Malt Advocate Awards
It’s always nice to see recognition. This is especially the case when the recipient is someone who has deserved the limelight for a while, or just deserves more people to sit up and take notice. Of course, this is skewed by opinion and prejudice, but I’m very happy with the outcome of this year’s Whisky Advocate awards.
In particular, five brands that I have been a huge fan, and champion of for several years have picked up awards. It’s great to see that these have received a tip of the hat that may perhaps push them to audiences that may not have stumbled upon them otherwise.
In particular, I was very pleased to see the following:
Best Japanese Whisky- Chichibu the First. Having been a supporter of Japanese whisky for many years now, it was great to see the newest distillery’s work reach maturity. It showed amazing promise in its youth, but as it has reached 3 years old, and a legal ‘whisky’, it shines like something way beyond its years. I was honoured to host Akuto San in the Whistling Shop and to pass on my best for the coming years. The quality of the produce from his old family distillery- Hanyu is first rate, and it’s great to see this dedication and quality pass into new territory.
Best New World Whisky- Amrut Two Continents. Something I’ve promoted before here, and something I’m glad to do again. Wonderful innovation, and stunning quality. I’ve been championing Amrut in the bar for a while now, and at first it received the same stigma as when I was doing the same for Japanese whiskies all those years ago. The response is the same though- bar the most stubborn, you can’t help but be won over by the quality.
Best Blended Malt- Compass Box, Great King Street. John and co. down at Compass Box fuse everything I love about whisky; Heritage, care, passion, innovation and great attention towards quality liquid. This new blend is a joy. It is an amazing ally within the bar- be it straight or in cocktails, and is a very welcome weapon to overcome that other stigma- that of blended whiskies.
Best Islay- Bruichladdich, Laddie 10. When I went to Islay last I had the fortune to sit with an afternoon with Mark Reynier. Not only was this a wonderful and stimulating discussion as to the position of modern day Scotch, it was an unrivalled opportunity to taste the intricacies of years worth of pioneering innovation. Truly inspiring and bolstering. It’s great to see that care and attention reach something they can truly put their own stamp on- this is 100% produce of their own regime (without older stocks)
Best Cambeltown- Springbank 18. A bottling I haven’t been fortunate enough to sample, but a favourite distillery. Mad and individual, with absolutely stunning, life-affirming drams being produced. The very kind Sukhinder at the Whisky Exchange set me up for financial ruin having sat with him for an evening drinking Springbank from the 60s. It continues to excite me, and a must stock in terms of either a home or bar range of whiskies.