The March 22nd saw major movers and shakers of the world gather at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London for the 2018 Annual World Whiskies Awards. At this dinner award evening organized by Whisky Magazine, the final results of the World Whiskies Awards 2018 were released.
Regional Winners from across the continents where present here hoping to lay their hands on this year’s global winners medals which was announced in between a palatable 4-Course Dinner attended by who is who in the Whisky Industry.
Presidents, Master brewers and brand ambassadors of major global whiskey brands were in attendance to enjoy this wonderful gathering of whisky connoisseurs.
Held annually, the World Whiskies Awards aim to showcase the very best whiskies in each global category and celebrate the personnel behind the growth of the industry.
There are several stages to the competition, judged by world-renowned, expert judges and tasters and headed by Rob Allanson, editor of the Whisky Magazine and chairman of the World Whiskies Awards.
When Drink Ambassadors caught up one-on-one with Rob Allanson, he expressed satisfaction on the participation this year. according to him, over 1000 brands were entered this year; all blind tasted by more the 40 expert judges across the world making this year’s event as unimaginable and very interesting. This year awards were presented by whisky legend Charles McLean, the awards brought the most famous whisky producers in the world together, under one roof. Suntory, Nikka, Maker’s Mark, Glenfiddich, you name them, and they were there present with high hopes to lay their hands on this priceless awards.
It is interesting to see the dominance of Scotch Whiskies been broken down by other whiskies of the world over the years. Previous awards where dominated by Scotch and American whisky, with occasional flashes of brilliance from Japanese and African whiskies. Over the past few years, we have started experiencing changes. It is true that the world best corn whiskey has always come from the USA, but the best single malt and blended malt categories have been a battleground for all.
This year saw Bains African Whiskies win the Best Grain Whiskies this year 2018, and from the Nikka Taketsuru and Suntory Hibiki ranges’ domination of the blended and blended malts categories, to the more recent emergence of Australia and Taiwan as winners of the World’s Best Single Malt award, times are definitely changing. However, Scotland has reclaimed back the single malt crown and held it for the past couple of years so the pressure is again on the newcomers.
I caught up live at the event with Emeka Ihumezie, CEO Drink Ambassadors Nigeria and Editor of Whisky Magazine Africa; Co-Director Whisky Live Nigeria and a Co-Director of the World Spirit Conference Africa and we discussed the presence of Africa at this year’s event. Emeka reaffirms that with its true diverse nature of first holding its regional awards across the continents and a grand finale where all regional winners gather to lay their hands on the global awards in London, the WWA is truly the World Whiskies Awards is the world’s premier whisky awards.
Mr Emeka Ihumezie hopes there will be more African participation at the 2019 World Whiskies Awards with the maiden edition of the African Regional event coming up in Lagos Nigeria next year. According to him it is fantastic to see Africa claim some of these years’ awards. Yes you heard me right. Africa as in Africa! Africa’s Master Brewer, Andy Watts receives the Icons of Whiskies Awards and Bains Whiskies, Best African Grain Whisky won the Best Grain Whisky of the year beating the likes of Ransom Whisky which won the Best American Grain whisky; Teeling Whiskey, the Best Irish Grain whisky, Shelter Point, the Best Canadian Grain Whisky; the Fuji-Gotemba— The Best Japanese Grain and Tweeddale—Best UK Grain whisky.
Here are the Winners of the 2018 World Whiskies Award, with major category winners hailing from all over the globe. From Australia to Africa whisky was redefined. Japanese whisky came in strong in the major categories, while the US, Africa and Australia shone in categories no one expected them to. The night closed with Diageo’s Dr Nicholas Morgan and Kavalan founder, TT Lee and his son, being inducted in the hall of fame.