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Well, well we’re back here again looking back at 2021. Like the year before, we drank a decent chunk of new and old things thanks to no travel and plenty of home time. There are always upsides. Can’t say I didn’t mind the no dress ups, no ubers, family and friends only and get up from my table and go to my bed action. Haha.
So without further adieu, the booze of the year. Now we know not everything is available everywhere and don’t send us emails confirming this. No consideration is given to availability. It’s just the best stuff we’ve tried for 2021 and that’s it. BAM > the 4 categories. Best world spirit, best beer, best bourbon and best whisky.
World Spirit of the Year
There were many fantastic spirits we tried this year from “deep in the vaults”. Vermuts, Mezcals, Gins, Armagnacs, Oozos, Sherries and the list goes on. The list is a fantastic reflection of the different cultures on this planet, the various climates, traditions and foods. Amazing taste and smell profiles unlike anything else.
This year the winner is Alipus ‘Edicion Especial 2018’ Mezcal Ancestral made from 53% Arroqueno and 47% Espadin Agaves distilled by Don Leonardo Rojas.
This has been, for want of better words, a magic carpet ride of Mezcal. Quality Mezcal. Clean, juicy, vegetal. Those words aren’t really doing this justice. When the bottle was first opened, there was more musk-like sweetness but as the Mezcal aged in the bottle, the profile has changed and still blows us away in it’s new profile iteration. This drop is the epitome of why we had to do our Agave glass. Mind blown.
Beer of the Year
It’s no secret we’re fans of beer. Especially Saisons. Yes, we can still be friends as we drink all the other types too. Truth be told, we drank a lot of various beers in 2021 mostly with our friends at Carwyn Cellars who shepherded us through the jungle of world beers over many many months. What an education! So much yet to learn (as with any category) but so far it’s been awesome to see and taste the variety and watch the innovation happening in the space!
This year the winner is The Bruery ‘Just a Kiss’. An orange kiss to be exact. Get this and it’ll take you some way to understanding the taste and vibe of this super summer beer. Aged in French Oak Foeders with Orange blossom honey for 6 MONTHS! Then finished with actual Orange Blossoms. Is there a more attractive beer to have on an afternoon, under a tree, with mates playing cricket in the backyard? There isn’t. Super sessional too.
Bourbon of the Year
Ok, ok this will be controversial to some of you. Alas, it’s a great bourbon at its price since inception up until this year with pricing regularly hitting $600 USD.
This year the winner is Blanton’s Gold Label. Old trusty. This version of Blanton’s has always been a crowd pleaser. Originally not for the US market, it was a barrel proof international gem many people re-imported to the states as it was that good. Essentially it’s a higher proof version of the original single barrel release but it’s somewhat more than the sum of its parts. Drier, fruitier, fantastic nose and bolder throughout the entire sip. It’s magic that’s now getting away from us regular folk but we’re glad we had our time with this buff bottle. We certainly hope sense will prevail.
Whisky of the Year
Technically the category above is also a whiskey but you know what we mean so don’t be a punk. By far, the most ‘researched’ category in this year’s awards. It’s been an overall delight to take a snapshot of all the releases this year. There were a few doozies but overall we’d have to say that the general standard is enroute upwards. We think this is due to the customer being more informed and basically more interested. Crap whisky will never survive. So, here we go.
The winner of Whisky of the Year is Signatory Vintage Linkwood 13yo. I mean, like whoa. Insert mind blown emoji. If this were a mayonnaise, it would be kewpie, if it were a cyclist, it would be Mario Cipollini, if it was a fruit it would be a Mars Bar. Very rarely something truly magical happens inside a single barrel. Firstly, Linkwood is an old school distillery located in Speyside, started back in 1821. Known for it’s thicker mouthfeel, and yet delicate and clean new make. It’s usually all used as the backbone for blends through its current owner, Diageo. They’ve missed a trick here. It’s honestly one of the finest new makes we’ve ever tasted and takes a quality barrel like no other. This particular dram was aged for 13 years in a great bourbon barrel of origin unknown and then finished for 10 months in a fresh sherry butt, again unknown. Served up at 58.1% this was aged to perfection. It’s a decadent symphony of craft and excess in a whisky. My gosh. We’ve finished 3 bottles in 2021. 699 bottles were ever produced and at a retail of $240 AUD ($174 USD), it would easily live in the region of 1k plus bottles. If you can find one, buy one and thank us later.
There were so many close contenders this year worth a mention but there can only be 1 winner of each section. Here are a few of the greats definitely worth a sip.
And that’s it for 2021. Do let us know your thoughts and have a great holiday season!