Sazerac Rye isn't the most recognized whiskey in the world, but it certainly is a respected one.
Its latest accolade comes across the pond, where the 2010 Whisky Bible, the UK's top-selling guide, has named the 18-year-old Sazerac Rye from Kentucky THE best whisky/whiskey, including the UK's beloved Scotches.
It topped 3,850 other whiskies that were considered, with Ardbeg Supernova from the Hebridean island of Islay as No. 2 after dominating the awards for the past three years. Interestingly, an Indian whiskey, Amrut Fusin from Bangalore, was No. 3.
Jim Murray, author of the guide, described the rye as "reaching previously unknown heights. ... In beating all other world-whiskey types, Sazerac 18 has set the bar for rye whiskey and it will be fascinating in forthcoming years to see what is bottled to at least match it."
Harlen Wheatley is the master distiller at the Franklin County, KY, facility of Buffalo Trace, which makes Sazerac and other brands.
Murray told news media that "There is still a sneering attitude in some quarters that, if it is not made in Scotland, then somehow it is not proper whisky. I don't think the Scots have a lot to be complacent about at the moment in terms of whisky. While the best is still exceptional, there is a lot of Scotch whisky out there which is really not good at all."
In recent years, Buffalo Trace has emerged as arguably the world's top whisky maker if one goes by industry awards.
Malt Advocate magazine's Malt Society names the Sazerac 19 top American whiskey in 2001 and 2005; Malt Advocate Distiller of the Year in 2000, 2005 and 2006; Whisky Magazine (a UK publication) Distiller of the Year in 2005 and 2007; Wine Enthusiast Magazine Distiller of the Year in 2006, and so on.
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