The People's Choice Whisky Awards
You nominate, you decide!
PCWA is a process completely independent of any producer or agency.
- Eligibility. All whiskies available to purchase online at some point during the year will be eligible for entry
- Brands. Brands will not be asked or allowed to participate. Participation will depend on TWL user reviews and ratings.
- Sponsorships. There will be no sponsorships from whisky brands.
- Finalists. Finalists in each of the 8 categories will be selected for final judging based on the aggregate reviews and ratings from TWL members over the course of the year.
Whiskies will be split into 8 categories with 3 finalists and 1 winner in each category.
- Australian Under $200
- Australian $200 & Over
- Single Malt Scotch Under $150
- Single Malt Scotch $150 & Over
- American Under $150
- American Over $150 & Over
- All other styles/countries Under $150
- All other styles/countries $150 & Over
From the beginning of 2021 until the end of September, all reviews and ratings entered by TWL members will be tracked. Within each of the above categories, the top 3 highest rated whiskies will be selected as finalists within the category.
- Judging Panels. There will be 2 sets of judging panels for the final results. (1) a panel of 6 professional judges chosen by TWL for their expertise & knowledge and for their independence (no brand or distillery affiliations) and (2) a panel of the 6 top reviewers from among TWL reviews over the year.
- Judging Independence. Judges are not to have any affiliation with whisky brands or distilleries.
- The Pro Panel. The 6 judges for the professional panel are (in alphabetical order):
- Corinne Mossati, Cocktails & Bars, The Gourmantic Garden
- Daniel Mathers, Queensland Malt Whisky Society
- Emma Cookson, Whisky & Alement
- Kelvin Low, The Elysian
- Luke McCarthy, Oz Whisky Reviews
- Todd Morrison & The Destination Cellars Team
- The People’s Panel. 6 judges will be selected in August based on the quality of their reviews in TWL. Selecting the 6 will involve a few factors:
- The number of reviews
- The amount written (not too much, not too little)
- Grammatical quality
- How well the scores and tasting notes represent all other reviews/reviewers
- Timing. Over the month of October, both panels of judges will be sent samples of the 24 finalists and asked to score (without knowing what the whiskies are or what category they are in).
Emma Cookson (upper left), Kelvin Low (upper middle), Corinne Mossati (upper right), Daniel Mathers (lower left), Luke McCarthy (lower middle), Todd Morrison (lower right)
Judges will be separately scoring whisky based on 5 categories of whisky enjoyment. Those categories are:
- Aroma enjoyment: A score of the overall enjoyment of smelling a whisky. The longer you want to sit and sniff, the more you simply enjoy the aromas, the higher the value.
- Taste Enjoyment: This is about the overall enjoyment of the flavours. It’s the simple measurement of how nice the whisky tastes and how much you enjoy the flavours.
- Body & Mouthfeel: A textural evaluation of a whisky, describing the weight of a whisky in the mouth and how well the viscosity of a whisky holds throughout the palate. Thin feeling, light weighing, watery whisky would receive lower points while thick feeling, heavy weighing viscous whisky would receive higher points. A whisky that gives way to too much dryness or tannin would receive lower points, while one holding a solid, balanced structure of viscosity and/or tannin would receive higher points.
- Balance & Complexity: Measures the variety of flavours across nose, palate and finish and how well the flavours work together; from spirit, time and oak. A simple whisky, one with fewer distinguishable flavours would receive lower points, while a more complex whisky with a wide variety of flavour would receive a higher score. Conflicting flavours, where individual flavours overly dominate a whisky or where the spirit or cask influence is too domineering would receive lower points, while a whisky where the flavours work together well and the spirit and cask have integrated nicely would receive higher points.
- Finish / Length: Part of the palate evaluation of a whisky, length describes how long the flavour of a whisky continues to deliver through the palate and finish. Whiskies where the flavour dissipates quickly would receive lower points, while a longer, lingering flavour would receive more points.
- Category Winners. Whiskies will be awarded medals based on their combined judges scoring, with separate medals for the professional panel vs the people’s panel. The highest scoring whisky(ies) in each category will receive the award for Category Winner and the highest scoring whisky overall will receive the award for People’s Choice Whisky of the Year!
- Announcements. Results will be made public along with the overall scores of each whisky and the scores from each judge and judging panel at a live and virtual event on Saturday 23 Oct, 2020 in Melbourne.
- Interpreting Scoring. We believe these awards are helpful for people to find new whisky that they might like to try or buy. As such we’ll be publishing profiles on each judge along with their scores so we can understand why particular whiskies did better than others. Additionally, based on our scoring system we have a guide to interpreting the results (thank you Todd Morrison):
- <=4.0 - Not enjoyable (The Not Enjoyable Award)
- 4.0-5.9 - Drinkable but wouldn't go for it again (The Drinkable Award)
- 6.0-6.9 - Good drinking - not remarkable in any way (The Good But Unremarkable Award)
- 7.0-7.9 - Damn Tasty - would buy a bottle (The Damn Tasty Award)
- 8.0-8.9 - Great whisky, I love it - get me as much of this as possible (The Fantastic Whisky Award)
- 9.0-9.9 - Hold all my calls & cancel my meetings - I need this in my life (The Nectar Award)
- 10.0 - Only exists in your mind (The Unicorn Award)