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Tuesday 18 June 2019

THE LAS VEGAS IWC 11th EDITION: MAY 2019 & JIM MURRAY'S PICKS

RESULTS OF THE INTERNATIONAL WHISKY COMPETITION 2019


The International Whisky Competition® reaches out to an exciting whisky fan community on various social media channels and unique medals are designed to promote each of the winning whiskies. Their goal is to bring as many whiskies from around the world to be tasted and rated by their professional tasting panel. Unlike other competitions, their tasting panel since 2015 is presented with one whisky at a time, to ensure each whisky gets the proper attention. In-depth notes are taken at every step for review ultimately to be compiled by the tasting panel. 15 criteria are required to produce the tasting notes as well as aroma and flavour profiles for the International Whisky Guide.  It’s the only competition in the spirits world to deliver unique medals designed to promote each of the winning whiskies. Only 3 medals (Gold, Silver & Bronze) are awarded per category. The Whisky of the Year (highest score during the competition) is rewarded with the Golden Barrel Trophy. 
The International Whisky Competition just released its results for this year's most respected blind tasting judging event. The top recognition, Whisky of the Year, was awarded to Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1991 which scored 97/100 points, the highest scoring whisky of the competition. 

The 10th edition of the International Whisky Competition took place in Las Vegas over three days, from May 15 to 17 and received whiskies from all over the world from what distilleries believe to be their very best. A world-class tasting panel comprised of whisky, spirit, beer and wine experts blind tasted each whisky on an individual basis (8 minutes per whisky). Each whisky was scored using a comprehensive 100-point scale system developed by Sebastien Gavillet, IWC Head of Tasting Panel. This process and the fact that only three medals are awarded in any category make the International Whisky Competition the most followed whisky competition and one of the most professional competitions of its kind in the world. 

Last year's Whisky of the Year was Aberlour A’Bunadh, which scored 97.4 points. Glenmorangie Distillery will receive the Golden Barrel Trophy for winning the Whisky of the Year during a ceremony to be held this summer in Tain, Scotland. 

Competition Tasting Panel
 
Adam Carmer:
- Owner of the Whisky Attic, Las Vegas, NV
- Owner of Freakin Frog, Las Vegas, NV 
S├ębastien Gavillet:
- Wine Aromas - Le Nez du Vin, COO
- Discovering & Mastering Single Malt Scotch Whisky Author
- International Whisky Guide 2016, 2017 & 2018 Co-Author
Francesco Lafranconi:
- Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, Executive Director of Mixology & Spirits Education
John Paddon:
- Food & Beverage Consultant, Las Vegas
- Advanced Sommelier, Level III
Debbi Peek:
- Southern Glazer Wine & Spirits, Mixologist & Training Educator, Tampa FL
Alex Renshaw:
- Founding Partner, Dogma Group
- Mixologist
Max Solano:
- Mixologist: Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits of Nevada
Ron Smith:
- Master BJCP Beer Judge, Certified Cicerone, Educator, Sensory Expert, Whiskey Lover, Founder of BeerMBA.com Classes and Trips

THE GOLDEN BARREL TROPHY



Designed in Switzerland and unveiled at Diageo Archive, the Golden Barrel Trophy represents the pinnacle of excellence in whisky making, showcasing two lions holding a whisky barrel just below eye-level. It is cast in bronze with 24K golden leaves on each side of the barrel. The Golden Barrel will be kept by the winner of the Whisky of the Year until the next year’s competition and the name of each winner will be engraved in its marble base to commemorate the history and record of each annual Whisky of the Year. 


WHISKY OF THE YEAR

Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1991 (97 points)

Master Distiller of the Year
Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie Distillery
Distillery of the Year
Ardbeg Distillery
Master Blender of the Year
Stephanie Macleod
John Dewar & Sons
Brand Ambassador of the Year
Struan Grant Ralph, Glenfiddich Distillery


SCOTLAND: SCOTCH WHISKY

Best Single Malt Whisky
1st Place: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1991 (97 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1993 (96.6 pts)
3rd Place: Ardbeg An Oa (95.3 pts) 


Best Single Malt Scotch NAS (No Age Statement)
1st Place: Ardbeg An Oa (95.3 pts)
2nd Place: Kilchoman Sanaig (95.1 pts)
3rd Place: Ardbeg Corryvreckan (95 pts) 

Best Single Malt Scotch 10 Year Old
1st Place: Ardbeg 10 Year Old (92 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie The Original 10 Year Old (90.2 pts)
3rd Place: Springbank 10 Year Old (90 pts)


Best Single Malt Scotch 12 Year Old
1st Place: Glenmorangie Lasanta 12 Year Old (93.4 pts)
2nd Place: Aberlour 12 Year Old (91.8 pts)
3rd Place: The Glenlivet 12 Year Old (90 pts)

Best Single Malt Scotch 13-17 Year Old
1st Place: The Glenlivet 14 Year Old (92 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 14 Year Old (91.9 pts)
3rd Place: Aberlour 16 Year Old (90.7 pts) 

Best Single Malt Scotch 18 Year Old
1st Place: Aberlour 18 Year Old (94.5 pts)
2nd Place: The Glenlivet 18 Year Old (94.2 pts)
3rd Place: Glenmorangie 18 Year Old (90.8 pts) 

Best Single Malt Scotch 19-24 Year Old
1st Place: Glenmorangie 19 Year Old (92.5 pts) 

Best Single Malt Scotch 25 Year Old and Over
1st Place: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1991 (97 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1993 (96.6 pts) 

Best Islay Single Malt
1st Place: Ardbeg An Oa (95.3 pts)
2nd Place: Kilchoman Sanaig (95.1 pts)
3rd Place: Ardbeg Corryvreckan (95 pts) 

Best Highland Single Malt
1st Place: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1991 (97 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1993 (96.6 pts)
3rd Place: Aberlour 18 Year Old (94.5 pts) 

Best Speyside Single Malt
1st Place: The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso (94.4 pts)
2nd Place: The Glenlivet 18 Year Old (94.2 pts)
3rd Place: The Glenlivet 14 Year Old (92 pts) 

Best Lowland Single Malt
1st Place: 1770 Glasgow Single Malt Scotch Whisky (90.5 pts) 

Best Cask Strength (over 57% ABV)
1st Place: Ardbeg Corryvreckan (95 pts)
2nd Place: The Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso (94.4 pts)
3rd Place: Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 58 (93.3 pts) 

Best Peated Whisky
1st Place: Ardbeg An Oa (95.3 pts)
2nd Place: Kilchoman Sanaig (95.1 pts)
3rd Place: Ardbeg Corryvreckan (95 pts) 

Best Blended Scotch Whisky
1st Place: Dewar’s Double Double 32 Year Old (94.3 pts)
2nd Place: Dewar's 25 Years Old (93.2 pts)
3rd Place: Dewar’s Double Double 27 Year Old (92.6 pts) 

Best Blended Scotch Whisky 12 Year Old
1st Place: Chivas Regal 12 Years Old (88.8 pts)
2nd Place: Dewar's 12 Years Old (86.5 pts)
3rd Place: Label 5 12 Year Old (85.5 pts) 

Best Blended Scotch Whisky 15 Year Old
1st Place: Dewar's 15 Years Old (90.2 pts) 

Best Blended Scotch Whisky 18 Year Old
1st Place: Chivas Regal 18 Year Old (90.8 pts)
2nd Place: Dewar's 18 Year Old The Vintage Malt (90.3 pts) 

Best Blended Scotch Over 20 Year Old
1st Place: Dewar’s Double Double 32 Year Old (94.3 pts)
2nd Place: Dewar's 25 Years Old (93.2 pts)
3rd Place: Dewar’s Double Double 27 Year Old (92.6 pts) 

Best Blended Malt Scotch
1st Place: Gerston - Classic Selection (The Lost Distillery Company) (90.7 pts) 

Best Value Scotch (Under $30)
1st Place: John Barr (88.6 pts)
2nd Place: Dewar’s White Label (88.5 pts)
3rd Place: Label 5 Gold Heritage (87 pts)

 
JIM MURRAY’S PICKS OF 2019 : SCOTCH WHISKY

Scotch Whisky of the Year
Glen Grant Aged 18 Year Old

Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Casks)
Glen Grant Aged 18 Year Old

Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask)
The Last Drop Glenrothes 1969 Cask 16207

Scotch Blend of the Year
Ballantine’s 17 Year Old

Scotch Grain of the Year
Berry Bros & Rudd Cambus 26 Years Old

Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year
Collectivum XXVIII Single Malt Scotch

No Age Statement
Laphroaig Lore

10 Years & Under (Multiple Casks)
Laphroaig 10 Year Old

10 Years & Under (Single Cask)
Berry Bros & Rudd Ardmore 9 Year Old

11-15 Years (Multiple Casks)
Lagavulin 12 Year Old 17th Release Special Releases 2017

11-15 Years (Single Cask)
Cadenhead’s Rum Cask Mortlach 14 Year Old

16-21 Years (Multiple Casks)
Glen Grant Aged 18 Year Old

16-21 Years (Single Cask)
Bowmore 19 Year Old The Feis Ile Collection

22-27 Years (Multiple Casks)
Talisker 25 Year Old Bot.2017

22-27 Years (Single Cask)
Scotch Malt Whisky Society Glen Grant Cask 9.128 24 Year Old

28-34 Years (Multiple Casks)
Convalmore 32 Year Old

28-34 Years (Single Cask)
Gleann Mor Port Ellen Aged 33 Year Old

35-40 Years (Multiple Casks)
Benromach 39 Year Old 1977 Vintage

35-40 Years (Single Cask)
Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1979

BLENDED SCOTCH

No Age Statement (Standard)
Ballantine’s Finest

5-12 Years
Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year Old

13-18 Years
Ballantine’s 17 Year Old

19 – 25 Years
Royal Salute 21 Year Old

26 – 50 Years
Royal Salute 32 Year Old Union of the Crowns


Thursday 6 June 2019

VAT-69 BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY

VAT-69: ONCE A SHACKLETON CHOICE WHISKY


Vat 69 is a young bargain basement whisky with a light, very fresh and slightly spicy taste profile, also used often for cocktails. The current recipe includes some 40 malts and grains, but it is a simple, pleasant blended scotch, lacking in complexity. It is of mid-gold colour in the glass, with plenty of E150A, and the nose is syrupy sweet, with woody notes. On the palate, the syrupy all-spice flavoured sweetness melts off, partially replaced by peat smoke and more woody flavours. The finish isn’t very long, but it is smoky and warm. Sales are reputedly over a million cases a year with key markets being Venezuela, Australia and Spain, and it is also bottled locally in India.

In its heydays, when it was a 9-YO Blended Scotch, it was the Scotch Whisky chosen by Ernest Shackleton to accompany him on his final ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914 'for medicinal and celebratory purposes, subsequent to which event, it was given the Royal Warrant by the Prince of Wales. It was immortalised in the book and TV series Band of Brothers. 

In 1882, William Sanderson a liquor manufacturer from Leith, Scotland, prepared one hundred casks of blended whisky and hired a panel of experts to taste them. The batch from the cask (or “vat”) with number 69 was judged to be the best, and this provided the whisky's brand name. The distinctive logo of VAT 69 is a copy of the writing on the original cask. As an assurance of quality it was given the seal of the Talbot Hound, the family emblem of the House of Sanderson. The whisky was at first bottled in port bottles, but today comes in a simple green glass bottle with a metal screw cap at 40% ABV.

In 1884, Sanderson bought the Glen Garioch distillery which was situated in the middle of a barley field. The distillery was meant to ensure the delivery of grain whisky and to break The Distillers Company Limited's (DCL, a leading Scottish drinks and pharmaceutical company) near monopoly on grain whisky. Sanderson, together with Usher and Bell, founded a company to produce grain whisky, which still exists today as the North British Distillery. Sanderson sourced some single malt whiskies used to blend VAT 69 from a friend, John Begg, who owned the Royal Lochnagar distillery, to improve the quality of the 1882 product. On becoming a limited company in 1896, this Leith business was a family firm both on employer and employee sides. William was born in Leith in 1839 and died on 3rd April 1908, by which time the blend was well established. His son William Mark took over.

When Begg died, William Mark Sanderson became director of Begg's distillery. In 1933, Sanderson's company merged with Booth's Distilleries, which merged again with the DCL-Group in 1935.

The iconic Vat 69 bottle with its bulbous neck was introduced to the market in 1909 and has not been changed since. This distillery also markets a genuinely rare and tasteful 12 YO Scotch, Old Antiquary. 
In 1967 Wm Sanderson & Son Ltd won the Queen’s Award for Industry in recognition of their outstanding achievements in increasing exports (by 20.1% over the previous year – 87.4% of output exported to over 180 countries). It was success, not failure, which led to moving out of Leith in 1969 to Distillers Group’s expanded high-output bottling and blending plant at South Queensferry. It is now Diageo owned.

The Vat 69 building was not without mishap. On 24th April 1949, there was a severe fire. Locals were entertained with the sight of a river of alcohol running down the loan. This kept the building closed until October 1952. There was another fire on 7th November 1965. Children were called out of school to witness this fire.

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'Vat 69' has appeared in books, television programmes, including 'Dr Who' and 'Yes Minister' and also  British, Japanese, Pakistani and Bollywood movies. ​Queensferry  Museum holds whisky bottles from  the local Vat 69 bottling and blending plant.

The deluxe limited edition Vat 69 Reserve shown below was launched in 1980.



The idea of a different bottle for their Deluxe Whisky was evidently not new, as shown in the advertisement below, dating to the early 1900s.




































                                                                                                                       

                                                          There is more data on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIV93Du8Yeg





Photo courtesy from hsp 60 Fickr https ://www.flickr.com/photos/hsp60/4615364705/in/photostream/