ISC Awards- Whiskies

05 June, 2017

Scotch again proved the biggest winner on its home turf as a record number of whiskies from around the world lined up on the tasting table. Shay Waterworth was at Edinburgh’s scotch whisky experience for the ISC event.


THE IMPOSING EDIFICE of Edinburgh Castle was the backdrop for the whisky leg of this year’s International Spirits Challenge, which fittingly saw the scotch category showered in gold medals.

Ten experts from around the world gathered at the Scotch Whisky Experience on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to rank the finest whiskies on the planet.

The ISC is one of the largest spirits competitions in the world and is now in its 22nd year.

The ISC team, headed by Agile Media events manager Sarah Burnett and senior events coordinator Helen Heppell, invited experts from Japan, Sweden, Scotland and the US to adjudicate the five whisky categories.

Richard Paterson, master distiller at The Dalmore, once again led the judging proceedings.

“Every year at the International Spirit Challenge the entries become even more competitive – this year is no exception,” said Paterson.

“This is not surprising, especially when our valued consumers around the world are becoming more demanding and, from the standard of quality seen this year, the producers once again have responded accordingly.

“It has been such a privilege for our outstanding panel to judge these many wonderful spirits. My congratulations truly go to every medal winner.”

Over three days of judging, 567 whiskies were tasted, 56,000 drams were poured and 111 gold medals have been awarded for 2017.

Scotch whisky accounts for more than half of these medals but Japanese whiskies were also well received by the expert distillers and blenders.


Chairman Richard Paterson, Billy Leighton

Randy Hudson, Triple Eight Distillery; Shinji Fukuyo, chief blender, Suntory; Tadashi Sakuma, senior officer/chief blender, Nikka Whisky Distilling Co; Gordon Motion, master blender,

Edrington; Angela d’Orazio, master blender, Macmyra Svensk Whisky AB; Billy Leighton, chief blender, Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard; Caroline Martin, master blender, Diageo Technical Centre Europe; Bill Lumsden, head of distilling & whisky creation, The Glenmorangie Company; Margaret Nichol, blend controller, Whyte & Mackay Distillers; Richard Paterson, master blender, Whyte & Mackay Distillers; David Stewart, The Balvenie malt master, William Grant & Sons Distillers.


Scotch whisky has done itself proud with 68 gold medals this year, with Jonnie Walker, Glenmorangie, Glenfiddich and The Dalmore all featuring in the roll of honour.

Three hundred and 54 scotches were entered and all but nine received at least a bronze medal. Here are the gold medal winners in full.


Between them American and Irish whiskeys picked up 18 gold medals with the Irish blends making up the majority.

Irish whiskeys were a hot topic among the experts prior to judging and Jameson accounted for a third of the gold medals awarded to the category.


Two members of the judging panel were flown from Japan for the adjudications and they will be delighted to see that nearly half of all Japanese entries were awarded a gold medal.

Taiwanese producer Kavalan earned four gold medals in 2017 and Taiwan accounted for all but one of the gold medals awarded for the world whiskey category.

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