It’s been yet another exciting year in whiskey. Now that it’s the end of the year, various people / websites / magazines are declaring their annual “Whiskeys of the Year”. You could argue that these picks are often controversial and heavily debated. This year Whisky Advocate picked George Dickel Bottled in Bond, Jim Murray picked 1792 Full Proof, and Fred Minnick picked King of Kentucky Single Barrel. I haven’t had King of Kentucky, but I have had the Dickel and 1792. Although both are very good bourbons, I wouldn’t consider them “Whiskey of the Year” material. There are so many variables (and store picks add another level of complexity), so can you really pick one? I think even those who declare winners would say no and also say that it is far from a perfect process, but they will continue to try for tradition’s sake. I can’t criticize them for that.
For me, instead of doing a whole Whiskey of the Year thing (and being wrong no matter what I pick), I’m instead going give my thoughts on whiskeys that really impressed or surprised me (in a good way), with added superlatives, all based on my own personal, subjective, and arbitrary criteria.
As a disclaimer, there are a number of whiskeys that I did not get to try, such as this year’s BTAC (actually anything Buffalo Trace that’s very hard to find I couldn’t get) and Four Roses Limited Edition, as well as things I decided not to buy such as Wild Turkey Cornerstone Rye and Parker’s Heritage Rye. This just covers everything that I drank and likely reviewed this year.
Without further ado, here are my 2019 Whiskey Awards, now free of added Whiskey of the Year (plus a bonus)