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World Whiskies Awards 2008 - The Winners

World Whiskies Awards 2008

This year's competition saw more than 200 whiskies do battle over three tasting rounds for the coveted titles of the best whiskies in the world. It has been a hard fought competition this year, with some interesting and surprising results. 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, which increased from last year's competition, 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 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 whisky, which were then sent back to the editorial panel to do battle for the overall titles. The competition featured some eye-opening whiskies and the judges had a hard time separating the very good from the good. The scores reflected this struggle with some whiskies only beating their contemporaries by a few points.

In some categories, particularly if only one whisky entered it was still put through the tasting wringer to make sure it passed the judges exacting standards and was deserving of the award. Our congratulations go to the winners and we hope that you will have fun exploring some of the whiskies that performed exceptionally this year.

 

SINGLE MALT WHISKY

Winner : Yoichi 20 Years Old

Category Winners

World’s Best Highland Single Malt Whisky Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or
World’s Best Speyside Single Malt Whisky The Glenrothes 1978
World’s Best Irish Single Malt Whiskey Bushmills 16 Years Old
World’s Best Japanese Single Malt Whisky Yoichi 20 Years Old
World’s Best Other Single Malt Whisky Privus 05
World’s Best Island Non Islay Single Malt Whisky Talisker 30 Years Old
World’s Best Islay Unpeated Single Malt Whisky Bunnahabhain 25 Years Old
World’s Best Islay Peated Single Malt Whisky Lagavulin 16 Years Old
World’s Best Island Single Malt Whisky Talisker 30 Years Old

Sub Category Winners

Highland 12 and under Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or
Highland 13-20 Old Pulteney 17 Years Old
Highland 21 and over Old Pulteney 21 Years Old
Highland no age Balblair 1989 Vintage
Speyside 12 and under The Balvenie 12 Years Old
Speyside 13-20 The Glenlivet 18 Years Old
Speyside 21 and over The Glenrothes 1978
Speyside no age The Glenrothes Select Reserve
Irish 12 and under Tyrconnell Sherry Finish
Irish 13-20 Bushmills 16 Years Old
Irish no age Connemara Cask Strength
Japanese 12 and under The final vintage of Hanyu
Japanese 13-20 Yoichi 20 Years Old
Japanese 21 and over Ichiro 23 Years Old
Other no age Privus 04
Other no age Privus 05
Other no age Penderyn
Island Non Islay 12 and under Talisker 10 Years Old
Island Non Islay 13-20 Highland Park 16 Years Old
Island Non Islay 21 and over Talisker 30 Years Old
Island Non Islay no age The Arran Malt
Islay Unpeated 12 and under Bruichladdich 12 Years Old
Islay Unpeated 13-20 Bunnahabhain 18 Years Old
Islay Unpeated 21 and over Bunnahabhain 25 Years Old
Islay Peated 12 and under Ardbeg 10 Years Old
Islay Peated 13-20 Lagavulin 16 Years Old
Islay Peated 21 and over Lagavulin 21 Years Old
Islay Peated no age Lagavulin Distillers Edition

BLENDED WHISKY

Winner : Hibiki 30 Years Old

CATEGORY WINNERS

World’s Best Scotch Blended Whisky Hankey Bannister 40 Years Old
World’s Best Japanese Blended Whisky Suntory Hibiki 30 Years Old
World’s Best Irish Blended Whisky Kilbeggan 15 Years Old

SUB-CATEGORY WINNERS

Scotch Blended 12 and under Islay Mist 12 Years Old
Scotch Blended 13-20 Islay Mist 17 Years Old
Scotch Blended 21and over Hankey Bannister 40 Years Old
Scotch Blended no age Dewar's Signature
Japanese Blended 12 and under Nikka From the Barrel
Japanese Blended 13-20 Tsuru 17 Years Old
Japanese Blended 21 and over Suntory Hibiki 30 Years Old
Irish Blended 12 and under Jameson 12 Years Old
Irish Blended 13-20 Kilbeggan 15 Years Old
Irish Blended no age Bushmills 1608

BLENDED MALT WHISKY

Winner : Blue Hanger 3rd Release 30 Years Old

CATEGORY WINNERS

World’s Best Scotch Blended Malt Blue Hanger 30
World’s Best Non-Scotch Blended Malt Taketsuru 21 Years

SUB-CATEGORY WINNERS

Scotch Blended Malt 21 and over Blue Hanger 30
Scotch Blended Malt no age Compass Box Morpheus
Non-Scotch Blended Malt 12 and under Ichiro's Malt Mizunara
Non-Scotch Blended Malt 13-20 Taketsuru 21 Years Old

AMERICAN WHISKEY

Winner : George T. Stagg

CATEGORY WINNERS

World’s Best Canadian Blended Whisky Canadian Club Reserve
World’s Best Bourbon Whiskey George T.Stagg
World’s Best Wheat Whiskey Bernheim Wheat
World’s Best Rye Whiskey Russell's Reserve Rye whiskey

SUB-CATEGORY WINNERS

Canadian Blended no age Canadian Club Reserve
Canadian Blended no age Crown Royal Cask No.16
Bourbon 7 and under Baker's
Bourbon 8 and over George T.Stagg
Bourbon no age Four Roses Single Barrel
Wheat no age Bernheim Original Wheat
Rye no age Russell's Reserve Rye whiskey

NEW RELEASE

Winner : The Glenrothes 25 Years Old

CANDIDATES

The best new release is selected from those proprietary bottlings which havewon a gold medal in Whisky Magazine's tasting section during the year. They were:

Glenrothes 25 Years Old
Benriach 30 Years old
Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1969
Talisker 30 Years Old Special Release

GRAIN WHISKY

Winner : Compass Box Hedonism

WHISKY LIQUEUR

Winner : Wild Turkey American Honey

The nose offers spicy oranges, lemons and cinnamon, like a warmhouse on a winter's day when mum has been baking citrus pies. This is not a cloying liqueur like some on the market but still has a viscous mouthfeel. The spirit glides around the mouth imparting sweet notes of vanilla and citrus. The bourbon is there if you search for it, but it has been tamed a little by the addition of bags of spices and honey. At 71 Proof you get an extremely long and satisfying finish with very little alcoholic burn, but you do get that lovely warming feeling inside. The addition of real honey gives this liqueur a real heart of sweetness that is difficult to resist. Guaranteed to melt any opposition offered by even the most vocal naysayers of whisky liqueurs. ~ Rob Allanson

CATEGORY WINNERS

World’s Best Scotch Liqueur Arran Gold
World’s Best non-Scotch liqueur Wild Turkey American Honey

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