Once again, the Japanese proves to be a serious contender.
Whisky is some very serious business, so much so that there is a World Whiskies Awards that curates and grades whiskies every year to rank them.
Presented by UK-based Whisky Magazine and The Drinks Report, the award is a yearly affair that sees many distilleries across the globe taking part.
Following many rounds of tasting and ranking, this year’s winners have been announced, and we’re delighted to see a pleasant mix of American, Japanese, Canadian and European labels across the list of 13 separate categories. Once again, the Japanese proves to be a serious contender.
World's Best Grain: Fuji-Gotemba Single Grain 25 Year
Owned by Kirin Group, this distillery founded in 1972 in Gotemba city at the foot of Mount Fuji, presented its first expression as late as 2015 - a whisky produced via continuous still distillation and subsequently put through a second distillation in a kettle. (swipe left for more)
World's Best Bourbon: John J. Bowman Single Barrel
A Single Barrel release from the A. Bowman Distillery, only 100 of this expression were bottled, each aged for no less than 10 years. Triple distilled, rumour has it that this juice originates from the Buffalo Trace Distillery.
World's Best Canadian Blended: Gooderham & Worts
A blend of corn, rye, wheat and barley and bottled at 44.4% ABV, this pours a golden amber colour and greets the nose with notes of honey, toffee, dried flowers, and bubble-gum. On the palate, it is rich, full and smooth, enticing with flavours of sweet floral and stone fruit followed by a medium-length spicy finish.
World's Best Corn: Ironroot Republic Hubris
Made from a rare heirloom red corn, each bottle is handcrafted with a focus on fresh, local, and non-GMO ingredients. Each process of the mashing, fermenting, distilling, barrel-ageing and bottling takes place in Denison, Texas, making Ironroot a true grain to glass distillery.
World's Best Flavoured: J.P Wiser’s Hopped Whisky
Hoping to combine the taste of beer and whisky, J.P. Wiser’s Hopped is a distinctive blend of J.P. Wiser’s whisky and hops for a rich, dark ale finish. J.P. Wiser’s Hopped is made using traditional Canadian Whisky methods, but blended using methods from the brewing industry. At the very end of the process the blended whisky is dry hopped in the same fashion as India Pale Ale beers.
Best Irish Single Pot Still: Redbreast 21 year
This combination of malted and unmalted barley matured in a mixture of bourbon barrels and first-fill oloroso casks is the oldest expression from Redbreast so far. Each sip presents an a rich and complex whisky.
World's Best Rye: A.D. Laws Secale Straight Rye
Aged over four years to meet the standards of the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 that also requires the whiskey be a product of a single season, using the grain of a single season, made by one distiller at a single distillery, and aged at least four years in a federal government-bonded warehouse, this whiskey is then cut and bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV). These rules are even more stringent than the U.S. standards for “Straight Whiskey.”
World's Best Wheat: Bainbridge Battle Point
This single-grain whisky, fermented on estate-grown soft white wheat utilising a unique combination of yeasts usually employed to make Irish and Scottish whiskies is double distilled and aged for 2 years in new, No.3 charred, ten gallon American white oak barrels for flavours of rich and complex vanilla, eucalyptus and sherry, and a nose redolent of fresh barrel char, and a lingering finish with a bit of salt-air brine.
World's Best Blended Limited Release: J.P. Wiser’s Dissertation
This J.P Wiser is known for being blended with exacting care and aged to perfection. A testament to this, J.P. Wiser’s 18 Years Old whisky is a premium Canadian whisky that yields its best flavours when sipped straight, over ice, or with a small amount of water.
World's Best Blended Malt: Johnnie Walker Green Label
Crafted from a palette of Speyside, Highland, Lowland and Island malts and matured for at least 15 years, it delivers all the character of a single malt whisky, but with a greater depth of flavour. Johnnie Walker Green Label is a truly unique blend to savour while you sit-back and unwind.
World's Best Blended: Suntory Hibiki 21 Year
A blend of rare and painstakingly selected mature grain malts aged over 21 years, this expression was aged in key Yamazaki sherry cask and is vatted with other carefully chosen mellow unblended grain malts over 21 years old. It is characterised by a solemn, refined richness and profound, lingering echoes.
World's Best Single Cask Single Malt: Venture Chichibu Whisky Matsuri 2017
The bulk of the malt of this expression comes from an ex-bourbon wood with a top dressing of port pipe-matured whisky. Immensely fruity, only 6,700 bottles were released.
World's Best Single Malt: Craigellachie 31 Year
The most coveted award goes to this big generous Scotch malt released in April 2016 - it impresses with a superb balance between honeyed richness and dry, spicy, toasted oak.