The Best Whiskeys and Spirits of 2021, According to a Top Spirits Competition

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The esteemed San Francisco World Spirits Competition has tapped the top whiskeys and spirits of 2021. 

Glen Scotia 25-year Scotch was named Best Whisky, with a "deeply rich, concentrated and elegant single malt that has matured quietly in American oak barrels for a quarter century."

Heaven Hill took top honors for Henry McKenna 10 Year in the single barrel category and 10 Year Old Heavy Char Bourbon in the small batch bourbon category.

WhistlePig's Boss Hog VII won best rye whiskey, and Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Single Barrel won best Tennessee whiskey. 

Year-old distillery Blue Run Spirits also made a splash with its 13.6 Single Barrel, taking best bourbon, best single barrel bourbon, and best single barrel bourbon 11 years or older, according to Men's Journal

The butterfly-marked Kentucky brand, which enlisted former Four Roses master distiller Jim Rutledge as an advisor, also won the best small batch 11 years and older with a 14-year bottle. 

Best White Spirit honor went to Mezcal Amaras, described as "a superb non-smoky example of the great complexity, elegance and finesse possible from this exciting and newly popular category," according to Forbes

Best Brandy went to Tacama, Demonio de Los Andes Acholado Pisco, which the SFWSC notes is as “true to its name and style, it is incredibly aromatic with fresh floral notes and green grape must flavors.”

Japan's Choya Umeshu, a green plum-derived elixir, took Best Liqueur. SFWSC tasting notes describe “a stunning, sweet-smelling Japanese explosion of racy apricot, plum and peach flavors in a delicious smooth and tangy-fresh liqueur.”

Here are a few more notable SFWSC winners: 

  • Best Blended Irish Whiskey: Silkie The Legendary Dark Irish Whiskey
  • Best Corn Whiskey: Stillhouse Original Whiskey
  • Best Flavored Whiskey: Ugly Dog S’mores Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
  • Best Japanese Whisky: Matsui Pure Malt Whisky The Kurayoshi 18 Years
  • Best Irish Whiskey: WATERFORD Hook Head Edition 1.1 Single Malt Irish Whisky
  • Best Small Batch Bourbon – Up to 5 Years: Barrell Private Release BA1C
  • Best Special Barrel-Finished Bourbon: Bardstown Bourbon Company Chateau de la Baude
  • Best Straight Bourbon: 1792 Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon

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