Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition 2021: Western Spirits Division Results

The results of the Western Spirits Division at the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition 2021 (TWSC 2021) are in! 

This year's competition was conducted entirely via remote judging. The first round of blind judging consisted of 202 judges--of which I was one. The first round was to determine whether entries should receive Gold, Silver, Bronze, or no medals at all. Like most spirits competitions around the world, judges were brought in for their expertise in spirits given their experience as bartenders, distillers, blenders, salespeople, critics, journalists, or other "industry" folks.

Things then moved into a second round of blind judging to determine Superior Gold awards and identify the "Best of the Best" single malt whisk(e)y. This second round judge pool consisted of the TWSC 2021 Executive Committee plus some members of the Whisky Galore tasting panel. Because I am a part of the TWSC Executive Committee, I participated in this second round as well.

All told, 17 entries received Superior Gold medals, 85 received Gold, 183 received Silver, and 91 received Bronze. Given there were 444 entries in the Western Spirits Division, only about 23% of entries received Gold or Superior Gold. So TWSC is certainly not a "everyone gets Gold" competition.

The full list of winners is available on the TWSC website. Score-wise, these are the top 10 single malt bottles from TWSC 2021's Western Spirits Division:

  1. Kavalan 10th Anniversary Sky Gold Wine Cask
  2. Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Malt Dream Cask for DANDYLION BAR
  3. Kavalan Solist Amontillado Sherry
  4. Kavalan 10th Anniversary Earth Silver Wine Cask
  5. Kavalan King Car 40th Anniversary Wine Cask
  6. Komagatake 2014 6 Year Single Cask No. 1834
  7. Marsmalt Le Papillon Single Cask I. io
  8. Suntory Single Malt Whisky Yamazaki 18 Year
  9. Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The First Ten
  10. The Arran 1997 11 Year Sherry Cask for Kawachiya Liquor Shop

Congratulations to Kavalan for successfully defending their title with the Best of the Best. For that matter, Kavalan secured 4 out of 5 of the top spots!

Many more details and commentary from TWSC Executive Committee Chair Mamoru Tsuchiya is available in the below press releases, translated by yours truly.

TWSC2021 Western Spirits Division Best of the Best

TWSC2021 Superior Gold Award 17 Japanese and International Entries

TWSC 2021 was also the first competition to feature a cohort of non-Japanese judges in the judge pool! For the Western Spirits Division, besides myself, we had David from Aloha Whisky, Jenya from Bar Copain, Bruno from Bepocah and Japan Pisco Association, and Todd from Beer Cats.

Shochu Division results are slated to be announced exactly a week from today, on May 24. Stay tuned!

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