Just In 👉 Nikka Whisky Celebrates 90th Anniversary With The...

News & New Releases

10 Highlights From The World Whiskies Awards 2022 Regional Winners for America and Rest of World


One of the biggest whisky competitions, the World Whiskies Awards 2022, are underway, with the first round of judging (of 3 rounds) done and the results are out!

Now to save you over 3 hours of awards presentations to sit through, we've gone ahead and summarised the big winners and who you should be looking out for according to the World Whiskies Awards.

For those unfamiliar with the judging process, it is done in 3 rounds over the course of several months, as follows:


Round 1
Each whisky is tasted in its relevant style to identify and select the style winners. Judges making up the World Whiskies Awards panel include international, leading journalists, specialist drinks retailers and industry experts.

Rounds 2
Style winners are tasted against each other to identify the ‘Best’ whisky in each category.

Round 3
The ‘Best’ whisky in each category are then tasted against each other one last time to select the World’s Best whisky. Judges at this stage include those in Round 1 and 2 to whom are added a panel of leading distillers and experts from the whisky industry.


While the Round 1 results for Scotland's whiskies were out in December (you can find them here), the results for America and Rest of World (which includes Japan) were just announced this week.

Here's a recap of some of the big winners from America.


1. Redemption Barrel Proof High Rye Bourbon 10 Years Old

(Best Bourbon Not From Kentucky)


(Image Source: Redemption Whiskey) 


Redemption Whiskey's “one purpose and one purpose only: to bring rye whiskey back to its rightful place.” sounds like a bold statement as any to make, befitting of the crown for Best Bourbon (Non Kentucky). While the winner for Best Kentucky Bourbon went unsurprisingly to Old Forrester's 100 Proof, a Kentucky staple, winning the Bourbon category outside of Kentucky is just as difficult a feat. The Redemption Barrel Proof High Rye Bourbon 10 Years Old is said to be intense, multifaceted and highly complex.


2. Rabbit Hole Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

(Best Kentucky Small Batch Bourbon)


(Image Source: Whisky Consensus)

Rabbit Hole has been making waves with their core releases as well as their higher end Founder's Collection, in particular their Boxergrail Straight Rye Kentucky Whiskey and Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon have been big hits. It is not at all surprisingly that Heigold, a relatively new addition to the core range, would go on to pick up big awards. You definitely want to check them out.


3. Westland Outpost Range Garryana Edition 6

(Best American Single Malt)


(Image Source: Reserve Bar) 

Seattle-based Westland Distillery has sought to provide fans an avenue to exploring the Pacific Northwest of the US, through its Outpost Range, as opposed to the the tried-and-tested All American whiskey, Bourbon.

The Outpost Range, made of the Garryana, Colere and Solum bottlings, will showcase an entirely new American influence on whisky. Starting with the Garryana, Westland uses an entirely new species of oak, the Quercus Garryana, a rare oak indigeneous to the Pacific Northwest, which is now in its 6th edition.


4. Hogback Distillery Wallace Collection Single Malt Whisky

(Best American Single Cask Single Malt)


(Image Source: Hogback Distillery)


The first release of the Wallace Collection by the American Hogback Distillery, is made using 100% malted barley from America, which is then matured for 4 years in virgin American Oak and finally finished with Colorado Aspen Wood. This created an expression that is bold, powerful, and yet elegant and fresh, with a creamy, buttery toffee fudge character. It is the first ever whisky to be finished in Colorado Aspen Wood.



Now of course, these were just some of the highlights, and there were many other Category Winners like Breckenridge Distillery, which took home the prize in Best American Blended (NAS), Lost Lantern for Best American Blended Malt 12 Years & Under, Ironroot Republic which bagged the prize for Best American Corn, Bainbridge which won the category for Best American Grain, and then there were the staples like Sazerac which won Best American Rye (NAS), Jack Daniel's which won Best Tennessee Age Statement Whiskey, and Blanton's which won Best Kentucky Single Barrel Bourbon.

The list goes on, which you can find here.


Now for some of the highlights from the Rest of World (RoW) regions.


5. The Akkeshi Blended Whisky Shosho

(Japan Blended Whiskey (NAS) - Category Winner) 


(Image Source: JPWhisky.net)


Hokkaido-based Akkeshi Distillery, only the second distillery on the northern Japanese island aside from the famed Yoichi Distillery, has kicked off their inaugural release in the form of a 24-set release that follows the traditional Japanese calendar which divides the year into 24 seasons. This is to demonstrate the changing effects of the distillery's ambient climate on its whiskies.

Shosho follows the 14th season in the calendar, which is the season in which the heat eases and cool breezes begin to take over, a time of grain and crop harvest, whilst the typhoon season begins its arrival.


6. Archie Rose Rye Malt Whisky

(Australia Rye 12 Years & Under - Category Winner)


(Image Source: Delicious)

If you haven't taken noticed, let me break it to you, the Australian whisky scene has been banging, having in the last 10 years really taken shaped and already well producing some incredible whiskies. Archie Rose, founded in only 2014 in Sydney, Australia, has been absolutely speeding ahead, catching awards after awards especially for their Rye Malt.

But don't stop there, the distillery most recently announced a limited release Red Gum Smoked Single Malt Whisky, unique only to the land down under. They also produce some amazing Gins, Vodkas and bottled cocktails.


7. Mars Komagatake 2014 Single Cask No.1841 7 Years Old

(Japanese Single Cask Single Malt 12 Year & Under - Category Winner)


(Image Source: The Rare Malt)

No stranger to the whisky scene, Mars has been quietly growing its capabilities, most recently bringing online their second distillery, Tsunuki, that is already producing whiskies distilled and matured in the warmer climates of Kagoshima, in contrast to their pre-existing Shinshu distillery, located in the much colder Nagano Alps. 

While the whisky producer has multiple ranges, amongst the most popular and higher end are the Mars Malt Le Papillon and the Mars Komagatake, which are both highly sought after.


8. The Cardrona Growing Wings - Old Forester Ex Bourbon Cask No. 275

(New Zealand Single Cask Single Malt 12 Years & Under - Category Winner)

(Image Source: Cardrona Distillery)


Founded by Desiree Reid-Whitaker in 2013, after she sold her farming business, Cardrona Distillery was created to produce great spirits using the pure Alpine waters sourced from the heart of Mount Cardrona, located in New Zealand's Southern Alps. 

"This exclusive single cask bottling of The Cardrona Single Malt Whisky “Growing Wings” is matured in an Old Forester ex-bourbon cask for five years and bottled at natural cask strength. On the nose caramelised apple and cut hay.  With water, the fruits open into Otago sunburnt apricot, pear, clover honey, layered over signature Cardrona vanilla cream." - Cardrona Distillery.


9. Teeling Whiskey Brabazon Series 4

(Ireland Single Malt 13 to 20 Years - Category Winner)


(Image Source: Dram Street)


The Teeling Brothers come from something of Irish Whiskey royalty - their father, John Teeling, broke the monopoly on Irish whiskies held by Midleton Distillery, with the establishment of the Cooley Distillery in 1987. Yet, the brothers have done well to forge a path of their own, having founded the first whiskey distillery in Dublin, Ireland, in over 125 years, once a world whiskey distilling capital.

The Brabazon Bottling Series is a limited edition collection of unique Irish Single Malts capturing the full impact and flavour crafted through fortified wine cask maturation. 

"For the Brabazon Bottling Series 4, we have sourced unique barrels used by a long forgotten historical style of Portuguese Port to produce a truly unique and distinctive bottling of Teeling Whiskey. Carcavelos is a style of Portuguese fortified wine dating back to the 18th century. These rare Port barrels were filled with our Single Malt distilled in 2007 and left for over two years to impart the full range of flavour and character on the whiskey." - Teeling Distillery.


10. Kanosuke Single Malt Distillery Exclusive #001 W-IPA Cask Finish

(Japan Single Malt NAS - Category Winner)


(Image Source: Kanosuke Distillery)


To say Kanosuke won big at the World Whiskies Awards would be an understatement, the young Japanese upstart took home three prizes - Category Winner for their Distillery Exclusive #001 W-IPA Cask Finish, a Gold for their Kanosuke Single Malt 2021 Second Edition, and a Silver for their Kanosuke Single Malt 2021 First Edition, all under the same category for Japan Single Malt (NAS). That would be the equivalent of occupying the podium for 1st, 2nd and 3rd - podium's all yours.

Located in Kagoshima, the distillery faces Japan's longest stretch of white sandy beaches, with sea breeze filling their distillery site - not just a sight to behold, but great influence on whiskies that have now claimed their fame.

"#001 is a collaboration with RISE & WIN Brewing Co. (Kamikatz) in Tokushima Prefecture. After aging unpeated malt new make whisky in re-charred American white oak casks for 2 years, the spirit was aged for a further 14 months in Double IPA casks from RISE & WIN Brewing Co. before being bottled as a single malt whisky." - Kanosuke Distillery.


Rounding Up

The list of competitors in the RoW categories are vast as they are competitive, again it should be noted that these are merely the highlights and are in no way exhaustive. You can find the full list of Regional RoW winners here.

Of course, the likes of Chichibu Distillery would go on to take Category Winner for Japan Blended Limited Release (NAS) for their Ichiro's Malt & Grain 2022, whilst Nikka would take win for Japan Grain Whiskey (NAS), and Tasmanian whisky pioneer Lark Distilling would also bring home several prizes, which were all not too surprising. Here and there you'd also spot some up and coming names to watch out for like Israel's Milk & Honey, or South Africa's Three Ships, which show promise but have yet to reach their full potential.

Ultimately, it is always nice to see distilleries get the recognition they deserve, and also to have our eyes and palates wide open to some new entrants pounding the drums and making waves, which we'll most certainly look forward to tasting.

That said, getting on the list is itself a feat that is worth congratulating all the nominees for, so once again, big congratulations to the whisky producers round the world who keep us so well inebriated! Cheers!