'Best whisky in the world' no longer Scottish

World's best whisky not Scottish
World's best whisky not Scottish   

A Japanese whisky has been named the "best in the world," upstaging traditionally favored Scottish brands, which did not make it into the top five, according to a new ranking.

Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 was awarded the title by whisky connoisseur Jim Murray, whose 2015 edition of the Whisky Bible will be published next week, the Daily Mail reported.

Described as "near incredible genius" for its "nose of exquisite boldness" and finish of "light, teasing spice," Murray gave the drink 97.5 marks out of 100.

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Yamazaki is Japan's first and oldest distillery, established in 1923 by Suntory's founder Shinjiro Torii.

The Whiskey trade
The Whiskey trade   

For the first time, no Scottish distillery was ranked in the top five, according to the Daily Mail, which got an advanced copy of the guide.

Varieties of Scotch whisky have been crowned best in the world in two of the last three years—Old Pulteney's 21 year-old single malt in 2012 and Glenmorangie Ealanta in 2014.

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The Whisky Bible, launched in 2003, provides detailed tasting notes on 4,500 whiskies.

Julien Nicolay, general manager at La Maison du Whisky, a Singapore-based whisky retailer and distributor, says appetite for Japanese whiskies has grown significantly over the past three years.

"There's been massive demand," Nicolay told CNBC. "This can be attributed to strong marketing campaigns and the quality of the whisky; the Japanese are very good at making a product desirable, and of course making it good."

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Forty-year-old Singapore resident Angeline Chang said she became a loyal Yamazaki fan after visiting a distillery in Japan a few years ago.

"I used to only drink red wine—but when I discovered Yamazaki, I started alternating between whisky and wine," she said.

In addition to becoming a more popular drink to order at a bar, Nicolay says collectors that previously soughtrare bottles of Scottish whisky are opting for Japanese alternatives.

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However, he doesn't believe that the growing popularity of Japanese malts will crowd out Scottish brands.

"There's a misunderstanding of what it means for Scottish whiskies. While, there's a massive rise in demand for Japanese whiskies, the same can be said for Scottish whiskies," Nicolay said, noting that demand for Glendronach is "going through the roof."

In addition, there's a bigger variety of Scottish brands compared with Japanese, he said, ensuring demand for the former.