Why Speyside Whiskies Dominated The International Wines And Spirits Competition 2020 Scotch Judging

Posted: Sep 17, 2020

The International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) is among the most prestigious spirits competitions worldwide, noted for the rigorousness and professionalism of its judging and for the in-depth judges’ commentary it provides to entrants. Its judges are drawn equally from industry, retail and media and are international in scope.

The IWSC has just announced the results of their 2020 Scotch whisky judging. A total of 412 medals were issued: 107 Bronze medals, 275 Silver medals, 20 Gold medals and 10 Gold Outstanding medals. The IWSC does not disclose the number of entrants, but did confirm that it “was well in excess of 400.” Only about five percent of the submissions garnered the coveted Gold or Gold Outstanding medals.

Speyside whiskies dominated the single malt results, winning 13 of 20 Gold medals and five of six Gold Outstanding medals. Bunnahabhain was the only whisky outside of the Speyside region to win a coveted Gold Outstanding. Balvenie, Tamnavulin, Glenfiddich were the Speyside distilleries that won Gold Outstanding medals. One other Speyside distillery elected to forego announcing it Gold Outstanding winner at the present time.

Among the Gold medalists, seven expressions from five distillers hailed from Speyside: Aberfeldy, Glenfiddich, Shieldaig, Balvenie and Tamdhu. Another seven expressions came from four distillers outside Speyside: Bowmore/Islay, Glenmorangie/Highlands, Old Pulteney/Highlands and Deanston/Highlands.

Only one peated single malt whisky won a gold medal: Bowmore 15 YO Islay Single Malt Scotch whisky. Loch Lomond 12 YO Single Malt, a “lightly peated” single malt also won a gold medal. There were no peated single malts among the Gold Outstanding winners.

By Joseph V Micallef
Source: forbes.com
September 17, 2020

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