Japanese Whisky At The International Spirits Challenge 2018

The whisky results of the International Spirits Challenge 2018 were published today, on May 11th. There are some wonderful Gold winners in the Japanese whisky categories this year which are, as usual, dominated by the giants of Japanese whisky, Suntory and Nikka.

In last year’s competition, Suntory was named “World Whisky Producer of the Year” and the Hibiki 21 Year-Old won a Trophy before receiving the “Supreme Champion Spirit” award, the most prestigious title of the challenge.

The Trophy winners and special awards will be announced at the annual dinner in London, and then published online on the 11th of July. In the meantime, here are the Japanese whiskies to receive Gold awards in the first round.

Malts No Age Statement – Taketsuru

In the NAS blended whisky category, the Taketsuru Pure Malt received a Gold, winning over entries like the Hibiki Harmony, Nikka From The Barrel, and other well-known no-age blends from Japan.

Malts 12 Years Old & Under – Yamazaki

The Yamazaki 12 Year-Old dominated the category of malts aged 12 years and under. Other entries included the Essence of Suntory Yamazaki Peated, and a variety of Fuji-Gotemba 12 Year-Old expressions finished in red wine casks.

Malts Between 13 & 20 Years Old – Yamazaki

Yamazaki 18 Year Old took the gold for malts between 13 and 20 years old. Silver awards were given to the Taketsuru 17, the Hakushu 18, and not surprisingly, the Yamazaki Mizunara 2017 Edition, which was one of the most sought-after Japanese whiskies of 2017.

Malts 21 Years Old & Over – Taketsuru

Two golds were given in this category, one to the Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year-Old, and another to the Hakushu 25 Year-Old, which was recently named the “World’s Best Single Malt” at the World Whiskies Awards 2018.

Hopefully, these are in the running for a Trophy award.

Blends 21 Years Old & Over – Hibiki

Last but not least, Suntory dominated the 21 and over blended category with golds for the Hibiki 21 Year Old and the extremely rare Hibiki 35 Year-Old, which is most commonly released in gorgeous ceramic containers by Suntory, with very limited bottle numbers.

With Suntory receiving some of the most prestigious awards in last year’s ISC, we expect this year to be just as eventful.

Who of the two giants will bring home the Trophies this year? And will they receive any special awards for production or design?

Stay tuned.