Towards the end of 2018 we launched our inaugural Customers’ Choice Awards to give our lovely customers the chance to show appreciation for their favourite Japanese whiskies and distilleries.
While we have a great deal of respect for the many different awards competitions that take place around the globe throughout the year, we wanted to let your voice be heard, after all you are the ones spending your hard-earned cash to buy and taste a huge range of these superb creations. Lots of you took part, voting in 7 different categories, and now the results are in and we’re excited to share them with you today.
The winners in each category are as follows.
Best Japanese Whisky Distillery of 2018
2nd Place – Chichibu | 3rd Place – Yoichi
You voted the Yamazaki Distillery as your first place in the “Japanese Whisky Distillery of 2018” category and it is thoroughly deserving of the award. The distillery released several outstanding new whiskies throughout the year on top of the continuing production of many of their most famous flagship bottles that have been firm favourites of the Japanese whisky-lover for years now.
Best New Japanese Whisky Release of 2018
Winner – Hibiki Blender’s Choice
2nd Place – Kamiki | 3rd Place – Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The Peated 2018
You voted the best new release of 2018 as the Hibiki Blender’s Choice, the latest addition to the Hibiki core range that was released to replace the now discontinued Hibiki 17. Fans were devastated at the announcement that the 17 would no longer be produced, but the Blender’s Choice is already doing a fine job of stepping into its shoes and delivering a flavour packed and complex drinking experience.
Best Japanese Single Malt
2nd Place – Yamazaki 25 Year Old | 3rd Place – Yamazaki 12 Year Old
Rather unsurprisingly, the Yamazaki 18 Year Old was voted as your “Best Japanese Single Malt”. The whisky has picked up countless awards over the years for its unrivalled balance, complexity and delicious flavour compounds and it is a solid favourite among Japanese whisky aficionados. Possibly one the best whiskies ever made and thoroughly deserving of your Customers’ Choice Award. Yamazaki had a clean sweep of this category, picking up 1st, 2nd and 3rd place!
Best Japanese Blended Whisky
2nd Place – Hibiki 17 Year Old | 3rd Place – Kamiki Intense
The Hibiki 21 Year Old was voted as your “Best Japanese Blended Whisky” and that’s something that most would find it hard to disagree with. This masterful blend displays ultimate harmony between carefully blended spirit and top quality wood management. It’s a complex, smooth and well-rounded whisky that the master blenders at Hibiki should be incredibly proud of.
2nd Place – Yamazakura 963 21 Year Old | 3rd Place – Ichiro’s Malt & Grain ‘Japanese Blended Whisky’ Limited Edition 2018
The Kamiki made waves in the industry when it was released as the first whisky to be matured in Japanese Cedar wood. The result was a whisky that tastes like no other, with distinct almost pine-like notes being imparted onto the spirit. We loved it and you obviously do to, voting it as the winner of your “Best Ji-Whisky” of 2018. Everyone’s excited to see what Kamiki have in store for us in 2019.
Best Bottle Design
Winner – Hibiki 21 Year Old Mt.Fuji Edition
2nd Place – Kamiki | 3rd Place – Hibiki Japanese Harmony Limited Edition 30th Anniversary
The Hibiki 21 Year Old picked up another winner’s medal, this time for the outstanding bottle design of their Mt.Fuji special edition. The stunning bottle features the famous snow-capped mountain on the front and holds the supreme Hibiki 21 Year Old liquid inside. Both are works of art in their own right, one man-made and one natural, and they are both gorgeous representations of Japanese history, heritage and culture.
Best Overall Japanese Whisky
2nd Place – Hibiki 21 Year Old | 3rd Place – Yamazaki 25 Year Old
Another award for the prestigious Yamazaki 18 Year Old, this time you voted it as the “Best Overall Japanese Whisky” and once again it’s well-deserving of the title. A fine example of Japanese craftsmanship, mastery and design all coming together in one bottle. One that will be remembered long after it’s gone (hopefully not anytime soon!).
Thank You for Taking Part
Well that’s all for this year folks, thanks for voting. We appreciate your enthusiasm for our beloved Japanese whisky and we’re sure the distilleries and those behind each and every creation that took home 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in each of the categories are thankful for your show of appreciation. We’ll be back with the Customers’ Choice Awards at the end of 2019, hopefully the year is full of wonderful new releases for you to enjoy until then.