Suntory time: Japanese whisky named world’s best in sour dram for Scotland
World Whisky Bible gives highest mark to Yamazaki single malt while spiritual homeland’s ranking is dramatically watered down
Scottish drinkers could be forgiven for crying into their drams after a single malt from Japan was named the best whisky in the world for the first time.
Whisky expert Jim Murray awarded a record-equalling 97.5 marks out of 100 to Suntory’s Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013, hailing it as “near indescribable genius” in his comments in the forthcoming 2015 World Whisky Bible.
Murray’s tasting notes described the whisky, from the company’s distillery near Kyoto in western Japan, as possessing “a nose of exquisite boldness” and as “thick, dry, [and] as rounded as a snooker ball”.
It is the first time since the guide was first published 12 years ago that the top award has gone to a whisky from Japan. The country’s whiskies were once the butt of jokes but have won a slew of awards and widespread critical acclaim in recent years.
To compound the pain felt in the spiritual home of the “water of life”, this is the first time that not a single Scottish whisky made it into the top five in Murray’s respected guide.
Suntory’s winning whisky is aged for 12 to 15 years in casks previously used for Oloroso sherry, giving it what Murray described as a “light, teasing spice”.