It’s this time of the year again when the whole whisky world is getting excited or deeply annoyed by one man proclaiming this or that whisky is supposedly the “best in the world” in a so-called “bible”. You know what ? I’ve never been into religion.
No worries guys if you can’t put your hands on this new must-have whisk(e)y, new awards and titles of “best whisky” are legion all year round… And that’s where you can say this is a highly subjective notion, because all those awards will crown a very different expression – Which is more than logical given the different palates of the different individuals judging the drinks.
Many awards would still provide their judges with a special marking sheet with more or less criteria, calling for “impartiality” or at least “fairness”, but tasting is intrinsically partial, my palate doesn’t react the same way as my neighbour’s… And the other way around, so yeah, I’ll call that a marking shit, excuse my French. This is also what makes whisky a fascinating beverage, we all develop our very own relationship with it. It shouldn’t be a surprise to you but hey, universal taste doesn’t exist.
If there’s one thing I would keep from those awards, it’s definitely the wealth of whiskies awarded, representing the diversity of the category. Naming a non-Scotch as “best in the world” used to be a bold move from Jim, it’s not anymore, we get it man, it’s 2017 and there are other great whiskies in the world other than Scotch, stop trying to make a point we already all get…
I know some of you tend to think those competitions awarding 16485754 gold & silver medals in the same category are sponsored bullshit, but it actually makes more sense to me, highlighting that naming only one holy winner would be impossible, completely unfair and freaking reductive.
My problem with awards? I feel those competitions, while a great way for brands to spread the word about their delicious creations, is completely bypassing our own personal process of whisky education and discovery by kind of – unintentionally – leading us towards the same drams. Since we opened our whisky bar recently, I can’t even count the number of people asking for the same specific bottlings because they have read somewhere that it has been awarded this or that… Hopefully, we’re here to help them venture off the beaten tracks 😉
Once and for all guys, there’s no such a thing as “best whisky in the world”, there’s only a wealth of very diverse whiskies with their very own profile. Following the trends will be missing real gems along the way. “Best Whisky” is a matter of personal taste and opinion, yours.