For all you laddies who love to quote Mike Myers' angry Scotsman on Saturday Night Live — "If it's not Scottish, it's crap!" — well, that's just not the case with whiskey anymore. In what's being described as "a wake-up call" for the esteemed Scottish distlling industry, a Japanese whiskey has been declared the world's best by the venerable Jim Murray's Whisky Bible.
Specifically, the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 earns top billing in the 2015 edition of the highly regarded hooch rankings, which called it "a single malt which no Scotch can at the moment get anywhere near."
Scotch whiskies had taken the top honors in two of the last three years, according to London's Daily Mail.
Making this enormous hit to Scottish pride even worse: not a single Scotland distillery cracks the top five — the first time that's happened in the rankings' 12-year history.
For some perspective on the devastating news, Time speaks to Scottish but "non-partisan" wine and spirits judge Ron Taylor, who notes that "rankings often reflect the taster’s personal preferences" and further points to some big differences between Japanese and Scottish styles:
Taylor describes Japanese single malts as like a Lexus —“beautifully crafted, no vibration, smooth, consistent and always pleasing” — while their Scottish counterparts are more akin to a Maserati. “The Scottish whiskeys, they’ll knock you around and slap you around the face a little bit,” says Taylor.
And, maybe that's true in a general sense. But, in this instance, it sounds like the Scottish kind is the one getting slapped.
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