Japan beats Scotland, whisky gets on almond shake eyes
Jim Murray in his whisky bible talks about this overtaking; he is the major world expert who for the past 12 years has classified the top productions after having tasted them all
Read for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini
The World Whisky Bible is the most authoritative guide on whisky around with 4.500 descriptive sheets regarding both famous and still unknown labels. In ordering it through pre-sale system (9,99£) it is possible to receive copies autographed by the author Jim Murray. But who is this super expert that, in the guide fliers, seems to have eyes as yellow as the whisky he is drinking? He has visited more distilleries than any other human being and is known to be incorruptible and absolutely impervious to any type of pressure
Murray is a 50 year old Brit with long hair, phlegmatic movements and a
typical British sense of humour that makes him smile often. He is a great football and distilled spirits and he presents TV programs on both subjects. In other words he is an undisputed guru and his decision to put the Suntory Yamazaki distillery’s whisky on the throne has made all of Scotland tremble, here distillations supplies jobs for 35.000 people and the stills are even portrayed on banknotes.
Jim Murray loves novelties and this explains why more than one fifth of the whiskies he writes about in his bible are unheard of. This courage in coming face to face with change, and even revolutions, is the foundation of the decision to exclude the Scottish from the first 5 positions in the “Bible”. After the Japanese whisky there are in fact 3 US bourbons and one from England.
“Time” wrote <<The Scottish were shocked…>> I can well believe it! This has created a national tragedy, the single malt Scotch have always been considered the most prestigious and most expensive bottles!
In truth Suntory Yamazaki is a very high level distillery with all it takes to get to the top of the world ranking. It is the oldest distillery in the Land of the Rising Sun and produces the most sold whisky in Japan. It was established in 1923, near Kyoto by Masataka Taketsuru and then completely renovated it so as to combine technology and traditional stills. Jim Murray has selected the single malt, with 15 years ageing in sherry barriques, produced in 18,000 bottles sold at 160 dollars each. It is packaged in quite stocky bottles, similar to the sake ones and very different to the luxury crystals used for the more important whiskies. The label too, with its very evident Japanese characters, is very distant from the stereotypes of this distilled product. So it’s not just the origin but also the appearance of top whiskies that is changing.