Awards & Events

World Whiskies Awards

This year's competition saw more than 150 whiskies put through their paces during three rounds of tastings to win the coveted titles of “Best in the World”.
By Rob Allanson
See the full results at again this year’s competition has been incredibly hard fought with some of the winners being separated by very slim margins.Impressively for the second year running in both the Grain and Whisky Liqueur categories, the winners retained their top spots showing great consistancy.There have been intensive rounds of tastings by Whisky Magazine’s independent editorial panel drawn from the best journalists and retailers across the world, and also by industry representatives made up of master blenders, distillers and brand ambassadors.To get to the final results three rounds of blind tastings were held.Round one was conducted by the editorial panel at their homes. The judges were simply sent sample bottles marked with the ABV and category.We split the whiskies up by regions and styles. The entries were then divided up among the judges, who then tasted and marked the spirits out of 10.The highest scoring whiskies in this round gave us the subcategory winners, for instance the Best Speyside Single Malt Whisky 12 Years and Under, which then went forward to the second round of tastings, held in London with some of the best noses in the industry judging them.The winners of this second round gave us our category winners, for instance Best Highland Single Malt whisky, which were then sent back to the editorial panel to do battle for the overall titles.The competition featured some outstanding whiskies and the judges had a hard time separating the very good from the good.In some categories, particularly if only one whisky entered, it was still put through the tasting wringer to make sure it deserved an the award.Alittle different from last year is that we awarded a Best Scotch Single Malt for the whisky that scored the most points during the final round of tasting.Our congratulations go to the winners and we hope that you will have fun exploring some of the whiskies that performed exceptionally this year.WORLD’S BEST WHISKY LIQUEUR WILD TURKEY AMERICAN HONEY
Thick texture, a sweet nose with sherbert lemons, sticky sweet but pleasantly clean
Charles Maclean Bananas, chocolate covered cherries with gooey filling, orange zest. Sweet full bodied front leads to a powdered hard candy finish with a hint of lavender
LeNell Orangey, very sweet. Sugar dominates on the palate, with the same orange note as the nose. Orange peel, hint of spices and syrupy feel
Martine Nouet In-your-face herbal and sweet, almost like children’s cough medicine. Bitter citric notes balance the sweetness so it doesn’t cloy. Not a dram but a digestif
Davin de Kergommeaux Honey candy laced with blue flowers. Corn syrup spiked with chardonnay Liza Weisstuch Orange-honey nose. Pepsin-spice and honey notes make it a pleasing combination for a liqueur
William Dowd CATEGORY WINNERS World’s Best Cream Liqueur – Dunkeld Atholl Brose World’sBest
non-Cream Liqueur – Wild Turkey American Honey WORLD’S BEST GRAIN WHISKY COMPASS BOX HEDONISM
Dry, subtle and austere slowly opening to grainy notes then the soft sweetness of lemon biscuits. Sweet, aged corn liquor with a luxurious oily mouthfeel. Citric notes balance the creaminess. This one shows why blends need grain whisky
Davin de Kergommeaux Fresh clover honey in a crowded, sweaty marketplace. Honey-dipped biscuit, canned pineapple, slightly waxy
Liza Weisstuch Very light aroma; trace of acetone; sweet taste with much US oak influence. Light body and short finish Charles Maclean Fresh, summer in the nose, standing in a corn-field, some sweetness, a bit glutinous in the mouth, leaves a mix of sugar and slight mint
Bernard Schafer Yankee cornbread (to you foreigners means sweet), fresh cream, stoneground corn grits, toffee and light toast
World’s Best Blended Grain Whisky – Compass Box Hedonism
World’sBest Single Grain Whisky – Greenore15 Years Old
World’s Best Japanese Grain Whisky – Suntory Chita WORLD’S BEST NEW RELEASE HIGHLAND PARK 40 YEARS OLD
A stunningly great whisky, one of the finest I’ve tasted for a considerable time Dave Broom (from Whisky Magazine 72) Blinding stuff – the rich fruits and intense smoke make this an irresistible winner. Without a doubt a world class whisky
Dominic Roskrow Medium peat and charcoal, green bananas, stone fruits, especially plum, cayenne pepper. Whereas the nose is smoky, the finish fiery – rather, like a fire that someone is extinguishing with a moss blanket
Liza Weisstuch A touch of coal tar and slight tendrils of smoke; Victoria sponge or Madeira cake and later deep fried batter. Mainly sweet but with hints of burnt sticks – toffee retrieved from the bonfire – and spices to warm the cockles of your heart. Very easy-drinking
Robin Laing A nutty and earthy character. Fungal, rooty with oak shining through. Sweet and chewy maltiness developing on dry spices. Fresh coriander in the finish
Martine Nouet CANDIDATES
The best new release is selected from those proprietory bottlings which have won agold medal in Whisky Magazine’stasting section during the year. They were:
Highland Park 40 Years Old
Glenmorangie Astar
Glenmorangie Signet
Sazerac Rye 14 Years Old
Beautiful balance of flavour that goes on and on with a smooth silkiness. As Billy Idol said: “She cried ‘More more more.’”Very sexy
LeNell Intense malty. A mix of straw and earth, with a ripe note of autumn fruit. A rich combination of fruit and oak on the palate.Perfectly integrated
Martine Nouet This is a rich, full and complex mixture of malts that has been lovingly put together and provides further evidence that this style of whisky can set the pace in the future
Dominic Roskrow New cotton T-shirts and linen tea towels at the start; then puff candy, toffee and melting milk chocolate. Pineapple on polished wood, peach and cigar boxes. Goes down exceedingly easy
Robin Laing Deliberately smooth with no rough edges. Hot and sweet spices in the middle, but everything under control, and there is lots to control. Develops waves of flavour and the fleeting pine moments are spectacular. Very, very drinkable
Davin de Kergommeaux CATEGORY WINNERS
World’s Best Scotch Blended Malt – Compass Box Peat Monster World’s
Best Scotch Blended Malt – Monkey Shoulder World’s Best
Non-Scotch Blended Malt No age–Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries
World’s Best Non-Scotch Blended Malt 21 Years and Over–Taketsuru 21 Years Old WORLD’S BEST BLENDED WHISKY HANKY BANNISTER 40 YEARS OLD
Delicate, light and perfumy. Floral and fruity. Smooth and velvety on the palate with soft spices and sweet oak notes.Perfect balance with sensuous lingering finish. Exquisite
Martine Nouet Know someone who believes that blends can never be as good as single malt? Give them a taste of this. A work of art and a delightful mix of age and beauty
Dominic Roskrow Bold nose with the usual caramel and vanilla plus thyme, leather. Tastes of clover, toast and oak. Loooong finish.
William Dowd Heavy nose with some fruit and a hint of smoke; old fashioned; hint of blackcurrant with water, and in the taste, which is sweet and caramel-like
Charles Maclean Sharp dark fruitiness of cognac-cured cigar tobacco. A tingling spiciness then luxuriant creamy middle with tea biscuits and butter. Caramel, and surprisingly, salt. Good solid whisky
Davin de Kergommeaux Rich, lengthy flavours that even with dilution with water, coat your mouth and keep your tongue titillated for more than 10 seconds
LeNell Gives an impression of opulence, rich and rewarding, with fine leather, tobacco, soft brown sugar and dried fruit. A contemplative dram that deserves full attention
World’s Best Scotch Blended Whisky – Hanky Bannister 40 Years Old
World’s Best Japanese Blended Whisky – Nikka from the barrel
World’s Best Irish Blended Whiskey – Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve SUB-CATEGORY WINNERS
Scotch Blended 12 and Under–Lawson’s Gold 12 Years
Old Scotch Blended 13-20 Years Old – Dewar’s 18 Years Old
Scotch Blended 21 and Over –Hanky Bannister 40 Years Old
Scotch Blended No age–Dewar’s Signature
Japanese Blended No age–Nikka from the barrel Japanese Blended 13-20 Years Old –Hibiki 17 Years Old
Japanese Blended 21 and Over –Hibiki 21 Years Old
Irish Blended 12 and Under – Powers 12 Years Old
Irish Blended 13-20 Years Old–Kilbeggan
15 Years Old Irish Blended No age–Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve WORLD’S BEST AMERICAN WHISKEY THOMAS H. HANDY RYE
Sweet baby Jesus what is this? An extraordinary aromatic nose. The alcohol will sear your tastebuds so add some ice. Spicy. Wild at heart
Dave Broom (from Whisky Magazine 70) Intense, rich, complex. Fig jam, dates, candied chestnut. Lots of Turkish Delight.The same rich feel. The finish is warm and spicy. For those who like it hot
Martine Nouet Rye is kind of fashionable right now and this whiskey gives a good indication as to why. Bursting with juicy flavours but without the cloying sweetness sometimes found in some bourbons
Dominic Roskrow Concetrated full mouth feel that explodes with spices, cinnamon, clove and a bit of acetone. Very long mouth coating of rich maple and tingly spice
LeNell Fudge-dipped cherries, slightly salty. Spiced cocoa and maple, evocative of barbeque. Lingering fire and light, like the streak of a comet’s trail
Liza Weisstuch Closed to start, spicy and minty with water, then oak lactones and pencil boxes; the taste translates the aroma well
Charles Maclean Earthy, vanilla-sweet rye with a tannic astringency. Hot, but defies its ABV and not a good swimmer. The vanilla slowly fades into more earthy and herbal notes. Typical, in-your-facewith- subtle-grain/grass-undertones, great American rye
Davin de Kergommeaux Agreeable smell of wooden boxes containing secrets, fruit tea bags and pipe tobacco. Then it develops into dark toffee and puff candy with the fruit sharpening all the time. Later comes menthol and woody spice. Very rewarding
World’s Best Bourbon – PappyVan Winkle 20 Years Old
World’s Best Wheat Whiskey – Bernheim Wheat World’s Best Rye Whiskey –Thomas H. Handy SUB CATEGORY WINNER
Bourbon No age–Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
8 Years and Over–Pappy Van Winkle 20 Years Old Bourbon 8 Years and Over–George T Stagg
Wheat No age–Bernheim Wheat Rye No age–Thomas H. Handy WORLD’S BEST SINGLE MALT WHISKY HIGHLAND PARK 21 YEARS OLD
An irresistible mix of dark grungey smoke and light sweet fruit. If you could barbecue a tin of Del Monte exotic fruits this is what it would taste like. Stunning
Dominic Roskrow Cedar, forest floor. French toast accompanied by very tannic black tea. Reminds me of amber resin
Liza Weisstuch The mouth bathes in a rich, chocolaty sweetness, then puckers up with the very drying tannic oak. A drop of water turns it into something delightful – juicy and nicely tingling with a long finish
Robin Laing Big, fruity nose, dried fruits, dried herbs; waxy mouthfeel, sweet taste, crystalline sugar; mouth-cooling. A cracker! Charlie Maclean Creamy, very peppery with background smokiness. Warming with harmonious balance of sweet fruit, malt, pepper and cream. Sublime whisky
Davin de Kergommeaux Like an old flowery perfume, some honey sweetness; nice cedarwood notes, good aftershock of some decent smoke. Very nice dram
Bernhard Schafer Full body high octane powerhouse. Oily mouth coating flavour of salt and nuts, iodine leading into minty freshness Heather and sea air on the nose.
LeNell Smoky, peaty top notes. Underlying elements of mint, leather, vanilla
William Dowd Sun heated pebbles. A marine and spicy breeze. Hints of soot, Oysters with a dash of Tabasco. Powerful, uncompromising, wild. Superb
World’s Best Highland Single Malt Whisky Glenmorangie 25 Years Old
World’s Best Speyside Single Malt Whisky Glenlivet Archive 21 Years Old
World’s Best Irish Single Malt Whiskey Tyrconnell single cask
World’s Best Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky Springbank 15 Years Old
World’s Best Lowlands Single Malt Whisky Glenkinchie Distillers Edition
World’s Best Island Non Islay Single Malt Whisky Highland Park 21 Years Old
World’s Best Islay Peated Single Malt Whisky Lagavulin 16 Years Old
World’s Best Islay Unpeated Single Malt Whisky Bunnahabhain 18 Years Old
World’s Best Scotch Single Malt Whisky Highland Park 21 Years Old
World’s Best Other Single Malt Whisky Mackmyra First Edition
World’s Best Japanese Single Malt Whisky Hakushu 25 Years Old SUB-CATEGORY
Highland 12 and Under–Glencadam 10 Years Old
Highland 13-20 Years Old–Glenmorangie 18 Years Old
Highland 21 and Over–Glenmorangie 25 Years Old
Highland No age–Balblair 1990
Speyside 12 and Under–Glendronach 12 Years Old
Speyside 13-20 Years Old–Longmorn 16 Years Old
Speyside 21 and Over –Glenlivet Archive21 Years Old
Speyside No age –Cragganmore Distillers Edition
Irish 12 and Under–Tyrconnell Sherry Cask
Irish 13-20 Years Old–Tyrconnell Single Cask
Irish No age–Connemara peated
Campbeltown 12 and Under–Springbank 100 Proof
Campbeltown 13-20 Years Old–Springbank 15 Years Old
Campbeltown No age–Longrow CV Lowlands 12 and Under–Auchentoshan 12 Years Old
Lowlands No age–Glenkinchie Distillers Edition Island
Non Islay 12 and Under–Arran 12 Years Old Island
Non Islay 13-20 Years Old–Scapa 16 Years Old
Island Non Islay 21 and Over–Highland Park 21 Years Old
Islay Unpeated 12 and Under–Bunnahabhain 12 Years Old
Islay Unpeated 13-20 Years Old–Bunnahabhain 18 Years Old
Islay Peated 12 and Under–Ardbeg 10 Years Old
Islay Peated 13-20 Years Old–Lagavulin 16 Years Old
Islay Peated No age–Ardbeg Airigh nam beist
Japanese No age–Miyagiko
Japanese 12 and Under–Cask of Hakushu
Japanese 13-20 Years Old–Yamazaki heavily peated
Japanese 21 and Over –Hakushu 25 Years Old
Other 12 Years and Under –Three Ships 5 Years Old Other No age–Lark Distillery Cask LD100
Other No age–Mackmyra First Edition