The bourbon, produced by US distillery Buffalo Trace, earned a score of 97.5 out of 100 and finished on top of more than 4,600 whiskies to be crowned the winner of Jim Murray's annual survey.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on October 11, 2018

Murray described the William Larue Weller 128.2 Proof as “the most delicious lesson in whiskey structure imaginable.”

Tasting notes for the bourbon whiskey describe a nose of “caramel corn, new leather, plums, light toffee and pipe tobacco” along with marshmallow, nougat and figs on the palate. Unfortunately for anyone looking to determine first hand whether it lives up to the hype, it is now sold out and rarely available on the secondary market.

“We are both delighted and immensely proud to have won not only the World Whiskey of the Year for the second year in a row, but also to hold the 3rd finest whiskey of the world title, as well as good showings in the single cask of the year categories,” said Mark Brown, CEO of Buffalo Trace Distillery, which produces William Larue Weller.

“These wins are special to us because we hold Jim’s palate in the highest esteem, but also because they are a testament to the skill and craft of the men and women of Buffalo Trace.”

Other winners in the Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2019: Glen Grant, Thomas H Hardy Sazerac

In second place was the 18-year-old Glen Grant single malt Scotch Whisky. It had placed third last year and Murray praised it as “the most crystalline, technically sublime Speysider I have tasted in a very long time”. The only Scotch in Murray’s top four, it has been awarded a podium place in three successive years.

Third place went to the Thomas H Hardy Sazerac which scored 97. The expression is an unfiltered straight rye whiskey that was distilled in 2011 before being released as part of Buffalo Trace’s 2017 Antique Collection.

Other winners include Redbreast Aged 12 Years Cask Strength, which took out Irish Whiskey of the Year and Hakushu Paul Rusch, named the Japanese Whisky of the Year.

India’s Amrut Greedy Angels 8 Year Old took out the prize for Asian Whisky of the Year while Tasmania’s Belgrove was named Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year for its Belgrove Peated Rye.

Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace distillery grounds

A new chapter for The Whisky Bible

The latest edition of the book is also notable for including a separate England and Wales section for the first time, alongside traditional whisky-making strongholds of Scotland, Ireland, Kentucky and Canada.

“Such has been the consistency coming from the likes of Penderyn, St George’s and the Cotswolds Distillery, it became clear we had something special on our hands,” said Murray. “They each produce a single malt of exceptionally high standard year after year so it would have been a disservice to them had I not given them their own region.”

The Bible is now its 16th instalment and its pronunciations on the best whiskies for each year have become an event in their own right. The 2019 edition is the third successive year that Murray has selected an American whiskey as the best in the world. The William Larue Weller follows EH Taylor Four Grain (another Buffalo Trace release) winning in 2018 and Booker’s Rye 13 Year Old taking top spot in 2017.

Image credits: Buffalo Trace Distillery