Surprising results? Maybe, when you consider them from the consumer’s (ie, our) point of view. However, when you look at it from the point of view of a self-proclaimed whisky guru trying to shift copies of the 13th Release of his ‘Bible’, it is perhaps a little less surprising. After all, controversy generates publicity (as we have seen today!). And as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity! Had his Top 5 contained for example; Highland Park 18, Talisker 18, Glenfarclas 21, Springbank 12 Cask Strength and Lagavulin 16 (just plucking some random, good, solid whiskies (in my opinion anyway) out of thin air here!) then would the mainstream media still be writing articles about this book? I would guess not. After all, ‘Scotch Whisky Best in the World’ is not quite as attention grabbing (read, book selling) as ‘Scotch on the Rocks, as Canadian Whisky Crowned Best in the World’.
And anyway, regardless what the results are, the fact remains; this is the opinion of one man. Key word here: opinion. Just because he describes something as the ‘Best Whisk(e)y in the World’ does not mean that it is, or that other people think it is (even though the press seems to think his word is gospel - I think the title of the book goes to everyone’s heads.)
Finally, as far as I am aware, Jim Murray only samples whiskies which have been sent to him for his Bible, so only companies that send him whisky are in with a chance of winning the ‘Best Whisky’ accolade. (When I worked at Springbank and Glenfarclas, his researcher would get in touch asking for samples of anything we’d like tasted. I imagine this is the case for everyone.) Bigger companies probably have a much bigger sample budget than wee ones so therefore are in with a bigger chance of getting the coveted title.
I should point out at this point that I have not tasted Crown Royal Northern Harvest so have no idea whether the accolade is justified or not. I’m almost temped to get myself a bottle to find out, but that would mean they have won darnit!
Whisky Impressions is run by Kate Watt. Previously at Springbank and then Glenfarclas, I now design some whisky related stuff and write about it, and anything else that takes my fancy, on this blog.