Now in its sixth year, the Las Vegas Global Spirits Awards (LVGSA) is Nevada’s largest and most prestigious spirits competition. The city is a hotbed of mixology innovation. Its sophisticated dining and bar scene, coupled with the fact that it is one of the world’s largest drinks markets, has a far-reaching impact on the global spirits industry. For many up-and-coming craft brands, securing distribution in the essential Las Vegas market is usually one of the first and critical steps to achieving a national footprint.
The LVGSA has just announced the whiskey category winners in the 2022 competition. A total of eight whiskeys were judged best in their class. MacNair’s Lum Reek, 10 YO, Cask Strength was awarded for Best in Show and Best Scotch Whisky.
MacNair’s is a whisky brand owned by The GlenAllachie Distillers Co. It is a blended malt consisting of single malts from undisclosed distilleries in Speyside and elsewhere in the Scottish Highlands blended with single malt from GlenAllachie. The blend consists entirely of single malts and does not include grain whisky. Both peated and unpeated malts are used in the blend.
The name Lum Reek is an old Scottish term for chimney smoke. It’s part of a traditional expression; lang may yer lum reek or long may your chimney smoke – a way of wishing someone a long, healthy, and prosperous life.
The judging panel described the whisky as exhibiting:
Fruity, medicinal, and slightly herbal notes on the nose. Sweet, slightly drying and herbal on the palate. A bit hot and peppery. The long finish offers a layered complexity and a touch of smoke and earthiness.
Dewars won two Platinum Medals in the Scotch whisky category for its 19 YO, Cask Strength, and The Signature, Blended Scotch Whisky.
The award for Best Bourbon went to I Bourbon, Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The official tasting note described the bourbon as:
Caramel, some butterscotch, with a hint of salinity on the nose. Sweet, with stone fruit and caramel notes on the palate. Slightly drying. Bitter note. Long fruity sweet finish.
Runner-ups included Truman Reserve, Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Aerodrome, Single Barrel, Cask Strength. Other runners-up included: Bull Creek Distillery, Barrel 42; Garrison Brothers, Honey Dew Hye Texas and Guadalupe; Cathead Distillery, Old Soul Bourbon Small Batch, and Uncle Nearest, 1884 Small Batch Whiskey.
The top-ranked rye whisky was Giant Texas, Straight Rye Whiskey 100 Proof. Giant Texas was also a runner-up with its Prideful Goat Straight Rye Whiskey, as was Bently Heritage Estate Distillery, Rye Whiskey.
The top-ranked American Blended Whiskey was West Bottoms Whiskey Company, Kansas City Whiskey, Blended Rye and Bourbon Whiskeys. The judging panel described the whiskey as:
Hint of smoke, fruity, and sweet on the nose and palate. Smooth with a long finish and lingering stone fruit notes.
The Best Irish Whiskey was Gelston’s Irish Whiskey 12 YO. Gelston is a NAS, Irish single malt. The official tasting note described it as showing:
Floral, tropical, and stone fruit notes on the nose. Smooth, fruity, with stone fruit and some tropical flavors with some licorice. Long, sweet, fruity finish.
The Best World Whisky award went to Distillery Krauss, Sulm Valley Whiskey. Krauss, an unexpected winner, is an Austrian craft distillery. The judging panel described the whiskey as:
Waxy, leather, and fruit notes on the nose and palate. A long and sweet finish featuring stone and tropical fruits, drying and peppery.
Runners-up in the world whisky category included: Indri Single Malt Indian Whisky, Trini The Three Wood; Keeper’s Heart Whiskey, Irish + Bourbon Blend; and Yamato, Limited Edition 5-8 YO.
The Chairman’s Award went to Starward Whisky, Two-Fold, Wheated Australian Blended Whisky. The official tasting note described it as:
Fruity and slightly herbal on the nose. Sweet, smooth, with stone fruit and tropical flavors on the palate. Long sweet fruity finish.
The 2022 LVGSA produced an eclectic mix of winners ranging from well-known historic brands to little-known craft distilleries. More than a dozen countries were represented in the whiskey judging, compelling proof that the revolution in whiskey quality is now a global phenomenon.