Australia’s Most Ultimate Whisky Champ of 2021

January 18, 2022
By Ioni Doherty

A designer from the Canterbury Bulldogs NRL Club is the The Whisky List’s champion blind whisky taster of 2021.

From a field of 160 whisky experts and lovers, Andreas Strauss was awarded 26.5 points (from a possible 60 – ten points for each whisky tasted) in the blind whisky tasting – Most Ultimate Whisky Champs – as 2021 closed out.

Mr Strauss said, “I was absolutely stoked to win, it turns out I accidentally practised really hard for it all year by drinking all the different whisky I could try throughout the lockdowns.” 

When the COVID pandemic shut the NRL contest down in 2020, a drink with a neighbour of an Aberlour A’Bunadh opened up a whole new world. He then sampled every sample and tasting kit that he could from as many different regions, distilleries and variations, to help find what he loved.

He said, “The best thing about the lockdowns over the last two years was getting into whisky and diving right down that rabbithole. I’m hooked for life now and I love everything about it from discovering new releases, the community, sharing samples with mates and of course, actually drinking the whisky!”

Just half a point separated Mr Strauss and The Whisky Business in what was the final event of 2021. There were individual competitors as well as teams competing for the top spot.

You have the chance to score 10 points for each whisky. There are 5 categories and we have given each category a weighted score. The harder categories to guess earn the highest points. Whoever gets the highest score out of 60 wins. 

Sacha Nourse from Melbourne’s new bar, Golden Fleece, Irina Sims of Whisky Lovers Australia community member and Emma Cookson – Whisky Specialist & Educator at The Whisky List were an able, enthusiastic and entertaining panel in a really difficult challenge: to pick the style, the region and the distillery of the whisky using eyes, nose and mouth.

Oliver Maruda at The Whisky List said, “What was really exciting to see this year was we had over 40 teams submitting their whisky guesses. Was truly awesome to see so many people getting together with a few friends at home and partaking.”

“What started off last year as a fun lockdown whisky activity at home has evolved into a very popular blind whisky tasting competition, the largest in Australia… The six whiskies were slightly more difficult to pick this year, so it was great to see a few people pick the correct whisky in a couple of the rounds.”

The Ultimate Whisky Champs will return in 2022 and Mr Maruda hopes that attendance will continue to grow as Australians passion for whisky continues to do the same.

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