Fake news: There’s a shortage of whisky.
Real news: There’s a shortage of exceptional, award-winning whisky.
A bourbon, rye and single-malt Scotch were the top three selections in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2019, announced this week. This is a return to the norm for Murray, the Panama-hat-clad whisky authority who tests more than 1,200 samples each year to make his selections, and made waves in previous rankings by crowing (gasp!) variations of Canadian and Japanese whiskies.
Whether you consider this status quo good or bad news, there is one continuing issue: most of Murray’s selections are impossible to get. First place winner William Larue Weller 2005, a wheated bourbon that’s part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2017, requires a “notify me” sign-up on The Whiskey Exchange page (don’t hold your breath), as does the second place Glen Grant 18 Year Old. Meanwhile, third-place finisher Thomas H Handy Sazerac (yet another Buffalo Trace Antique Collection) is only available as a sampler within a gift set.
A few selections that are readily available, at least online:
Scotch Blend of the Year: Ballantine’s 17 Year Old
Irish Whiskey of the Year (and Irish Pot Still Whiskey of the Year): Redbreast Aged 12 Year Cask Strength
Bourbon (Up to 10 Years): Eagle Rare 10 Year Old
Asian Whisky of the Year: Amrut Greedy Angels 8 Year Old (India)
Still yearnin’ for one of those impossible-to-find winners? We suggest using Wine-Searcher (we found that first-place Weller bottle for $1,600). As well, our guide to procuring Pappy Van Winkle — congrats on their win in the 11- to 15-year-old bourbon category — has a few secrets that hold true for any rare brown spirit.
Photos: The Whisky Exchange