Whisky of the Year Awards 2019

Hello and welcome to the prestigious and very first Why Whisky – Whisky of the Year Awards!

A few basics of the awards; it’s based on whiskies I have had this year, not necessarily ones that have been specifically released this year; although a couple may feature.

Whiskies that have been ‘entered’ into one category cannot compete in another category; except for the grand prize of Overall Whisky of the Year.

That’s pretty much it! So without further ado; here are the awards!

Non-age Statement Whisky of the Year

The Nominations. . .

Bunnahabhain Stiuiredair

Kingsbarns From Dream to Dram

Macallan Concept No.1

Glenfiddich Fire and Cane

And the winner is. . . Bunnahabhain Stiuiredair! This was a close run thing but the Bunna just edges it thanks to that smoky sweetness that oozes out of the glass and onto your palate; a lovely sipping whisky that you can enjoy all night long.

An honourable mention to the Kingsbarns too; as a first release from a new distillery it amazed me. Definitely one to look out for in the future.

Blended Whisky of the Year

The Nominations. . .

The Six Isles Blend

Antiquary 12 Year old

Douglas Laing’s Rock Oyster

And the winner is. . . . The Antiquary 12 Year Old! No prizes if you guessed this one; a fantastic light blend and at a very affordable price point

Independent Bottling of the Year

James Eadie Benrinnes 13 Year Old

Douglas Laing Single Minded Craigellachie 10 Year Old

Cadenhead’s Bladnoch 26 Year Old

Fishermans’s Retreat Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 Year Old
And the winner is . . . The Fisherman’s Retreat Bruichladdich!! Cask Strength; interesting and quality cask choice; beautiful flavours. Hard to argue really.

12 Years Old or less Whisky of the Year

The Nominations are . .

Benriach 12 Sherry Wood
Glenfarclas 9 Year Old Southport Whisky Club  Edition
Ballechin 11 Year Old Bordeaux Cask
And the winner is. . . Glenfarclas 9 Year Old Southport Whisky Club Edition!!
It was a close call between this and the Ballechin, in the end it came down to the old choice of if you could only have one forever more; had to be Glenfarclas for me

The rather convoluted Over 12 but less than 20 year old Whisky of the Year

Oban Distillery Edition
Rosebank G&M 15 year old
Tomatin 14 Year Old Port Cask
And the winner is. . .

Rosebank 15!!  They say don’t meet your heroes; in the case of this Rosebank I’m so glad I did! Light and well balanced a true icon of the lowlands; I hope teh rebuilt distillery can live up to this.

The Less Convoluted 20 Years old and over Whisky of the Year

The Nominations are…

Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old DL Bottling
Aberlour 25 Year Old Whisky Broker Bottling
Glenfarclas 30 Year Old
Imperial 1997 G&M 20 Year Old

And the winner is. . .

Imperial 1997 G&M 20 Year old! Yes there’s older bottlings I could have picked; but older doesn’t necessarily mean better. If you ever see this anywhere, buy it; a rare gem

Experience of the Year. . .

The Nominations are. . .

The Fisherman’s Retreat, Bury
The Ensign Ewart, Edinburgh
Southport Whisky Club, Remedy, Southport
And the winner is . . .
Southport Whisky Club! Honestly all the nominated places are great for whisky drinkers; but the experiences I have been able to have being part of a whisky club for the first time this year are unreal. I’ve learnt so much, drank some amazing whisky; made friends along the way and I’ve supported a local business too by buying my bottles from them. If there is one piece of advice I can give to you; it is to join a whisky club near you.

And finally the coveted; highly prized; Whisky of the Year award. Obviously; there is no actual prize; more of a great job thumbs up from me; but who wouldn’t want that ?

Without further ado. . .

In 3rd Place….

Rosebank 15 Year Old G&M Bottling.
It’s a bit of a unicorn now as it is pretty rare to find; but for me it epitomises a Lowland whisky more than any other; light, floral and cereal notes; a great summer time dram

In 2nd Place. . .
Glenfiddich Fire and Cane
I Like rum; I like peat and I like Glenfiddich. Not hard to see why I picked this one; great to share with friends who are relatively new to Scotch and you don’t want to scare them off with too much smoke; the sweetness of the rum flavours rounds this off beautifully.

In 1st Place. . .
Glenfarclas 9 Year old Southport Whisky Club Bottling
A more than worthy winner. That little bit extra abv than the standard 10 yo bottling gives the sherry influenced spirit an extra gear that really drives the flavour home on your palate. I know a lot of hard work went into getting this bottling sorted too and its results really do show in the final product

Anyone who’s interested in picking up a bottle; Vino Edinburgh may still have a few in stock if you’re quick!

Merry Christmas everyone, Slainte!