I had an almost endless amount of good whisky and good whisky events taking place during this year. I have to say I enjoyed everything I participated in.
Highlight of the year was getting introduced into the PLOWED society at the annual Ardbeggeddon. Nothing beats dramming with friends, and the company and whisky at the Ardbeggeddon is pure top shelf.
I also enjoy a very lively community of local whisky connoisseurs, with several gatherings throughout the year of the highest quality and a lot of spectacular whisk(e)ys from all around the world.
Festival wise I really enjoyed Spirit of Speyside, Limburg and Glasgow Whisky Festival together with a couple of mini fairs organised by local wineshops and Juul's!
I've decided to set up a few awards, this is my way to honour some things I really enjoyed and maybe I was surprised a bit by them
Distillery of the Year
Amrut has put itself on the map in 2010 with a series of superb and innovative bottlings. I think it has come to a surprise to quite a few that a distillery producing world class whisky should emerge more or less from the unknown and then from India of all places as well.
Due to extra-ordinarely high evaporation the distillery has to work with other aspects than age, when creating new bottlings. Here's a photo of my Amruts, most of these were created in 2010!
Amrut TWE 10 year online anniversary bottling
Amrut Double Cask (a vatting of the two oldest casks at Amrut..7yo old whisky)
Amrut 100 (a peated 100 proof 1 liter bottling)
Amrut Cask Strength (the miniatures)
Amrut Fusion (made from a mix of indian unpeated malt and scottish peated malt)
Amrut Two Continents (matured in India, and then in Europe)
Amrut Intermediate Sherry (matured on first fill ex-bourbon casks, then ex-oloroso casks for 1 year, and then back to ex-bourbon)
Amrut Kadhambam (consecutively maturation in ex-rum, ex-sherry and ex-brandy casks, with the rum and brandy being Amruts own!)
Amrut Peated Cask Strength
Independendt Bottler of the Year
A new distillery, which is located in Utah (of all places) has put itself on the map by bottling a series of ryes and bourbons of high quality. Especially the ryes has caught the public eye and several editions are available, some of them quite old. The ryes are said to be distilled at LDI, Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana, which is not the most known distillery, but I think they are very skilled in making rye whiskey ! It will be exciting to see if High West itself can produce whiskeys and ryes of the same quality!
High West Rendezvous Rye, a vatting of a 6yo 95% Rye and a 16yo 80% Rye. Superb
Whisky Bottling of the Year
Double Single by Compass Box
This is a blend of 18yo Glen Elgin (76%) and 21yo Port Dundas (24%) the latter being a grain whisky from the now closed distillery in Glasgow, while Glen Elgin is malt whiskey from a distillery located just south of Elgin in Speyside. It's bottled at cask strength 53.3% and was bottled to celebrate Compas Box' 10th anniversary
Now this is a wonderful cask that every ex-bourbon casked single malt whisky fan should seriously consider!
Description : Very bubblegum/candy like with a heavy spicy touch. Vanilla and Malt. It's very oily and intense in its expression. The finish is long and warming
Tasting of the year
Duncan Taylor, Dufftown - Spirit of Speyside by Mark Watt
In the Memorial Hall in Dufftown, Spirit of Speyside hosts a series of very good whisky tastings during the festival. This year I found the Duncan Taylor tasting particular good. Mark Watt Bingo and 5-6 great whiskies, including two of the years favourites: a 1972 Caperdonich and a 1973 Glen Moray. Adding to that 12yo and 40yo Black Bull, 22yo Glen Grant and a 25yo Caol Ila, what a great afternoon
and by the way, the price is a pint if anyone responsible happens to catch me somewhere :-)