The top trophy for supreme champion was awarded to Japanese whisky the Yamazaki Single Malt 1984. The whisky’s creator, Suntory, also scooped the coveted Distiller of the Year award. This is the first time in the event’s 15 year history that the two top awards were given to one distiller.
The event, held at the Marriot Grosvenor Square, was attended by 200 distillers, blenders, cellar masters, journalists and drinks trade professionals.
The Outstanding Contribution award was picked up by Wild Turkey’s master distiller and industry veteran Jimmy Russell. French distiller ABK6 took the Excellence in Craftsmanship award.
Best in Class awards were given to Borco International for its Finsbury Platinum gin and for its Sierra Tequila Reposado. Arcus picked up a Best in Class award for its Hammer Aquavit.
The coveted ISC trophies were awarded to:
Vodka: Wodka Zoltadkowa Gorzka Na Trawie Zubrowej
Liqueurs and specialities: Green Chartreuse
Brandy: Van Ryn’s 15 Year Old Fine Cask Reserve
Cognac : Cognac Grande Champagne Multimillesime N.3
Rum : Chairman’s Reserve Spiced
Blended Scotch: 30 Year Old Whyte and Mackay
Malt whisky : Glenfiddich 40 Year Old
World whisk(e)y: The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky 1984.
The ceremony also played host to retailer awards and design and packaging awards.
Both design and packaging trophies went to Stranger & Stranger for their Kraken rum and Paulsen Collection Cognac designs.
Special awards were also given to Balblair for its travel retail packaging, Bushmills Original for its on-trade packaging, the Kraken for innovative graphic design and Absolut Rock Edition for innovative pack format.
There were three categories in the retailer awards – independent spirits retailer, won by Selfridges; multiple spirits retailer, picked up by Waitrose; and international spirits retailer, won by World Duty Free.
The crowd was entertained by Bollywood dancers Threebee, who were Britain’s Got Talent finalists, as well as flair bartenders the Barwizards.
Judges on the blind tasting panels for the spirits awards included, among many more, John Ramsay, recently retired Edrington Group master blender, Tetsuji Hisamitsu, chief blender at Nikka Whisky Distilling Co, Jimmy Russell master blender for Wild Turkey, Beefeater master distiller Desmond Payne, Grand Marnier cognac quality manager Adeline Loizeau and Olivier Paultes, maître de chai, Cognac Frapin. Design and packaging judges included Paul Foulkes-Arellano from design agency Wren & Rowe, Nick Monk from Multi Labels and Nick Wykes from IP Bartenders.