We had a bit of discussion about it in the Issue #63
thread. Note especially Frodo's citation of Chuck Cowdery's comments.
I would agree that surveying 155 bottles and declaring one "the best in the world" is a bit of an overreach. But even if they surveyed 3,000 bottles, I wouldn't take the results very seriously. (You could scan Murray's Whisky Bible and pick out the high scores for a survey, if you wanted to...well, that's the beginning of a much-too-lengthy and already well-traveled digression.) I don't think it fosters too much discussion amongst those of us here, because we already talk about whisky all the time, and don't really need the stimulus. It's a blip on an already-full radar screen. As well, most of us have our own ideas about what we enjoy most, and how to judge and enjoy whiskies.
I don't mean this to sound cynical, but the publishers of a specialist magazine like Whisky must constantly be thinking up ways to fill their pages, with an eye toward attracting new readers, as well as holding the interest of longtime ones. Something like this is an eye-grabber, and if it doesn't particularly resonate with me, it strikes me as preferable to putting, say, Madonna on the cover (which has been done). Cover stories especially are designed to attract attention on the newsstand. Those of us who know the kind of goodies we are going to find inside don't need to be drawn in by such, and it may be sometimes that the cover story is the one we find least interesting. If I don't much care what a distinguished panel selects as "best in the world" from a choice of 155 bottles, I at least appreciate that the focus is on whisky, and not on celebrity worship.