Posted by: Ted
It’s that time of year again folks. Everybody’s favourite golden eyed whisky critic (though to be honest, it’s probably just jaundice from cirrhosis after a lifetime of chugging drams) has sottedly rolled out of his all-expenses-paid cabin in the Kentucky backwoods like a panama-wearing bear and declaimed to the expectant masses his predilections for 2017. It’s like Groundhog Day if Punxsutawney Phil was a bottle of whisky and Bill Murray’s disaffected, grouchy journalist was instead played by another disaffected, grouchy journalistict Murray (oooo… I went there)!
Love him or loath him, Jim Murray’s yearly decreement of the world’s best drams in his ‘Whisky Bible’ never fails to set the whisky world aquiver with fawning adulation or frothing indignation. Last year’s selection of the Crown Royal Harvest Rye as top dog fell well into the latter camp, unleashing a raging wave of aggrieved whisky wankery around the globe. You still couldn’t find a bottle for love nor money five seconds later though…
So, what brilliant, laudable/despicable, corrupt choice has Mr Murray made this time then? Well, let’s just say that the Yanks will be (more?) insufferable (at least those in Kentucky. Tennesseeans will probably be unimpressed).
This year the big tinfoil crown goes to the Booker’s Rye 13yo 68.1% with a score of 97.5/100. Hmm, a rye again… maybe this really is Groundhog Day? Jim apparently described his new favourite as having a ‘brain-draining, mind blowing’ nose with a finish of ‘amazing depth’. Descriptions of trauma to the cranial region are probably not entirely unjustified; we previously reviewed the Booker’s Barrel Aged Bourbon 64.55% and found it delivered a solid punch to the face. To be honest, the extra age on the Rye probably does wonders for the balance, although that will be hard to verify seeing as it will be next to impossible to find by now.
The Americans also took out third place with the William Larue Weller Bourbon (Bot. 2015), however the Scots are probably celebrating the hardest after finally cracking the top three after several years’ drought, with the Glen Grant 18yo taking second place. Glen Grant recently overhauled their range with a new line-up and fresh, colour-coded look (maybe they’ve been getting tips off The Macallan?). It would seem that the ploy has paid off, also earning the 18yo both the Scotch Whisky and Single Malt of the year.
Poor commoners rolling around in their muddy hovels with the pigs will be delighted to know that the 41 Year-and-Over (Single Cask) section was taken out by Gordon & MacPhail’s independently aged Glen Grant 1950 65yo. Maybe time to sell a few of those grubby little brats, peasants.
We can all give a great big disinterested ‘meh’ to the winners of the Blended Scotch NAS (Ballantines Finest), 5-12yo (Johnnie Walker Black 12yo) and 19-25yo (Chivas Royal Salute 21yo) sections. It’s hard to care much really.
Far more exciting is the winner of the Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year (most prestigious award of the lot, ammirite!?), Tasmania’s very own Heartwood ‘Any Port in a Storm’ 69.9%. Hooray for Mr Duckett and his obsession with bonkers cask strength releases! Sucks be to you though if you want a bottle, cos they’re already gone. Actually, I saw a picture today of someone who’d taken a bottle with them to Macchu Picchu and cracked it open for a cheeky dram. Probably for the best really…
Want to weep adoringly or fume indignantly at the best of the rest? Find the full list of Jim’s picks here https://blog.thewhiskyexchange.com/2016/10/jim-murrays-whisky-bible-2017-the-winners/
Love you take on the much loved/loathed whisky bible! I have to admit I make sure to get a copy each year (normally a bog standard on my Christmas list). That said I don’t take it too seriously. Whether you want to go down the “independent voice of whisky” actually meaning he’ll take money from anyone route or not it always amazes me that people will buy a whisky based on a single persons opinion, regardless of how much whisky they drink. The sooner people realise that taste is subjective and what one person loves another may hate the better!…
That said my sisters partner managed to nab a bottle of Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye while in Canada which I’m hoping to sample when I see him this weekend. Lets see if it lives up to the Murray hype! 😉
Thanks buddy. It’s always a bit controversial, but I suppose at the end of the day at the very least it makes a useful ‘phone book’ for whiskies. You are so right though, whisky drinking is such a subjective experience. Ooo, we tried to get some, but failed. We even had a friend in Canada look for some, but it disappeared like smoke. Let us know what you think of it, we’d be interested in your take.
Keep on waffling,
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I’m trying to find time to write up a full review on it. I really enjoyed it though – a good sweet whisky which spelled just like an old fashioned. That said it wouldn’t have been my whisky of the year – again though that goes back to personal taste.
The bar I work at bottles their own range of independently bottled single cask whiskies and one of them actually picked up the Best Single Malt 11-15 Years (Single Casks) award!
The Single Cask Glentauchers 2002 14 Years Old =D
Haha! Brilliant! Crack in to that one for sure. Our friend and sometime collaborator Mooresy rates the Glentauchers. Let us know how it goes. (Btw, has your article been published yet?)
Keep on waffling,
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Ahh brilliant! Love the produce from the distillery there’s a stellar 18 year old release from Carn Mor which is my current favourite from them heh
The article has been published mate and I’ll be getting a physical copy tomorrow when I meet up with the editor, will look to get a digital copy and put it up soon =D