Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2013

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Can it be another year has gone by? Almost in tandem we have the Diageo Special Releases closely followed by Jim Murray's definitive review of whisky year. Oh, that means the Malt Whisky Yearbook is just around the corner as well!

The influence of Jim's awards are nicely summed up with last year's Old Pulteney 21 year old selling out shortly after publication. While later releases weren't as top notch, the influence was still obvious. Malt fans pick up this release and then scour the internet, which brings us all that little closer, to purchase the winners. So I'll list a couple below and it is an American influence this year. I'm still flicking through this sizeable book, but it is good to see the Ardbeg Day release scoring a mighty 97, and a surprise to release that the Aldi Glenbridge bottling last year warranted 95.5. Not only was that 40 year old a bargain, it seems to be a special Speyside malt as well. 
I have mostly shied away from doing my own tasting notes as I'm honest to admit there are plenty of others out there who do a tremendous job. Rather I'd just say why I enjoy a particular bottle or not, and keep it simple. Perhaps in 20 years time when I gathered enough experience I can do it justice, in the meantime Jim and others are worth reading, discovering and comparing. In his sights this year is the issue of Sherry casks and sulphur, which is welcome as this trend tarnishes many a fine malt. For now, I'll leave you with the winners:

2013 World Whisky of the Year - Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye (128.6 proof)
2nd place - William Larue Weller (133.5 proof)
3rd place - Ballantine's 17 years old

Scotch
Whisky of the year - Ballantine's 17 years old
Single Malt of the Year (multiple casks) - Ardbeg Day
Single Malt of the Year (single cask) - Balblair 1965
Best Scotch New Brand - Dewar House Experimental Age 17 years
Scotch Blend of the Year - Ballantine's 17 years old
Scotch Grain of the Year - SMWS GS.3 Aged 18 years (Invergordon)
Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year - The Last Vatted Malt

Single Malt Scotch
No Age Statement (multiple casks) - Ardbeg Day
No Age Statement (runner up) - Aberlour a'bunadh Batch no.33
10 Years & Under (multiple casks) - Glen Grant Aged 10 years
10 Years & Under (single cask) - SWMS 33.116 Aged 8 years (Ardbeg)
11-15 Years (multiple casks) - Lagavulin 12 years old special release
11-15 Years (single cask) - Berry's own selection Macduff 2000
16-21 Years (multiple casks) - Old Pulteney Aged 17 years
16-21 Years (single cask) - Old Masters Strathmill 21 Years old
22-27 Years (multiple casks) - Highland Park Aged 25 years
22-27 Years (single cask) - Macallan Masters of Photography 1989
28-34 Years (multiple casks) - Benromach 30 years old
28-34 Years (single cask) - the Whisky Agency Caol Ila 33 years old
35-40 Years (multiple casks) - Balvenie Aged 40 years batch 2
35-40 Years (single cask) - Berry's own selection Glen Grant 1974
41 Years and over (multiple casks) - Highland Park 50 years old
41 Years and over (single cask) - Balblair 1965

I might do more award winners later this week! Quite alot to digest above and the book is a real delight of exploration that keeps on giving. 

EDIT: the remainder of the winners are listed here.

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