I like a good whisky as much as the next man. But ask me to name my favourite blend or discuss the intricacies of peat whisky and I’ve got Buckley’s. Enter acclaimed connoisseur Jim Murray.
Well respected in the American whiskey industry, Murray has tasted over 20,000 blends from around the globe over the past 17 years and records his findings in his annual compendium Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible – the perfect guide for whisky novices looking to find the best dram with which to impress their mates.
For this year’s edition, Murray tasted 1252 whiskies from over 30 countries (including Scotland), anointing 1792 Full Proof Bourbon as the world’s best whisk(e)y. Having already won numerous awards this year, the American-made spirit is described as being “strong and full of flavour” boasting “an incredible deep and smoky taste, superbly balanced with sweet vanilla and notes of caramel.” Sounds delicious.
At 62.5 percent, the 1792 Full Proof Bourbon unsurprisingly packs a rather large punch and is ideally enjoyed straight with a splash of water and a thick Cuban cigar (the latter suggestion is optional).
Two other American whiskies, William Larue Weller 125.7 Proof and Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye 128.8 Proof, took out the second and third spots, with Murray also awarding Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt best Japanese whisky of the year and Redbreast Aged 12 Years Cask Strength best Irish whiskey of the year.
World Whisky of the Year: 1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Second Finest: William Larue Weller 125.7 Proof – 2018 Release
Third Finest: Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye 128.8 Proof – 2018 Release
Single Cask of the Year: Nantou Omar Cask Strength Bourbon Cask
Single Malt No Age Statement: Glen Grant Rothes Chronicles Cask Haven
European Whisky of the Year: Thy Whisky No. 9 Bøg Single Malt (Denmark)
Scotch Whisky of the Year: Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition
Irish Whiskey of the Year: Redbreast Aged 12 Years Cask Strength
Canadian Whisky of the Year: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
Japanese Whisky of the Year: Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt
After you’ve seen the main category winners above, read Murray’s full list of whiskies consumed over the past year by grabbing Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2020 from whiskybible.com for AU$26.