What Are The Online Scotch Whisky Awards
The Online Scotch Whisky Awards (OSWA) is a unique platform created to celebrate and recognize outstanding whiskies, fostering a sense of unity within the online whisky community. The OSWA brings together various contributors, including YouTube channels, independent reviewers, creators, commenters, retailers, and on-trade premises, who share a common passion for exploring, sharing, and recommending the best in whisky.
When the OSWA was launched, it initially involved more than twenty well-established whisky-themed channels on YouTube to collaborate on nominations for eight categories celebrating whisky and its producers. Over time, this concept expanded to include other independent contributors and participants within the online whisky sphere. While the title may suggest a focus on Scotch whisky, the OSWA is not restricted to any specific whisky type. It is designed to be as inclusive as possible, acknowledging that there is much more to celebrate in the world of whisky, regardless of its style or origin.
The Awards Process
The awards follow a straightforward process:
- Gathering Potential Nominations: A core group of independent and self-funded reviewers select their nominations for the awards.
- Curating Nominations Through Collaboration: All participating online contributors take part in the refinement process, ensuring that nominations are chosen through collective input.
- Presenting Nominations for Public Vote: Once the top six nominations for each of the nine categories have been established, they are made available for public voting through the OSWA website.
- Giving the Community Their Say: In addition to the nominations recommended by contributors, the public can still voice their preferences and even add their own favorite whiskies. The "Peoples Choice" category, consisting of the top 10 public choices, is presented alongside the winners in the award ceremony.
Origin Of The Online Scotch Whisky Awards
The online whisky community has experienced remarkable growth and engagement, particularly in the video creator category. While the OSWA's inspiration came from this video creator community, it now encompasses a broader range of contributors, including commenters, reviewers, and creators who have dedicated their passion, experience, and knowledge to create independent and self-funded outlets and spaces for celebrating whisky in all its forms.
The founders of the OSWA, Ralfy of Ralfydotcom and Roy of Aqvavitae, aim to connect creators and enthusiasts in the whisky community and establish an annual set of awards celebrating some of the finest whiskies and producers based on quality, value, and availability. By combining nominations from reputable commenters with community polling, the OSWA also seeks to assist producers in meeting the demands and expectations of an increasingly knowledgeable customer base, ultimately contributing to the whisky industry's growth and quality standards.
The 2023 Awards
Best Value Single Malt: Arran 10 Year Old 46%
The Arran 10 Year Old is a single malt Scotch whisky hailing from the Isle of Arran in Scotland. It is known for its well-balanced and approachable character, showcasing a delightful harmony of fruity and malty flavors. This whisky offers a vibrant nose with hints of citrus, green apples, and vanilla, which lead to a palate rich in orchard fruits, subtle spices, and a touch of honey sweetness. The finish is medium in length, marked by a gentle, lingering warmth and a touch of oak. With its 10 years of aging, this expression captures the essence of the Isle of Arran and is a popular choice for those seeking a mellow and enjoyable Scotch whisky experience. Compare prices or buy now.
Best Blended Whisky: Thompson Bros TB/BSW 6 Year Old Blended Whisky 46% ABV
The Thompson Bros TB/BSW 6 Year Old Blended Whisky is a unique and limited-release Scotch blend that brings together the expertise of the Thompson Brothers and Berry Bros. & Rudd, two respected names in the world of whisky. This blend offers a harmonious combination of malt and grain whiskies, aged for six years, resulting in a well-balanced and flavorful profile. It is characterized by notes of sweet vanilla, caramel, orchard fruits, and a gentle hint of oak, creating a smooth and approachable whisky with a touch of complexity. This expression is a testament to the art of blending and is sure to please both whisky enthusiasts and newcomers alike. Buy now.
Best Blended Malt Whisky: Campbeltown Loch Blended Malt 46% ABV
Campbeltown Loch Blended Malt is a well-regarded Scotch whisky that originates from the Campbeltown region in Scotland. Known for its approachable and versatile character, this blend brings together a mix of malt whiskies from the Campbeltown area, where whisky-making heritage runs deep. It boasts a balanced flavor profile, offering a delicate interplay of fruity, malty, and slightly peaty notes, with a hint of brine and maritime influence, reflecting the coastal proximity of Campbeltown. This expression is a popular choice for those seeking a quality blended malt whisky that encapsulates the essence of the region's whisky-producing traditions and provides a pleasant sipping experience. Compare prices or buy now.
Best Non-Malt Whisky: Wild Turkey Rare Breed 58.4% ABV
Wild Turkey Rare Breed is a highly regarded bourbon whiskey produced by the Wild Turkey Distillery. Known for its robust and full-bodied character, Rare Breed is a blend of different Wild Turkey bourbons, including 6, 8, and 12-year-old whiskies. This combination results in a complex flavor profile featuring rich caramel and vanilla notes, along with a bold spice and oak presence. Bottled at barrel proof, it carries a significant strength, which intensifies the whiskey's depth and warmth. Rare Breed is cherished by bourbon enthusiasts for its authenticity, showcasing the brand's commitment to crafting high-quality, unfiltered, and undiluted bourbon that delivers a powerful and memorable sipping experience. Compare prices or buy now.
Best Distillery: Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown, Scotland
Springbank Distillery, located in Campbeltown, Scotland, is one of the most revered and traditional whisky producers in the country. Renowned for its commitment to crafting high-quality Scotch single malt whisky, Springbank is one of the few distilleries that handles the entire production process on-site, from malting its own barley to bottling the final product. This hands-on approach and adherence to time-honored methods contribute to the distillery's unique and authentic character. Springbank offers a range of distinct expressions, including their eponymous Springbank single malt, known for its balance of fruity, malty, and lightly peaty notes, and the Longrow and Hazelburn brands, each with their own unique profiles. The distillery's dedication to tradition and craftsmanship has earned it a dedicated following among whisky connoisseurs and a reputation as one of Scotland's iconic whisky producers. Explore Springbank prices or shop Springbank now.
Best New Distillery: Ardnamurchan Distillery, Western Highlands, Scotland
The Ardnamurchan Distillery is a relatively new but highly acclaimed Scotch whisky distillery located on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula on the west coast of Scotland. Established in 2014, it is known for its commitment to producing quality single malt whisky with a focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility. The distillery boasts a picturesque location overlooking Loch Sunart and is recognized for its traditional and artisanal approach to whisky production, including on-site floor malting and the use of wooden washbacks. Ardnamurchan's whiskies typically carry a gentle and well-balanced character with notes of orchard fruits, malt, and a touch of maritime influence, reflecting the distillery's coastal location. The distillery's commitment to both quality and eco-friendly practices has garnered it a strong reputation in the whisky industry, making it a notable addition to Scotland's whisky-producing regions. Explore Ardnamurchan prices or shop Ardnamurchan now.
Best Independent Bottler: Signatory Vintage
Signatory Vintage is an independent bottler and Scotch whisky company based in Pitlochry, Scotland. Established in 1988, Signatory Vintage is known for its commitment to selecting, bottling, and distributing a wide range of high-quality single malt and single grain whiskies from various distilleries across Scotland. They offer a diverse portfolio of whiskies, often bottled at cask strength and typically with detailed information about the origin, age, cask type, and other specific details, appealing to whisky enthusiasts seeking unique and limited-edition expressions. Signatory Vintage's reputation for showcasing the individual character of different distilleries and casks has made it a respected name in the world of independent whisky bottling. Explore Signatory whiskies.
Best World Whisky: Wild Turkey Rare Breed 58.4% ABV
Wild Turkey Rare Breed is a distinguished bourbon whiskey crafted by the Wild Turkey Distillery in Kentucky, renowned for its rich bourbon heritage. This expression is celebrated for its high proof and bold, robust flavor. It's a barrel-proof, non-age statement bourbon, meaning it's a blend of hand-selected barrels at different ages, which contributes to its complex character. Rare Breed showcases a medley of flavors, including caramel, vanilla, honey, and baking spices, along with a pleasant kick of heat due to its elevated alcohol content. This full-bodied and unapologetically strong bourbon is a favorite among enthusiasts who appreciate the intense and authentic bourbon experience that Rare Breed delivers. Compare prices or buy now.
Best Scotch Whisky: Springbank 10 Year Old Single Malt 46% ABV
Springbank 10 Year Old Single Malt is a highly regarded Scotch whisky produced by the Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown, Scotland. Known for its traditional and artisanal approach to whisky-making, Springbank is one of the few distilleries in Scotland that carries out the entire production process on-site, from malting its own barley to bottling the final product. The 10 Year Old expression represents the distillery's entry-level offering and is a quintessential Campbeltown single malt. It boasts a well-balanced flavor profile characterized by a mixture of fruity, malty, and lightly peaty notes. You can expect aromas of orchard fruits and hints of brine, followed by flavors of honey, malt, and a subtle maritime influence, all complemented by a touch of peat smoke. The finish is medium in length, with a pleasant warmth and a slight spiciness. Springbank 10 Year Old is revered by whisky enthusiasts for its quality, craftsmanship, and the unique character it imparts as a result of the distillery's traditional methods. Compare prices or buy now.