This Rare Scotch Whisky Was Just Named Best in the World

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition declared this 40-year-old single malt "best in show."

At a time when coveted bottles of whiskey regularly sell for five, six, or even seven figures, who wouldn't want to know what the next hot Scotch will be? Founded in 2000, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition bills itself as the "the oldest and largest competition of its kind," and over the weekend, the annual event revealed the winner its 2022 "Best in Show:" a limited-run bottle from a small Scotch distillery, Benromach 40 Year Old Single Malt.

Located in the town of Forres in the Speyside region, the 124-year-old Benromach Distillery – which is currently managed by Gordon & MacPhail – released a mere 1,000 bottles of 40 Year Old, their oldest Scotch, in 2021. This was the bottling that was judged, according to The Northern Scot.

Scotch whisky pours into a glass
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"Every expression produced by Benromach Distillery is made by hand for genuine character by our small team of distillers who rely exclusively on their expertise and senses," Keith Cruickshank, the distillery manager, told the paper. "To bring home the coveted 'Best in Show' accolade from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is a true reflection of the hard work and dedication that goes into producing our distinctive Speyside single malts."

Beyond their Double Gold winning Best in Show 40 Year Old, Benromach was awarded two other Double Golds – the competition's top medal doled out only to spirits judged as some of the best in the world. Also taking home that hardware was the Benromach 15 Year Old and Benromach Contrasts: Peat Smoke 2009.

But what made the big winner so great? In a post-victory write-up, Forbes' Brad Japhe described the 57.1 percent ABV Scotch matured exclusively in first-fill Oloroso Sherry butts as "a rich and rounded malt" featuring a nose "bright and brimming with baking spice and stewed orchard fruit" followed by "a velvety body which carries caramel and croissant across the palate." He then concluded, "The real separator here is in the finish. It yields tobacco, leather, and threads of toffee—all of which just refuses to fade. In fact, it's one of those rare sipping experiences for which time just seems to slow."

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