Whisky writer Jim Murray has once again snubbed Scotch to crown an American whiskey the planet’s finest dram in the latest edition of the Whisky Bible.

The unique American rye whiskey was chosen as the overall winner ahead of the launch of the 2017 edition of the whisky book.

Murray lavished praise on the Booker’s Rye 13 year old, which began life as an experiment by Booker Noe – grandson of Jim Beam – at the family distillery in Kentucky, describing it as having a “brain-draining, mind-blowing” nose and a finish of “amazing depth”.

The writer said the winning entry is a “staggering example of a magnificent rye, showing exactly what genius actually means. A very big, unforgettable whiskey from a very big, unforgettable man”.

After Booker passed away aged 74, in 2004, son Fred kept an eye on his casks – and the resulting whiskey scored 97.5 out of 100.

Murray will no doubt cause controversy once again after deciding against giving a Scotch the title for the third year running; two years ago, he named the Japanese whisky Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 as his winner, and last year saw the honour go to Canada, with Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye being the top pick.

Indeed, Glen Grant Aged 18 years Rare Edition is the first Scotch to feature on the Whisky Bible podium since 2014.

Murray was highly impressed by the Speyside malt, describing it as “the best new offering from the motherland in a few years” and “a sensational return to form.”

Third place went to another whiskey from the US, the William Larue Weller bourbon, a Murray favourite and a regular entry in the Bible’s top five.

Other regional winners include last year’s overall winner Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, which won Canadian Whiskey of the Year; Redbreast Aged 21 Years, winner of the Irish category; and a surprising win for the English Whisky Co. whose Chapter 14 (Not Peated) won the European category.

Japanese whisky fans will have to brace themselves for another possible shortage of all things Yamazaki, after the Sherry Cask 2016 was announced the winner in the Japanese category.

• A full list of the winners can be found here. 

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things whisky-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over six years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink.

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