Whisky Focus - Whisky Bible 2011 World Whisky Awards

Whisky Bible 2011 World Whisky Awards

11th October 2010

Ballantine’s takes top honour in Jim Murray's 2011 Whisky Bible World Whisky Awards.

A blended scotch whisky has swept aside all single malt rivals to take the prestigious Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible Award for 2011.

Ballantine’s 17 year old has topped all other whiskies in this year’s publication, which includes 4,500 different brands – of which over 1,000 new entries were tasted by Jim Murray in six months.

Single malt scotch, often a whisky preferred by whisky lovers, failed also to take either the runner’s up or third spot. Second place went to Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye (129 proof) ahead of William Larue Weller (134.8 proof), both from the same distillery: Buffalo Trace.

Speaking at the publication of the Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011 Jim Murray said, "Blends are seen by many as the poor relations to single malts. Ballantine’s 17 proves, quite spectacularly, what many of us have known for a great many years: it isn’t. A blender has the chance to create something unique and quite beautiful by putting together many whisky styles. With Ballantine’s 17, the blender has done his job in glorious, quite majestic fashion."

Giving the blend 97.5 points out of 100, Jim Murray describes the whisky as “one of the most beautiful, complex and stunningly structured whiskies ever created.”

And in another boost for unsung whiskies, the own label Irish whiskey from Sainsbury’s Dún Léire Aged 8 Years Single Malt, won Irish Whiskey of the Year, the first time a supermarket brand has gained top country honours in The Whisky Bible. Produced by the Cooley Distillery for Sainsbury’s Jim Murray said, "this is Cooley at its best and a very astute and masterful piece of whiskey buying."

Last year, the World Whisky Award went to Sazerac 18-year-old Kentucky rye. This year, younger sibling Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye (129 proof) secured second place, whilst William Larue Weller (134.8 proof), a bourbon, came third. Both brands herald from last years World whisky winner Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Conducted over a four month period, whilst writing the 2011 Whisky Bible, Jim Murray tasted in excess of 1000 whiskies to reach his final decision.

In the end, it was a Scotch blend which scored highly in previous editions which took the top prize.

Added Jim: "Ballantine’s 17-years-old has always been one of the world’s premier whiskies: its consistency over the years has been quite remarkable. But this year it just progressed that extra notch to leave all other whiskies in its shadow. This currently marks the epitome of great blending, indeed, great whisky: nowhere else can you find balance, texture, and content come together in such a sensual, graceful way. It really is the nectar of the gods, except even they might struggle to get to the bottom of its labyrinthine complexity. It needed something out of this world to see off the two Buffalo Trace whiskeys…and this was it."

Of the Buffalo Trace brands Jim Murray said, "Having tasted and been overwhelmed by both whiskeys at the Buffalo Trace early this year, tasting them again in the confounds of UK based tasting room, devoid of the romance of the distillery and in the wake of some tough competition was a tough challenge for these two newcomers" said Murray. "But wow how they delivered. These are two of the best American whiskies the best I have ever tasted and for very different reasons."

Jim Murray Liquid Gold Awards

The Jim Murray Liquid Gold Awards were created last year to recognise whisky-making excellence around the world. All whiskies scoring 94 points or more have been awarded Liquid Gold Awards in the 2011 Whisky Bible.

Representing just 4% of all the whiskies featured in the 2011 edition they are, says Murray "the elite; the very finest you can find on whisky shelves around the world. Rare and precious they are liquid gold."

Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2011 is now available to order from Amazon. This years book has over 4050 tasting notes, including 1050 of the very latest releases, the 'Whisky Bible' remains the definitive and most up to date whisky guide available.

Whisky Bible 2011 Now Available From Amazon

Whisky Bible 2011



Where To Buy The Whisky Bible 2010

The Whisky Bible is published by Dram Good Books and is available from Amazon

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