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

David Driscoll