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Michter’s Takes Crown As World’s Most Admired Whisky, Yamazaki Closely Follows: Drinks International 2023 List

 

Drinks International has published its third edition of the World’s Most Admired Whiskies.

These whiskies have been chosen by respected drinks business members including bottle purveyors, bar owners, writers, bartenders, as well as whisky experts, across 25 countries, who carry no affiliation with any brand for the sake of integrity.

Each expert is asked to name the 10 whisk(e)y brands they most admire, considering the following criteria:

  • The quality and consistency of the brand’s whiskies
  • Price to quality ratio
  • The strength of the branding and marketing

An aggregate is then taken of the votes in order to give us this list!

The usual suspects are at the top once again, with Michter’s taking the crown as The World’s Most Admired Whisky. Unsurprisingly, we also see Yamazaki (the champion of 2021) near at the second place, followed by Ardbeg at the third place.

"Michter's is officially the trade's favourite whiskey. Not only does the brand have a fascinating back story, it's also making some of the best whiskies in the world right now and clearly our global Academy agrees with me… It's also great for the trade to have its first American whiskey sit atop The World's Most Admired Whiskies, my congratulations go to the whole Michter's team for this great success."

- Editor Shay Waterworth

Read the full edition of the publication here.

But here’s a summary of the results tally:

 

Our thoughts

Once again, we’re talking about the world’s most admired whiskies and not the world’s best whiskies – that question is answered by whisky and spirits tasting competitions.

Michter’s position at the top is certainly unsurprising. By now, Michter’s has become a prominent part of the American whiskey landscape with bottle after bottle of prominent limited edition expressions. Core range expressions the likes of the Michter’s Small Batch Bourbon are also generally well-received and regarded as reliable sippers.

Let’s also not forget that this year marks the 100 th anniversary for Yamazaki (2nd) with remains the Most Admired World Whisky. Yamazaki expressions have become eye-wateringly expensive these days, but you really have to give it to them for maintaining a certain ‘it’ factor. Perhaps it’s thanks to the likes of Sofia Coppola and Keanu Reeves for their earnest work promoting the brand . Or perhaps it’s their limited edition mizunara oak expressions that exude a distinctly Japanese essence and are also as tasty as they’re expensive (at least that’s what our reviewer thinks).

 

Yamazaki and Suntory celebrate their 100 th anniversary of whisky making this year, with a spate of incredibly coveted releases.

 

Interestingly, on the Irish whiskey side of things, we have Middleton’s Method & Madness (12th) brand narrowly edging out the heritage brand Redbreast (13th) to claim the title of Most Admired Irish Whiskey. Here’s a young, experimental brand that just started in 2015, that beat off one of one of Ireland’s proudest heritage whiskey brands. Method & Madness’s head-turning win could signal a rising importance of a younger whiskey drinker who is more excited by experimentation than old categories. Method & Madness is praised by observeers for pushing the boundaries of irish whiskey with expressions released with unusual cask experiments – French Limousin, Chestnut Wood and Japanese cedarwood being some of them.

 

 

There’re a whole spate of new kids on the block making the list. Woven Whisky Makers (35th), Monkey Shoulder (39th) and Naked Malt (43rd) join as new comers, indicating the rising popularity and regard for high-quality blended whisky (Compass Box (5th) made it to the 2021 list in the 47 th place, but did not appear in the 2022 list).

We also see newer distilleries Nc’Nean (21st), Ardnamurchan (25th) and Raasay (44th) from Scotland and Oxford Artisan Distillery (34th) from England making their mark for the first time.

Ultimately, this is by no means an exhaustive list of worthy whisky brands. A large part of an admired brand is its ability to tell a compelling story and engage with its fans. Even then, it’s admittedly a little surprising that there aren’t more Asian whisky makers apart from the usual Japanese suspects from Yamazaki, Nikka (7th), Chichibu (16th), and India’s Amrut (45th) making the list. We would have expected Kavalan and perhaps even a Korean single malt to make an appearance – we’ll see where we are in the 2024 list!

Kanpai!

88 Bamboo Editorial Team