Kavalan's 2014 Solist Sherry Cask. Photo courtesy Malt Maniacs. December 15, 2014 – A Kavalan single malt from Taiwan’s King Car Distillery took the overall “Supreme Champion” award in the 2014 Malt Maniacs Awards. The 2014 Solist Sherry Cask bottling was one of four gold medal winners overall, and received an average score of 92 from the 10 members of the Malt Maniacs on the judging panel. Three of the four gold medalists are from Asian distilleries, with Kavalan winning two and Nikka’s Koichi Distillery winning one. The highest-ranked Scotch whisky was a 59-year-old Glen Grant bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for La Maison du Whisky in Paris, which received the fourth gold medal. Only whiskies receiving an average score of 90 or higher from the judges are eligible for gold medals.

Here’s a list of all award-winning whiskies from the competition, with the four gold medal winners marked with an asterisk:

Supreme Champion

Kavalan ‘Solist’ (57.8%, OB, NAS, Sherry Cask C#S060904031, 516 Bts., 2014*)

Ultra Premium 

Supreme Winner: 

Yoichi 1991/2014 (62%, OB for LMDW, heavily peated, new puncheon, C##129459, 423 bts.*)
Best Sherried Whisky: Glen Grant 59yo 1955/2014 (60.8%, Gordon & MacPhail Book of Kells for LMDW, 1st Fill Sherry Hogshead C#845*)
Best Peated Whisky: Benriach 29yo 1984/2014 (50.3%, OB, Peated, Tawny Port Finish, C#4051, 267 Bts.)
Best Natural Cask Whisky: Karuizawa 34yo 1980/2014 (63%, No.1 Drinks for LMDW, ex-Bourbon Cask C#6476)
Thumbs Up Award: Glengoyne 25yo (48%, OB, Sherry Casks, 2014)

Supreme Winner: Kavalan ‘Solist’ (57.8%, OB, NAS, Sherry Cask C#S060904031, 516 Bts., 2014*)
Best Sherried Whisky: Kavalan ‘Solist’ (57.8%, OB for LMDW, NAS, Sherry Cask C#S060821047, 497 Bts., 2014*)
Best Peated Whisky: Kavalan 2007/2014 ‘Peaty Cask’ (55%, OB, Distillery Reserve No. 04459)
Best Natural Cask Whisky: Bowmore 13yo 2001/2014 (57.2%, Blackadder Raw Cask, Hogshead C#20066, 292 Bts.)
Thumbs Up Award: Glenrothes 7yo 2007/2014 (66.7%, Adelphi, 1st Fill Sherry Hogshead C#3529, 320 Bts.)

Daily Dram
Supreme Winner: Smoking Islay (60.5%, Blackadder Raw Cask, NAS, Sherry Finish C#BA2013/452, 325 Bts., 2013)
Best Sherried Whisky: Nantou 5yo 2009/2014 (58%, OB, Sherry Cask C#852, 246 Bts.)
Best Peated Whisky: Smoking Islay (60.5%, Blackadder Raw Cask, NAS, Sherry Finish C#BA2013/452, 325 Bts., 2013)
Best Natural Cask Whisky: Inchmurrin (54.7%, Boutique-y Whisky Co., NAS, 543 Bts., 2014)
Thumbs Up Award: Lagavulin 16yo (43%, OB, 2014)

The categories are based on price, with “Daily Drams” for whiskies with a retail price under €50 ($62 USD), “Premium” for whiskies priced between €50 and €150 ($186 USD), and “Ultra Premium” for those priced over €150. 

The Malt Maniacs is a worldwide group of whisky lovers made up of amateur connoisseurs and professional whisky writers, with the judging panel drawn from the group’s amateur ranks. The Maniacs have been conducting the annual competition since 2003, and a complete list of medalists is available at the group’s web site.

Editor’s note: WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie is a member of the Malt Maniacs, but does not participate in judging for the competition. This story was updated to correct an error in the Malt Maniacs release’s description of the “Ultra Premium” winning Yoichi whisky.

Links: Malt Maniacs