The highly anticipated 2018 edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible has been revealed, with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s bottlings earning high praise from the whisky critic.
The Society has won the overall Whisky of the Year in the Single Malt Scotch 10 years and under category, with a clutch of other bottlings earning his Liquid Gold level of praise.
Cask 11.32: Cirque de Saveur won the Whisky of the Year in the Single Malt Scotch 10 years and under category. The Society’s 8-year-old single cask from the Highland Northern region, which the Tasting Panel assigned to our Juicy, Oak & Vanilla flavour profile, was matured in a first fill ex-bourbon barrel and bottled at 61.6% abv.
Murray said there was “not a wobble or off note to be found. Give me a bottle of youthful, beautifully confident malt like this over an over-aged one any day. Brilliant!”
The Whisky Bible’s Liquid Gold award goes to whiskies earning between 94 and 97.5 points, described by Murray as “the elite, the finest you can currently find on the whisky shelves of the world…rare and precious.”
Murray said it was: “Exemplary…[it] not only ticks all the boxes, but finds a few extra ones to fill in. Not many casks will outpoint this true classic, indeed, it is nigh impossible to extract more from a single barrel.”
Two other bottlings were awarded 95.5 points. Cask 35.185: Frightfully delightful is a 22-year-old Speyside Lossie from the Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits flavour profile from a first-fill toasted oak hogshead.
Murray said it was: “Brilliantly complex – any bourbon blender would be proud of this cask. Some of these heavily toasted experimental casks have not quite hit the heights one hopes for. This one, by happy contrast, has far succeeded expectation.”
Cask 30.92: Brighten up your day! is a 24-year-old Speyside Spey from the Light & Delicate flavour profile matured in a refill ex-bourbon barrel, described by Murray as: “Pure malty magic! For the distillery and age, just about perfection.”
SMWS spirits manager Euan Campbell said: “It’s great to see this level of feedback from someone like Jim Murray, with his depth of experience and knowledge in the whisky world. The accolades we’ve picked up in the 2018 Whisky Bible demonstrate the quality of our bottlings across a range of age and styles, as well as some of our more experimental finishes being very well received.”
Murray’s accolades come after a successful year for Society whiskies in international competitions, including awards in the Luxury Masters, the IWSC, International Spirits Challenge, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, and the Scotch Whisky Masters.