The World Whiskies Awards is the most prestigious yardstick by which the beloved brown spirit is measured. Each year, the list of nominations (and subsequent trophies for first place) has the ability to ensure a boutique distillery puts its name on the map (and simultaneously runs out of stock), or to remind imbibers the world over why they love their old favourites in the first place.
This year’s results show a balance between big-name distilleries and blenders, and smaller producers looking to make a name for themselves. Names like Johnnie Walker are ubiquitous; they’ve earner their stripes and continue to sell great whiskies, worthy of their place on the top shelf. Lesser-known labels like 1792 and Ichiro’s have come up from the rear to surprise larger producers, by taking out top spot in their respective categories, despite their lower production levels (and, in some cases, cheaper price tag).
There’s also a diverse cross-section of countries and whisk(e)y producing regions, showing that Scotland, Ireland and Kentucky aren’t the only two places who know their way around an oak barrel anymore. Japanese whisky continues to feature heavily, which is no surprise, and several different distilleries from the greater USA (i.e. not just Tennessee or Kentucky) have been included, which shows how much boutique distilling has taken off.
Australia got a firm nod from the seventeen judges once again, with Tasmania’s lauded Sullivans Cove distillery taking out the number one position for World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt. The Cambridge-based boutique distillers also won Best Australian Single Malt with their Double Cask expression.
Full list of winners below:
World’s Best Blended: Johnnie Walker Gold Label – Scotland
World’s Best Blended Limited Release: Ichiro’s Malt & Grain Limited Release – Japan
World’s Best Blended Malt: Taketsuru 17 Years Old – Japan
World’s Best Bourbon: 1792 – Kentucky, USA
World’s Best Canadian Blended: J.P. Wiser’s Dissertation – Canada
World’s Best Corn: Balcones “True Blue” 100 Proof – Texas, USA
World’s Best Flavoured Whisky: Heritage Distilling Co. Brown Sugar Bourbon – Washington, USA
World’s Best Grain: Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky – South Africa
World’s Best Pot Still: Ransom “The Emerald” – Oregon, USA
World’s Best Rye: 291 Colorado Rye Whiskey Aspen Stave Finished – Colorado, USA
World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt: Sullivans Cove American Oak Single Cask HH0351 – Australia
World’s Best Single Malt: Hakushu 25 Years Old – Japan
World’s Best Wheat: Bainbridge Battle Point – Washington, USA
World’s Best White Dog: St Kilian Distillers White Dog – Germany