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World’s Most Admired Whiskies, Yamazaki Takes The Crown - Drinks International

What you need to know:

  • Drinks International has published the inaugural edition of the World's Most Admired Whiskies.
  • The podium goes to Yamazaki in first place, followed by the Irish Redbreast and to round off, the Islay giant Lagavulin.
  • Read the full publication below or check the summary of the results below!



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

These whiskies have been chosen by an Academy of independent members of the drinks business across purveyors, journalists, bartenders, as well as whisky experts, across 25 countries.

And to not much surprise, Yamazaki takes the crown!

This is followed by Irish Redbreast, and the Islay giant Lagavulin.


“Congratulations must go to Yamazaki for being crowed our Most Admired Whisky brand for 2021. It goes to show just how well respected Japanese whisky is within the trade right now, 

Having conducted a lot of background research with brands and independent experts, there was a big appetite from the trade for The World’s Most Admired Whiskies and it is a huge achievement to all 50 brands which have made the list.”

 - Editor Shay Waterworth


Read the full edition of the publication here.


But here’s a summary of the results tally.


(Image Source: Drinks International)


Our Take

A fairly noteworthy list! Though of course it's hard to definitively say one whisky is more admired than the other, these things can get kinda hairy. But who honestly is surprised by Yamazaki's position at the top? It does kinda amaze you how far Japanese whiskies have come, that they've now become more "admired" than their Scotch forefathers.

Undoubtedly no one would be too surprised by Lagavulin's appearance at the top 3 as well. Perhaps what was more interesting was Redbreast's second-place finish. Here at 88 Bamboo we do love Redbreast a whole lot (in fact it is @CharsiuCharlie's favorite) and we have felt that the Irish birdie has been way too underrated. As Irish whiskies make a comeback, we do expect to see more Redbreast in our nomenclature.


Asian distilleries are really showing up and have punched consistently above their weight. Kavalan's distillery in Yilan County, Taiwan. (Image Source: Taiwan News)

It's also nice to see some new kids on the block make the list - Cotswolds and Waterford, both of which were established not too long ago. And also a couple of Asian whiskies have done a great job getting their brand out there - Kavalan, Paul John and Amrut. As for blends, we obviously have Compass Box right up there, they've continued to do a spectacular job with their wonderful blends and stories. 

Ultimately, what binds all of these distilleries is a common thread - an amazing story of distillery and nature, combined to create a unique whisky fit for incredible experiences.

We encourage fans to not just drink whisky but read their fascinating stories; like art, provenance is everything and will elevate your appreciation for the craft.


Read about the Top 3 most admired distilleries and their stories here:

1. Yamazaki Distillery - The Water That Binds Japanese Tea, Sake and Whisky

2. Redbreast Distillery - The Willy Wonka Distillery of Ireland

3. Lagavulin Distillery - Lord of the Isles