The “sheer undiluted beauty” of Colonel EH Taylor Four Grain Bottled in Bond Aged 12 Years has nabbed it the title of world’s best whisky in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018.

Just as it says on the tin, the expression is made using a quartet of grains – corn, rye, wheat and malted barley – and scored 97.5 out of 100 in Murray’s nose-taste-finish-balance assessment system.

“Nothing could match the astonishing beauty of its surprisingly delicate weight and complexity combined,” Murray said of the whiskey. “It was though time stood still in the tasting room; I just knew…”

It’s the third time in the row that a whisky from North America has taken the Whisky Bible title, with Booker’s Big Time Batch and Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Canadian rye ranking top in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

Whisky Bible EH ColonelGrains to the good! EH Taylor comes top
Second place spot went to Redbreast Aged 21 Years. It’s the highest-ever placing for an Irish whiskey, and only the second time the category has made the top three.

A pure pot still expression, Redbreast Aged 21 Years scored 97 out of 100, with Murray claiming it has “one of the most wonderful noses on the planet”.

In bronze medal position is Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition, also scoring 97 points.

A world of Whisky Bible winners

Our mate Jim doesn’t just name his top three picks in his Whisky Bible, of course. There’s a whole cohort of single malts, blends, grains and more from around the world that make the Murray-approved cut. Here’s a list of his winners in full, by category.

Bear with us – it’s a lengthy list.

Scotch Whisky

Scotch Whisky of the Year: Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition
Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant Aged 18 years Rare Edition
Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask): Cadenhead’s Glendullan 20 Year Old
Scotch Blend of the Year: Compass Box The Double Single
Scotch Grain of the Year: Cambus Aged 40 Years
Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year: Compass Box 3 Year Old Deluxe
Single Malt Scotch No Age Statement (Multiple Casks): Ardbeg Corryvreckan
10 Years & Under (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant Aged 10 Years
10 Years & Under (Single Cask): Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tomatin Cask 11.32 8 Year Old
11-15 Years (Multiple Casks): Gordon & MacPhail Ardmore 2002
11-15 Years (Single Cask): That Boutique-y Whisky Co. Clynelish 15 year Old
16-21 Years (Multiple Casks): Glen Grant Aged 18 years Rare Edition
16-21 Years (Single Cask): The First Edition Ardmore
Aged 20 Years 22-27 years (Multiple Casks) Sansibar Whisky Glen Moray 25 years Old
22-27 Years (Single Cask): Hunter Laing’s Old & Rare Auchentoshan 24 Year Old
28-34 Years (Multiple Casks): Glen Castle Aged 28 years
28-34 Years (Single Cask): Old Particular Glenturret 28 Year Old
35-40 Years (Multiple Casks): Brora Aged 38 years
35-40 Years (Single Cask): Xtra Old Particular Caol Ila 36 Year Old
41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks): Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1957

Blended Scotch

No Age Statement (Standard): Ballantine’s Finest
No Age Statement (Premium): Compass Box The Double Single
5-12 Years: Grant’s Aged 12 Years
13-18 Years: Ballantine’s Aged 17 Years
19-25 Years: Royal Salute 21 Years Old
26-50 Years: The Antiquary Aged 35 Years

Irish Whiskey

Irish Whiskey of the Year: Redbreast Aged 21 Years
Irish Pot Still Whiskey of the Year: Redbreast Aged 21 Years
Irish Single Malt of the Year: Bushmills 16 Year Old
Irish Blend of the Year: Bushmills Black Bush
Irish Single Cask of the Year: Dunville’s VR First Edition Aged 15 Years

American Whiskey

Bourbon of the Year: Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain
Rye of the Year: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac 126.2 Proof
US Micro Whisky of the Year: Balcones Texas Blue Corn Batch BCB 16-1
US Micro Whisky of the Year: (Runner Up) 291 E Colorado Aged 333 Days


No Age Statement (Multiple Barrels): George T. Stagg 144.1 Proof
9 Years & Under: Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Organic 6 Grain Whisky
10 Years & Over: (Multiple Barrels) Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain


No Age Statement: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac 126.2 Proof
Up to 10 Years: Pikesville 110 Proof
11 Years & Over: Sazerac 18 Years Old


Wheat Whiskey of the Year: Bernheim Original

Canadian Whisky

Canadian Whisky of the Year: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

Japanese Whisky

Japanese Whisky of the Year: Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky
Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Barrels): Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky

European Whisky

European Whisky of the Year (Multiple Barrels): Penderyn Bryn Terfel (Wales)
European Whisky of the year (Single Barrel): The Norfolk Parched (England)

World Whiskies

Asian Whisky of the Year: Paul John Kanya (India)
Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year: Limeburner’s Dark Winter (Australia)

Phew. Now we need a glass of something…