Hopefully you’ve finished sipping your way through last year’s World Whiskies Award winners, because 2017’s list is out, with new names and upsets to explore and familiar whiskies to reacquaint yourself with. Just in time for a nice spring night spent on your or a friend’s porch. Get your hands on what you can and see if you don’t agree with the World Whiskies Awards judges.
You can see the highlights below. Check out the rest of the winners here.
If article popularity is anything to go by (and it is), the whiskey you guys care most about right now is bourbon. As you’d expect, the category is dominated by American bourbons, with John J. Bowman coming out on top. It’s not an unexpected result, an American distillery taking home the title, but it does give us one more bourbon to add to our ever growing bucket list.
Japanese whisky is an absurdly fast growing industry, and one that we’ve been following for a little while. Where years ago, they weren’t winning anything, the past few years have seen them unseat a number of scotches as best in their category. This year, the Japanese run away with no fewer than three top spots, with Fuji-Gotemba Single Grain being named the World’s Best Grain.
More and more lately we find ourselves picking up bottles of rye whenever we’re browsing in a liquor store. There’s a spice to it no other whiskies have, making it great for mixing or sipping without the judgement that comes with scotch or bourbon. A.D. Laws Secale Straight Rye is definitely on our shopping list now too, because if we’ve liked everything else we’ve tried this much, there’s no way we’re missing the best in the world.
Even if the Japanese are chipping away at the Scottish throne, don’t expect them to be completely unseated. The Scottish know what they’re doing and they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. Case in point, Johnnie Walker’s victory in the Blended Malt category with their Green Label bottling. Scotch aficionados have the Walker color hierarchy memorized and they know you don’t get much better than Green. Or rather, you can’t get any better than Green.
Another one of Japan’s best whiskies, the Suntory Hibiki was named the World’s Best Blended Whisky. This impressive feat means it beat out Jameson Black Barrel, Johnnie Walker Double Black, and Breckenridge Port Cask Finish, all of them juggernauts in the whisky world. If that’s who they’re beating, we’ll have to put some serious effort into getting our hands on a bottle.
This category easily has the most contenders, with nearly two dozen countries competing for the top spot. Distilleries from the U.K., U.S., Australia, Ireland, Holland, Denmark, India, Japan, South Africa, and more vie for the top, with each country also competing to be their own domestic best. With that many contenders, Craigellachie is a truly impressive whisky and we’re thinking that 31 year aging has a lot to do with it.