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The Whisky Exchange announces Whisky of the Year 2021 after online vote from customers

The specialist whisky website has named its whisky of the year 2021, after blind tasting from customers.

Published: December 1, 2020
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A peated Islay whisky has been named as the Whisky Exchange whisky of the year 2021, after a blind tasting and online voting.

Port Charlotte 10 has triumphed in The Whisky Exchange’s annual tasting, taking the top spot in the only official blind whisky judging undertaken by members of the public.

Islay distillery Bruichladdich won the tightly fought battle in the annual Whisky of the Year blind tasting by the specialist spirits retailer.

The team said that the 10-year-old expression – a heavily-peated, rich and spicy whisky - 'lives and breathes the distillery’s ethos that Islay whisky should express the aspects of the island’s character, from rich smoke to bracing sea breeze.'

Six whiskies went head to head after they were nominated by global customers of The Whisky Exchange, with more than 2000 putting forward their favourites.

The blind judging of the most popular was opened up to the world via the Whisky of the Year Perfect Measure Judging Set and online voting on 22 September.

The sets were very popular with customers, selling out online in less than three weeks and resulting in more than 500 votes cast.

Starting with a blind tasting led by Dawn Davies MW at Virtual Whisky Show in October and continuing in the weeks after, whisky-loving consumers were encouraged to critique each whisky for nose, palate and finish, and select a first and second choice via the online voting form.

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All whiskies in the tasting were under £65 retail price, and all ongoing, commercially available releases.

In addition to Port Charlotte 10, the shortlist included:

Runner Up: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 14 Year Old

Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 Year Old

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Nikka Coffey Malt

Kilkerran 12 Year Old

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Adam Hannett, head distiller of Bruichladdich Distillery said: “Port Charlotte whisky is a joy to create. The spirit is versatile and approachable, offering an alternative to the traditional Islay style, it’s a softer, heathery style of smoke.

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"I’m delighted to have the Port Charlotte 10 recognised by The Whisky Exchange as Whisky of the Year – it’s a testament of the commitment and passion our Islay team put into every bottle.”

Sukhinder Singh, co-founder of The Whisky Exchange added: “The aim of our Whisky of the Year competition is to choose a product that represents the pinnacle of value and quality in the world of whisky.

"This year’s winner, Port Charlotte is a superb rich and smoky whisky with a maritime tang – a worthy winner of the title.”

This year, the company wanted to recognise other drinks categories and has introduced Rum and Gin Of The Year alongside the Champagne of the Year – the fourth year it has been awarded.

Each category has been nominated by industry experts and staff at The Whisky Exchange, and is based on quality and value for money.

This year’s winners

Whisky Exchange whisky of the year

Gin of the Year 2021 : Lind & Lime Gin

Rum of the Year 2021 : Mount Gay XO Triple Cask Blend Rum

Champagne of the Year 2021 : Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne

All of The Whisky Exchange ‘Of the Year’ winners are given a dedicated landing page on the website for the year, to showcase the producer and the bottling.

Customers can watch out for special offers online and in-store for the ‘Of The Year’ tastings.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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