Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2020 – Whisky News

Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2020

* Sazerac sweeps the board in World Whisky of the Year awards.
* Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2020 hands US distiller unique 1-2-3.
* Rags-to-riches 1792 Full Proof Bourbon is planet’s finest.

Jim Murray has handed an unprecedented triple crown to Kentucky whiskey in the latest edition of his best-selling annual Whisky Bible.

And on unveiling the 2020 World Whisky of the Year Awards, the renowned Industry guru has created another first by giving all top three accolades for the finest new drams on earth to the same whiskey company, New Orleans-based Sazerac.

Top prize of World Whisky of the Year goes to the 1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon from the Barton 1792 distillery, a whiskey Jim Murray describes as “melodious, mysterious and slightly exotic” with a nose of “near-perfect proportions” and with an “unfaltering” finish when tasted.

Only 25 years ago, Jim Murray branded Barton the worst distillery in Kentucky – but now, under Sazerac stewardship, it has become the world champion.

The runners-up – from 1,250 new drams tasted by Jim Murray this year – are both Buffalo Trace brands: bourbon William Larue Weller 125.7 proof, the latest version of last year’s victor, and Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye 127.2 proof.

Jim Murray said: “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. Once I knew the top three were from the same company, I spent two extra days running through my top ten whiskies once more…and the results came out exactly the same!

“For the 1792 Distillery to win World Whisky of the Year is extraordinary because when I first went there some 25 years ago, the then-owners had no interest in high-end whiskey. The oldest they produced was a 6-year-old which I thought was one of the most complex on the market but still undercooked. I implored them then to bring out something much older.

“It is wonderful that my gut instinct of 25 years ago has been vindicated under the ownership of Sazerac, who have turned a potentially great distillery into something truly magnificent.

“If anyone tries to convince you the romance of whiskey is dead and gone or has all been confected then don’t you believe them. For where else could such an ugly duckling become so beautiful a swan?”

Sazerac president 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 or more motivated to continue to strive for perfection in the American whiskeys we make.”

Sectional winners include: the Taiwanese Nantou Distillery Omar Cask Strength Bourbon Cask (Single Cask of the Year); Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition (Scotch); Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare (Blended Scotch); Penderyn Single Cask no.M75-32 (European); Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt (Japanese).


Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2020 contains taste notes for around 5,000 drams. Available from 17/10/19 at all good bookshops, retailers and whiskybible.com, priced £14.99. Press enquiries: Vincent Flint-Hill +44 (0)117 317 9777; vincent@whiskybible.com

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