Single malt whisky - tasting notes

03 Dec 2012

Malt Maniacs Awards 2012

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in * News

Beginning of December is always the time for Malt Maniacs Awards. Always a nice opportunity to look back at the past whisky year and check out a few highlights.

First of all: the results are quite predictable. Most of the Gold Medal winners are heavy sherry bottlings, most of them are old (some extremely old). I have the impression the Malt Maniacs are premiumizing just like (part of) the market – it will cost a lot of money to buy a Gold Medal this year. Even € 1100 if you fancy the Glen Grant.


At the very top there’s an ex aequo for GlenDronach and Glengoyne:

  • Glendronach 40yo 1972/2012 (50.2%, OB for LMDW, D2/3/’72 B3/’12, C#713, oloroso sherry butt, 476 Bts.)
  • Glengoyne 1972/2012 (55.5%, Malts of Scotland, D9/’72 B9/’12, C#12044, sherry hogshead, 254 Bts.)
  • Glendronach 40yo 1971/2011 (47.5%, OB for Taiwan, D25/2/’71 B8/’11, C#1248, PX sherry puncheon, 545 Bts.)
  • Karuizawa ‘Noh’ 28yo 1983/2012 (57.2%, OB, C#7576, sherry butt, 571 Bts.)
  • Glenfarclas 1990/2011 (57%, OB The Family Casks for TSMC Taiwan, B12/12/’11, C#5098, 596 Bts.)
  • Glendronach 41yo 1971/2012 (48.9%, OB, D25/2/’71 B6/’12, C#1247, PX sherry puncheon, 529 Bts.)
  • Longmorn 44yo 1967/2011 (48.3%, G&M Book of Kells for LMDW, D4/2/’67 B5/9/’11, C#592)
  • Karuizawa 1984/2012 (61.6%, Number One Drinks, “Single Cask”, C#3692, sherry butt, 359 Bts.)
  • Glen Grant 58yo 1953 (47.9%, Gordon & McPhail Book of Kells for LMDW, C#2604, sherry butt, 294 Bts.)
  • Elements of Islay ‘Pl1′ (60%, The Whisky Exchange, ‘Port Charlotte’)
  • Benriach 27yo 1984/2012 (52.2%, OB, B7/’12, Hogshead, C#4050, tawny port finish, 283 Bts.)
  • Yamazaki ‘Sherry Cask’ (48%, OB, NAS, 2011*)

Have a look at the score card for more details.


Now that’s a lot of GlenDronach (again). I’m quite surprised to see two of them are 1971 vintages as they have always been a tad less convincing in the past, especially the PX sherry versions I’d add.

The Glengoyne 1972 by Malts of Scotland is no surprise. A deserved winner and possibly also my favourite bottling of this year. It’s also more accessible than the € 700 GlenDronach.

The two surprises are probably the BenRach 1984 (a tawny Port finish… I tried sister cask #4052 and I didn’t like it too much) and the Elements of Islay Port Charlotte. That one is by far the least expensive bottle in the Gold Medal list.

Malt Maniacs Awards 2012 Ruben Luyten 2012-12-03
  • Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

    this Pl1 is goign to last about 15 minutes in stock now 😉

  • WhiskyNotes

    Indeed, but I fear some of the others will still be available when the 2013 Awards are announced.

  • Michael

    Everybody has different taste. Most of the awarded whiskies are unavailable or priced as if they were a component to a spacecraft. I usually find more pleasure in finding brilliant whisky at maybe 60 or 80 pounds…

  • Michael

    Gal – many people buy whisky on other peoples notes. I used to do that myself. With all respect to the Malt Maniacs (Jim Murray not mentioned here) who I believe taste everything blind, it must be hard giving free whisky a bad note. You really have to be “independient” to give even bad whiskies a bad note – if you want to keep the free whisky samples coming. I am not pointing fingers at anyone – just mentioning that it could be a problem for some… :-)

  • grateful for mm

    i dont understand the griping here.
    full blind tasting by well-known, experienced tasters. what more do you want?
    and yes, the best whiskies will (yeah, predictably) score highest.
    i think we ought to be more grateful. this is by far the most reliable and independent awards.

  • WhiskyNotes

    There is no griping, and if there were, it’s towards the market rather than towards the MM’s. We are grateful of course, but producer’s aren’t stupid, they will only send in their heaviest sherry and oldest products. The Parker effect, you know.

    I remember a time when I kept some money behind to buy a couple of award winners and try them. Now I’m lucky to have bought one already, it’s now sold out and most of the others are unaffordable. It makes the Awards less significant, sadly.

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December 2015
« Nov    

Coming up

  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1934 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.