Scotch returned to the top three whiskies of the year named in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017 – but was beaten to the top spot by World Whisky of the Year Booker’s Rye.
The 2017 edition of the Whisky Bible, published today, names Booker’s Rye 13 Years, 1 Month, 12 Days as its World Whisky of the Year, followed by runner-up Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition, part of the the Speyside distillery’s revamped range and yet to be officially released.
In a top three (as opposed to last year’s top five), William Larue Weller (67.3% abv) Bourbon took third spot. Scotch has failed to make the top five for the past two years, with Canada’s Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye taking top spot last year.
‘The only whisky that was a realistic threat to the Booker’s Rye was the Glen Grant 18-year-old, a single malt unveiled for the first time in 2016,’ Murray writes in his introduction.
‘What was so remarkable, was that you had the feeling that there could be more to come from this malt, that it was coasting and performing well within itself. It is a 43% volume dram; unleashed at 46%, non-chill-filtered, and Scotland might well be champion again.’
Glen Grant picked up a number of awards in this year’s Whisky Bible, including Scotch Whisky of the Year, Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Casks) and Single Malt Scotch, 16-21 Years (Multiple Casks) – all won by the 18-year-old; and Single Malt Scotch, 10 Years & Under was won by Glen Grant 10-year-old.
Two independent bottlings, Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1952 and Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 65 Year Old, were also recognised.
In a good year for Speyside, Glentauchers also won two awards and Macallan one, all for independent bottlings.
The Booker’s Rye began life as an experiment by Booker Noe, grandson of Jim Beam, shortly before his death in 2004, and scored 97.5 out of 100 in the Whisky Bible.
Praising its ‘brain-draining, mind-blowing’ nose and finish of ‘amazing depth’, Murray calls it a ‘staggering example of a magnificent rye, showing exactly what genius actually means. A very big, unforgettable whiskey from a very big, unforgettable man’.
Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017 is published today and priced at £12.99.
Full list of winners: Scotch whisky
Scotch Whisky of the Year: Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition
Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition
Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask): That Boutique-y Whisky Company Macallan 25 Year Old Batch 5
Scotch Blend of the Year: The Last Drop 1971 Blended Scotch Whisky
Scotch Grain of the Year: Whiskyjace Invergordon 24 Year Old
Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year: Compass Box Flaming Heart 15th Anniversary
SINGLE MALT SCOTCH
No Age Statement (Multiple Casks): The Glenlivet Cipher
No Age Statement (Runner-up): Port Askaig 100 proof
10 Years & Under (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant Aged 10 Years
10 Years & Under (Single Cask): Kilchoman 2 Isles Guze Cask Finish
11-15 Years (Multiple Casks): Lagavulin 12 Year Old
11-15 Years (Single Cask): The Single Cask Glentauchers 14 Year Old
16-21 Years (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition
16-21 Years (Single Cask): Scyfion Mortlach 1996
22-27 Years (Multiple Casks): Dalwhinnie 25 Year Old
22-27 Years (Single Cask): That Boutique-y Whisky Company Macallan 25 Batch 5
28-34 Years (Multiple Casks): Port Ellen 32 Year Old
28-34 Years (Single Cask): Cadenhead’s Caol Ila 31 Year Old
35-40 Years (Multiple Casks): Brora 37 Years Old
35-40 Years (Single Cask): Cadenhead’s Glentauchers 38 Year Old
41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks): Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1952
41 Years & Over (Single Cask): Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 65 Year Old
No Age Statement (Standard): Ballantine’s Finest
No Age Statement (Premium): Ballantine’s Limited
5-12 Years: Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year Old
13-18 Years: Chivas Regal 18 Ultimate Cask Collection
19-25 Years: Royal Salute 21 Years Old
26-50 Years: The Last Drop 1971 Blended Scotch Whisky