News | 26 Jan 2018 | Issue 149

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Rest of the world honoured

Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky 2018 hits the halfway stage

Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky awards 2018 has reached the midway point, and the time has come to recognise our winners from the Rest of World stage.

As expected from such a broad area, we have been overwhelmed with the diversity of nominees, whose work is challenging the established regions in the whisky world.

The industry awarded the coveted title of Distiller of the Year to South Africa’s Distell, following its introduction of Bain’s to the UK and Germany and the continued brilliance of Three Ships. Highly commended was awarded to Kavalan Distillery.

Compass Box was voted Brand Innovator of the Year, again pipping Kavalan to the post.

The Cotswolds Distillery edged out Venture Chichibu in Craft Producer of the Year and we eagerly look forward to seeing what the coming years have in store for this distillery.

Kavalan Distillery had cause for celebration as its Distillery Manager Ian Chang will go forward to the global stage of the Icons of Whisky 2018 awards, picking up Distillery Manager of the Year ahead of Takahisa Fujii of Suntory Yamazaki. Distell’s Andy Watts picked up the title of Master Distiller/Master Blender of the year, edging Ichiro Akuto of Chichibu.
Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year was awarded to the Viking Soul that is Martin Markvardsen of Highland Park Distillery, in a tight race with Sam Simmonds of The Balvenie. World Whisky Brand Ambassador of the year for the Rest of World region was awarded to Dave Worthington of That Boutique-y Whisky Company, with Highly Commended going to Dave Mitton of Corby Distillers.

The retailer awards are always closely fought out, with Online Retailer of the Year going to, narrowly from

However in the Single Outlet Retailer category, The Whisky Exchange were not to be disappointed, with its Covent Garden store picking up the plaudits. Whisky Brother from South Africa were awarded Highly Commended in this category.

Visitor Attraction of the Year was awarded to Yamazaki Distillery, with Kavalan Distilery picking up its third Highly Commended award in this round. Alison Dinnie of The Cotswolds Distillery was voted by the industry as Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year ahead of Taichi Sasaki of Suntory Spirits.

Only the American and Indian regional awards remain in the 2018 Icons of Whisky Awards, before each of our winners go head to head for the global title. For more information, visit

2nd Distillers’ Charity Auction in April 2018

The second Worshipful Company of Distillers Auction takes place at Mercers’ Hall in the heart of the City of London on Tuesday 10 April 2018. Hosted by international auctioneer Christie’s, the Distillers’ Auction will include some of the rarest and most collectable whiskies in the world.

With spectacular, unique, lots on offer the auction is likely to generate significant interest from buyers and collectors around the world, and all proceeds will go to alcohol-related education, training of trade personnel and The Lord Mayor’s and City-related charities.

Tickets for the evening, which runs from 5.30 p.m. to 8pm with the auction at 7pm, are £100 each and available from

The passing of two legends

The whisky world in both hemispheres raised collective glasses at the recent passing of two prominent members of the distilling community.

On Islay, tributes were paid to Bruichladdich’s head of communications, Carl Reavey, who was the main voice and author of all things Bruichladdich, and looked after the distillery’s social media, web and PR channels.

Reavey joined Bruichladdich in 2012, but his relationship with the island and the distillery began when he moved to Islay 25 years ago. He and his wife Jan were instrumental in rebuilding the Port Charlotte hotel and many other community projects.

Simon Coughlin, CEO of Bruichladdich owner Rémy Cointreau’s whisky division said in a statement on the distillery website that Reavey was a huge inspiration to many that passed through the gates of the distillery every year.
He continued: “Carl was one of the best, one of the good guys who always had time for others. Never selfish or too busy, always making his time available both in and out of work hours. Carl was totally committed to everything he did, with passion and conviction, he leaves an impossible hole to fill.

“A bon viveur, happy to try any food offered to him, often foraged from the isle he and Jan have called home for over 25 years.”

Coughlin added: “Enthusiasm is a word that will forever be associated with Carl, you simply couldn’t keep him down, always enthusiastic, always smiling and always polite. Never a bad word to say about anyone.” Tributes have also been paid to distilling legend and father of Australian distilling Raymond B Dessert III, known affectionately to all as Spike.
After a visit to Yarra Valley wineries in the early 90s, Kimberley seed farmer Spike decided to start producing spirits on his remote Ord River property north of Kununurra.

Taking advantage of the growing sugar cane industry, he fermented and distilled local cane juice and molasses and matured it in Western Australian wine barrels on his property.

In a statement on Facebook, the Australian Distillers Association said that Spike’s passion for Australian distilling that literally knew no bounds.

The statement continued: “Spike was, and is, a legend. One of the ‘original four’ founding members of the Australian Distillers Association, our treasurer, our yarn-spinner, our ‘true believer’ and frankly, in many ways, a big big part of our heart and soul.”

Chivas searches for the 2018 Masters Global Champion

Applications open for bartenders who creatively capture the spirit of their community

Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury whisky, has launched its search for the 2018 Chivas Masters Global Champion. Now in its fifth year, the Chivas Masters is a global competition that celebrates bartenders who demonstrate cutting-edge skill and creativity and share Chivas Regal’s core values of community, collaboration and generosity.

Launching in 22 countries across six continents, the Chivas Masters offers bartenders a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow their skills in a collaborative environment where they can learn from peers, alumni and industry experts from across the globe. This year, the theme of community will sit at the very heart of the competition, with the national stages challenging participants to produce a Chivas drink that is inspired by someone in their local community. The winner of each of the 22 national finals will go on to the Global Final to represent their market and compete for the coveted title of Chivas Masters Global Champion 2018.

This year’s Global Final will be hosted in the United Kingdom - both in London and at Strathisla distillery in Speyside, the home of Chivas Regal. Through a series of masterclasses, individual and team challenges, the bartenders’ skills and creativity will be tested.

If you think you have what it takes, visit to find out more.
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