Timing issues and the noticeable absence of South Africa meant that this category could have been stronger. Particularly conspicuous by its absence was Kavalan, though it is likely to be in next year, as is Drayman's of South Africa.
The absence of those distileries meant that this section of the awards was dominated by Amrut in India - nothing wrong with that, because I'm a big supporter of the distillery and there's a very strong chance that it would have dominated the category anyway. The whiskies entered were the standard 46% unpeated Amrut - the weakest of the four core bottlings - and Fusion, which is a great and award-winning whisky but one that has already received a great deal of coverage.
Amrut has much, much more to offer and having visited the distillery this year and tasted new whiskies still in the cask, as well as tasting the distillery's next release at The Whisky Show in London in the first week of October, I can vouch that the quality is still very much on the upward curve.
This year's awards also came too late for new Indian whisky exporter Paul John, which released a single cask offering at the Whisky Exchange in October and will follow it up with a peated whisky in early 2013.
For these reasons this category will be a very strong one. For now, though, Amrut deservedly retains its crown
WIZARDS OF WHISKY ASIAN AND AFRICAN DISTILLER OF THE YEAR
WIZARDS OF WHISKY ASIAN AND AFRICAN WHISKY
SILVER MEDAL WINNERS
- Amrut Unpeated
- Three Ships 10 yo