The 2020 Edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible has been released, unveiling the winning whiskies for the year.
Now in its 17th year, The Whisky Bible is approaching one million copies sold. The 2020 edition saw Murray taste, evaluate and rate over 4700 whiskies using ‘The Murray Method,’ for fairness and accuracy.
In a first for the world-renowned whisky guide, the top three accolades have gone to products from the same company, Sazerac from New Orleans.
The World Whisky of the Year went to 1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Murray described it as “melodious, mysterious and slightly exotic,” with a score of 97.5 points out of 100.
Coming in runner up were William Larue Weller 125.7 proof, followed by Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye 127.2 proof, both scoring 97 and above.
President of Sazerac, Mark Brown, said: “To not only be named ‘World Whisky of the Year’ but also to have our whiskeys named second- and third-finest is astonishing.”
“We could not be happier nor more motivated to continue to strive for perfection in the American whiskeys we make.”
Murray said it was surprising that the top three came from Sazerac, but maintains the fair and accurate scores.
“There will be eyebrows raised and claims of favouritism which, of course, is never the case with the Whisky Bible. I call it exactly as I see it,” said Murray.
“Once I knew the top three were from the same company, I spent two extra days running through my top 10 whiskies once more… and the results came out exactly the same.”
The winners list extends much further than these top three though, with multiple categories across different types of whiskies around the world.
One category in the world division is Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year, which was won this year by Bakery Hill Peated Malt Cask Strength in Australia.
Bakery Hill are a small independent distillery in Victoria, now in their 20th year of production. Founder David Baker has been submitting samples to the Whisky Bible since 2004, and is “quite chuffed” with Murray’s comments and award.
“Basically I think it’s a wonderful recognition of the years of hard work and persistence that all the staff here have showed at the distillery,” Baker said. “It’s recognition that you should never lose focus on your long term goals, and close enough is never good enough.”
Taking out the Southern Hemisphere title is a highlight for the distillery, who don’t enter any other awards.
“Basically for us, the best award we can get is our customers purchasing a bottle and saying, gee, that’s nice. That’s where we get the reward from, not to say how many gold medals we’ve got,” said Baker.