiskeys are produced in the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, sooty and salty malts are produced in the Black Sea coasts, or light and fruity blends are produced in the Marmara region…

Who knows, maybe Turkey would be one of the countries that pioneered the whiskey culture like Scotland, Ireland or America…


– Bülent Yardimci (2003), “Whiskey cheaper than spirit vs. Yeni Raki”, www.milliyet.com.tr

– Bozkurt Karasu (2010), “Malted memories recovered…”, www.bozzy.org

– Kerim Yanık (2018), “What's wrong with Tekel, it has a taste on the palate.

– Mehmet Yalçın (2017), “Let's drink the water of life too”, www.t24.com.tr

– Sefa Özkaya (2003), “Ankara whiskey with a Scottish image”, www.hurriyet.com.tr

26 Responses

  1. tank

    It's not as bad as it was insulted, I'm glad to hear. I hope I get the chance to try it somewhere one day.

    • & Whiskey

      I've read a lot of negative comments about it too, but it's definitely not as much as it's said... Of course, I must admit that while tasting it, I couldn't be completely objective because it was "Turkish Whiskey", which of course affected my comments positively 🙂

  2. inspiration agile

    Hello, may I know the release dates of the bottles?

    • & Whiskey

      The production of Ankara whiskey first started in the 1960s. I think the bottle I was drinking is from the 80s. There are many bottles from different years.

      • inspiration agile


      • & Whiskey

        Unfortunately I don't know the history of each bottle. I don't think we can find it in any source...

    • G.Yener Mazlum

      I have ankara whiskey there is a picture of a cat on it
      Factory number 12. I bought it from a German lady in Germany.
      It belongs to the year 1961, the price is 5 cents on the bottles.

      • & Whiskey

        It's awesome! Also, getting it from someone working in the factory added an additional value to the bottle 🙂

  3. Ahmet

    Does the state produce whiskey? Did the government produce paper? Did the government produce sugar? At this point, we eat the most expensive meat in the world and import even toilet paper. Let me love the eye of Ankara Whiskey. From where to where…

    • Martini

      Ahmet, you are so right, everything is mafeti. I would have preferred the most suitable wyski Ankara whiskey in terms of price and palate between the years of 88-95. By the way, let's not forget Ankara cognac. Hey years, I wish we could stay local and national like that period.

  4. Ayşe Meltem

    As far as I remember, Ankara whiskey was made in the 50s. We were living in Ankara until 1954, and one evening my father came with Ankara whiskey in his hand, he tasted it with relatives and they didn't like it. Since we were in Ankara at that time, I think it was the 50s.

    • & Whiskey

      Hi! As far as I have learned from all the sources I have read and from the gourmets of the period I have heard firsthand, the years mentioned are always the 1960s. The exact date of starting production is also stated as 1963.

    • Hakan SERTER

      Hello Ms. Ayşe, if you still have Ankara whiskey, I can buy it 0532 6780888 Hakan SERTER

  5. Berkan

    I also have 1, but I do not have the opportunity to open it and taste it, I am thinking of selling it, how much do you think its value is?

    • & Whiskey

      It is difficult to give an exact figure, it is purely a matter of supply and demand… A determined collector can give serious figures. The longer you wait, the more valuable it will be.

      • Muslim Sinan Kok

        It was written on Wikipedia that copper alembics were produced in Gaziantep. As a Gaziantep citizen, I am proud. Antep's copper works are really good.

      • & Whiskey

        Yes, I read this information in Levon Bağış's article. It's really something to be proud of!

    • Hakan SERTER

      Hello Mr. Berkan, if you still have it, I can buy ankara whiskey 0532 6780888

      • Cemil Ozcan

        I have it, Hakan, you can write 05347616893 on watsab

    • Ozgu Gungor

      Mr. Berkan, if you have it, I can take it.

      • Ceyhun

        I still have 1 unopened one with yellow and red tags

  6. luck

    It was a whiskey that we drank with friends many times in 1997 and that we liked very much, and it was also affordable.

  7. Nilay Yilmaz

    The person who can give the most accurate information about the history of Ankara whiskey is Kerim Yanık. I made the last whiskey label in the late 1990s.

    • whiskey

      Yes, I have benefited greatly from Kerim Bey's book while writing this article. Good luck for the label designs 🙂

  8. Ceyhun

    I still have 1 unopened one with yellow and red tag, 😊


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.