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Tuesday 26 April 2022


 Ardbeg Hypernova 2022 Release AT OR POST FEIS ILE?

Ardbeg has already announced both the Committee Member’s and general public’s versions of their latest creation, the Ardbeg Ardcore. Ardbeg Day for the 2022 Feis Ile has been set for June 4th this year, online and at the Ardbeg Distillery. And to celebrate the upcoming events, Ardbeg launched what they call a new “punk rock” expression, the Ardcore.

On January 10 this year, a new set of labels for the American version of Ardbeg Whisky has appeared on the Internet. According to the label, its corresponding wine is called Hypernova 2022 Release, which means that the Hypernova may be jumping off the shoulder of the Supernova series, with a progressive increase in phenol content, ppm.

What is known as of today is:

  • Ardbeg to release Ardbeg Hypernova expression in 2022 as a Committee Release.
  • Said to be the smokiest Ardbeg till date, "notes of pungent peat smoke, aniseed and toasted lavender, while bitter almonds and dark chocolates fuse with curious hints of plasticine and burnt rubber. Descend into a finish that collapses in on itself, before returning to earthy notes of roasted coffee and smoky heather."
  • Bottled at 51% ABV.
  • The toasted lavender and smoky heather notes are beguiling, which may be interpreted as the use of peated floor malted barley from Port Ellen and the use of heather in the kilns during malting. We'll only get to know when released. Evidently, we're getting a first glimpse of a new Committee Release.
  • Labels submitted to the TTB have confirmed that Ardbeg Hypernova 2022 (HN22) Committee Release will be a limited edition, heavily peated single malt Scotch whisky.

The label upfront gives us standard but mandated data. The 750 ml bit shows that this bottle is heading into the USA. Then the trademark Ardbeg dramatic para:

Propel your palate at full force towards the smokiest dram ever to mature into existence at Ardbeg. Discover fabric-tearingly intense notes of tar, creosote and soot. Venture further into the glass and explore ethereal whispers of aniseed, smoke and dark chocolate.

The rear label also reveals a lot. The phenol content is very high at more than 101 ppm.

"Possibly the smokiest dram in the world (this one at least), Hypernova possesses a malty magnitude never before experienced. This is a brutally smoky dram that radiates flavour in every direction. Undoubtedly Ardbeg's smokiest spirit, HN22 is a cataclysmic event for the Distillery. It's big, it's intense and it's pulling palates into a whole new dimension...

Explore notes of pungent peat smoke, aniseed and toasted lavender, while bitter almonds and dark chocolates fuse with curious hints of plasticine and burnt rubber. Descend into a finish that collapses in on itself, before returning to earthy notes of roasted coffee and smoky heather."   

Again, the toasted lavender and smokey heather notes. Do they come from heather being toasted in the kiln during malting? Heather is an evergreen pink shrub found in Scotland, even specifically named Scotch heather, that is known to hold peat about its roots and offers a woody and mossy, but also gentle honeysuckle scent. Generally it is known to be of light floral tones and heavy musky notes. Patience!

The bottle remains the standard Ardbeg. 

                                              THE HYPERNOVA                   20 SOMETHING                      FON FHOID

The Ardbeg Twenty Something series, which is into the third bottling, is a look back into past whisky stocks of this fan favourite Scotch distillery. At one time Ardbeg was on life support, with new whisky being made in extremely limited amounts and only a small amount of casks being laid down. Things are quite different there today, and with some of that old whisky still sitting around ageing, it has been decided to put it into a limited edition offering geared towards Ardbeg Committee fan club members.

The third Ardbeg Twenty Something bottling, as we now know, is a 22-year-old expression which spent its entire time in ex-bourbon barrels. It is a pale gold-coloured Scotch bottled at 46.4% ABV and priced around at £440 (~$575$) when it went on sale exclusively to Committee Members through the Ardbeg website. It offers an incredibly flavourful, silky quality which is exceptional; the best way to celebrate those whisky lovers who helped keep Ardbeg alive during its darkest days. It was created with spirit from the retired Still which now stands in the Distillery courtyard, a magnificent reminder as to why Ardbeg should never be allowed to disappear. Ardbeg Twenty Something is for those who believed wholeheartedly in the Ardbeg Distillery, which is why it’s fitting that this rare whisky – a 22 YO – will be enjoyed by loyal Committee Members, who maintain that same belief.

The aroma is deep and sultry, perfumed with that classic Ardbeg coastal smoke, only dialled up with more camphor, sweet baking spice, and fruits. Ripe peaches and grilled pineapple add a bright sweetness that beautifully complements subtler floral notes of lavender and honeysuckle. The palate is silky with the well-tempered smoke of a forgotten campfire on the beach. A bit of lavender reemerges, along with a savoury dimension of sweet glazed ham and a bit of wood-driven spice. It’s gently warming from the outset and continues into a lingering finish spiced with a bit of clove and cinnamon and soft, ashy peat smoke. There are glimmers of this whisky in the Traigh Bhan, Ardbeg’s oldest offering off its current stills, but whether the distillery can produce another “twenty-something” single malt with this kind of balance and complexity, only time will tell.

Ardbeg has also released its first NFT (non-fungible token) single malt whisky, which was buried in a peat bog for nearly three years, the Ardbeg Fon Fhoid NFT. With the release of a limited edition collectable from its Ardbeg single malt Scotch whisky brand, Moët Hennessy has become the latest spirits brand owner to enter the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Ardbeg Fon Fhòid NFT will be available only on, a website that sells NFTs (digital assets) directly from premium liquor brands, with each NFT corresponding to a real bottle. A whisky NFT is limited to 456 units and costs 1.00 Ethereum, or $3,100 (at the time of writing).

Ardbeg Fon Fhòid was bottled from casks buried for nearly three years. Two casks of Ardbeg whisky, aged in second-fill Bourbon casks, were buried in a peat bog for two years and 10 months near the distillery. The whisky’s name, Ardbeg Fon Fhòid, takes inspiration from this and means ‘under the turf’ in Scottish Gaelic. Bottled at 45.5% ABV, Ardbeg Fon Fhòid will be priced at 1 ETH, roughly £2,363 (US$3,100).

The time spent underground is said to have given the whisky ‘earthy, mossy and herbal’ flavours, rather than Ardbeg’s trademark ‘intense smoky notes’. Ardbeg’s has earthed and then unearthed a truly special Ardbeg here. Ardbeg Fon Fhòid is earthy and mossy with one hell of a herbal nose. Ardbeg Fon Fhòid is limited to 456 bottles, which was available to purchase exclusively on at 10am EST on 19 April.

Successful buyers will receive a digital certificate that will verify their ownership and the authenticity of the bottle. Bottles will be stored at Block Bar’s facility in Singapore until they’re redeemed. Buyers can also trade their NFT within the marketplace, store the bottle in their virtual bar, or offer the NFT through the company’s new gifting platform.


The Supernova Saga: As stocks of maturing casks went up steeply, Ardbeg went into overdrive.  They introduced their famous and well-documented Ardbeg Supernova Heavily Peated Series.


Ardbeg Supernova has been a true phenomenon since the Advance Committee Release sold out in a matter of hours back in January 2009. This was the peatiest Ardbeg ever at over 100 ppm. It was also the first Committee release in the USA. 3,000 bottles were released to the Committee, reaching a final outtake of 21,000. The coded format of this bottle is SN2009.

ABV:  58.9%

COLOUR: A light golden wheat colour. Lovely legs, showing that this is a very oily whisky.

NOSE: Classic Ardbeg with peat, iodine, TCP, oil, petrol, road tar, pungent stuff, black pepper, chilli, dry earth. The peat is not overwhelming, but rather smooth and well-balanced with some floral notes.  There are hints of vanilla sweetness. Another fairly dominant note is smoked crispy bacon. With water it is slightly more balanced the sweetness comes through more and lasts better with surprisingly, some heather honey; it also becomes slightly softer.

PALATE: Thick and creamy with peat, saltiness and notes of spices.  Another fairly dominant note is smoked crispy bacon. With water it is slightly more balanced the sweetness comes through more and lasts better; the notes of bitter orange with some honeyed sweetness is also smoothed out. Even though the ABV is so high, there is no alcohol bite. Just smooth sweet peat and sweetness, perfectly balanced to create a fantastic drinking experience.

FINISH: Builds slowly to end in peaty, spicy notes.  There are medicinal notes with hints of smoke and bitter orange again. Some bitter chocolate as well, which fades into nothingness with water. Nice and lengthy finish.

THE SUPERNOVA 2010 (SN 2010)

ABV: 60.1%

COLOUR: Slightly dark wheat gold. Nice and oily.

This expression Features in Dominic Roskrow’s 1001 Whiskies You Must Try Before You Die. A limited release back by popular demand, this 2010 edition has a deeper, earthier character with the same phenomenal peatiness as the 2009 edition. Much sought after but sadly pretty much unavailable. Only 18,000 bottles were produced.

The 2009 edition was the most heavily peated whisky in the world for a brief moment (Ardbeg’s whisky is usually peated to a level of 50-55 PPM, but this Supernova has the same level of around 100 PPM).

NOSE: High-pitched citrus, chocolate, hazelnut, brine, fish oil, black licorice. All are very light, bright, sharp, high-pitched, and astringent (in a good way). Strong aromas of peat smoke, slightly medicinal; soon creamy maltiness comes to play, then coffee beans, a hint of ginger, pink grapefruit and quite surprisingly traces of freshly mowed grass.

PALATE: Spicy with lots of peat, red chilli peppers and black pepper but soon revealing its sweeter side with toffee, orange zest and steaming white coffee. Tar, industrial peat, earth, honey-mustard, black licorice, bright, light citrus, with little or no astringency.

FINISH: Long, warming and spicy, tobacco, Tabasco sauce, allspice, hint of sea salt with a touch of white chocolate. Bright, light honey, industrial peat, lavender, gentle floral notes, and a somewhat “fermented” note.

OVERALL: Crisp and clean. This has many of the typical Ardbeg flavours you’d expect. Still somehow bright and refreshing, despite the power and ABV. It’s not as heavy or severe as the Corryvreckan. At 60%, it’s no delicate flower either. There is a certain fermented note/ cheesiness which is distinctive. The obscure flavours do shine, but the classic Ardbeg profile is captivating. The peat here is large and in charge. Very potent, and very clear. Certainly, there are more complex Ardbegs than this, but few can match this one’s vividness and intensity. 


This whisky is the third edition of the Supernova bottling from the cult Islay distillery of Ardbeg.  It was released to coincide with the return of a very special sample of Ardbeg.  The distillery had sent a vial to the International Space Station in a cargo spacecraft in October 2011.  It orbited the earth on the International Space Station ever since and it landed back on earth in 2014.  This sample was analysed in depth at the distillery and results were made public.

The Supernova series is labelled as being Ardbeg's peatiest-ever malt.  This time around, Ardbeg Supernova was a Committee Release (Ardbeg’s loyalty program) SN2014, with only 3000 bottles produced. The 2014 Ardbeg Supernova is different from the previous two Supernova Releases in that it has a greater amount of sherry-finished whisky and a significant increase in younger malt in the blend. It was bottled at the cask strength of 55% ABV and was sold out, just like its predecessors.


COLOUR: Pale lemon yellow

ABV: 55%

NOSE: The aroma of peat smoke immediately catches the nostrils. But it is lighter and thinner than expected. This has a hot, peppery and sooty edge. The peat here is more vegetal, barnyard peat than peat smoke. With time, other aromas begin to shine through - malty cereals, burnt oat cookies, golden syrup and icing sugar plus hints of lemon zest and something floral that is difficult to pinpoint.

PALATE: There is an instant mix of profound sweetness and intense, savoury smokiness.  The sweetness is reminiscent of golden syrup and icing sugar, while the smoke has a distinct sooty, ashy, coal-like quality.  This later becomes slightly hotter and more earthy/mossy.  Rather than battling against each other, the two elements complement each other well.  In a similar fashion to the nose a malty cereal barley note battles its way through the intensity, as does increasing zesty lemon.  There are also hints of buttery shortbread, red chilli, white chocolate and a pinch of saltiness. The real strength of this Supernova rises till it peaks midpalate.

FINISH: The finish is very long and intense.  The sweeter elements fade quickly and leave the smoke and peatiness to smoulder away for what seems like ages.  It becomes increasingly dry, ashy and acrid with the spicy chilli-like heat slowly fading.

OVERALL: The 2014 Ardbeg Supernova is disappointing. Ardbeg has established the Supernova line as one of their showcase series, and they’ve priced it accordingly. But the 2014 release pales in comparison to the 2009 and 2010 releases. Part of the problem with this expression is the amount of young malt in the blend. In a peated whisky, young malt isn’t a bad thing, as young peated whisky can offer a lot of interesting elements to the equation. But the young malt in the 2014 Ardbeg Supernova isn’t properly balanced out with deeper, older malt.


This is the fourth (and Ardbeg says, final) edition of the Supernova bottling created for the Ardbeg Committee, to celebrate the conclusion of Ardbeg’s experiment in space. When first released in 2009, it was Ardbeg's peatiest whisky to date at 100ppm vs. their traditional 55ppm peat level; this peat level has stayed true for all Supernova bottlings, though the proof has decreased slightly over the years with this one hitting 54.3% ABV. All Supernovas have been in high demand and this final release should be no different, particularly with the imagery on the bottle referencing Ardbeg's space whisky's tasting results. Sadly, only 3,000 bottles were released to the Committee.

You’ll find there’s a lot going on beneath the peated surface of the Supernova 2015 (SN 2015): a lot of crisp, meaty bacon cooking on that campfire, for starters. And there’s an underlying sweetness, too, with notes of tropical fruit—pineapple, melon, a touch of lime—that comes to the fore with the addition of a little water.

Of course, if it’s the peat and smoke you’re after, the 100 ppm Supernova doesn’t disappoint. Ash, burning leaves, briny seaweed notes, a bit of old-school cough medicine… in short, a classic Islay malt. Many of the traditional Ardbeg usual suspects are here, particularly the savoury, meaty and ashy profile, but green grass, dried fruits, and crushed cookies also make their mark, albeit in tiny doses. Some sweet malt appears, but your palate is soon flooded with prickly spice, tar, iodine, and campfire smoke. If you add some water, the whisky fattens and softens just a bit with sweet malt dousing the flames so to speak. Try this whisky both ways to see which you prefer, but if water is added, add just a few drops.

COLOUR : Golden

ABV : 54.3%

NOSE : Basically smells like a smokier Ardbeg 10. Peat, fruit, malt, vanilla frosting, citrus and a nice malty sweetness glide out of the glass followed by lighter notes of Twizzlers and a slight bit of harsh alcohol bite.

PALATE: Peaty and similar to the aroma but with a richer tropical and orchard fruit flavor. Vanilla, light toffee, hazelnuts and a spiced fruity cake follow into the finish.

FINISH: Long and peaty with notes of orchard fruit, malt and a light bit of spice.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL : A rerun of the 2014. Not quite balanced with the peat overshadowing everything else. Medium body and a slick oily texture.


Ardbeg Supernova 2015 is a peaty beast of whisky. Like all of the previous Supernovas it’s the most heavily peated whisky Ardbeg puts out but that peaty powerhouse comes at a cost and that cost is balance. There are some nice fruity notes that come through, but they’re overshadowed by the denseness of the smoky peat. If they came through a bit more and brought a nicer balance to the whisky then it’d be a super duper whisky which would help reduce some of the sting from its hefty price tag. While the 2015 Ardbeg Supernova isn’t a fully balanced monster the prevalence of the fruity notes show signs that one could be on the horizon if Ardbeg allowed some of the barrels to age more, letting some of the peat die out and bring up those fruity flavours to create a nice balance. 


2019 brought to the retail market a new limited release of Ardbeg Supernova. Said to be the peatiest whiskey in the Ardbeg lineup at 100 ppm, it has been described as a “peat bomb” or “peat explosion.” It was last seen like its predecessors on retail shelves back in 2015 as part of a celebration to mark the brand sending some of its spirit into space to orbit the Earth for three years with the International Space Station. Enter into realms of sweet treacle toffee, and navigate thick clouds of aniseed, menthol and soot, before finally re-emerging through a dense nebular of peat and smoke.

Young peat super monsters generally seem to do well at a young age, but they require careful balancing to prevent them from becoming stomach-turners. All that peat often leads to a surprising level of complexity in a malt that otherwise might take twice as long to mature to anything worthwhile. Once again, only 3,000 bottles were made available to its Committee Members at € 180.

COLOUR: Pale bronze

ABV: 53.8%

NOSE: It’s a full-body peat that wafts into your nose. The smell is quite voluptuous and strong, yet pleasant. This is not a “knock your socks off” smokey peat smell, nor is it acrid. For a Scotch, the smell seems very balanced between peat and sweetness which seems weird for the being the peatiest whisky brand. But this facet was obviously noted as lacking in the 2014 and the 2015 ‘final’ bottling. The low ABV for a Supernova is indicative of the presence of older whiskies. Vetiver and wet grass; sandalwood; concentrated lemon juice; honey; vanilla pudding. Wonderfully complex.

PALATE: The flavour of this single malt Scotch is very buttery and spicy with a smoky finish. Lemon meringue pie, with an emphasis on the lemon. It’s very smooth going down. For one of the peatiest whiskies in the world, this is one of the smoothest you might ever encounter.

FINISH: Very long. Smoky, spicy and sweet. BBQ sauce. Lemon pudding. Vanilla cream. Demerara sugar. Chardonnay.

OVERALL: Extra peat apparently means extra cost. And that makes sense to an extent, although the majority of the high price is due to the fact that this is a limited release with a high amount of demand, and therefore Ardbeg can set the price as they know it will sell out regardless. This is not a beginner’s whisky. But if you’re a well-versed peat head and an Ardbeg fan, then Supernova 2019 is worth trying. 


Hypernova is the late-2022 Committee Release from Ardbeg. There’s usually at least a couple of these limited edition bottlings each year but what makes this one particularly eye-catching is the ppm count, in other words, the amount of peat smoke in the malt. Hypernova apparently has a ppm count of 170, making it officially the smokiest Ardbeg of all time. However, the ppm count of the barley is only part of the story.

The peat smoke absorbed by barley changes and evolves, even decreases, throughout the distillation process. Therefore, a high ppm count pre-distillation doesn’t always translate into an ultra smoky whisky in the bottle. The unique quirks in production that can be found at each distillery have an effect on the flavour of the whisky, with Lagavulin and Caol Ila providing the  example. Those two Diageo-owned distilleries use the same malt from the same maltings, are peated to the same ppm, yet the whiskies are very different.

Bruichladdich’s Octomore series has rather set the bar for outrageously high ppm levels but that whisky often surprises people. The slender stills at Bruichladdich promote lighter, elegant spirits, meaning Octomore often isn’t as smoky as expected. At Ardbeg, the stills are of a very different design but, thanks to the addition of purifiers on the lyne arms of the spirit stills, a similar effect takes place. The purifier filters away some of the heavier vapours that make it to the lyne arm. Those heavier compounds drop into the purifier pipe and return to the pot to be distilled again, whilst the lighter vapours carry on toward the condensers. So whilst Hypernova is, without a doubt, a very heavily peated whisky, it may not be as intense as you imagine it to be.

Ardbeg is well-known for its brightly-coloured, often bizarrely-named limited editions, which seem to annoy some purists, a somewhat baffling response. The clientele is getting younger as the world grows older. Must all marketing carry a sombre, ultra-serious tone? Should we go back to the days of old-fashioned labelling, when bottles were adorned by stags and tartan and glens and bens? Where the only information on the label was a number? When whisky was a man’s drink and no one would dare to be so reckless as to use a single malt in a cocktail?

Of course, people are free to choose how they spend their money and if the latest release from Ardbeg isn’t to their taste, that’s completely understandable. It would be boring if everyone liked the same thing. The internet is totally globalised. So it is with whisky marketing strategies. Not every release needs to be tailored to the individual’s personal taste.

Why Hypernova? Doesn’t hyper sound more upscale than super? There’s your answer. The previous “smokiest ever Ardbeg” was called Supernova and the definition of a Hypernova is “a very energetic supernova.” So in the canon of Ardbeg releases, the name makes sense.

It’s bottled at an un-chill-filtered 51% and retails for £185. Interestingly, the malt was smoked with non-Islay peat. This was done for purely logistical reasons – the maltsters on Islay couldn’t achieve the numbers required and shipping Islay peat to a maltster on the mainland would have led to a dramatically increased carbon footprint, so mainland peat was used instead. Strange logic, considering that the Octomore has crossed the 300 ppm barrier, but sound to its owners.

EYE: Pale gold.

NOSE: Powerful, pungent and almost brutal in its intensity, waves of tar, smoke, sea salt and brine in an almost ‘barnyard’ aroma fill the void. Smoky – yes but perhaps not as in-your-face as you might expect. Ethereal whispers of fruit, reminiscent of flowering blackcurrants. Seaweed. Seashells. Tobacco ash and cigar smoke. Stoor burning on old radiators. Beyond the smoke, there’s also liquorice, pepper, a touch of citrus and grass. Even a wee touch of menthol. Water releases a flurry of more rounded top notes, with a touch of lavender and a slightly chocolaty sensation, before finally arriving at curious hints of plasticine and burnt rubber.

PALATE: An explosive, peppery mouthfeel launches the palate into a most bizarre juxtaposition of flavours. The smoke is more to the fore. It’s there from the first sip but it smoulders and glows menacingly rather than blazes out of control. Charcoal. Sea salt and black pepper. Brine – like breathing in a damp, sandy beach in winter. There’s also some creamy malt under all the smoke and some fresh lemon citrus with a wee touch of young oak. The smoke builds in intensity over time.

FINISH: Descend into a finish that collapses in on itself with enormous, heavy smoke, before returning to earthy notes of roasted coffee and smoked heather.

OVERALL: This new Ardbeg is not for the faint-hearted and is a big and bold whisky. This is only to be expected from the pre-release hype and for something pitched as the distillery's peatiest and smokiest release ever. It is certainly the most intense Ardbeg that one can remember sampling. But is it any good? In a word - yes.

Hypernova shows Ardbeg in a slightly different light and hopefully, the brand will release something like this to a wider audience in the future. It shows that you can have super powerful peat smoke but in an interesting and balanced way, and is a definite step up from the regular bottlings.

Given the marketing of the whisky, you almost expect it to blow you away but in fact, it develops over time. At first, it seems only a wee bit smokier than standard Ardbeg expressions but with each subsequent sip, it grows. By the time you’ve reached the end of the glass, you’ll be wondering if you’ll ever taste anything but smoke, for the rest of your days. Maybe I could accuse the whisky of lacking complexity? There certainly isn’t a great deal of cask interaction. Indeed, the whisky feels young but I’d argue that’s kind of the point. What do people want from the Smokiest Ardbeg Ever, if not lots of smoke? Personally, I’m really enjoying it – perhaps a little too much. Given the price, I’d prefer to savour my bottle for a long time, if I can.

PRICE: It would be ridiculous to try to claim that it offers value for money. Sure, the production costs are higher than normal but £185 will never not be a lot of money for a young single malt. That said, I knew what I was getting into, so no complaints from me. I tasted it first and still wanted a bottle. Will obviously not be for everyone at the price, however. Good luck.

Saturday 23 April 2022


 Ardbeg’s New Committee Scotch Expression ‘Fermutation’ 

THE Result Of A FREAK BUT ‘Happy Accident’


The newest expression from Ardbeg is the result of an unplanned experiment that led to the longest fermentation in Ardbeg’s history. In November 2007, The Ardbeg Distillery found that a broken boiler threatened six washbacks full of whisky. The team at Ardbeg tried to revive the boiler, but it was dead.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s director of distilling and whisky creation, wisely decided to utilise the situation as an opportunity to experiment. He had the washback lids thrown open to expose the contents to the Islay air. And that began a three week-long fermentation, the longest in Ardbeg’s history, which eventually gave rise to a wild and zingy spirit. The wages of sin! With an apt name, Fermutation.

Ardbeg’s director has always wanted to experiment with longer fermentations, so an unintentional boiler breakdown was truly fortuitous. Ardbeg is usually fermented for 72 hours, thus making prolonged fermentation over three weeks unchartered territory. The outcome is a dram that tastes like pure science fiction. Peat and smoke meld beautifully with fresh, floral flavours, while sharp, more malty notes give Ardbeg Fermutation a uniquely zingy profile.

Ardbeg’s distillery management wasn’t so immodest. Sometimes, blind luck is just a part of the way they do things at Ardbeg. But the creation of Fermutation wasn’t simply good fortune. Quick thinking, ingenuity and a little assistance from tiny beings in the atmosphere helped Ardbeg get there. At 13 years old, this is an aged Ardbeg – something fans will be delighted to get their hands on. My previous post on Ardbeg's history stopped at developments in 2021. This post can be read as the continuation of that comprehensive history at this link.  

As a Committee-only bottling, Ardbeg Fermutation is only available to members of The Ardbeg Committee at this time for a suggested price of $199.99. It is easy to join the Committee, routing through the distillery’s website.

Ardbeg Femutation official tasting notes:

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)

Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

ABV: 49.4%

Ageing casks: Ex-bourbon casks, both 1st and refill

Chillfiltered: No

Additional colouring: No

Age: 13 Years Old

Color: Pale Straw

Average price: $199.99

Owner: Moet Hennessy

Nose: Fresh, floral, herbal and tart. Hints of mixed herbs and cedar wood. Zesty hints of smoked orange and grapefruit, lots of menthol and peppermint. With water, powerful bursts of diesel oil, tar, fresh paint and aniseed. As this dies down, a memory of freshly cut hay, and the tiniest hint of something savory, like yeast extract or bread dough.

Taste: A lively, vibrant, sharp, ‘zingy’ texture, leading into very firm, distinctive flavours – malty/biscuit tones, powerful aniseed, cardamom, antiseptic lozenge, sweet mint toffee and cigar ash.

Finish: Finally, a lingering, salty, firm aftertaste of mint, tar, oak tannin & leather.

Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 YO Batch 3 

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)

Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

ABV: 46.2%

Ageing casks: Ex-American oak and ex-Sherry

Chillfiltered: No

Additional colouring: No

Owner: Moet Hennessy

Average price: € 340.00

Peat is a form of fossil fuel not only burned in hearths across Scotland, but for over two centuries peat has fired the Ardbeg distillery kilns on Islay’s southern coast. And put it on the map as the distillery that produces some of this world’s best whiskies. Consider Traigh Bhan.

Traigh Bhan is Ardbeg’s 19-year old single malt Scotch whisky aged in American oak and Oloroso sherry casks. This permanent expression is produced in a single batch released yearly, and with slight changes to cask selection, each batch reflects notes distinct to its own.

When Ardbeg’s first edition of Traigh Bhan dropped in 2019, fans of the 19 year old Islay malt that was the latest (and oldest) addition to the distillery’s permanent lineup jumped for joy. Now Traigh Bhan has settled into annual batch status, which Ardbeg describes as “rare and ever-changing,” with slight changes to cask selection with each release.

Nicknamed “Ardbeg’s lockdown liquid,” Traigh Bhan 19-Years-Old Batch 3 came to age during the global pandemic when closed distillery doors meant uncertainty for its disgorging and bottling. At last, Head Whisky Creator Dr. Bill Lumsden along with a skeleton distillery team released Traigh Bhan Batch 3 from its casks. As described by Ardbeg, The main difference with Batch 3 is that it has been imbued with an altogether more fragrant, spicy character, says the distillery.

An Ardbeg fan couldn’t be happier with the more fragrant expression of wood smoke, pine tar, mineral salt, and satsuma that this dram delivers. The peat-soot nose is earthy but clean, given the proximity of a nectar sweetness and mineral vein. Notes of lemony furniture polish are also thick on the nose. The deeper it is breathed in, the more the nose opens to the braidings of sweet, salty, smoky, an amalgam of scents fans are quite fond of.

The palate is surprisingly spicy with a bright cayenne or eucalyptus heat. It offers a heavy maritime character, with notes of oyster shells and both lemon and lime adding some sharper citrus elements to the mix. The heat flares back across the palate and quickly overpowers initial notes of toffee, fennel, and citrus peel. As the citrus notes slowly fade, the whisky retreats to a more straightforward, rather ashy quality, stuffed full with briny peat. Added water creates a waxiness that tames the heat and makes possible more enjoyment of the peat and age that Ardbeg has to offer.

Ardbeg ‘Ardcore’: New Punk Rock Limited Edition

Ardbeg Day is held annually on the final Saturday of Islay’s Festival of Music and Malt (Fèis Ìle), and generally it’s a celebration of all things Ardbeg. It’s set for June 4th this year, online and at the Ardbeg Distillery. And to celebrate the upcoming events, Ardbeg launched a new “punk rock” expression, Ardcore.

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)

Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Age: NAS

ABV: 50.1% for Ardbeg Committee Members, 46.0 otherwise.

Ageing casks: Ex-American oak and ex-Sherry

Chillfiltered: No

Additional colouring: No

Owner: Moet Hennessy

Average price: $225.00

According to a spokeperson at Ardbeg Distillery, Ardcore draws inspiration from Islay’s little-known punk past, celebrating the characters of “Punk Ellen,” a nickname for Islay’s main port, Port Ellen, in the 1970s.

Created with Black Malt Barley, Ardcore is a first for Ardbeg. The label adds: Aromas of Dark Chocolate and Brittle Toffee clash. While amped up notes of Aniseed and Charcoal elbow their way to the fore. It’ll Punk-ture your palate and trash your Taste Buds. This is Ardcore.

From a Distillery with more ups and downs that a pogoing punk comes Ardcore. Created with roasted black malt, roasted to the extreme, this spirit is all about what happens up front i.e. centre stage. The malt is what defines its distinctive profile. Described as tasting like ‘biting on a spiky ball’, Ardcore is a dram that wears its heart on its sleeve… its black heart! Bill Lumsden should know; The Glenmorangie Signet (now from its own LMVH stable) was the first ever Super Premium single malt whisky featuring roasted malt!

There are some in the whisky community that seem to get very upset with Ardbeg’s shenanigans. The funny names and brightly coloured labels provoke seemingly endless complaints on social media. The others take a lighter approach and quite like the fun of it all. Whisky is meant to be fun. We don’t actually have to take it so seriously, all the time. I canot agree. This is serious money and folks should give it its due.

Regarding Ardcore, one sometimes wonders what came first, the whisky or the marketing concept? Obviously the spirit was laid down some years back so it’s been in the pipeline for a while but did master blender Bill Lumsden decide the whisky was ready and prompt a mad dash to come up with a marketing concept for it or did the marketing team come up with Ardcore and ask Dr Bill to find something in the warehouse that could fit the brief? Naah. The Signet is a success story. Ole Bill always had it up his sleeve.

Nose: Lots of thick Ardbeg smoke. Coal fires. Soot. A touch of that famous medicinal TCP note that’s unique to Islay. The roasted barley is there too. Spicy and savoury, Ardcore grips the senses with waves of marmite, burnt toast, chicory charcoal and infused coffee grounds making for a mosh pit in the glass. Like a safety pin through the septum, a classic Ardbeg herbal top note is present, while swirling, smoky bonfire and molasses loiter backstage.

Palate: A jaw dropping spicy and fiery mouthfeel leads to an explosion of rich, smoky flavours – cocoa powder, dark chocolate, peanut brittle toffee, smoked lime and a suggestion of soot and bonfire embers all pogo in unison on the palate. A big mouthful with a pleasant oily texture. Brine. The aromas of stony beaches and seashells evaporate off the palate. Thick, almost acrid smoke like sitting too close to a campfire. Amped up aniseed and malty biscuit elbow their way to the fore, punkturing taste buds.

Finish: In an altogether sweeter finish, long, lingering notes of treacle toffee, soot and smoke make for an anarchic, but delicious, aftertaste.

Ardbeg Ardcore Committee Edition became available this May 1st at $149.99. The general release will be available from June 1st at a suggested retail price of $124.99. Is the bottle of whisky “worth” £150? Or even £125? In the grand scheme of things, probably not. It won’t be for everyone but fans of Ardbeg won’t be disappointed.

Ardbeg - Arrrrrrrdbeg 2021 Committee Release Whisky

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)          

Series / Description : Arrrrrrrdbeg 2021 Committee Release

Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

ABV: 51.8% Cask Strength

Ageing casks: American Rye

Chillfiltered: No

Additional colouring: No

Owner: Moet Hennessy

Average price: $400.00                        

Ardbeg Arrrrrrrdbeg (with seven ‘r’s) was made available to members of the distillery’s committee in late 2020. It has been created to commemorate a key event in Ardbeg's history, the change at the helm as Distillery Manager and Committee Chairman. It’s been matured in ex-rye casks, which provides an appropriately intense lift to one of the smokiest of Islay scotches.

Tasting notes:

Colour: Pale lemon yellow.

Nose: Aromas of gunpowder, smoked banana and pears drift into some rye bread, sweet vanilla toffee and a gentle aniseed breeze.

Taste: A blunderbuss ignites fruity aromas such as melons and kiwis. A spicy mouthfeel leads into a further burst of fruity flavours such as pear, melon, limes & bananas, followed by aniseed, smoked toffee and sourdough bread. A definitive sweetness comes through this smoke- notes of toffee, honey and sugar syrup are backed up by a suggestion of white chocolate and a pinch of drinking chocolate powder

Finish: Hints of Brazil nuts, sea spray and the gentlest of smoke.


Tuesday 19 April 2022


 The International Wines And Spirits Competition: DETERMINING The Best Single Malt Scotch Of 2022

The International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) has just announced the results of the 2022 spirits judging. A total of 85 predominantly UK-based judges evaluated over 4,000 entrants across more than a dozen major spirit categories. The assessment team will now analyse wine and other categories. This process takes seven months to go through. The analyses started on 16 March 2022 with Spirits and will wind up in September, with the Design Awards as well as All Producer trophies. Though the Awards are named “Spirits of 2022,” the assessment is done on products of 2021.

The IWSC is an annual wine and spirits competition. Founded in 1969 by chemist and oenologist Anton Massel as Club Oenologique, this was a competition created to reward excellence in wine and spirit production. On 14 April 1978, Club Oenologique was officially renamed The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC). The dominant spirit in those years and the highest proportion of contenders was Scotch whisky; accordingly the venue was officially shifted to London, UK and the 1978 IWSC Awards and subsequent Banquet took place at the Palace of Westminster.

Since its simple beginning, it has grown to become one of the largest such competition in the world. Spirits are evaluated on a 100-point scale and awards given for Gold Outstanding (98-100 points), Gold (95-97 points), Silver (90-94 points) and Bronze (85-89 points). Over a hundred experts are inducted to assess the thousands of brands across all categories of alcoholic beverages over seven months, usually March to September.

In the Scotch whisky category, traditionally one of the competition’s largest and most competitive segments, a total of thirty eight single malt Scotch whiskies were awarded the coveted Gold Outstanding medal.

The results threw in a lot of surprises, reflecting the growing world of Scotch whisky with age no real bar. The top three Scotch whiskies, each scoring 99 points out of a hundred, were, interestingly, from two of Scotland’s lesser-known distilleries: Tomatin and Deanston.


Tomatin is a single malt distillery located in the village of Tomatin in the Speyside district of the Scottish Highlands. Tomatin was once the largest Scotch distillery in Scotland, with an annual capacity of around 10 million litres of pure alcohol. It is owned by a Japanese concern.

Current production is approximately 2 to 3 million litres of alcohol. Most of the distillery’s production is slated for its own blended whisky brands: the exceptional but under-recognised Antiquary 12, 21 and 35 YOs and Talisman. The company has been shifting its production to single malts and expanding its available range of expressions. Emphasising a higher percentage of first fill ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks has allowed it to produce very flavourful, structured and complex single malts. The Tomatin 1976 is a single cask 36 YO+ whisky, whereas its Legacy is a no age statement (NAS) expression that is matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon and Virgin Oak casks. The amazing fact here is that this is a $40 whisky (~Rs 3,000).

The third top ranked whisky is the Deanston Virgin Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky, an NAS peated whisky produced at the Deanston distillery recently acquired by Dutch brewer Heineken. The demography of the owners is also changing rapidly. This whisky is also very affordable, at $ 45 (~Rs 3,400).

The Ardbeg 25 YO and Ardbeg Wee Beastie 5 YO were both awarded Gold Outstanding medals. Glendronach, now under Master Distiller Rachel Barrie ex-Bowmore and a distillery whose products have seen an undesirable tripling of prices was a triple winner, with The Glendronach 16 YO Boynsmill, 18 YO Allardice and 21 YO Parliament single malt Scotch whiskies. Among the lesser-known Gold Outstanding medallists was Balblair, a triple winner for its 12 YO, 18 YO and 25 YO. This is another hugely underappreciated distillery with an outstanding portfolio of single malt whiskies. Its sister distillery, Pulteney, which location used to be one of the world’s leading herring ports, and, along with Talisker, is known the “Maritime Malt”, also won for its 18 YO expression.


Other notable winners are Highland Park’s 15 YO Viking Heart Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Aberfeldy’s 16 and 21 YO expressions. The Glenmorangie Company won for its Finest Reserve 19 YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Laphroiag picked up two Gold Outstanding medals for its 10 YO Sherry Oak Finish and its Select Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Kilchoman was the only other Islay distillery to take a Gold Outstanding medal, for its Machir Bay Scotch Whisky. Glencadam with two, Whyte & Mackay and The Lindores Distilling Company also featured as winners. The latter runs a tagline, "After a break of 523 years, spirit is once again flowing from the copper stills at Lindores Abbey." It is the Abbey which has the earliest record of scotch whisky in its exchequer roll for 1494 for a payment from King James IV to Friar John Cor of the Abbey for about "eight bols of malt." Chivas Brothers’ Royal Salute 21 YO Blended Malt was prominent as a blended malt. Moreover, Chivas has diversified big time into single malt Scotch whisky.

 Loch Lomond, another Scotch whisky distillery with a rapidly rising profile, took a Gold Outstanding medal for the Inchmoan 12 YO and Glengarry 12 YO. The latter is matured in a combination of first fill and refill ex-Bourbon casks as well as re-charred ex-Bourbon casks.

Rounding out the Gold Outstanding medal winners were several expressions from Whyte & Mackay: Co-Op Irresistible 12 YO, Tamnavulin French Cabernet Sauvignon Cask Edition, a retailer branded offering - Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Ballantine’s Glenburgie 12 YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Most of Glenburgie’s whisky output is slated for Ballantine’s Blended Scotch Whisky, one of the top 5 blended whiskies in the world by volume. The distillery has also been releasing single malt whisky expressions, the Glenburgie 12, 15 and 15 YOs as well as Glentaucher’s 23 YO and the Miltonduff 15 YO. 

Glencadam, oft criticised as inconsistent for a little-known distillery, though still among Scotland’s oldest working distilleries, took three Gold Outstanding medals for its The Rather Dignified 15 YO, Reserva Andalusia Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish and American Oak Reserve Small Batch Malt Scotch Whisky.

Other Double Gold medalists included William Grant & Sons Ailsa Bay; Glen Moray Elgin Heritage 21 YO Portwood Finish; Ian Macleod Distillers Glengoyne 12 YO; Glen Turner Company Heritage Double Cask; John Dewar & Sons, Royal Brackla 18 YO Sherry Cask Finish Paulo Cortado; and William Grant & Sons, Distillers, The Balvenie 12 YO Sweet Toast of American Oak. Part of the French La Martiniquaise group, Glen Turner also operates the Glen Moray single malt distillery in Elgin, the Starlaw grain distillery in Edinburgh, and the production of the Sir Edward’s blend and Glen Turner vatted and single malts.

Friday 15 April 2022


 2021 International Whisky Competition

Official Results

The International Whisky Competition is one of the world’s numerous whisky competitions and reaches out to the whisky community on various social media channels. Unique medals are designed to promote each of the winning whiskies. Launched in 2010 for whisky consumers, distillers, and people behind the scene making whiskies, the mission was to create a true competition by offering only 3 medals per category, exactly like any other real competition.

The goal is to bring the best whiskies from around the world to be tasted and rated by a professional tasting panel. Unlike other competitions, since 2015, judges are 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 committee.

Whisky of the Year

Ardbeg Uigeadail (95.9 points)

Master Distiller of the Year

Dr. Bill Lumsden

Glenmorangie & Ardbeg Distillery

Golden Barrel Trophy

Ardbeg Distillery (Scotland)

Distillery of the Year

Kavalan Distillery (Taiwan)

Master Blender of the Year

Stephanie Macleod

John Dewar & Sons

TOP 15 Whiskies of 2021

1.    Ardbeg Uigeadail - 95.9 Pts (Islay, Scotland)

2.    Glenmorangie Vintage 1997 - 95.1 Pts (Highland, Scotland)

3.    Dewar's Double Double 32 Year Old - 95 Pts (Scotland)

4.    Kavalan Artist Series: Paul Chiang Peated Malt Single Cask Strength Single Malt – 94.6 Pts                     (Taiwan)

5.    King Car 40th Anniversary Selected Wine Cask Matured  Single Malt Whisky – 94 Pts  (Taiwan)

6.    Black Bourbon Society's Maker's Mark Private Selection: Recipe 2. – 93.8 Pts (Kentucky, USA)

7.    Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky  93.7 Pts (Taiwan)

8.    Dewar's Double Double 21 Year Old – 93.6 Pts (Scotland)

9.    Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Old (Batch 2) - 9.4 Pts (Scotland)

10.  Glenmorangie Signet – 93.1 Pts (Highland, Scotland)

11.  Kavalan Solist (Oloroso) Sherry Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky – 93 Pts (Taiwan)

12.  Kilchoman Machir Bay – 92.97 Pts (Islay, Scotland)

13.  Ardbeg An Oa – 92.87 Pts (Islay, Scotland)

14.  Aberlour A'Bundah – 92.73 Pts (Speyside, Scotland)

15.  Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 14 Year Old – 92.67 Pts (Highland, Scotland)

Note: Whiskies that scored under 85 points are not listed, unless requested by the competing distillery.   

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. 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 next year’s competition and the name of each winner will be engraved in its marble base to commemorate the history of each annual Whisky of the Year. This year, Ardbeg Distillery gets to keep it, with their winner Ardbeg Uigeadail. 


Best Single Malt Scotch

1st Place: Ardbeg Uigeadail - 95.9 Pts
2nd Place: Glenmorangie Vintage 1997 - 95.1 Pts
3rd Place: Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Old (Batch 2) - 93.4 Pts

Best Single Malt Scotch NAS (No Age Statement)

1st Place: Ardbeg Uigeadail – 95.9 Pts
2nd Place: Glenmorangie Signet – 93.1 Pts
3rd Place: Kilchoman Machir Bay – 92.97 Pts

Best Single Malt Scotch 10 Year Old and Under

1st Place: Ardbeg Wee Beastie – 91.67 Pts
2nd Place: Ardbeg Ten – 91.17 Pts
3rd Place: Glenmorangie The Original – 89.93 Pts

Best Single Malt Scotch 12 Year Old

1st Place: Glenlivet 12 Year Old – 90.93 Pts
2nd Place: Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or 12 Year Old – 90.53 Pts
3rd Place: Aberlour 12 Year Old – 89.47 Pts

Best Single Malt Scotch 13-14 Year Old

1st Place: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 14 Year Old – 92.67 Pts
2nd Place: Glenmorangie The Elementa 14 Year Old – 89.77 Pts
3rd Place: The Glenlivet 14 Year Old – 89.07 Pts

Best Single Malt Scotch 15 Year Old

1st Place: Glenmorangie Cadboll Estate Batch No. 2 – 89.67 Pts
2nd Place: The Glenlivet 15 Year Old – 89.5 Pts

Best Single Malt Scotch 16-17 Year Old

1st Place: Aberlour 16 Year Old – 92.33 Pts
2nd Place: Glenmorangie The Tribute 16 Year Old – 92.23 Pts

Best Single Malt Scotch 18 Year Old

1st Place: Glenmorangie 18 Year Old – 92.37 Pts
2nd Place: The Glenlivet 18 Year Old – 92 Pts
3rd Place: Aberlour 18 Year Old – 87.53 Pts

Best Single Malt Scotch 19-25 Year Old

1st Place: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1997 – 95.1 Pts
2nd Place: Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Old (Batch 2) – 93.4 Pts
3rd Place: Glenmorangie 19 Year Old– 90.97 Pts

Best Islay Single Malt
1st Place: Ardbeg Uigeadail - 95.9 Pts
2nd Place: Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Old (Batch 2) – 93.4 Pts
3rd Place: Kilchoman Machir Bay – 92.97 Pts

Best Highland Single Malt

1st Place: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1997 – 95.1 Pts
2nd Place: Glenmorangie Signet – 93.1 Pts
3rd Place: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 14 Year Old – 92.67 Pts

Best Speyside Single Malt

1st Place: Aberlour A’Bunadh – 92.73 Pts
2nd Place: Aberlour 16 Year Old – 92.33 Pts
3rd Place: The Glenlivet 18 Year Old – 92 Pts

Best Lowland Single Malt

1st : Glasgow 1770 Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Peated – 88.67 Pts

Best Cask Strength Scotch

1st Place: Ardbeg An Oa – 92.87 Pts
2nd Place: Aberlour A’Bunadh – 92.73 Pts
3rd Place: Ardbeg Corryvreckan - 89.67 Pts

Best Peated Scotch

1st Place: Ardbeg Uigeadail – 95.9 Pts
2nd Place: Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Old (Batch 2) – 93.4 Pts
3rd Place: Kilchoman Machir Bay – 92.97 Pts

Best Blended Scotch

1st Place: Dewar’s Double Double 32 Year Old – 95 Pts
2nd Place: Dewar’s Double Double 21 Year Old – 93.6 Pts
3rd Place: Dewar’s Double Double 27 Year Old – 92.37 Pts

Best Blended Scotch 10 Year and Under

1st Place: Dewar’s Portuguese Smooth - 8 Year Old– 90.23 Pts
2nd Place: Dewar’s Japanese Smooth - 8 Year Old – 87.97 Pts
3rd Place: Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth - 8 Year Old - 87.6 Pts

Best Blended Scotch 12-15 Year Old

1st Place: Dewar’s 12 Year Old The Ancestor – 89.6 Pts
2nd Place: Dewar’s 15 Year Old The Monarch – 88.2 Pts
3rd Place: Imperial 12 Year Old Blended Scotch – 86.2 Pts

Best Blended Scotch 16-20 Year Old

1st Place: Dewar’s 18 Year Old The Vintage – 90.4 Pts
2nd Place: Chivas 18 Year Old – 88.3 Pts

Best Blended Scotch 21-24 Year Old

1st Place: Dewar’s Double Double 21 Year Old – 93.6 Pts

Best Blended Scotch 25 Year Old And Over

1st Place: Dewar’s Double Double 32 Year Old – 95 Pts
2nd Place: Dewar’s Double Double 27 Year Old – 92.37 Pts
3rd Place: Dewar’s 25 Year Old The Signature – 90.03 Pts

Best New Scotch Release 2021

1st Place: Ardbeg Scorch 2021 Committee Release – 91.63 Pts
2nd Place: Dewar's Portuguese Smooth - 8 Year Old – 90.23 Pts
3rd Place: Ardbeg Scorch 2021 Limited Edition – 90.13 Pts


Best American Whiskey (All Categories)

1st Place: Black Bourbon Society's Maker's Mark Private Selection: Recipe 2. – 93.8 Pts

2nd Place: Weldon Mills Reserve – 92.1 Pts

3rd Place: Thomas S. Moore Cabernet Sauvignon Finished Kentucky Straight Bourbon – 92.03 Pts

Best Bourbon Whiskey

1st Place: Black Bourbon Society's Maker's

Mark Private Selection: Recipe 2. – 93.8 Pts

2nd Place: Weldon Mills Reserve – 92.1 Pts

3rd Place: Thomas S. Moore Cabernet Sauvignon Finished Kentucky Straight Bourbon – 92.03 Pts

Best Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey (Full Proof)

1st Place: Weldon Mills Reserve – 92.1 Pts

2nd Place: Old Hamer Cask Strength Bourbon – 92 Pts

3rd Place: 1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 90.63 Pts

Best Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

1st Place: Old Weller Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 91.17 Pts

2nd Place: John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 91.07 Pts

3rd Place: Old Hamer Single Barrel Straight Bourbon Whiskey - 90.63 Pts

Best Bottled in Bond Bourbon Whiskey

1st Place: 1792 Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 88.4 Pts

2nd Place: Early Times Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 88.2 Pts

3rd Place: TX Bottled in Bond Single Barrel Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 85.43 Pts

Best American Rye Whiskey

1st Place: Old Overholt 114 Proof Straight Rye – 90 Pts

2nd Place: Old Overholt Straight Rye – 89.47 Pts

3rd Place: Colonel E.H. Taylor Rye Kentucky Straight Whiskey – 88.63 Pts

Best American Single Malt Whiskey

1st Place: Rogue Single Malt Cabernet Finish - 85.1 Pts

Best Micro Distillery Whiskey

(Under 150,000 bottles)

1st Place: Weldon Mills Reserve – 92.1 Pts

2nd Place: Old Hamer Cask Strength Bourbon – 92 Pts

3rd Place: Sisterdale Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 89.6 Pts


Best Indiana Whiskey

1st Place: Old Hamer Cask Strength Bourbon – 92 Pts

2nd Place: Remus – 90.8 Pts

3rd Place: Hugh Hamer Double Oaked 103 –90.07 Pts

Best Kentucky Whiskey

1st Place: Black Bourbon Society's Maker's Mark Private Selection: Recipe 2. – 93.8 Pts

2nd Place: Thomas S. Moore Cabernet Sauvignon Finished Kentucky Straight Bourbon – 92.03 Pts

3rd Place: Thomas S. Moore Chardonnay Finished Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 91.83 Pts

Best Tennessee Whiskey

1st Place: Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey - US-21 – 91.07 Pts

2nd Place: Uncle Nearest Master Blend Edition – 90.37 Pts

3rd Place: Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey – 90.33 Pts

Best Texas Whiskey

1st Place: TX Texas Stright Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Tawny Port Casks – 90.17 Pts

2nd Place: Sisterdale Stright Bourbon Whiskey  – 89.6 Pts

3rd Place: TX Texas Stright Bourbon Whiskey – 88.37 Pts

Best Virginia Whiskey

1st Place: John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 91.07 Pts

2nd Place: Bowman Brothers Small Batch Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 89.2 Pts


Best Japanese Whisky

1st Place: Matsui Pure Malt Whisky The Kurayoshi 18 Years – 91.77 Pts

2nd Place: Matsui Single Malt Whisky Matsui Mizunara Cask – 91.17 Pts

3rd Place: The Kyoto Bourbon Barrel – 90.7 Pts

Best Japanese Whisky NAS (No Age Statement)

1st Place: Matsui Single Malt Whisky: Matsui Mizunara Cask – 91.17 Pts

2nd Place: The Kyoto Bourbon Barrel – 90.7 Pts

3rd Place: Matsui Blended Whisky The San-in Bourbon Barrel-90.67 Pts

Best Blended Japanese Whisky

1st Place: The Kyoto Bourbon Barrel – 90.7 Pts

2nd Place: Matsui Blended Whisky The San-in Bourbon Barrel-90.67 Pts

3rd Place: Matsui Blended Whisky The Tottori Bourbon Barrel – 89.63 Pts

Best Pure Malt Japanese Whisky

1st Place: Matsui Pure Malt Whisky The Kurayoshi 18 YO – 91.77 Pts

2nd Place: Matsui Pure Malt Whisky The Kurayoshi 12 YO – 90.67 Pts

3rd Place: Matsui Pure Malt Whisky The Kurayoshi Sherry Cask-87.33 Pts

Best Japanese Whisky 12 Year Old

1st Place: Matsui Pure Malt Whisky The Kurayoshi 12 YO– 90.67 Pts

Best Japanese Whisky 18 Year Old

1st Place: Matsui Pure Malt Whisky The Kurayoshi 18 Years – 91.77 Pts


Best Indian Whisky

1st Place: Mithuna by Paul John Indian Single Malts – 90.7 Pts

2nd : Paul John Nirvana Unpeated Indian Single Malt Whisky – 89.73 Pts

3rd Place: Paul John P.X. Select Cask Indian Single Malt – 89.1 Pts