One of the first signs of autumn, along with The Whisky Show, is the thud on the doormat as the latest edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible arrives.
Often controversial but always influential, Jim has yet again spent the last year digging his way through piles of samples to put together the largest set of tasting notes in print form. This year another 1350 whiskies have been added to his tally, with the total (edited to remove historical bottlings) staying steady at 4500 whiskies, all rated and described.
The bit that often causes the most controversy is his selection of the World Whisky of the Year and two runners up, but this year he’s played it safe, with exactly the same whiskies as he picked two years ago, although in a different order.
Unfortunately for punters, Buffalo Trace release their perennially award-winning Antique Collection in the Autumn, missing the Whisky Bible sample deadline. This means that the awards they win each year are for the previous year’s whiskies. So the 2013 Whisky Bible’s World Whisky of the Year (Thomas H. Handy) and the Second Finest Whisky in the World (William Larue Weller) are from the 2011 release that’s already nearly sold out. Confusing, isn’t it?
That said, any bottle from the Antique Collection is a pretty safe bet for a great whiskey, regardless of the year of release - the range features other Murray favourites Eagle Rare 17yo, Sazerac 18yo Rye and the legendary George T. Stagg, the latter two of which are previous winners of the World Whisky of the Year in their own right.
If you want to get in ahead of the curve for next year we do have the 2012 editions of Thomas H Handy, William Larue Weller and George T. Stagg over on the Whisky Exchange website, as well as a list of all of the entries that we have from over the years…
So, without further ado here are some of the winners:
World Whisky of the Year: Thomas H Handy Sazerac 2011, 128.6 proof
Second Finest Whisky in the World: William Larue Weller 2011, 133.5 proof
Third Finest Whisky in the World: Ballantine’s 17 year old
Japanese Whisky of the Year: Hanyu Final Vintage
Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year: Sullivan’s Cove Single Cask HH0509 (We don’t have this single cask but we do have some of their other whiskies)