Posted by: Nick and Ted
World Whisky Awards? Not bad. San Fran World Spirits Comp? Alright. Jim Murray Liquid Gold? Ok, so long as it’s a rye. But we all know the big one is still to come – the award that whisky makers around the world crave above all others (even if they’ve never heard of us). That’s right folks. It’s time for the 2016 Waffle Awards!
This year the waffle boys have donned formal Scottish attire to award drams which they have purchased for the first time in 2016. So, ladies and gentlemen, help yourself to the complimentary champagne (we’ll email you some) and enjoy the 2016 Waffle Awards!
The Isle of the Drammed Award for the best Tasmanian Whisky
As Tasmania’s number one whisky blog, we naturally have a category for the best Tassie dram. This year the Isle of the Drammed Award goes to:
Belgrove Rye Pinot Noir Cask
We were lucky enough to visit Belgrove’s creator Peter Bignell earlier this year and were able to try some truly phenomenal drams while we were there. But this was the one that really seemed to represent Belgrove’s true flavour. The Pinot Noir barrels imparted a fruity flavour on the rye – drinking this is akin to strawberry jam on thick brown bread. Fantastic.
The Tartan Slipper Award for the best Scottish whisky
We had to create a category for Scotland, where some of the finest single malts in the world are crafted. Plus it makes a nice change for a non-rye whisky to win something. This year the Tartan Slipper Award goes to:
Usually Islay is all about the peat monsters, but a couple of distilleries buck the trend. Bunnahabhain explores the softer, earthier side of the island, which the phenomenal 18yo serves up in spades. Expect roasted nuts, ripe fruits, a good raisiny punch from the sherry casking and a mouth-pleasing hit of salt and soft peat to finish.
The Pocket Pleaser Award The perfect pick for the parched penny pincher
As we said, we’ve bought bottles of all our award winners this year – and it’s an expensive business. So the Pocket Pleaser Award goes to a dram we won’t mind paying for again. And again. And again…
Younger Scottish whiskies can be a bit hit and miss, but if a good hit of peat is thrown into the mix, it conjures some sort of dark, alchemical magic that can summon up a truly excellent dram. Hence our belief the that the Ardbeg 10yo is devilishly good… and great value at that. Sweetly peaty and wickedly smoky, the 10yo will please any lover of the Ileach drops. If you find it on sale, don’t even think, just whip out that wallet and buy, buy, buy.
The Weirdsky Award for the most WTF whisky
Weird whisky – weirdsky? Well there are plenty out there. This award celebrates the most unusual bottle we’ve obtained in 2016 and is awarded to:
The Pot-Still Exclusive Invergordon 26 Year Old Single Grain Whisky
Grain whiskies tend to get a bit of a low rap to be honest. If people ever give them any thought, it’s just as the backdrop for single malts in blends. To be fair, young grains can be pretty rough too, but if you happen to let them sit around in barrels for long enough, special things can happen. Bottled as an exclusive for Glaswegian bar ‘The Pot Still’, the Invergordon 26yo Single Grain whisky is a really interesting drop. Far from its spikey, awkward siblings, the 26yo is pleasantly zesty and vibrant, with citrus and pineapple bursting in the mouth. You aren’t likely to find this bottling any time soon, but its definitely worth tracking down some decent grain whisky if you want to try something different.
The Bill Lark Award for service to Tasmanian whisky
Named after the man who started it all, the Bill Lark Award is dedicated to a person within the Tasmanian whisky scene who has really made a difference and put us on the map. This year, it gives us great pleasure to award it to:
The mad scientist of Tasmanian whisky, Wafflers everywhere have a lot to thank this man for. He has brought us some of the most powerful whiskies in the world with his Heartwood creations. He has helped bring in a whole new crowd of whisky fanatics by co-founding the Tasmanian Whisky Appreciation Society. He has supported a range of Tasmanian distilleries by promoting them or buying their barrels. But, most crucially, he has created a legacy of experimentation and tinkering. Tim is not concerned with age statements or single cask releases. His aim is to make something that tastes bloody good, and if that means spanking his whisky with a wooden oar, then so be it.
The Golden Dram for the best dram whisky in the world
This is a tough award to decide on each year. We try a range of brilliant stuff and narrowing it down to one is almost impossible. It took an x-factor, an extra special connection to push it over the line this year. So may we present, The Golden Dram to:
There’s no doubt that this is a special dram. It is one of the most complex and interesting drops we’ve tried this year. But it also toasted the creation of Nick’s house from start to finish and played its part in creating many fond memories. Only the best drams of all do this.
An honourable mention goes to the dram that we couldn’t include because only Ted has had the pleasure of tasting it: the incomparable William Cadenhead Single Speyside Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 40 Years.
In fairness, we include a dishonourable mention as well, which this year is being renamed the Founders Reserve Award. And although it should probably go to the Founders Reserve again, this year it goes to the biggest misfire from a normally reliable distillery: Glen Moray Port Cask Finish.
So what do you think of our awards? Some good drams? What would you include as your winners? Let us know in the comments and have a very happy new year.
Keep on waffling!
Happy 2017 lads.
With you on the Pinot Noir Belgrove!
Cheers, you too buddy. Not many people in the world have got to try that Belgrove Pinot cask – so we’re both pretty lucky!
Keep on waffling,
Entertaining and intriguing, as always. Where do you get garments with pockets are pleased by the thought of shelling out for an Ardbeg though? When I informed my own trousers that there was a “Pocket Pleaser” at our local bottle shop for a mere $95, the pockets had some kind of seizure. Now I can’t even get my hankerchief out to wipe the tears from my eyes.
Ha ha, fair enough. When we’ve bought it recently it has cost us around the $70 mark. But I appreciate that certain pockets may still not be pleased by this price. But considering what it is and how a Founders Reserve will only cost you twenty bucks less – I believe it’s pretty darn good value.
Keep on waffling and Happy New Year!
You’re absolutely right of course Nick. 🙂 Ardbeg 10yr was great value on special not so long ago at $69.90 and I was lucky enough to get a bottle at that price. I’m finding the wild fluctuations in some prices to be one of the weirder aspects of whisky buying. It’s as perplexing as following the stock market! Other recent examples included Aberlour 12yr Double Cask ranging from as low as $55 up to well over $70, and Glemorangie Original from just under $60 to over $80. It’s enough to drive a man to drink….
Fortunately – having read your splendid JW blind tasting article – https://whiskywaffle.com/2014/11/16/blind-tasting-johnnies-night/ I know that you’re secretly quite impressed by Johnnie Walker Red label (currently available at a tad under $35) so there is some possible relief for my strained pockets. I haven’t cracked on the JW Red yet, but I was able to get a Ballantines Finest and a Johnnie Walker Black for $40 each last month. The idea was to experiment with mixing, but after subsequently discovering that Jim Murray’s 2017 Whisky Bible had both winning their respective classes, I might just have to promote them to Super-sipping status. Perhaps not the Red though, you weren’t really very keen on it…. This whisky appreciation is certainly a tough hobby, but I’m battling on. Who knows, I might turn out to have crummy taste buds and really cheap preferences, and save myself a small fortune.