Rye whiskey is back, and in a big way. The recently released 2010 edition of the Whisky Bible, the prominent whiskey book by Jim Murray, has named Kentucky’s 18-year-old Sazerac Rye as the finest whiskey on the market. It edged out Scotland’s second-place Ardbeg Supernova—which has dominated the awards for several years—and a relative newcomer to the mix, third-place Amrut Fusion from Bangalore, India.
Jim Murray described Sazerac’s 18-year-old Rye as “reaching previously unknown heights,” and mentions that by being named the world’s top whiskey, Sazerac 18 has “set the bar for rye whiskey, and it will be fascinating in forthcoming years to see what is bottled to at least match it.”
Regarding Amrut Fusion, Murray said, “It makes no matter where in the world a whisky is made. If it is magnificent, then it stands a chance of being recognized in the Whisky Bible Awards. Amrut has been bottling astonishing whisky for a few years now. But this particular bottling just made my hairs stand on end. It is hard to find a whisky with better balance. India has unquestionably arrived as a whisky nation.”
While many rare, expensive whiskeys comprise the winners, there are several inexpensive, household names representing various categories. For example, Johnny Walker Black Label was named best blended Scotch aged 5-12 years, and Jim Beam Rye was awarded best rye aged 10 years or younger.
The full list of winners includes Murray’s top-rated whiskeys from a pool of nearly 4,000 bottles.