Asian Masters round-up

Nowadays whisky producers enjoy much freedom and flexibility in distilleries around the world. Moving away from Scotland, the traditional whisky heartland, world whiskies are enjoying burgeoning acclaim and consumers are keen on tasting these new creations. In these regions, whisky makers enjoy experimenting, using innovative methods. For instance, Taiwanese Nantou whisky Omar ages its whiskies in casks that previously held fruit liqueur. The outcomes are diverse and encouraging, as we saw in the latest edition of The World Whisky Masters – Asia.

For American Bourbon under HK$500, Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky excelled with two Silver and Gold medals. One of the Gold winners, Straight Bourbon Whisky without age statement, caught the judges’ attention with its “honey, citrus peel and spice notes and pretty long finish,” said Yu-Kong Chow.

Given that the bottle is priced at a mere HK$195, the panel agreed the whisky expressed a lot of elegance at this price point.

Another Gold medal award-winner, Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, at HK$300, showed complex flavours as well. Terry Wong of Ginsberg + Chan said the Bourbon trend in Hong Kong is strong, although not as big as Sherry-cask-aged Scotch whisky, and consumption is largely driven by bars where discerning drinkers are looking for specific cocktails, such as the Bourbon Old Fashioned.

In this competition, the judges awarded Masters medals to two expressions. Brown-Forman’s Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, which falls into the price category from between HK$300 to HK$500, is a fantastic whisky with a humble price tag. Chow said: “The nose is pronounced and consistent, and on the palate I liked the mellowness and nice balance.”

Moving to Australasia, Archie Rose Rye Malt Whisky gained excellent responses from the panel. Wong liked the whisky as “the oaky vanilla nose is very strong and persistent. On the palate it is very balanced with a soft touch of acidity to strengthen the structure.”

We also had an entry from India in this edition. Awarded a Silver medal, All Seasons Reserve Whisky, priced at kess than HK$150, was thought good value for money, given the whisky itself is in a decent peaty and citrusy style.

“India is a massive whisky-drinking nation, though a large amount of whisky produced there stays in the domestic market,” Chow said. “There are so many intriguing and quality distilleries scattered around Asia, in countries such as India and Taiwan, that are worth keeping track of.”

World Whisky Masters – Asia 2019

Company Name Product Name Age/Type Medal
American Bourbon – No age statement under HK$500
Buffalo Trace Distillery Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky No age statement Gold
Buffalo Trace Distillery Kentucky Gentlemen Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky No age statement Silver
Buffalo Trace Distillery Benchmark Old No.8 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky No age statement Silver
American Bourbon – Aged over 8 years under HK$500
Buffalo Trace Distillery Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky Aged over 8 years Gold
America Bourbon Super Premium HK$300-$500
Brown-Forman Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Super premium Gold
American Rye no age statement Under $500
Buffalo Trace Distillery Sazerac straight rye whisky No age statement Silver
American Flavoured Whisky under HK$300
Buffalo Trace Distillery Fireball Cinnamon Flavoured Whisky No age statement Silver
Australasia Single Malt – Super Premium over HK$700
Chiefs Son Single Malt 60% Super Premium Gold
Rochfort Distillery Rochfort Distillery Single Malt Whisky Super Premium Silver
Chiefs Son Single Malt 45% Super Premium Silver
Australasia Rye Malt Whisky -Single Grain – Super-Premium
Archie Rose Archie Rose Rye Malt Whisky Super Premium Gold
Australasia – Single Malt Whisky: Single Malt – Premium
Archie Rose Archie Rose Single Malt Whisky Premium Silver
Ireland – Blended Premium HK$300-$450
Slainte Slainte Irish Whisky Premium Silver
India Blended Standard under HK$150
Omsons All Seasons Reserve Whisky Standard Silver

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