Whisky Bible Awards Ballantine's and Buffalo Trace Top Three 2011 Honors

A blended scotch whisky, Ballantine's 17-Year Old, was named #1 whisky in the world in the 2010 edition of The Whisky Bible by author and influential whisky rater Jim Murray.

Second place went to Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye (129 proof), and third place went to William Larue Weller (134.8 proof)-both from the same Kentucky distillery: Buffalo Trace.

Speaking at the publication of the Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2011, Jim Murray said, "Blends are seen by many as the poor relations to single malts. Ballantine's 17 proves, quite spectacularly, what many of us have known for a great many years: it isn't. A blender has the chance to create something unique and quite beautiful by putting together many whisky styles. With Ballantine's 17, the blender has done his job in glorious, quite majestic fashion." The average price for Ballantine's 17 has been $86.00, but that is likely to climb now.

Murray is hardly a new fan of Ballantine's 17, naming it Best Scotch Blend in his 2010 Whisky Bible. Giving the blend 97.5 points out of 100 this year, Jim Murray describes the whisky as "one of the most beautiful, complex and stunningly structured whiskies ever created."

Sainsbury's Dún Léire Aged 8 Years Single Malt, won Irish Whiskey of the Year, the first time a supermarket brand has gained top country honors in The Whisky Bible. Produced by the Cooley Distillery for Sainsbury's Jim Murray said, "This is Cooley at its best and a very astute and masterful piece of whiskey buying".

Last year, the World Whisky Award went to Sazerac 18 Year Old Kentucky Rye. No. 2 went to Ardbeg Supernova single-malt, and the no. 3 honor was bestowed, to the shock of many, to Indian Whisky Amrut Fusion.

Conducted over a four month period, while writing the 2011 Whisky Bible, Jim Murray tasted in excess of 1000 whiskies to reach his final decisions.

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