Last week brought the results of the 2020 International Whisky Competition® – one of the industry’s most socially followed and professional events. Lauded as “The Olympics of whisky competitions” by Master Distiller Jim McEwan, IWC was founded in 2010 and usually takes place in Las Vegas (2020, however, was held in Estes Park, CO due to the current world circumstances).
Entrants are received from around the world to be judged in all manner of categories: Best Single Malt, Best Cask Strength, Best from individual countries, regions, and states, Best Rye, Best Bourbon, Best New Release, and even Best Value (under $30), among others. 3 medals are given in each category: Gold, Silver, and Bronze.
Judging is on a 100 point system based on 4 main categories (Sight, Nose, Taste, Finish) and 11 sub-categories, and each whisky receives 8 minutes in which to be tasted blind by the panel of industry professionals.
One of the most interesting highlights from 2020 is Master Blender Stephanie Macleod. She made headlines in 2019 by becoming the first female Master Blender of the Year. She swooped up that honour again this year, along with becoming the first woman to blend the Best Whisky of the Year – Dewar’s Double Double 32 Year Old. But she didn’t stop there: 4 of her other whiskies received scores over 90 points, which goes to showcase “her inspiring abilities, dedication, and mastery in the art of blending outstanding whisky.”
As IWC is still young, I highly look forward to seeing many more female whisky makers receive well deserved recognition for their quality spirit.
For the full breakdown of 2020 winners, click here.