December 3, 2013 – A Karuizawa single malt from Number One Drinks Company has ended GlenDronach’s three-year streak of top honors in the 11th annual Malt Maniacs Awards. In blind judging, members of the Malt Maniacs selected a 1973 Karuizawa single cask bottled in 2013 by Number One Drinks Company for the Supreme Award in the Ultra Premium category (whiskies priced above €150 ($204 USD). Kavalan’s Solist Sherry Cask (#S06082) took the Supreme Award in the Premium category for whiskies priced between €51-150 ($69-204 USD), while Aberlour’s A’Bunadh Batch #45 won the Supreme Award in the Daily Dram category for whiskies priced at €50 ($67 USD) or below.

The Malt Maniacs competition is generally regarded as one of the toughest to win a gold medal in, with fewer than 10% of entries winning gold medals on average. This year, only four whiskies won gold medals with average scores above 90 from . In addition to the Karuizawa and Kavalan bottlings mentioned above, gold medals were awarded to the Glenfarclas 1989 Family Cask (bottled in 2012) and a Yamazaki 1993 single cask bottled for La Maison du Whisky in Paris. In addition to the Supreme Awards in each category, awards are given for the best Sherried Whisky, the best Peated Whisky, the best “natural cask” whisky, and the “Thumbs-Up” award for whiskies which show unusual merit while not fitting into one of the other award categories.

This year’s judging panel was made up of ten amateur members of the Malt Maniacs, a global group of whisky connoisseurs formed in 1997.  A complete list of award winners and medalists is available at the Malt Maniacs web site, along with the scores from each judge.

Editor’s note: WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie has been a member of the Malt Maniacs since 2008, but does not participate as a judge in the annual awards.

Links: Malt Maniacs