The 2023 Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship

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The 2023 Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship


1st Place: Ana Esteves

2nd Place: Dave Fisher
3rd Place: Kyle Taylor


Saturday 24th, June 2023 marked the triumphant return of Australia’s largest whisky tasting — The Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship, hosted by The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Enthusiasts from all over Australia gathered in Sydney at the Art Gallery of NSW to compete (or spectate) in this massive tasting competition.


Whilst this is normally a bi-yearly event, this is the first time the AMWTC has been held consecutively over two years since 2014 (after a forced two-year hiatus due to COVID-19). The competition is the perfect blend of skill and luck, with over 200 competitors seated within the halls of the gallery, all looking to prove their skills, vying for a place on the podium where only one person can take home 1st prize — being crowned the Malt Whisky Tasting Champion of Australia!

With everyone seated, competitors only had 30 minutes to assess eight whiskies in a blind-tasting format. Each competitor was provided with a list of nine possible whiskies — the eight on the table, plus one red herring. The task was to correctly identify and match the whiskies on the table to the answer sheet. All of the whiskies are core range releases and are commercially available.

This year, competitors were thrown quite the curve ball with many of the whiskies being at least lightly peated in profile.

On top of that, whilst our first place was clear, five competitors each scored 5/8, which led to three rounds of taste-offs for the first time in Champs history, with all four final taste-off competitors needing to complete an extra round to decide second and third place (conducted in a private area away from the after-party).

The 2023 AMWTC had a clear first place (with the taste-offs deciding second and third place). First-time competitor Ana Esteves took out the top spot with a score of 6/8, marking her as the 2023 Australian Malt Whisky Tasting champion (and the second female champion in AMWTC history). Ana received a bottle of SMWS Cask No. 24.163 A Wizard’s Spell (a 31-year-old Vaults Collection bottling valued at $3,950), a one-year SMWS membership, and a $1000 voucher to The SMWS store, all generously donated by The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

The second prize was awarded to David Fisher (a member of the Archie Rose ‘Sniff Club’ crew) — a $750 voucher to The Oak Barrel in Sydney, a long-time collaborator and sponsor of the AMWTC and iconic Sydney bottle shop.

The third prize, courtesy of our friends over at Paul John Whisky, was a bottle of Mithuna Single Malt Whisky by Paul John, which was awarded to Kyle Taylor.

With the competition part of the evening over, the celebrations began. Pop-up bars from Archie Rose, Benriach, and of course The Scotch Malt Whisky Society kept the crowd entertained as they soaked up the ambience of the decadent surroundings of The Art Gallery of NSW, helped along by soothing jazz from the Casey Golden Trio. The 2023 Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship was a stellar evening full of good friends, unforgettable memories, and of course, great whisky.


About the Author:

Adam Ioannidis is SMWS Australia's Marketing Coordinator and general appreciator of whisky, music and cinema.

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