Any one remotely interested in whisky other than drinking the stuff will know about the many awards and acknowledgements handed out to various expressions each and every year, many of you out there will also know that when something is acknowledged as the best in the world there is a lot of scepticism surrounding that whisky, after all there has been some laughable winners in the past few years with people like Jim Murray having proclaimed certain whiskies to be the best in the world when in practicality they have been nothing other than good at best( my opinion ). Please be aware this is not a bash at those awards but rather a warning that my thoughts don’t always go down the same path.. This review will be about a whisky and not so much about something that is said to be the best in the world ! Although I feel it is only right to acknowledge the fact that at the ” World Whisky Awards” 2017 a “panel ” of tasting judges awarded this malt the prestigious award of “worlds best” single malt ! The big difference here is the ” panel” of judges, this is not down to one single person and certainly can’t be accused of being a lucky to win .. We all know how easy it is to have an off day when tasting whisky and even have the odd day when everything tastes fantastic.. So let me get to the tasting..
Please note that a press pack was sent to me along with a sample for this 31yo and the 23 yo in order to give my opinions.
Bottled at 52.2% abv from both first fill and re fill casks this is obviously at the top end of the spectrum regarding a general release from John dewar and sons.
Nose.. Exoctic spices and fruity. The spices are instant with this one, the wood shines through with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and a little pepper in the background. Fruit shines through the spices with stewed apples, poached pear and peaches all evident, a little kiwi fruit, ripe banana and fresh pineapple. There is a sweetness lurking in the background that almost seems reluctant to show itself, but once you do honey just shines through, there seems to be a hint of earthy notes like a Manuka honey but also a rich heather honey note along with vanilla, toffee and caramel notes and a little burnt sugar.
Palate.. Again the spices dominate, the wood tanning blends so well with a delightful sweetness brought in by the honey notes and sugars extracted from the wood.. Fruit turns up again with both fresh fruits and dried fruits taking turns to showcase what’s on offer.
Finish.. Long, spicy and elegant.
Thoughts.. When you review something that has been voted the “Worlds best” your never going to get away from that burning question ” is it that good ?” No matter what you say, your never going to win, this is a loaded question so my answer is this.. This is NOT the best whisky I have tried, it’s good, no it’s bloody good !! and I can understand how it’s been voted the best but for me personally it just does not plonk me on my arse with a WOW factor.. would I buy a bottle.. damn right I would ( did) but you have to remember we all have a preferred style of whisky and that will influence your decisions..
The whisky itself has a great balance and certainly has plenty of complexity to it ! There is a feeling when you drink it that your drinking something special.. This is certainly a top class whisky that deserves any accolades it receives. No matter what you believe about these awards, whenever you get to try a whisky that has been awarded some award then please go in with an open mind.. Don’t jump on a bandwagon of haters or lovers.. it’s your opinion that counts..
I would like to thank everyone involved in sending this official sample..