Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017 winnersBy Nicola Carruthers
Assessing thousands of whiskies across all categories each year, Jim Murray has named what he deems to be the finest expressions in the world. SB presents the spirits claiming the top spots in the Whisky Bible 2017.
Whisky writer Jim Murray has revealed the winners in this year’s Whisky Bible released yesterday, with a rye claiming top spot for the second year running and a Scotch whisky in the top three for the first time since 2014.
Murray has previously given the coveted title to Canadian whisky Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye in his 2015 edition and a Japanese whisky Yamazaki Sherry Cask in the Whisky Bible 2014.
Now in its 14th year, Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017 is seen to be the most comprehensive and thoroughly researched guide to whisky ever produced.
Click through to find out who was crowned the World’s Best Whisky 2017 and the regional winners.
William Larue Weller Bourbon
Claiming third place in the coveted World’s Best Whisky 2017 is US tipple William Larue Weller Bourbon. According to the Buffalo Trace Distillery, pioneer W.L. Weller was the first distiller to produce Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey using wheat instead of rye in the mash bill. His company went on to merge with Pappy Van Winkle’s A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery to form the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, becoming renowned for such brands as W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell and Cabin Still. His legacy lives on with this namesake expression, which boasts notes of baked cinnamon, vanilla, and hints of orange citrus.
Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition
In second place is Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition, the first Scotch on the Whisky Bible podium since 2014. The Speyside malt blew away Murray as he tested 1,241 new samples for the latest edition of his influential guidebook. He said: “It’s the best new offering from the motherland in a few years; a sensational return to form. It is a 43% volume dram; unleashed at 46%, non-chill-filtered, and Scotland might well be champion again.”
Booker’s Rye 13 Year Old
Claiming the top accolade was Booker’s Rye 13 Year Old, praised on its “brain-draining, mind-blowing” nose and finish of “amazing depth”. Murray hails it as a “staggering example of a magnificent rye, showing exactly what genius actually means. A very big, unforgettable whiskey from a very big, unforgettable man”. The Booker’s Rye began life as an experiment by Booker Noe, grandson of Jim Beam, shortly before his death in 2004, and scored 97.5 out of 100 in the Whisky Bible.
Next up are the regional winners…
Canadian Whiskey of the Year – Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
Crown Royal claimed last year’s top spot but qualified as a regional winner in the 2017 Bible. Murray claimed he was “blown away with this whisky’s uncompromising and unique beauty.” It is created at the Gimli Distillery, which sits on the shores of Lake Winnipeg in central Canada.
Irish Whiskey of the Year – Redbreast Aged 21 Years
Another regional winner in the annual book is Redbreast Aged 21 Years – made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, tripled distilled in copper pot stills and aged in a combination of first-fill oloroso Sherry casks and first-fill Bourbon casks. The whisky is described by Irish Distillers as full-bodied with notes of rich dried fruit on the nose with soft vanilla, Sherry nuttiness and fresh fruit nots in a creamy mouthfeel on the palate.
European Whisky of the Year – The English Whisky Co Chapter 14
Next up to claim a spot as a regional winner is The English Whisky Co Chapter 14, aged in Bourbon casks for a minimum of 5 years. On the nose it is described as “tropical fruit salad, dried apricots with very light aniseed. Hints of toffee, bread pudding and fig rolls.”
Japanese Whisky of the Year – Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013
Scooping the coveted number one spot in 2015 and a regional winner in the latest book is Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 described as “near incredible genius”. The Beam Suntory-owned Japanese whisky has been aged in casks that once held oloroso Sherry, and was described by its producers as having a raisin, Muscat, “sweet and sour” flavour.