Jim Murray reveals his Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year

Jim Murray reveals his Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year

Renowned whisky critic and author of the yearly editions of the Whisky Bible, Jim Murray has named Belgrove Peated Rye as his Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year.

Each bible edition contains detailed and professionally analysed notes on the leading as well as lesser-known whiskies with scores out of 100 and ranks given by Jim himself.

Belgrove Distillery’s first mention by Jim was in 2015 after their Rye Whisky received 94.5 points earning the ‘Liquid Gold’ status.

He commented that this was “perhaps the most concentrated rye arrival [he has] tasted for a couple of years from any part of the world… Just so sharp, almost three dimensional”.

Belgrove’s owner and distiller Peter Bignell has long had the reputation of being sustainable and very experimental in his method of creating his rye whiskies which is reflected in his unique previous and upcoming releases.

"A few weeks ago I won Whisky Magazine, Icons Of Whisky Australia “Craft Producer of the year 2019” and now Jim Murray has awarded my Peated Rye Whisky Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year 2019," Bignell said. "I am very excited to receive such accolades and they encourage me to pursue my passion and creativity even more." 

Belgrove is distributed in Australia by Nip of Courage. 

"It’s great to see Peter Bignell receive global recognition for his hard work," said founder Kathleen Davies. "His innovative style and approach to distilling is refreshing and something that will inspire the industry for years to come.

2019 World Whisky of the Year

The winner of Murray's top award was William Larue Weller 128.2 Proof, which is part of the highly anticipated annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. The wheated bourbon was distilled in 2005 and released in 2017. It's described by Forbes as as being "soft and smooth bursting with notes of caramel, marshmallows, and vanilla. Pepper and spice enter on the palate and the sweetness from the nose continues into a long finish". The release has already sold out.

The second finest whisky in the world and the only Scotch to make it to the top four is Glen Grant Aged 18 Years. It has featured on Murray's top 3 in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

It's described as "a complex dram bringing forth winter spice, dried fruits, and an abundance of caramel on the nose".

The third finest whisky in the world is Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye 127.2 Proof, another entry in the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and another release to sell out. It's a "cask strength bomb bursting with notes of toffee, cinnamon, molasses, and dried fruit".

The full winners' list


Scotch Whisky of the Year: Glen Grant Aged 18 Year Old

Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant Aged 18 Year Old

Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask): The Last Drop Glenrothes 1969 Cask 16207

Scotch Blend of the Year: Ballantine’s 17 Year Old

Scotch Grain of the Year: Berry Bros & Rudd Cambus 26 Years Old

Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year: Collectivum XXVIII


No Age Statement: Laphroaig Lore

10 Years & Under (Multiple Casks): Laphroaig 10 Year Old

10 Years & Under (Single Cask): Berry Bros & Rudd Ardmore 9 Year Old

11-15 Years (Multiple Casks): Lagavulin 12 Year Old 17th Release Special Releases 2017

11-15 Years (Single Cask): Cadenhead’s Rum Cask Mortlach 14 Year Old

16-21 Years (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant Aged 18 Year Old

16-21 Years (Single Cask): Bowmore 19 Year Old The Feis Ile Collection

22-27 Years (Multiple Casks): Talisker 25 Year Old Bot.2017

22-27 Years (Single Cask): Scotch Malt Whisky Society Glen Grant Cask 9.128 24 Year Old

28-34 Years (Multiple Casks): Convalmore 32 Year Old 28-34 Years (Single Cask)

Gleann Mor Port Ellen Aged 33 Year Old: 35-40 Years (Multiple Casks)

Benromach 39 Year Old 1977 Vintage: 35-40 Years (Single Cask) Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1979

41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks): Tomatin Warehouse 6 Collection 1972

41 Years & Over (Single Cask): The Last Drop Glenrothes 1969 Cask 16207


No Age Statement (Standard): Ballantine’s Finest

5-12 Years: Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year Old

13-18 Years: Ballantine’s 17 Year Old

19 – 25 Years: Royal Salute 21 Year Old

26 – 50 Years: Royal Salute 32 Year Old Union of the Crowns


Irish Whiskey of the Year: Redbreast Aged 12 Year Cask Strength

Irish Pot Still Whiskey of the Year: Redbreast Aged 12 Year Cask Strength

Irish Single Malt of the Year: Bushmills Distillery Reserve 12 Year Old

Irish Blend of the Year: Bushmills Black Bush

Irish Single Cask of the Year: The Irishman 17 Year Old


Bourbon of the Year: William Larue Weller 128.2 Proof

Rye of the Year: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac 127.2 Proof

US Micro Whisky of the Year: Garrison Brothers Balmorhea

US Micro Whisky of the Year (Runner Up): Balcones Peated Texas Single Malt


No Age Statement (Single Barrel): Blanton’s Gold Edition Single Barrel

No Age Statement (Multiple Barrels): William Larue Weller 128.2 Proof

Up To 10 Years: Eagle Rare 10 Year Old

11 – 15 Years: Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 Year Old

16 – 20 Years: Abraham Bowman Sweet XVI Bourbon

11 Years & Over: Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 Year Old


No Age Statement: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac 127.2 Proof

Up to 10 Years: Knob Creek Cask Strength

11 Years & Over: Sazerac 18 Year Old (2017 Edition)


Canadian Whisky of the Year: Canadian Club Chronicles: Issue No. 1 Water of Windsor 41 Year Old


Japanese Whisky of the Year: The Hakushu Paul Rusch


European Whisky of the Year (Multiple): Nestville Master Blender 8 Years Old Whisky (Slovakia)

European Whisky of the Year (Single): The Norfolk Farmers Single Grain Whisky (England)


Asian Whisky of the Year: Amrut Greedy Angels 8 Year Old (India)

Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year: Belgrove Peated Rye (Australia)

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