It was announced today that Sazerac 18 year-old rye whiskey (fall 2008 release) is the best whiskey in the world, as rated in the 2010 edition of the Whisky Bible by Jim Murray. (And no, that's not a misspelling; that's how Murray spells whiskey). Murray is an Englishman and his Bible is the best selling whiskey book in Britain, so giving the top honors to an American-distilled liquor rather than a nearly local Scotch–as has happened in many editions–is a fairly drastic change of pace. With an American rye, Ardbeg Supernova (from the island of Islay in Scotland) and an Indian-distilled whiskey from Bangalore making up the new top three, the latest edition has a decidedly more global bent to it.
Rye struggled to make a comeback after the repeal of prohibition in 1933, but after decades of minimal production the whiskey is once again readily available. Its ascendant popularity has mirrored the cocktail revival in the US, and Sazerac 18 is often found being shaken and stirred by Los Angeles's New Cocktalians to make any number of cocktails, including the original American cocktail, the Sazerac.
Aidan Demarest of The Edison says the spirit makes for a good sipping whiskey too: “Sazerac is a benchmark for rye–the spice, the rye flavor; the beginning, middle and end–it's a great journey.” In addition to being enjoyed straight-up or in a Sazerac, Demarest said the newly crowned world's best whiskey would make the perfect base for a Manhattan, julep or whiskey sour too.