Every year, whisky expert Jim Murray tries thousands of whiskies from around the world, rates them, and compiles the entire list in his best-selling Whisky Bible.
Out of those thousands of whiskies, the one he rates the highest is crowned “Whisky Of The Year” in the book.
In 2015, Murray named a Japanese whisky (Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013) as his top tipple, and last year, he named a Canadian rye whisky (Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye).
After tasting more than 4,600 for the recently released 2017 edition of the Whisky Bible, Murray decided that this year’s Whisky Of The Year is Booker’s 13 Year Old Rye (Big Time Batch), an American rye whiskey that contains a whopping 68.1% ABV.
In the book, Murray describes the whiskey as “simply a staggering example of a magnificent rye showing exactly what genius in terms of whiskey actually means”.
While this is the third year in a row that he has named a whisky that is not from the traditional whisky lands of Scotland, all is not lost for Scotch – the Glen Grant 18 Year Old Rare Edition was named in second place, the first time a Scotch whisky has featured in the top three since 2014.
William Larue Weller, a bourbon by Buffalo Trace Distillery, was in third place.
Whatever you think of Murray’s often controversial awards, there is no doubting the effect the Whisky Bible has on the industry. His naming of the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 as his Whisky Of The Year in 2015 caused a massive stir within the industry, and probably helped raise the profile of Japanese whisky on a global scale. Whether it will do the same for Booker’s remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, it’s going to be hard to find a bottle of it now.
Here is full list of awards given by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017:
Whisky Of The Year:
1. Booker’s 13 Year Old Rye (Big Time Batch)
2. Glen Grant 18 Year Old Rare Edition
3. William Larue Weller (2015 Release)
Scotch Whisky categories
Scotch Whisky of the Year: Glen Grant 18 Year Old Rare Edition
Single Malt (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant 18 Year Old Rare Edition
Single Malt (Single Cask): Macallan 25 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
Scotch Blend: The Last Drop 1971
Scotch Grain: Invergordon 24 Year Old – Whiskyjace
Scotch Vatted Malt: Compass Box Flaming Heart 15th Anniversary
Canadian Whiskey: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
European Whisky: English Whisky Co. Chapter 14
Irish Whiskey: Redbreast Aged 21 Year Old
Japanese Whisky: Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016