The national awards programme for Scotch whisky has unveiled its judging panel as the competition opens for entry for the first time.
The Scottish Whisky Awards has recruited a panel of 45 experts including 7 of some of the world’s best whisky tasters who will be trusted to assess samples in the new annual competition.
Included in the international line-up are judges from across the UK as well as Taiwan, Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, France and Germany. Many will gather in Edinburgh later this year to judge 16 categories which cover both business achievements and taste.
Professor Alan Wolstenholme, Chair of the Judging Panel, welcomed the news, commenting:
“Invitations to join the Scottish Whisky Awards have gone around the world and we are delighted at the positive responses which allow us to gather together one of the most influential and highly regarded whisky competitions of the current day.
“Scotch is in the middle of an exciting revival. These awards will promote our unique position as the global leader in the craft of whisky distilling at home and abroad. For Scottish distillers, blenders and bottlers, winning a Scottish Whisky Award will project our best products across the world and further promote our position as the home of whisky.”
The panel is split with judges serving on either a business panel or a taste panel. The business panel assesses written entries which companies must submit in order to qualify for the taste competition. The taste panel meets at the end of May in Edinburgh to assess what is expected to be one of the most exciting line ups of traditional and modern whiskies.
The taste competition will be operated under strict blind tasting conditions and will assess four main categories of Scotch; Single Malt, Blend, Blended Malt and a Speciality category. Six business categories are also open to entry and include Brand Experience, Tourism Destination and Community Contribution. The ultimate award of the programme is for Scottish Whisky Distillery of the Year, presented to the distillery team which has demonstrated a successful year in people, product and profit.
According to statistics published by HM Revenue and Customs, the export value of Scotch whisky grew by 7.8% to £4.7 billion in total last year, with exports to the US rising to £1.04 billion.
To learn about entering the awards, click here.