Glen Scotia 25 Year Old Single Malt Crowned World’s Best Whisky
— Updated on 30 October 2021

Glen Scotia 25 Year Old Single Malt Crowned World’s Best Whisky

— Updated on 30 October 2021
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

With World Whisky Day coming up this weekend, it’s good timing for the annual and highly authoritative San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) to announce their 2021 winners – amongst them a ‘best in show’ whisky from Glen Scotia. The highly anticipated ‘Oscars of Booze,’ which has been around since 2000, has deemed the Glen Scotia 25 Year Old Single Malt Scotch as the most impressive whisky in the world right now, with the relatively obscure Campbelltown, Scotland distillery having a huge impact on judges and beating 1,275 other whiskies (and whiskeys – for distinctions sake) for the title.

The Glen Scotia 25 Year Old Single Malt is the product of American oak and first-fill bourbon casks, described by the distillery as having a palate of coastal air, red apple, and tangy orange peel, followed by vanilla syrup and caramel sweetness before finishing long with sea salt and spicy ginger notes. In Australia, a 700ml bottle is going for $499, although its already difficult to come across some stock as demand has skyrocketed.

In addition to being named the Best In Show whisky at this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the Glen Scotia 25 Year Old Single Malt has collected a number of top industry awards over the past few years, but as Master Distiller Iain McCallister says, the latest award is “one of the proudest moments for the distillery to date.”

Whisk(e)y was, of course, not the only thing showcased at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and Best In Show titles were also given out across brandy, liqueur, and unaged white spirits. The spirits award show even introduced a Best Seltzer category – won by Smirnoff’s Zero Sugar Black Cherry Seltzer – to nod to the growing trend, which has swelled so much in the past 12 months that its now difficult to pick out the best hard seltzer available.

A raft of other new categories were also added this year, speaking to the tremendous growth and diversity that continues to run the spirits industry. New categories included non-alcoholic spirits, Japanese whisky, low (under 20%) alcoholic spirits, pre-mixed cocktails, rye whiskey, shōchū, baijiu, and others.

Interestingly, Japanese whisky wasn’t actually a category before this year, and in 2021 the title was sought by 73 entrants. The winner was Matsui, a tiny whisky distillery in Kurayoshi, a small town in Tottori prefecture on the Sea of Japan. Their Pure Malt Whisky The Kurayoshi 18 year old was crowned Best Japanese Whisky.

A full list of all winners at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2021 can be found below.

Best In Show Winners

Best in Show Whisky: Glen Scotia, 25 YO Single Malt Scotch, Scotland

Best in Show Brandy: TacamaDemonio, De Los Andes Acholado Pisco, Peru

Best in Show Liqueur: Choya Umeshu, Craft Fruit, Japan

Best in Show Unaged White Spirit: Mezcal Amarás Cupreata, Mexico

Best In Category Spirits


Best Flavored Vodka: Rosa Vodka, USA

Best Vodka: Absolut, Original Vodka, Sweden


Best London Dry Gin; Best Gin: Henstone Distillery, London Dry Gin, UK

Best Navy Strength Gin: Tanglin, Black Powder Gin, Singapore

Best Regular Gin: Asbury Park Distilling, Gin, USA

Best Flavored Gin: Collective Arts Distilling, Lavender & Juniper Gin, Canada

Best Barrel-Aged Gin: Sorgin, Yellow Gin, France

Best Genever: Notaris, Bartender’s Choice Genever, The Netherlands


Best Aquavit: OP Anderson, Original Aquavit, Sweden

Best Ouzo/Raki: Vittorio Spirits, Ou7o (Ouzo), Australia

Best Other White Spirit: Ola Brew, Okolehao, USA

Best Thai Rice Shōchū, Best Shōchū: Ikehara, Shirayuri, Japan

Best Sweet Potato Shōchū: Hombo Shuzo, Arawaza Sakurajima, Japan

Best Rice Shōchū: Mercian, Yatsushiro Shiranuigura Hakusui Kome Genteishu, Japan

Best Barley Shōchū: Nishiyoshida, Kintaro, Japan

Best Rice Aroma Baijiu: Cardinal Tien Junior College of Healthcare and Management, Rice Bran Baijiu, Taiwan

Best Light Aroma Baijiu: Chongqing Jiangji Distillery Co., Intimate Friend Hand-Craft Sorghum Liquor, China

Best Sauce Aroma Baijiu, Best Baijiu: Yidushaofang, Z Year of the Zodiac Memorial Baijiu, China

Best Strong Aroma Baijiu: Jinshengjiu, Qinghua 20 Baijiu, China

Best Soju: Jinmaek, Jinmaek53, Korea


Best Silver/Gold Tequila: Calle 23, Tequila Blanco Criollo, Mexico

Best Reposado Tequila: Cierto, Reserve Collection Reposado Tequila, Mexico

Best Añejo Tequila: El Tesoro, Añejo Tequila, Mexico 

Best Extra Añejo Tequila: El Tesoro, Extra Añejo Tequila, Mexico

Best Sotol/Bacanora/Comiteca: Izo, Bacanora Silver, Mexico 

Best Other Agave Spirit: Perra Suerte, Raicilla, Mexico


Best White Rum: Hidden Harbor, White Rum, USA

Best Flavored Rum: Ron Colón Salvadoreño, Coffee Infused Rum, El Salvador

Best Dark/Gold Rum: Zaya, Gran Reserva Rum, Trinidad & Tobago

Best Over-Proof Rum: Barrell, Private Release B617, USA

Best Extra-Aged Rum: Appleton Estate, 8 YO Rum, Jamaica


Best Straight Bourbon: 1792, Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon, USA

Best Small Batch Bourbon – Up to 5 Years: Barrell, Private Release BA1C, USA

Best Small Batch Bourbon – 6 to 10 Years; Best Small Batch Bourbon: Parker’s Heritage Collection, 14th Edition Bourbon, USA

Best Small Batch Bourbon – 11 Years and Older: Blue Run, 14 YO Bourbon, USA

Best Small Batch Bourbon – 11 Years and Older; Best Single Bar: Blue Run, 13.5 Single Barrel Bourbon, USA

Best Single Barrel Bourbon – Up to 10 Years: Henry McKenna, Single Barrel, USA 

Best Special Barrel-Finished Bourbon: Bardstown Bourbon Company, Chateau de la Baude Cask Finish, USA

Best Craft Distiller Whiskey: Canyon Diablo Spirits, John Shaw Single Malt Mesquite Smoked Whiskey, USA 

Best Tennessee Whiskey: Uncle Nearest, 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey, USA 

Best Corn Whiskey: Stillhouse, Original Whiskey, USA

Best Rye Whiskey: WhistlePig, The Boss Hog VII-Magellan’s Atlantic, Canada

Best Wheat Whiskey: Bainbridge, Two Islands Islay Cask Barrel Proof Wheat Whiskey, USA

Best Single Grain Whiskey: Bainbridge, Yama Mizunara Cask Single Grain Whiskey, USA

Best American Blended Whiskey: High Bank, Whiskey War Barrel Proof, USA

Best Flavored Whiskey: Ugly Dog, S’mores Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, USA


Best Canadian Whisky: Canadian Club, Chronicles 43 YO Whisky, Canada

Best Other Single Malt Whisky: King Car, Kavalan Solist Oloroso Sherry Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky, Taiwan 

Best Other Whisky: Three Ships, 5 YO Old Whisky, South Africa

Best Blended Irish Whiskey: Silkie, The Legendary Dark Irish Whiskey, Ireland

Best Single Malt Irish Whiskey; Best Irish Whiskey: Waterford, Hookhead Edition 1.1 Single Malt Irish Whiskey, Ireland

Best Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey: Midleton, Very Rare Dair Ghaelach Knockrath Forest, Ireland

Best Japanese Whisky: Matsui, Pure Malt Whisky The Kurayoshi 18 YO, Japan


Best Blended Scotch – No Age Statement: Compass Box, Glasgow Blended Scotch, Scotland 

Best Distillers’ Single Malt Scotch – Up to 12 Years: Lagavulin, 8 YO Single Malt Scotch, Scotland

Best Blended Scotch – Up to 15 Years: Dewar’s, Caribbean Smooth Rum Cask, Scotland

Best Blended Scotch – 16 Years & Older; Best Blended Scotch: Dewar’s Double Double 27 Palo Cortado Sherry Cask, Scotland

Best Distillers’ Single Malt Scotch – 13 to 19 Years: Talisker, 18 YO Single Malt Scotch, Scotland

Best Distillers’ Single Malt Scotch – 20 Years and Older: Glen Scotia, 25 YO Single Malt Scotch, Scotland

Best Distillers’ Single Malt Scotch – No Age Statement: Highland Park, Cask Strength, Scotland 

Best Independent Merchant Single Malt: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Cask 46.104 Turn Me Inside Out, UK

Best Blended Malt Scotch: MacNair’s, 21 YO Lum Reek Blended Malt Scotch, Scotland 


Best Cognac VSOP or Equivalent: Camus, VSOP Borderies Single Estate, France

Best Cognac XO or Equivalent: Camus, Cognac XO Borderies Family Reserve Single Estate, France

Best Cognac Extra-aged/Vintage: Gautier, Tradition Rare, France

Best Pisco: TacamaDemonio, De Los Andes Acholado Pisco, Peru

Best Apple Brandy: Ocean Hill, Apple Brandy, USA

Best American Grape Brandy: Argonaut, Fat Thumb Brandy, USA

Best Italian Grape Brandy: Montenegro, Vecchia Romagna Tre Botti, Italy

Best Spanish Grape Brandy & Brandy de Jerez: Cardenal Mendoza, Brandy, Spain

Best Armagnac: Château de Laubade, Cask Strength Vintage 1986 Armagnac, France


Best Hard Seltzer: Smirnoff, Zero Sugar Seltzer Black Cherry, USA

Best Fruit Liqueur: Choya Umeshu, Craft Fruit, Japan

Best Coffee Liqueur: The Edwards Potato Vodka Company, Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur, UK

Best Herbal/Botanical Liqueur: Brucato Amaro, Chaparral, USA

Best Cream/Dairy Liqueur: Select Club, Pecan Praline Whisky & Cream Liqueur, Canada

Best Other Liqueur: Ancho Reyes, Verde Chile Poblano Liqueur, Mexico

Best Apéritif: Astobiza, Vermouth, Spain

Best Pre-Mixed Cocktail: Cutwater Spirits, Whiskey Mule, USA

Best Non-Alcoholic: Lyre’s, Italian Spritz, Australia

Want some more ideas on what to stock your shelf with? Check out the 14 best tequilas you need to own, the best Australian whiskies to add to your collection, and the best new whiskies to try in 2021.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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