Is Nikka`s Miyagikyou distillery on the rise?
Last year saw a Japanese single malt and a Japanese blended whisky sweeping all before them at the World Whisky Awards in Glasgow so it was with some anticipation that we learned of this year's raiding party at Whisky Magazine Live Tokyo.
The most striking thing about the 2009 heat winners is the prominence of Nikka's Miyagikyou distillery (see below). Miyagikyou has often been overshadowed by its elder brother at Yoichi in these sorts of awards, so its success here has gladdened some hearts in Sendai. "Naturally there is some friendly rivalry with Yoichi," Minoru Miake, manager of the production section at Miyagikyou, admitted. "Yoichi has done so brilliantly in these competitions. We are proud that we will be well represented at the awards."
The full list of the Japanese World Whisky Award heats, 2009:
Best Single Malt (no age statement): Nikka Miyagikyou
Best Single Malt (12 yrs and under): Nikka Miyagikyou 12 yo
Best Single Malt (13-20 yrs): Suntory The Cask of Yamazaki 1993 (Heavily Peated)
Best Single Malt (21 yrs and over): Suntory Hakushu Single Malt 25 yo
Best Blended Whisky (no age): Nikka Whisky ‘From-the-barrel’
Best Blended Whisky (13-20 yrs): Suntory Hibiki 17 years old (yo)
Best Blended Whisky (21 yrs and over): Suntory Hibiki 21yo
Best Blended Malt (no age): Ichiro’s Malt ‘Double Distilleries’
Best Blended Malt (with age statement): Nikka Taketsuru 21yo Pure Malt
Best Grain Whisky: Suntory Single Grain Whisky “Chita”
These whiskies will now go through to a tasting in London this weekend, prior to Whisky Magazine Live! London on February 27th/28th. The winners of that round will be considered for the global prizes, to be announced at the World Whiskies Conference in London on April 21st.
There was a special overall prize announced on Sunday for the best Japanese whisky across all categories. It went to the Hibiki 21 yo. There is no analogue for that category in the global awards, so the Hibiki will go through to round 2 as the winner of its sub-category (Best Blended Whisky 21 years and over).