Bourbon is incredibly popular domestically, and for good reason. American roots are linked with whiskey (or whisky, if you're European), and places like the Kentucky Bourbon Trail highlight the best of history. While American whiskey is considered incredible here, it's always interesting to see how it shakes out when in the running for prestigious awards against international whiskeys, like Japanese whisky or Canadian whisky. Would it surprise you to know that an American bourbon whiskey just won 2017 World Whisky of the Year?
Colonel E.H.Taylor 4 Grain Bottled in Bond Aged 12 Years just took home the incredibly prestigious title from Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2018. Releasing their 15th edition this year, Murray includes critiques of more than 4,600 whiskeys in the book, and also crowns the best whiskies as he sees fit. This is the third year in a row that North American whiskey takes the coveted title. The top spot went to Booker's Rye 13-Year-Old last year, and Canada's Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye the year before.
Colonel E.H. Taylor Kentucky Bourbon
Never had Colonel E.H. Taylor? The well-known Kentucky bourbon makers Buffalo Trace recently unearthed the remains of past distillery owner Colonel E.H.Taylor, Jr. The pioneer's distillery was destroyed in a 1872 fire, and it is now known as "Bourbon Pompeii." Buffalo Trace distills this special bourbon in homage of Col. Taylor, using the four classic grains that the 19th-century pioneer worked with - corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley.
Murray scores the whiskey a 97.5 out of 100 (second place got a 97) and describes it as "sheer undiluted beauty" with a delicate weight and complexity. The flavors of "slow, lightly oiled, gently spiced chocolate fade which goes on...and on" made this a clear winner for Murray.
Coming in second place was Redbreast 21 Year Aged. This marks the highest rank an Irish whiskey has achieved in the Bible's history. In fact, it's only the second time the Emerald Isle has ranked in the top three.
Last year, the second place award went to the Scotch whisky Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition; this year the Scotch whisky is named the Third Finest and is scored at 97 out of 100 points.
The book also crowns additional whiskey winners, including those from Japan (Nikka Coffey Malt Whiskey), Canada (Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye), Europe (The Norfolk Parched from St George's), and the Southern Hemisphere (Limeburner's Dark Winter).
As much as I would love to be a bourbon judge, that sounds like a lot of pressure! Whether you prefer a blended malt scotch, a blended whisky, a single malt whisky, or a single barrel bourbon variety, this just proves that some of the best whiskey out there is made in the United States, no matter if it's the everyman's Tennessee whiskey in Jack Daniels or a real treat of a rye whiskey from Bulleit. So sit back, relax, and pour yourself an Apple Pie Whiskey cocktail to celebrate.
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