Japanese whisky named ‘world’s best’

Whisky expert Jim Murray has named a Japanese single malt the best whisky in the world for the first time in his Whisky Bible 2015, calling it a “wake up call” for Scotch distilleries.

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The Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry 2013

It was the first time in the bible’s 12-year history that a Scottish whisky has failed to register in the top five, with an English malt whisky awarded the title of best European Whisky.

The best European Whisky title was awarded to Chapter 14 Not Peated, from the English Whisky Company.

Mr Murray, who samples more than 4,500 whiskies each year as part of the Whisky Bible, described the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 as a drink of “near incredible genius”, awarding it 97.5 marks out of 100 in this year’s edition.

Murray really rubbed salt into the wounds of Scotch distillers by adding that it was “a single malt which no Scotch can at the moment get anywhere near” noting that he believed it was time for “a little dose of humility” from the northern whisky makers so they could realise that “something is missing.”

The winning whisky, a no-age statement single malt whisky matured solely in sherry casks, comes from Japan’s oldest malt whisky distillery Yamazaki, which was established in 1923.

Keita Minari, Europe brand manager for Beam Suntory, which owns Yamazaki, said: “It is such an honour to be Jim Murray’s World Whisky of the Year. Sherry casks were used to age the very first Japanese whisky over 90 years ago at the distillery. It provides a strong, rich character to the whisky and a delicate sweetness.”

Only 18,000 bottles of the winning whisky were produced, which are sold in only a few hundred specialist shops in the UK for around £100.

Key category winners:-

  • 2015 World Whisky of the Year: The Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry 2013
  • Second Finest Whisky in the World: William Larue Weller 2013
  • Third Finest World Whisky in the World: Sazerac Rye 18yo 2013
  • Single Cask of the Year: Four Roses Single Barrel Limited Edition #3-4P

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