The Whisky Tasting Club


American Single Malt Whiskey has taken a massive leap forward in the last 12 months according to the judges of this year’s Wizards of Whisky Awards. Over the last two or three years Texas distillery Balcones has produced high quality single malt, but elsewhere the standards have been patchy.
But this year a number of excellent bottlings from Tennessee producer Corsair, Westland, Triple Eight, New Holland and Woods made the growth of American single malt THE story of this year’s awards. Corsair in particular entered a number of whiskeys that were vastly superior to the distillery’s offerings of three years ago. The judges particularly enjoyed Corsair Wildfire.

Elsewhere Paul John of India also delighted the judges with a portfolio of excellent malt whiskies. the company’s core range is beautifully balanced, with peated, medium peated and lightly peated, and with two cask strength whiskies in its core five malt whisky range. Tiny Swedish distillery Hven kept Sweden in the honours with three high scoring Spirit of Hven offerings. The distillery has consistently won gold medals over the five years of the Wizards Awards, but its haul of three golds is its best ever.

But it was Dutch whisky Millstone Oloroso from the Zuidam distillery which won the title of world”s best whisky. The distillery also maintained its reputation for outstanding quality with four gold medals. The English Whisky Company’s new look Smokey (sic) picked up gold, and the New World Whisky distillery of Australia proved it was one to watch in the future, picking up golds for both its Starward Whisky releases.

How we judged it

The Wizards of Whisky Awards do not include entries from Scotland, Japan, Canada or the established distillers of Kentucky, and are deliberately designed to highlight smaller world distillers and distillers from non traditional areas. Costs are kept low and distillers can enter just one whisky if they want to. However, to be considered for a ‘distiller of the year’ award, a minimum of three whiskies must be submitted for judging.
Judging took place over three sessions and the judges were made up with members of the VIP Whisky Tasting Club, and guests. The Whisky Tasting club has been tasting world whiskies with me for more than 12 years and are as experienced in whiskies from across the world as anyone in the industry.
Each whisky was scored out of 100 by each judge, and the scores were added and averaged out. Where scores were particularly close to the total required for a particular medal colour, they were re-tasted.






Balcones Single Malt
Balcones Classic Edition
Corsair Hydra
Corsair Tennesse Malt
Corsair Wildfire
English Whisky Company Smokey
Millstone French Oak
Millstone Oloroso
Millstone Pedro Ximenez
Millstone Pedro Ximenez Peated
New Holland Zeppelin Bend Reserve
Paul John Bold
Paul John Peated CS
Paul John Edited
Paul John Classic
Paul John Brilliance
Spirit of Hven Seven Stars
Spirit of Hven Tycho’s Star
Spirit of Hven Seven Stars No 5
Starward Solera
Starward Wine Cask
Stauning Peated
Triple Eight Notch 12 Year Old
Westland Peated


Balcones Texas Single Malt
Brenne 10
Corsair Green Malt
English Whisky Company The English
Millstone Sherry
New Holland Zeppelin Bend
Westland American Oak
Westland Sherry Cask
Woods Tenderfoot Whiskey

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