Whisky Magazine Issue 54
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This year's Icons of Whisky were the toughest yet. Drawing up the shortlists was a nightmare.And the voting in nearly all categories was painfully close. Dominic Roskrowreports
If you're reading this and you're one of the industry personnel invited to vote in this year's Icons of Whisky Awards but didn't bother then shame on you. Because this year, more than any other, it really was a case of every vote counting.
The Icons of Whisky have been held in one form or another for five years now. In that time the awards and categories have been reshaped and in some cases changed altogether. Some have disappeared, only to reappear in another format; for instance, the independent bottler of the year is now the independent bottlers' challenge and takes up about 12 weeks of judging over the summer.
But never has the process of selecting the recipients of the Icons been harder than it was this year.
There is no perfect system to decide these things and because the process is a subjective one, debate will rage for evermore (or at least until next year's nomination process) as to who should have or shouldn't have been put on the shortlist.
Those lists were this year drawn up initially by a small editorial team and then sent for addition and amendment to Europe, America and Japan. The aim was to come up with just six names worldwide in each category, though in one or two cases that became not just difficult but impossible.
It should be obvious, therefore, that just to make the shortlist is a tremendous honour. What made this year so much harder than previous ones – and one can only imagine that it will continue to get tougher still – is the fact that the ...