Scottish Field’s Whisky Challenge 2018 winners have been honoured.
Hunter Laing + Co Ltd, Gleann Mor Spirits Company and Brown Forman were among the recipients of top accolades at this year’s awards lunch.
Held at the Ghillie Dhu in Edinburgh on Friday 26 October, the awards were the culmination of another 12 months of Scottish Field’s enduring commitment to the whisky industry.
Grand Final bottles were scored out of five by Scottish Field’s merchant judges, the highest and lowest number for each bottle was then eliminated in order to calculate an average score.
This year’s Scottish Field Whisky of the Year, Mortlach 25 Year Old Platinum Old and Rare from Hunter Laing + Co Ltd scooped the overall award as well as being awarded best Independent bottling 2018, and winning a gold in our over £100 category.
Golds were also awarded to The GlenDronach Original Aged 12 Years in the Under £50 category, and The Arran Malt 18yo in the £50 – £100 category.
Other wins on the day included The Devil’s Advocate which picked up Whisky Bar of the Year and The Distillery Visitor Experience of the Year which was awarded to the newly opened Macallan Distillery.
Awards were also given to R&B Distillers’ The Tweeddale: The Evolution Blended Scotch Whisky which scooped the top spot at the Readers’ Challenge for the second year running.
John Dewar and Sons’ also defended their Summer Challenge overall winner title, this time with Aberfeldy Self Fill Cask #3.
The judges were:
The Whisky Shop’s National Retail Manager Darren Leitch; Robbie’s Drams Whisky Merchants owner Robin Russell; The Whisky Shop Dufftown’s owner Mike Lord; Owner of Robertson’s of Pitlochry Ewan McIlwraith; Co-owner of The Good Spirits Company Matthew McFadyen; WoodWinters Wines and Whiskies’ owner Douglas Wood; Luvians Bottle Shop owner Vince Fusaro; Whisky writer and founder of World Whisky Day Blair Bowman;
and Gordon & MacPhail’s Retail UK Sales Manager Mark Angus.
Now in its 18th year, the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge has been going from strength to strength in recent years under the watchful eye of special projects manager Janice Johnston.
Three Whisky Challenge events are held throughout the year – the Summer Challenge, the Readers’ Challenge and the Grand Final. Working with the industry is a vital part of Scottish Field’s commitment to whisky, with distilleries first of all invited to send in expressions throughout the year.
We begin by asking for expressions from the past 12 months, which go through to the Summer Challenge. Once the whiskies have been decanted into numbered tasting bottles, scores are awarded by the judges after a considered blind tasting, with results published in the June issue of Scottish Field and the three winning bottles continuing to the Grand Final Tasting.
In July, a panel of 10 readers from all knowledge backgrounds and ages were selected to spend a day at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Leith, tasting a second batch of whiskies – again sent in by the industry, but this time any bottlings of the industry’s choice. Again, the top three whiskies going through to the Grand Final Tasting.
Results of the Readers’ Challenge are published in the November issue of Scottish Field. 68 whiskies were entered into this section of the challenge this year, a new record for Scottish Field.
The Grand Final, held in September, sees the return of Scottish Field’s panel of merchant judges. Prior to the event, each judge nominates five whiskies of their choice. A tasting day, similar to that of the Readers’ Challenge, is held at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, with results published in the Whisky Supplement within the December issue and announced at our awards event on the 26 of October.
In total, over 150 whiskies have been nominated, decanted and tasted in 2018’s Whisky Challenge.
A full list of winners can be found below:
Under £50 – gold, The GlenDronach Original Aged 12 Years, Brown – Forman; silver, Benromach 10 Year Old, The Benromach Distillery Co Ltd; bronze,Cadenheads 12yo Blend, WM Cadenhead.
£50 – £100 – gold, The Arran Malt 18yo Single Malt Whisky, Isle of Arran Distillery; silver, The Graduate Dram, Exclusive Luvians Edradour Bottling, Luvians; bronze, The GlenDronach Parliament Aged 21 Years, Brown – Forman.
Over £100 – gold, Mortlach 25yo Platinum Old and Rare, Hunter Laing + Co Ltd; silver, The Gentleman’s Blend 1977, Gleann Mor Spirits Company; bronze, BenRiach Temporis Aged 21 Years, Brown – Forman.
Top Distillery Bottling 2018: The GlenDronach Original Aged 12 Years, Brown – Forman.
Top Independent Bottling 2018: Mortlach 25yo Platinum Old and Rare, Hunter Laing + Co Ltd.
Overall Winner Readers Panel: R&B Distillers Ltd, The Tweeddale: The Evolution Blended Scotch Whisky.
Whisky Bar of the Year: Devil’s Advocate.
Visitor Centre of the Year: gold Macallan; silver, Lindores; bronze, Glen Gairoch.
Overall Winner Summer Challenge 2018: Aberfeldy Self Fill Cask #3.
Top Blend 2018: The Gentleman’s Blend 1977, Gleann Mor Spirits Company.
Whisky of the Year 2018: Mortlach 25yo Platinum Old and Rare, Hunter Laing + Co Ltd.