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K&L Best of 2010 Awards: Distillery/Producer of the Year

John Glaser is likely the most underappreciated person in the whisk(e)y world, but this won't be the case for too much longer.  Malt advocates across the globe are starting to understand that "vatting" and "blending" are not bad words, especially after finding out that their beloved Ardbeg 10 or Lagavulin 16 single malts, while the work of one distillery, are actually vattings of different whiskies as well.  Now that cask enhancments and single barrel bottlings have become rather tame, the time is ripe for the blenders to start getting their due praise.  2011 might well be the year that Rachel Barrie begins overshadowing Dr. Bill Lumsden!  The reason being that the flavor of whisk(e)y is ultimately the most important factor in deciphering quality.  Sure, there are some fantastic distillers out there, but how would we know?  It's not like we're drinking one single whisky when we sip on our glass of Springbank 10 - rather the recipe of the master blender, who took multiple recipes and created a cuveé.

David D and David OG unanimously select: Compass Box - Take a sip of the Flaming Heart and tell us that it isn't some kind of divine creation bestowed upon this earth for whisky fanatics.  The oiliness of Clynelish, the smoky peat of Caol Ila, and the supple fruit texture of Tobermorey, all singing in perfect balance.  What a masterful job by Glaser.  The Double Single - a whisky I believe people are afraid to review - is a lesson in subtlety and restraint.  Sometimes my wife will say, regarding a fantastic Thanksgiving meal, "It's just roasting a turkey!  That's not cooking!  That's just sticking a piece of meat in the oven." Of course, we carnivores out there understand that a proper bird is more than just a matter of timing - it's a matter of feel.  That's the best way to describe the Double Single, and Glaser's creations as a whole.  It's all about feel, and John definitely has the touch.

-David Driscoll

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Reader Comments (6)

I'd say he also has the power. Yeah.

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStan Bush

It's much better than Candlebox, that's for sure.

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris Cornell

He's nobody's fool. He's at his best when the going gets tough......:)

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid D

I really like your

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrolex2u

For me, with all the excellent choices this year, it has to be Amrut. Their Intermediate Sherry was the perfect next step after the delightful Fusion. It is a whiskey company that has earned my trust for future bottlings.

December 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTQM

I could not agree more about people like Rachel Barrie. Being a massive fan of Glenmorangie, for years and years I have watched her progress, and she has not really recieved the recognition she deserves. I reckon that the vast majority of Glenmorangie and Ardbegs success can be squarely parked with her. Why do they keep her under wraps?

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMajor (ret) Bernard May

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