On Thursday night, Whisky Magazine announced the winners of the prestigious World Whiskies Awards at the Waldorf Hilton in London.'The Lost Distilleries Blend' received top honours in its category winning the award for the World's Best Blended Whisky. This marks the first World Whiskies Awards win for The Blended Whisky Company and for 'The Lost Distilleries Blend'.
For the past eight years, whisky giant Suntory has taken the top honours six times in the World's Best Blended Whisky category, winning four times with Hibiki 12 Year Old and twice with Hibiki 30 Year Old. The Blended Whisky Company bested contenders such as Jameson Select Reserve Small Batch, Hibiki 21 Year Old, and Hankey Bannister 40 Years Old.
The World Whiskies Awards are judged annually by experts in the whisky industry from all over the world. More than 300 whiskies are entered into the competition, and each whisky is sampled and judged by a panel of impartial whisky authorities from the fields of journalism, distilling, blending, ambassadorship and retailing. Each round of judging is completed blind, and each whisky is judged by no fewer than 20 impartial specialists. For a whisky to receive the honour of World's Best, it must pass through 3 rounds of rigorous judging.
'The Lost Distilleries Blend' is a supremely complex and elegant Blended Scotch Whisky made exclusively from spirit distilled at now silent distilleries. The 20th Century saw the closure of distilleries all over Scotland, but much of the liquid produced at these now legendary distilleries has been well preserved. Whisky from lost (often also referred to as 'silent', 'closed' or 'mothballed') distilleries is highly prized by collectors as many of the stocks are now extremely rare.
As the label on the bottle reads, "It is no secret amongst whisky-lovers that some of the greatest and most admired distilleries in Scotland are those that have sadly closed of the years. Be these closures due to economic circumstance, lack of demand, or just bad fortune, the whiskies they leave behind have a tendency of attaining near-mythical status amongst the whisky cognoscenti. Now, for the first time, a blended whisky has been created solely from whiskies taken from these iconic, most highly celebrated distilleries. This blended whisky has been created to celebrate the subtle nuances of the whiskies from these once great, now silent distilleries."
Whisky creator and blender Ben Ellefsen said, "We couldn't be more proud that 'The Lost Distilleries Blend' has won the award for the World's Best Blended Whisky. The World Whiskies Awards are a respected and world-renowned institution, and we are delighted to receive the recognition and vote of confidence from so many discerning judges, especially given the company against which the blend was judged."
'The Lost Distilleries Blend received a score of 94 points from Jim Murray in his highly acclaimed Whisky Bible. As Mr Murray noted, "Whoever lost it better find it again: this is how you dream every whisky should be.”
Official Tasting Notes
Nose: Remarkably complex with orchard fruit, sultana and a little sea breeze that develops into fragrant spice and some papaya. There's a hint of tarragon too, shiny red apple skins polished with a chamois leather, lemon slices and plenty of crème brûlée.
Palate: Immediately attention grabbing with exquisite, creamy mouthfeel. There is stunning interplay and great balance between rich, sweet malt and satisfying oak, as well as tropical fruit and more glorious red apple. Islay peat adds further interest and some perfectly measured cigar box character.
Finish: Very long, apple lovingly caramelised in golden sugar eventually gives up its stage to a delicate wisp of smoke that dances teasingly before finally taking a bow.
Overall: A simply incredible blend of truly historic whiskies. Complex, perfectly balanced and exciting throughout.
The Lost Distilleries Blend is available online at Master of Malt.