Few things are as Scottish as whiskey. But a leading whiskey critic may have just dealt a major blow to Scotland’s identity. From the cover of “Whiskey Bible 2015,” whiskey connoisseur Jim Murray gazes over a snifter with a smile playing on his lips and a fedora shading one eye. In his annual guide to more than 4,500 whiskeys released Monday, he ranked a Japanese single malt as No. 1.
Murray awarded “World Whiskey of the Year” to the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013, giving it a score of 97.5 out of 100. He described it as a drink of “near incredible genius” with a taste “thick, dry, as rounded as a snooker ball.” In the book, Murray touts its “nose of exquisite boldness and finish of ‘light, teasing spice.’” Aging the whiskey in sherry casks “provides a strong, rich character … and a delicate sweetness,” Keita Minari, Europe brand manager for Yamazaki’s parent company, told the Independent. The single malt sells for about $160 a bottle in the United States. Yamazaki, the maker of the winning whiskey, is Japan’s oldest distillery, founded in 1923. The company is now owned by Suntory, the world’s third-largest distiller that bought Jim Beam for $13.6 billion earlier this year.