The new Scottish Whisky Awards cover taste and business performance and were judged by a panel of whisky experts, who had the enviable task of trying each whisky for each category.
This 32-strong judging panel came from the UK, Europe and Asia and participated in a blind tasting adjudicated by the international sensory management consultancy, Cara Technology.
Five distilleries have been selected for the ultimate award of the competition - The Scottish Whisky Distillery of the Year.
These are: Craigellachie Distillery, GlenAllachie Distillery, Glen Scotia Distillery, Highland Park Distillery and Loch Lomond Distillery, and they have been chosen following the rigorous judging process, which combined not only the marks from the blind tasting but also performance in business categories.
Chair of the judging panel, Alan Wolstenholme, who also chairs the Scottish Distillers Association, commented: “The Scottish Whisky Awards has now established itself as a robust and highly regarded competition which has a significant role to play in the Scotch industry.
"Congratulations to all our finalists who have progressed and many thanks to the judges who have been submitting marks from around the world which ensures that we have drawn on some of the best insight and experience available.
“Scotch is the most important industry in Scotland; we have a unique and untouchable history and heritage. We look forward to helping promote the success of our finalist businesses at home and abroad in the coming months.”
The awards are supported by commercial sponsors including Shawbrook Bank and Bruce Stevenson.
Kevin Boyd, Managing Director at Shawbrook Bank said: “At Shawbrook Bank, we are proud to play a part in supporting the inaugural Scottish Whisky Awards which offers a fantastic platform for blenders, bottlers and distillers to be recognised at both national and international level. We congratulate all of the finalists and look forward to celebrating everything that is great about Scotch in September.”
Graeme Dempster, Account Executive at Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers commented: “Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers are delighted to sponsor the prestigious Best Newcomer category in the inaugural Scottish Whisky Awards. It is terrific to see sustained growth in the Scotch Whisky sector and we congratulate all finalists in this year’s competition and wish them the best of luck.”
The awards are also a fundraising vehicle for The BEN, the Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, set up by rugby legend Doddie Weir to help improve the lives of those affected by Motor Neuron Disease.
The Scottish Whisky Awards team recently announced a new annual award, which has been added to celebrate the contribution of one of the most accomplished scientific and technical advisers to the whisky industry, Dr Jim Swan.
Dr Swan had a forty-year career as a research scientist and trusted adviser to whisky distilleries around the world prior to his sudden death in 2017, aged 75.
His tireless work to collaborate, encourage and steer whisky producers to pursue excellence in whisky production, has been universally admired by the industry as they have mourned his loss over recent years.
The Scottish Whisky Awards judging panel have now received the blessing of Dr Swan’s family to create a new annual industry award which will be titled “The Jim Swan Award for Services to Scotch Whisky” and will be presented to an individual making an outstanding contribution.
This year, the award will be presented to Dr Swan posthumously and will be accepted by his daughters.
It will be presented alongside a tribute film featuring many of Dr Swan’s distillery clients including Annandale, Clydeside, Lindores, Cotswolds and Penderyn.
The idea, proposed by Professor Alan Wolstenholme, the chair of the judging panel, has received the full approval of the judges and many from the industry which benefited from Dr Swan’s advice.
He commented;“It is a real honour to be able to create this important award. It is an opportunity to keep the name and legacy of Dr Jim Swan front and centre in Scotch whisky and to celebrate his many achievements.
"He was a passionate educator, a collaborator and a tireless supporter of new distilleries trying to get off the ground.
"His selfless sharing of knowledge and expertise has benefitted a huge range of distilleries in Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and abroad.
“It is also an opportunity to share the character of Jim which made him special. He was warm, witty and humble; a complete gentleman who selflessly shared his expertise for the benefit of the whisky industry.”
Glen Scotia Distillery
Highland Park Distillery
Loch Lomond Distillery
GlenAllachie Distillers Co
Ardgowan Distillery, The Expedition 20 Year Old Blended Malt
Dark Sky Spirits, The Moffat Blended Malt
Diageo, Johnnie Walker White Walker (Game of Thrones, HBO)
The Glenrothes and Fields, Morris & Verdin, The Soleo Collection
Glasgow Distillery Company, 1770 Glasgow Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ian Macleod Distillers, The Glengoyne Legacy Series
John Crabbie & Co, 50 Year Old Single Grain
John Dewar & Sons, Craigellachie 51 Year Old
Kingsbarns Distillery, Dream to Dram Single Malt Scotch
The GlenAllachie Distillery, Core Range
Ardgowan Distillery, The Expedition
Glasgow Distillery, 1770 Glasgow Single Malt
Gleann Mor Spirits Co, Whisky Row
Highland Park, Viking Legends Series
GlenAllachie Distillers Co
Diageo, Johnnie Walker, Edinburgh’s Christmas & Hogmanay
Glen Garioch Distillery, Legends of Glen Garioch
Loch Lomond Group, The Grand Tour
Edrington Group, The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience Launch, Aberlour
Whyte and Mackay, The Cooperage Bar, Isle of Jura Distillery
Annandale Distillery, Annan, Dumfriesshire (Annandale Distillery Company)
Glen Garioch Distillery, Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire (Edrington Beam Suntory)
Glengoyne Distillery, Killearn, Glasgow (Ian Macleod Distillers)
Isle of Arran Distillery, Lochranza, Isle of Arran (Isle of Arran Distillers)
Isle of Raasay Distillery, Isle of Raasay (R & D Distillers)
Glen Scotia, Campbeltown (Loch Lomond Group)
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Speyside (Spirit of Speyside Ltd)
The Clydeside Distillery, Glasgow (Clydeside Distillery Ltd)
The Lindores Distillery, Lindores, Fife (Lindores Distilling Co)
Ardnamurchan Distillery, Moidart (Adelphi Distillery)
Glenkinchie Distillery, East Lothian (Diageo)
1770 Glasgow Single Malt Scotch, Glasgow Distillery Company
Arran Single Malt Quarter Cask - The Bothy, Isle of Arran Distillers
Crabbie's Yardhead, John Crabbie & Co
Dream to Dram, Kingsbarns Distillery
Glen Moray Classic Chardonnay Cask Finish, Glen Moray Distillery
Glen Moray Peated Classic, Glen Moray Distillery
Glen Scotia Campbeltown Harbour, Glen Scotia Distillery
Glen Scotia Double Cask, Glen Scotia Distillery
Highland Park Dragon Legend, Highland Park
Jura Seven Wood, Jura Distillery
Loch Lomond Original, Loch Lomond Distillery
MacDonalds Traditional Ben Nevis Highland Single Malt, Ben Nevis Distillery
Man O'Words 2015, Annandale Distillery
While We Wait, Isle of Raasay Distillery
Arran Single Malt 10 Year Old, Isle of Arran Distillers
Benromach 10 Year Old, The Benromach Distillery
Glengoyne 10 Year Old, Glengoyne Distillery
Highland Park 10 Year Old Viking Scars, Highland Park Distillery
John Crabbie 8 Year Old, John Crabbie & Co
Laphroaig 10 Year Old, Laphroaig Distillery
Loch Lomond 10 Year Old, Loch Lomond Distillery
MacDonalds Ben Nevis 10 Year Old Batch Limited Edition Batch No.1, Ben Nevis Distillery
GlenAllachie 10 Year Old Cask Strength Batch 2; GlenAllachie Distillery
The Single Cask Croftengea 10 Year Old (Loch Lomond Distillery), The Single Cask
The Single Cask Royal Brackla 11 Year Old, The Single Cask
Tullibardine 2010, Malts of Scotland
Aberfeldy 12 Year Old, Aberfeldy Distillery
Aultmore 12 Year Old, Aultmore Distillery
Glen Moray 12 Year Old, Glen Moray Distillery
Highland Park 12 Year Old Viking Honour, Highland Park Distillery
John Crabbie 12 Year Old, John Crabbie & Co
Jura 12 Year Old, Jura Distillery
Loch Lomond 12 Year Old, Loch Lomond Distillery
Royal Brackla 12 Year Old, Royal Brackla Distillery
The Deveron 12 Year Old, Macduff Distillery
GlenAllachie 12 Year Old; GlenAllachie Distillery
Aberfeldy 16 Year Old, Aberfeldy Distillery
Aberfeldy 16 Year Old Madeira Cask, Aberfeldy Distillery
Benromach 15 Year Old, Benromach Distillery
Bowmore 15 Year Old, Bowmore Distillery
Cragganmore 15 Year Old 150th Anniversary, Cragganmore Distillery
Craigellachie 13 Year Old, Craigellachie Distillery
Glen Moray 15 Year Old, Glen Moray Distillery
Glen Scotia 15 Year Old, Glen Scotia Distillery
Highland Park Twisted Tattoo 16 Year Old, Highland Park Distillery
Royal Brackla 16 Year Old, Royal Brackla Distillery
Tamdhu 15 Year Old, Tamdhu Distillery
Arran 18 Year Old, Isle of Arran Distillery
Aultmore 18 Year Old, Aultmore Distillery
Craigellachie 17 Year Old, Craigellachie
Glen Garioch 18 Year Old, Glen Garioch Distillery
Glen Moray 18 Year Old, Glen Moray Distillery
Highland Park 18 Year Old Viking Pride, Highland Park Distillery
Loch Lomond 18 Year Old, Loch Lomond Distillery
The Deveron 18 Year Old, Macduff Distillery
The GlenAllachie 18 Years Old, GlenAllachie Distillery
The Single Cask Macduff 19 Year Old, Macduff Distillery
Aberfeldy 21 Year Old, Aberfeldy Distillery
Aberfeldy 21 Year Old Madeira Cask, Aberfeldy Distillery
Auchentoshan 2000, Malts of Scotland
Aultmore 21 Year Old, Aultmore Distillery
Glen Scotia 25 Year Old, Glen Scotia Distillery
Glendullan 1996; Malts of Scotland
John Crabbie 25 Year Old, John Crabbie & Co
Royal Brackla 21 Year Old, Royal Brackla Distillery
Bunnahabhain Distillery 26 Year Old, Gleann Mor Spirits Co
Tomatin Distillery 35 Year Old, Gleann Mor Spirits Co
Double Standard, PeatReekers
MacDonalds Glencoe 8 Year Old; Ben Nevis Distillery
MacNair's Lum Reek Peated; GlenAllachie Distillery
Spice King; Wemyss Vintage Malts
The Hive; Wemyss Vintage Malts
The Living Cask 1745, The Loch Fyne
The Living Cask Batch 7, The Loch Fyne
The Mossburn Cask Bill No 1 Smoke & Spice, Mossburn Distillers and Blenders
The Mossburn Cask Bill No 2 Rich, Mossburn Distillers and Blenders
Whisky Row Rich and Spicy, Gleann Mor Spirits Co
Islay 21 Year Old, Gleann Mor Spirits Co
Speyside 18 Year Old, Gleann Mor Spirits Co
Expedition 20 Year Old, Ardgowan Distillery
MacNair's Lum Reek Peated 12 Year Old, GlenAllachie Distillery
The Clansman, Loch Lomond Group
The Famous Grouse Smoky Black, Edrington-Beam Suntory UK
The High Commissioner, Loch Lomond Group
The High Commissioner 7 Year Old, Loch Lomond Group
The Woodsman; Whyte & Mackay
Glen Garioch Virgin Oak, Glen Garioch Distillery
Glengoyne Balba'na, Glengoyne Distillery
Glengoyne Cask Strength Batch No. 007, Glengoyne Distillery
Glengoyne Cuartillo, Glengoyne Distillery
Robert Graham Treasurer's Selection Bruichladdich 2004, Robert Graham Ltd.
Shackleton, Whyte & Mackay
Tamdhu Batch Strength 004, Tamdhu Distillery
Highland Rye, Arbikie Distillery
John Crabbie 50 Year Old; John Crabbie & Co
Loch Lomond, Loch Lomond Distillery
Tweeddale Grain of Truth, Isle of Raasay Distillery