After losing out to a Japanese distillery last year, the title of world’s best single malt whisky has returned to Scotland, whose winning Ardbeg Distillery spirit is described by taste testers as everything from “warm tarmac” to “tar lozenges,” and “fishing nets.”
At The World Whiskies Awards in London last week, whisky journalists, retailers, master blenders, distillers and brand ambassadors crowned the Ardbeg Galileo the winner in a series of three blind tasting rounds.
Produced on the small, untamed island of Islay off the rugged Scottish west coast, the distillery dates back to 1798.
Meanwhile, taste testers used a variety of adjectives and imagery to describe the nose, palate and finish of the winning whisky.
The nose for one taster, for instance, evoked everything from a “warm tarmac after a summer shower,” tar lozenges, sooty butter and warming tires, to fishing nets in the background.
The palate is described as possessing notes of smoked cured fish, fresh almonds, and lemon posset or lemon pudding.
Last year’s winner was a 25-year-old whisky by Japanese distiller Yamazaki.
Tasters sampled more than 300 whiskies for the 2013 edition of the competition.
Some other winners of the 2013 World Whisky Awards:
World’s Best Blended Whisky:
Hibiki – 21 years old
World’s Best Blended Malt Whisky:
Mars Maltage – 3 Plus 25, 28 years old
Best North American Whiskey
George T. Stagg
World’s Best Grain Whisky
Cape Mountain Whisky
Best Whisky Liqueur
Speyside Whisky Liqueur 40 years old