Once again, premier palates joined forces to praise and rank the world best whiskies as part of the annual World Whiskies Awards. Serious business without a doubt, it’s this yearly ritual where many a distillery across the globe contributes their finest expressions into the playing field with hopes that their batch places in the event. It’s presented in conjunction with the UK-based Whisky Magazine along with The Drinks Report for our reading pleasure.
This year’s winners again feature brands from right here in the US, Japan, the UK, as well as Tasmania. The most notable contenders, however, were the Japanese, proving once again that Japanese whisky is not only here to stay but a serious contender in the industry. Winners are announced for 14 separate categories of the spirit (such as single malt, blended and white dog) and once crowned, they enjoy an enhanced reputation and validation among fellow distillers; a battle royale of everyone’s preferred spirit. From here, let’s take a look at the winners.
World's Best Blended Scotch
Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve
Bottled at 40% ABV, this fine blended scotch features notes of honey, oak, salted caramel and a touch of kettle corn.
World’s Best Blended Malt
Taketsuru 17 Years Old
Aptly named after the founder of the Nikka Taketsuru range, their 17-year-old expression is a full-bodied whisky filled with depth and balance. Notable flavor profiles include honey, leather, tobacco and dried fruit.
World's Best Canadian Blended
J.P. Wiser’s Dissertation
A rye-forward whisky inspired by their Master Blender’s Ph.D., this award-winning Canadian blend features fine notes of oak, spice, honeycomb and green apple for the discerning palate.
World’s Best Bourbon
1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Full proof bourbon is known for its rich flavor. And this winner is no different, complete with a deep and smoky flavor balanced with notes of sweet vanilla and notes of caramel.
World's Best Rye
291 Colorado Rye Whiskey Aspen Stave Finished
Make no mistake, fine whiskey can be made outside the typical bourbon belt. 291 is one such example, offering a rye whiskey with notes of polished wood, bread, cinnamon and rich oak.
World’s Best Single Malt
Hakushu 25 Years Old
It’s no secret Suntory doesn’t mess around. And their 25-year-old expression is no joke either. Make no mistake, this malt with blow you away.
World’s Best Wheat
Bainbridge Battle Point
What’s better than an organic whiskey? How about an award-winning iteration that was crowned as the world’s best wheat. Needless to say, Bainbridge Battle Point won’t disappoint.
World’s Best White Dog
St. Kilian Distillers
Also known a “white lightning,” white dog whiskey alludes to America’s moonshine days. And with a White Dog now on the whiskey award list, we’re certainly interested to see where this expression heads within the next few years.
World’s Best Blended Limited Release
Ichiro’s Malt & Grain
Brighter than your average whisky, this Japanese expression boasts notes of gentle vanilla, tart fruit, and an enjoyable combo of toffee, pear, and plums.
World’s Best Corn
Balcones True Blue 100
Made from blue corn, Balcones offers a high ABV corn whiskey straight from their Waco, Texas distillery that’s equally delicious as it is flammable.
World’s Best Flavored
Heritage Distilling Brown Sugar Bourbon
We’re not typically ones for flavored whiskey, but with an award-winning Brown Sugar Bourbon on the docket of winners this year, we might just have to give this expression a try.
World’s Best Grain
Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky
Straight from South Africa, Cape Mountain Whisky is aged in first fill bourbon casks for three years before spending an additional two in fresh first fill bourbon casks.
World’s Best Pot Still
Ransom The Emerald
This is a recreation of a famed Irish whiskey from 1865 via a mash bill discovered by historian David Wondrich. A solid find considering this pot still recipe just placed as the world’s best.
World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt
Sullivans Cove American Oak Single Cask HH0351
Based out of Tasmania, Sullivan’s Cove managed to place their coveted American oak-aged expression as the world’s very best. It’s a highly limited edition batch, aged for over 16 years in ex-bourbon hogshead filled casks.