Hibiki 21 Year Old is the ISC’s Supreme Champion Spirit for 2017

13 July, 2017

The International Spirits Challenge’s Supreme Champion Spirit for 2017 is Suntory’s Hibiki 21 Year Old.

The prestigious trophy was awarded at the ISC awards dinner last night (July 12) at Gibson Hall in the City of London.

All of the 27 trophy-winning spirits were re-tasted blind by our category chairmen, who voted Hibiki the overall champion. The much-awarded Japanese whisky came top of the 1,480 spirits entered into the awards this year. Hibiki is not only Japan’s most highly awarded blended whisky, but among the most prestigious whiskies in the world.

Established in 1899, Suntory is one of the oldest companies in brewing, distilling and distribution of alcoholic beverages in Japan. With its 2014 acquisition of Beam, Suntory became international and is now one of the largest distillers in the world.

Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo is picutred with Sho Semba, president of Suntory Spirits, accpeting the trophy from DI publisher Justin Smith (left) and WSET cheif executive Ian Harris (right).

Drinks International publisher and ISC events director Justin Smith said: “The ISC sets the international standard for quality and excellence. Its impressive legacy is founded through the constant development of the competition, the breadth of its ever evolving categories, the scrupulous blind assessment and the skill set of our expert judges.

“The challenge is committed to ensuring fair and accurate assessments in the judging process. Medals are only awarded when the panel agree they are rightfully deserved. Each spirit has to pass the meticulous blind tasting by some of the world’s leading industry professionals.

“To be awarded a trophy in the Challenge is an exceptional achievement and emphasises the quality - and innovation shown by global drinks producers.

This ISC has judges from many countries, including France, Russia, United States, Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, South Africa and Japan as well as the UK,” said Smith.

WSET chief executive Ian Harris, who was master of ceremonies, said: “Every year the drinks industry gets more and more exciting. The incredible innovation, quality and craftsmanship shown by global spirits producers is simply wonderful.

The Awards


There were twelve trophies, five for world whiskies, four for blended scotch, two for single malt and one for single grain.

World Whiskies

The judges awarded a total of 36 gold, 126 silver and 13 bronze medals.

The trophy for bourbon went to Colonel E H Taylor Junior. Single Barrel - Straight Kentucky Bourbon.

World Whiskies Blended category

For the fifth year running, Suntory’s Hibiki 21 Year Old took the trophy

World Whiskies Single Malt

Triple Eight Distillery’s The Notch Nantucket Island 12 Year Old, Single Malt Whisky

World Whiskies Aged Single Malt

The winner for the second year running was Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Single Cask Strength, Single Malt Whisky

World Whiskies Grain

Winner Nikka Coffey Malt

Scotch whisky

The judges awarded 68 gold, 273 silver and 13 bronze medals.

Scotch Grain

An outright winner was Invergordon 43 Year Old – Batch 11

Blended Scotch No Age

The trophy goes to Chivas Ultis

Blended Scotch up to 20 years old

The winner is Dewar’s 18 Year Old

Keywords: ISC

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