The World Whiskies Awards winners for 2021 have just been announced and that means it’s time for us to take a look at which expressions the world’s top judges think are the best in their respective categories.
This prestigious competition has been running since way back in 2012 and every year distilleries and producers around the world wait with bated breath to see if one of their expressions has triumphed. It has become one of the most anticipated awards ceremonies in the world of whisky and the prizes are coveted by all.
In recent years, Japanese whisky has shone, with the likes of the Hakushu 25 Year Old, Fuji Single Grain, Hibiki 21 Year Old and many more winning top awards. Let’s see how they got on this year.
World’s Best Single Malt – Glenallachie 10 Year Old Batch 4
With the outstanding Hakushu 25 Year Old being named winner in this category in two out of the last four years (2018/2020), all eyes were peeled to see if it could do it again.
Unfortunately for Suntory, it wasn’t to be this time around, with the accolade instead being awarded to the delicious Glenallachie 10 Year Old Batch 4. The Speyside distillery has been producing outstanding expressions for a number of years now and this one simply stole the show on the day.
Best Japanese Single Malt – Chichibu The First Ten
Staying in the single malt category, Best Japanese Single Malt was awarded to the Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The First Ten. Ichiro’s have been winning a plethora of awards for their divine expressions in recent years and this whisky, their first Chichibu 10 Year Old, is up there with the best of them. With only 5,000 bottles released, it’s also incredibly limited.
World’s Best Blended Limited Release – Ichiro’s Malt Japanese Blended Whisky Limited Edition 2021
This category has been dominated by Japanese whisky in recent years, and by one expression in particular. The Ichiro’s Malt Japanese Blended Whisky Limited Edition annual release had picked up the award for three years running up until now, so could they make it four out of four?
Indeed they could. This year’s 2021 release pipped all of its rivals to take home one of the competition’s top awards. It’s a delicious, well-rounded, expertly crafted expression from one of Japan’s very best whisky producers and one that you must try if given the chance.
Congratulations to Ichiro and his team!
World’s Best Blended – Dewar’s Double Double 21 Year Old
This award has been won by Suntory’s Hibiki 21 Year Old a total of five times, owing to its incredible balance and well-rounded, unique flavour profile. This year, however, it went to the Dewar’s Double Double 21 Year Old, a rich, oaky and fruity expression that wowed the judges with its control and balance.
Best Japanese Blended – Nikka From The Barrel
The Best Japanese Blended whisky for 2021 is the Nikka From The Barrel. This whisky has been around in Japan since 1985, but it only made its US debut in 2018. Since then, it has become a staple of every Japanese whisky lover worldwide and, despite recent news that it is in fact a world blended whisky, likely containing a portion of Ben Nevis, the fact remains that it is an outstanding expression created by Japanese blenders who are truly masters of their craft.
Other Notable Winners
Best Japanese Single Cask Whisky – Chichibu Whisky Matsuri
At this point, you won’t be surprised to hear which producer’s whisky won Best Japanese Single Cask Whisky 2021. Yes, it was Ichiro’s Malt again, with the Chichibu Whisky Matsuri expression. This fine whisky was distilled in 2010 and matured in a single hogshead cask for 10 years before bottling in 2020. It’s fruity, gentle and smooth with a long, sweet finish that holds for some time. Only 241 cask strength bottles were released, making it hugely collectible.
Best Japanese Grain Whisky – Fuji Single Grain 30 Year Old
The Fuji Gotemba Distillery had won World’s Best Grain Whisky in three out of the last four years, so it came as no shock that the Fuji Single Grain 30 Year Old was named Best Japanese Grain Whisky for 2021. It’s a whisky with great depth, notes of fruit, sherry, dry oak and subtle vanilla, that all combine to create a drinking experience that you’ll remember for some time.
Best Japanese Blended Malt – Kurayoshi 18 Year Old
The award for Best Japanese Blended Malt for 2021 went to the Kurayoshi 18 Year Old. produced at Matsui Shuzo. It contains both imported Scottish malt whisky and Japanese distilled whisky and has been watered down to bottling strength with volcanic filtered water. It’s a marvelous example of just how good world blended whiskies can be and deserves its accolade.