Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2016 – the winners

168 Comments on Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2016 – the winners

Excitement builds every year about the big winners in Jim Murray’s Whisky BibleLast year, Jim chose Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 as his 2015 World Whisky of the Year, which had an astonishing effect on demand for this now-rare bottle – and boosted the fortunes of the entire Japanese whisky category overnight.

Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2016

Look into my eyes, not around the eyes…

So, who is this year’s winner? For the first time, it’s from Canada: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye. Jim scored it 97.5pts/100: ‘Rye, that most eloquent of grains, not just turning up to charm and enthral but to also take us through a routine which reaches new heights of beauty and complexity,’ he said. ‘To say this is a masterpiece is barely doing it justice.’

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye


Producer’s Tasting Notes:

Nose: Baking spices, cereal, light wood spices.

Palate: Gentle oak note, rich butterscotch, spiced vanilla, develops into soft peppery notes.

Finish: Smooth and creamy.

Jim has increased his World Whiskies of the Year to five, as opposed to his normal three, accompanied by his choice of Single Cask of the Year. Here are the winners:

Jim Murray’s 2016 World Whiskies of the Year

1. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

2. Pikesville Straight Rye

3. Midleton Dair Ghaelach

4. William Larue Weller Bourbon (Bot.2014)

5. Suntory Yamazaki Mizunara (Bot.2014)


Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1957 #2110

This year – just like last year – there are no Scotch whiskies in Jim’s list. And Midleton Dair Ghaelach’s achievement is the first time that an Irish whiskey has finished in the top three.

Jim said: ‘Last year people were shocked when I gave Yamazaki the award – until they tasted it. Then they saw it was not the affront to Scotch they first thought and something truly extraordinary.

‘This year, doubtless there will be many more eyebrows raised because rarely is Canada mentioned when it come to the world’s top whiskies. But, again, I have no doubt people finding the bottling I tasted will be blown away with this whisky’s uncompromising and unique beauty. It certainly puts the rye into Canadian rye.’

You can sign up to be notified when the 2016 edition of The Whisky Bible becomes available here.

The Winners


Scotch Whisky of the Year
Glenfarclas 1957 Family Casks #2110

Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Casks)
Glen Grant 10yo

Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask)
Glenfarclas 1957 Family Casks #2110

Scotch Blend of the Year
The Last Drop 50yo

Scotch Grain of the Year
Clan Denny Cambus 1987 25yo #9320

Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year
Compass Box The Lost Blend

Single Malt Scotch

No Age Statement (Multiple Casks)
Ardbeg Supernova 2009

No Age Statement (Runner Up)
Laphroaig An Cuan Mor

10 Years & Under (Multiple Casks)
Glen Grant 10yo

10 Years & Under (Single Cask)
Saar Gruwehewwel

11-15 Years (Multiple Casks)
Gordon and MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Strathmill 2000

11-15 Years (Single Cask)
SMWS 4.199 (Highland Park 1999)

16-21 Years (Multiple Casks)
Old Pulteney 21yo

16-21 Years (Single Cask)
Old Malt Cask Highland Park 1998

22-27 Years (Multiple Casks)
Glen Moray Port Cask Finish

22-27 Years (Single Cask)
Wemyss Kirsch Gateau (Bunnahabhain)

28-34 Years (Multiple Casks)
Tomatin 1988 25yo Batch 2

28-34 Years (Single Cask)
Glenfarclas 1985 Family Casks #2593

35-40 Years (Multiple Casks)
Tomatin 36yo Rare Casks Batch 1

35-40 Years (Single Cask)
BenRiach 1977 Batch 11

41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks)
Ledaig 42 Years Old

41 Years & Over (Single Cask)
Glenfarclas 1957 Family Casks #2110


No Age Statement (Standard)
Ballantine’s Finest

No Age Statement (Premium)
Ballantine’s Limited

5-12 Years
Johnie Walker Black Label

13-18 Years
Ballantine’s 17

19 – 25 Years
Royal Salute 21

26 – 50 Years
The Last Drop 50 Years Old Sherry Wood


Irish Whiskey of the Year
Midleton Dair Ghaelach

Irish Pot Still Whiskey of the Year
Midleton Dair Ghaelach

Irish Single Malt of the Year
SMWS 118.3

Irish Blend of the Year
Powers Gold Label


Bourbon of the Year
William Larue Weller 2014

Rye of the Year
Pikesville Rye 110 Proof

US Micro Whisky of the Year
Notch 12

US Micro Whisky of the Year (Runner Up)
McCarthy’s Batch U14-01


No Age Statement (Multiple Barrels)
William Larue Weller 2014

No Age Statement (Single Barrel)
Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project Barrel 20

9 Years & Under
Booker’s Bourbon 63.95%

10-17 Years (Multiple Barrels)
Eagle Rare 17yo 2014


No Age Statement
Thomas H Handy

Up to 10 Years
Pikesville Straight Rye 110 Proof

11 Years & Over
Sazerac 18yo 2014


Wheat Whiskey of the Year
Parker’s Heritage 13yo / Release 8


Canadian Whisky of the Year
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye


Japanese Whisky of the Year
Yamazaki Mizunara 2014 (Japan only)

Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Barrels)
Yamazaki Mizunara 2014 (Japan only)

Single Malt of the Year (Single Barrel)
SMWS 119.14


European Whisky of the Year (Multiple)
English Whisky Co. Chapter 16 / Peated Sherry Cask

European Whisky of the Year (Single)
Kornog Taouarc’h Chwec’hved 14 BC


Asian Whisky of the Year
Amrut Greedy Angels 10yo

Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year
Heartwood The Good Convict

Posted in Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whisky, North American Whisk(e)y, Scotch Whisky, WHISKY & WHISKEY


[…] erhöht, und darunter findet sich wieder einmal kein Schotte. Hier sind die 5 besten, so wie es auf The Whisky Exchange gepostet […]

[…] to a newsbit at The Whisky Exchange, these are the best five whiskies of the world, if you put trust in the word of Jim […]

Whiskyrant! says:

Thanks for the update! Surprises in there, like always. Weird that the actual whisky of the year wasn’t in the best rye section.

Billy says:

That’s the American Rye section – he only has a single category for Canada: Canadian Whisky. Hopefully it might be expanded next year…

peter says:

Will the award be given out April 1st for CRNR

[…]   Once again North America was well represented in the top five, with Maryland distillery Pikesville taking second place with its Straight Rye, while Kentuckian distillery Buffalo Trace returned for a second year running, moseying into forth place with the 2014 bourbon from its premium William Larue Weller line. Potentially causing yet more angst in Scotland was the bottle standing in third place on the podium, with Irish distillery Midleton claiming success with its cask strength Dair Ghaelach expression. Like Canada, this is the first time an Irish whiskey has found itself swinging from the top of the Whisky Bible tree and shows that modern palates (or at the very least, Jim’s) continue to extend beyond the traditional stronghold of Scotch.  Last year the Big M gave the top spot to Japan’s Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013, creating ripples in Scotland’s zen, and rocketing the distillery into the limelight. Well, the sun has risen on Japan once again, with Yamazaki’s Mizunara Cask sliding into fifth place. If you want a bottle though, you’ll need to travel to Japan as it is only available on the local market. Whether Whisky Bible hype changes this situation is yet to be seen. Mizunara, the native Japanese oak, has been rising in popularity the last few years, and the Murray effect should help cement its place as a legitimate casking choice. While absent from the top five, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Scotland, with the (most definitely expensive) Glenfarclas Family Casks 1957 #2110 not only awarded Scotch Whisky of the Year, but also claiming the overall Single Cask Whisky of the Year. Other notables in the Scotch category include Single Malt of the Year Glen Grant 10yo and Scotch Blend of the Year The Last Drop 50yo (seriously, again, who has that kind of money!?). European Whisky of the Year (Multiple) returned to the English Whisky Co. for their Chapter 16 Peated Sherry Cask, while the (Single) category was awarded to the delightfully named Kornog Taouarc’h Chweec’hved 14BC from the ancient Celtic French region of Breton. Closer to home (at least for me that is) Australia took the Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year crown back off the Kiwis, with Tasmania’s very own Heartwood distillery coming through strong with its Good Convict bottling. Strong is certainly the right word when it comes to Heartwood, with mad genius Tim Duckett mixing up an astounding array of cask strength creations in his laboratory. As Heartwood is an independent bottler, all of its releases are limited; once an expression has sold out it’s consigned to the pages of history and fond memory. So if you happen to own a bottle of the 71.3% Good Convict, you are one of a lucky few.  Of course, you are always welcome to take any Murrayitic pronouncements with a pinch of salt, but for a roundup of the who’s who of whisk(e)y in a given year the Whisky Bible is hard to beat. A full run down of the winners can be found here.  […]

[…] Jim Murray’s “Whisky Bible” names Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye as the World Whisky of the Year for 2016. […]

[…] Check out the other Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2016 winners here! […]

I’m always surprised at the “best whiskies in the world” there’s so many that I agree with in categories and others that i most definitely do not. All down to personal preference and taste preferences, i’d also be more inclined to agree had all the tastings been completed blind but that isn’t the case and sometimes the real finish (ie after swallowing) can change your whole opinion on a whisky.

This is just one persons opinion, but still many will follow it, use it as a tool to see someones opinion, not a map of what is right or wrong.

Richard says:

Does everyone know that a Canadian “Rye” whiskey is not legally require to contain any actual rye, most of them are made from corn (probably GMO corn). The only whiskey made in North America the is made from 100% rye is Alberta Premium. Never mentioned by Mr. Murray for some reason.

Billy says:

The Northern Harvest uses a grain bill that is 90% rye, so it is definitely a ‘rye’ by US standards as well as Canadian ones. As for Alberta Premium being the only 100% rye, there are a few other distilleries making them, but it is still very rare – rye is difficult enough to work with at the best of times, and a 100% rye mash is a challenge.

The current love of rye whiskey around the world does mean that many of the US distillers are upping the rye in their mashbills, so if you like high-rye whisk(e)y, then the future is bright.

Jeff says:

Yeah, but the main impact here is TO provide controversy and shelf talkers for marketing and, to that end, the LEVELS of the marks are an issue in themselves (97.5/100 for Crown Royal Northern Harvest?!?). The number of 95+ scores that Murray can find among very common whiskies simply defies belief.

[…] My wife brought to my attention last Friday an article on the CBC website about Mr. Murray’s proclamations for the coming year about what he considered to be top notch whiskies. At the top of the list was a stunner. Like last year when he anointed Yamazaki -as if it needed any more attention- creating a furor that anything other than a spirit from Scotland could possible enjoy such status, he follows suit this year with a Canadian whiskey. Crown Royal Northern Harvest. […]

[…] O tom, že má názor Jima Murraye svou váhu, svědčí více než půl milionu výtisků jeho Bible, jež se každoročně prodají jen v angličtině. Edice 2016 zahrnuje hodnocení zhruba 4600 whisk(e)y včetně tisícovky nových. K dostání je například na whiskybible.com, cena byla stanovena na 12,99 liber. Přehled vítězů jednotlivých kategorií najdete například zde. […]

mick garrod says:

It always amazes me that non of these whiskies are ever available, it hardly seems the fuss 🙁

[…] Jim Murray and the people of Scotland are going to have words soon. Last year, Murray named the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 as the best whisky of the year. Now, for his 2016 edition of the Whisky Bible, he’s a bottle from Canada. Crown Royal Northern Rye is Jim Murray’s pick for the World Whisky of the Year. The Canadian rye has classic rye spicy notes and a smooth finish. Oh, and it costs $30. Yes, the best whisky in the world costs just a little bit more than a bottle of Jack. You can view some of the other winners here. […]

[…] Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible tends to be one of the most definitive whiskey rankings of the year. And this time around, Crown Royale Northern Harvest Rye has taken the top spot. In a turn of events, Canada has finally proven themselves in an effort to break the “brown vodka” stereotype placed on their whiskeys. Can you say giftspiration?? […]

[…] first tasting post, on account of the Jim Murray-fueled scarcity of this […]

Jeannette says:

At least he is consistent in his Blended whisky choice. Ballantines and JW Black.


[…] año Murray extendió su lista de mejores whiskys del mundo, de tres a […]

[…] been about three weeks now since Jim Murray’s annual proclamation about the ‘Best Whiskies In The World’. Here in Ontario, the LCBO has struggled to meet the truly remarkable demand for Crown […]

[…] with lots of apple and vanilla, backed up by a shedload of mint and a hint of spice. The whisky? Jim Murray’s 2016 World Whisky of the Year, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye. One attendee said they would have voted for it above the eight […]

Jeff says:

Until you figure in that Murray also gives JW Red Label an 87.5 and Black Grouse a 94, Jeannette, then his “consistency” goes out the window.

[…] reaches new heights of beauty and complexity,” he wrote in an excerpt of the book posted to a blog called the Whiskey […]

[…] reaches new heights of beauty and complexity,” he wrote in an excerpt of the book posted to a blog called the Whisky […]

[…] reaches new heights of beauty and complexity," he wrote in an excerpt of the book posted to a blog called the Whisky […]

[…] to Murray’s website, it is rare that a Canadian product has won the top […]

[…] month ago when all the Crown Royal Northern Harvest commotion began (or was it more of a frenzy? a furor? all of the above?) there was a spike in demand so large […]

[…] What did I tell you? The prospect of drinking some whisky to begin this segment has kept me in a good mood throughout the day from my normal alarm clock of being awoken by my own screams up until now, watching the rain come down outside of a small town called Trukee in California. The reason for mentioning my logistical predicament is that this town has probably not got a huge reader (or literate) fan base of the whisky critic Jim Murray and his impact on whisky sales. Those of you reading the blog, whether you stumbled upon it due to word of mouth or to use as an example for why the current UK education system is failing us, probably already know a few things about whisky and are no doubt aware that the 2016 winner of his Whisky Bible award was the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye. […]

John Johnson says:

Whisky Advocate recently gave Garrison Brothers Cowboy a 79. I was wondering what you thought of it and there other 2 bottlings.

Billy says:

Unfortunately none of us have tried it yet – with 10k bottlings on the site we don’t get a chance to taste them all…

[…] the question, has the hype died down or is there a simmering pent up demand that will erupt in a Jim Murray-fueled avalanche of sales? I’m leaning towards the latter, given that LCBO is now actively using Mr. […]

[…] the author of an annual list of what he believes to be the best offerings in the whiskey world. His Whiskey Bible is an untouchable force, and a whiskey listed by him can go from obscure or ignored to thousands of […]

[…] the now famous Canadian distiller whose Northern Rye expression is the Best Whisky In The World  2016 – according to Jim Murray. I was curious to see what the fuss was all […]

[…] whisky is made from rye. And just for the record, Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible names Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye as the World Whisky of the Year for 2016. It’s made in Gimli, Man., and blended right here in LaSalle. A whisky has to age at least […]

[…] Whisky. Why is this? This year a Canadian Whisky, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, was honoured as 2016 World Whisky of the Year. Canadian Whisky once dominated the world of whiskies. Canadian based Seagram’s was the largest […]

Jeannette says:

Managed to get our hands on a bottle of the Northern Harvest Rye and have invited a few friends to join us for a twitter tasting on the 8thof July. Then we can taste it for ourselves, here in South Africa. Is he just trying to court controversy to sell books or is he on to something…? 🙂


[…] ‚JIM MURRAY’S WHISKY BIBLE 2016 – THE WINNERS‘ auf thewhiskyexchange.com […]

Leave a Reply


Scroll To Top

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. Find out more