2020 Whisky Bible Winners

That time of the year again where one man’s dedication to trying whisk(e)y comes in the form of The Whisky Bible. Weather you agree with him or not, Jim Murray has built a very big brand on trying endless amounts of whisky and publishing his findings for all to see. It’s good fun reading through it and coming across sometimes amusing anecdotes about his experience with certain whiskies. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be taken as gospel, just enjoy it for what it is…one man’s opinion and his journey through the whisk(e)y world.

Kentucky is the definitive winner here! This year the top 3 spots have been awarded to all American whiskies! Not only that, but all from the Sazerac company.

2020 World Whisky of the Year
1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Second Finest Whisky in the World
William Larue Weller 125.7 Proof

Third Finest Whisky in the World
Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye 128.8 Proof

The 1792 being crafted in the Barton 1792 distillery, while both the William Larue and Thomas Handy are produced at Buffalo Trace.

“To not only be named World Whisky of the Year but also to have our whiskeys named second and third finest is astonishing,” said Mark Brown, Sazerac president. “We could not be happier or more motivated to continue to strive for perfection in the American whiskeys we make.”

The team here at Whisky Merchant happen to think these 3 whiskies are, in fact, delicious! If they should have the top 3 spots or not, that’s for you to decide. I couldn’t number my top 3 favourite bottles, because like most other things, it just comes down to the mood I am in!

Have a gander at the list of other winners and see how it compares to your tastes!

Single Cask of the Year
Nantou Distillery Omar Cask Strength Bourbon Cask

  • 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): The Macphail 1949 China Special Edition 1
    Scotch Blend of the Year: Ballantine’s 17 Years Old
    Scotch Grain of the Year: The Last Drop Dumbarton 1977
    Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year: Glen Castle Blended Malt 1990
    Single Malt Scotch No Age Statement: Glen Grant Rothes Chronicles Cask Haven
    10 Years & Under (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant Aged 10 Years
    10 Years & Under (Single Cask): Annandale Man O’ Sword
    11-15 Years (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant Aged 15 Years Batch Strength
    11-15 Years (Single Cask): Signatory Vintage Edradour Ballechin 12 Year Old
    16-21 Years (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition
    16-21 Years (Single Cask): Whisky Castle Glen Spey Aged 21 Years
    22-27 Years (Multiple Casks): Glenmorangie Grand Vintage 1996
    22-27 Years (Single Cask): The Whisky Shop Glendronach Aged 26 Years
    28-34 Years (Multiple Casks): Ben Nevis 32 Years Old 1966
    28-34 Years (Single Cask): Gordon & MacPhail Inverleven 1985
    35-40 Years (Multiple Casks): Port Ellen 39 Years Old
    35-40 Years (Single Cask): Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1978 W18
    41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks): Glen Scotia 45 Year Old
    41 Years & Over (Single Cask): The Macphail 1949 China Special Edition 1

    No Age Statement (Standard): Ballantine’s Finest
    No Age Statement (Premium): Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare
    5-12 Years: Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Years Old
    13-18 Years: Ballantine’s 17 Years Old
    19 – 25 Years: Dewar’s Aged 25 Years The Signature
    26 – 50 Years: The Last Drop 56 Year Old Blend


    Irish Whiskey of the Year: Redbreast Aged 12 Years Cask Strength
    Irish Pot Still Whiskey of the Year: Redbreast Aged 12 Years Cask Strength
    Irish Single Malt of the Year: Bushmills Aged 21 Years
    Irish Blend of the Year: Jameson
    Irish Single Cask of the Year: Kinahan’s Special Release Project 11 Year Old


    Bourbon of the Year: 1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
    Rye of the Year: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac 128.8 Proof
    US Micro Whisky of the Year: Garrison Brothers Balmorhea
    US Micro Whisky of the Year (Runner Up): 291 Barrel Proof Colorado Whiskey Aged 2 Years


    No Age Statement (Multiple Barrels): 1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
    No Age Statement (Single Barrel): Colonel E H Taylor Single Barrel Bottled In Bond
    9 Years & Under: Russel’s Reserve Single Barrel
    10 – 12 Years: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Aged 12 Years
    11 – 15 Years: Pappy Van Winkle 15 Years Old
    16 – 20 Years: Michter’s 20 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon
    21 Years & Over: Pappy Van Winkle 23 Years Old


    No Age Statement: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac 128.8 Proof
    Up to 10 Years: Knob Creek Cask Strength
    11-15 Years: Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 Years Old
    Over 15 Years: Sazerac 18 Years Old
    Single Cask: Knob Creek Single Barrel Select


    Canadian Whisky of the Year: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye


    Japanese Whisky of the Year: Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt
    Single Malt of the Year (MB): The Matsui Mizunara Cask


    European Whisky of the Year (Multiple): Thy Whisky No. 9 Bøg Single Malt (Denmark)
    European Whisky of the Year (Single): Penderyn Single Cask no. M75-32 (Wales)


    Asian Whisky of the Year: Nantou Distillery Omar Bourbon Cask no.11140804 (Taiwan)
    Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year: Bakery Hill Peated Malt Cask Strength (Australia)

    Westland Whiskey

    We just received a couple bottlings from Seattle’s Westland Distillery. They were awarded Craft Producer of the Year by Icons of Whisky in 2016 and Master Distiller/Blender of the Year in 2018. They are passionate about creating authentic American single malts, and establishing a unique cultural identity. They have no desire replicate or copy Scotch.

    Even though they have been around for a little while, they are new to us. The team here always enjoys receiving out the ordinary bottles! Once we are able to crack some open, we will report back. This may also add to the list of excuses to visit Seattle!!

    In the meantime, grab a bottle and try for yourself!

    American Oak: http://bit.ly/2Vccdnq

    The distillery’s flagship whiskey and a part of their core range. Combining their signature five-malt barley bill and brand new American oak casks, they are creating something truly their own! Like Scotland pulls styles from their regions, this American Oak is a true reflection of the Pacific Northwest!

    NOSE: Lemon and orange custard, waffle cone, crème brûlée, chocolate custard, jasmine.
    PALATE: Rich fruit, Rainier cherries, Swiss chocolate, almond, bananas, cream, Turkish coffee.

    Sherry Wood: http://bit.ly/2IlRhoS

    Created in Scottish fashion. Using their five-malt spirit, they fill hogsheads and butts sourced from the same regions that Scotland acquires theirs. Westland does something more unusual and has their sherry casks shipped whole. They say it creates a much more vibrant sherry character, but still allows the barley notes to shine through!

    Nose: Honey-dipped oatmeal raisin cookies, maple syrup, banana pancakes. 
     Kiwi, maple syrup, raisins, sweet cookies, pastries, stewed yellow fruits. “