Havana Club, the global leading rum in the super-premium and above category, has been awarded five Double Gold or Gold medals at the world’s most influential spirits competitions this year, including top medals from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Beverage Tasting Institute and International Spirits Challenge.
Havana Club 7 Years Old was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition – one of the most respected and influential competitions in the world. The judges were impressed with the rich, smooth and complex flavours of this exceptional rum – honouring the continuous ageing process that makes Havana Club 7 Years Old one of the finest, premium Cuban sipping rums. “The Foundational rum” – as it is widely known for laying the foundations for quality dark aged rum – also scored 92 points at the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago.
In addition, Havana Club 3 Years Old claimed its second Gold medal in a row at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and its fifth consecutive Gold medal at the Beverage Testing Institute.
Havana Club Selección de Maestros, first expression of the Icónica Collection, also received high p raise at the International Spirits Challenge, where it was honoured with a Gold medal, adding to the already extensive list of trophies earned by this triple barrel aged rum, which is crafted through an extraordinary collaboration between the eight members of the Guild of Masters of Cuban Rum.
Nick Blacknell, International Marketing Director at Havana Club International, commented on the continued success of the Havana Club portfolio: “The broad recognition we have received from the world’s leading spirits tasting competitions demonstrates the quality crafting skills of our Maestros del Ron Cubano. We are incredibly proud of the production team in Cuba, as they are the ones who know the “añejamiento” (ageing) technique – a distinctive ageing process that is exclusive to Cuban rum. We dedicate our five leading medals to the whole team of Maestros and look forward to the 2018 awards season”.
Cheese and drink have always gone well together over the years, as does pairing food with any sort of alcoholic beverage, from wine to a digestif or aperitif. But lately I’ve been experiencing Godminster, the cheese specialists from Bruton in the heart of Somerset. Why? It’s not only cheese they produce, but a range of vodka expressions too!
A little about Godminster first though.
There have been people living and working the land at Godminster for over 5 centuries, with records even showing that there has been a dairy farm on the land for over 100 years. Back in 1999, the Godminster farm was registered organic by owner Richard Hollingbery and is the home of 280 organic dairy cows as well as fruitful orchards.
It’s this approach that has led them to release their own expressions of vodka, including elderflower, blackcurrant and horseradish. Lets see how they fare!
Godminster Elderflower – 29%
Very subtle, light notes of elderflower on the nose, but becoming more forward on the palate. A little sweetness comes through, followed by a warmth that brings to the finish a long elderflower sharpness.
Godminster Horseradish – 39.7%
Intense yet smooth horseradish on the nose, with notes of tomato coming through. Smoother than expected on the palate, with lighter notes of the radish followed by the dry hit of pepper for the lingering finish.
Godminster Blackcurrant – 27.3%
Rich blackcurrant hits the nose first, followed by slight earthy tones. Thick on the palate, with plenty of bursts of sweet blackcurrant. Quite a short finish, but a smooth one at that.
An interesting take on the flavoured spirits, with each offering what seems to be a more authentic profile. Not overly sweet, and enjoyable to drink on its own. Godminster, however, have other ideas when it comes to the horseradish expression, pairing it with a ready-made Bloody Mary mixer using the award-winning tomatoes from the Isle of Wight Tomato Company. Seasoning has already been added, so a 25 ml of the horseradish vodka can create what they say is a Bloody Good Mary!
Pick up something different, add it to your drinks cabinet, and while you’re at it, a spot of cheese won’t hurt either! Best thing is too, they’re award-winning, with the elderflower and horseradish picking up 3*, and blackcurrant and Bloody Mary Tomato mix both 1* at the Great Taste 2015!
Exciting things are happening for Masons Yorkshire Gin, as it prepares to celebrate its third birthday on June 11th, a date already significant as World Gin Day.
In addition, Masons have also recently been awarded both a silver for the Tea Edition and a bronze medal for the Original Edition at the prestigious 2016 San Francisco World Spirit competition in the best contemporary gin category.
In order to mark these three great achievements, Masons Gin are holding a birthday give away on the big day, which will see them award a gin and tonic gift bag to the first three people to wish them a happy birthday at every venue they are attending on the day.
The events they are attending and which the prizes will be awarded at are as follows: Filey Food Festival, Harewood House Antiques Fair, Bramham Horse Trials (in the NFU tent), Ragley Hall Great British Food Festival and the Newcastle Gin Festival.
If you’re a fan of Masons Yorkshire Gin, why not head down on June 11th to try and bag yourself a freebie.
The quintessential London dry gin Berkeley Square has been awarded a Gold Medal at the highly respected International Spirits Challenge 2016 making it the first choice for a smooth Martini in London this summer!
Now in its 21st year the judging took place in London, with rigorous blind tastings by an expert panel of judges, including many of the world’s Master Gin Distillers. Gold Medals were only awarded to four gins. There were more than 1,300 spirit entries from nearly 70 countries worldwide.
Berkeley Square London Dry Gin, with herbaceous notes of kaffir lime leaves, sage, basil and lavender, is so smooth and good enough to sip over ice.
Berkeley Square Gin Martini Garnished with Basil leaf
Manchester has a new venue to impress its ever expanding customer base, and a dose of Yorkshire is hitting the pitch.
Reolcating from Ripponden, West Yorkshire after 9 years to the heart of King Street, Manchester, the award-winning El Gato Negro shows off three floors of Spanish delights in the form of two bars and an open kitchen restaurant.
Upon arrival, expect to be greeted by friendly faces as they welcome you to the bar for a quick drink before the feast. With a drinks list devised by Garry Foy, he’s embraced the Spanish flavours with a delight of tonics, serves and creations, including the Pineapple & Sage Sour (£9) which sees Pisco, Dark Rum, pineapple, sage and sherry vinegar that comes together for a sharp hit on the sherry, before balancing out to the pineapple and Pisco flavours. Catching your eye as you take in the menu include the likes of their House Tonics (all £8.50), seeing Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum & Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup & Soda, orange bitters, lime, apple slices and cinnamon sugar being brought to the table, or perhaps Bloom Gin and Thomas Harvey Tonic, mint, lime, vanilla sugar and strawberry for a fresher start to your visit. It’s not all about tonics though as the Agua De Valencia (£8.50)
is Spain within a glass as it combines the elements of gin, the Spanish Solerno blood orange liqueur, orange juice, lemon and Cava.
Once finishing your welcome, expect to be whisked upstairs to the 1st floor, where the sight of a long, thin room invites you to sit on the quaint tables and booths, or if you’re lucky, the Chef’s Table in view of the busy open kitchen. With a food menu ladened with delights, the team recommend 5-6 dishes between two people to really experience the flavour of El Gato Negro. Indeed, the likes of Pork chicharrón with crackling, apple purée, olive oil and toasted sourdough (£6), or the Fillet of line-caught hake, parsley sauce and buttered new potatoes (£11), which incidentally offers some of the finest cooked fish in Manchester, are highlights to rival the stunning Confit of belly pork with rosemary-flavoured arrocina beans (£9.50). Keeping the sherry element going, try the Sourdough bread with olive oil and Pedro Ximénez balsamic (£2.50), or perhaps the classic meatballs with tomato fritarda sauce (£7.50) that’s fresh with a light, creamy sauce, perfect to accompany a bottle of Celler del Roure Setze Gallets 2012, Valencia (£29), picked by Master of Wine Miles Corish.
The surrounds of exposed brick, soft lighting, toned red booths and authentic Spanish artwork are a perfect transport to bringing Spain to Manchester, but The Black Cat could top off your El Gato Negro experience. Especially if the weather is kind. Just head to the 2nd floor to finish.
The Vísperas (£10) offers you a combination of Belvedere, Sipsmith gin, dry vermouth, olive brine, Lagavulin spray and Balsamic Caviar as you sit in the lounge area, adorned with table service from the knowledgeable barkeepers. Perhaps the Boulevardier (£10) which offers to you Eagle Rare Bourbon, Antica and Campari, could be a winner, especially when served within a glass pipe. And if it’s sunny in Manchester? Expect the magic of El Gato Negro as the roof of The Black Cat will retract and offer you the rays that adorns King Street every once-in-a-while.
Spain, as expected, is well served across all three floors, with Moritz, Estrella Damm and El Gaitero cider available to enjoy, plus the best Sherry menu Manchester has to offer, mixing the well-known Emilio Lustau range with examples of Rodriguez La-Cave Manzanilla ‘Barbiana’ and Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada 2013, Montilla Moriles.
I suppose what I’m trying to get across is, if you love Spain, appreciate its culture, its food and its drinks, El Gato Negro is the place to top the list. The hype is heard and rewarded, the service is as expected for an award-winning venue, the drinks fit the style of both the decor and reasoning behind El Gato Negro, essentially offering you a Manchester gem, and the food is beyond exceptional.
E&J Gallo is one of the most well-known brands within the wine category here in the UK, and you have no doubt come across one of its expressions over dinner, a gathering with friends or trying one of the many cocktail recipes they like to release to show off its versatility. But what do we actually know about the brand itself?
Back on September 22nd 1933, brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo founded a winery at 11th and D streets in Modesto, California, and grew over the next 36 years to the point of recognition as the largest winery in the USA based on volume of sales. In the same year of 1966, they introduced their first range of sparkling wines, Eden Roc and André, which incidentally went on to become the largest selling brand in the USA. November 27th 1972 saw one of their biggest marketing recognitions as Ernest and Julio Gallo appeared on the cover of Time for an article titled “American Wine Comes of Age”, followed by the opening of their first International office in London and the release of their first vintage-dated wines, both in 1983.
1993 saw the introduction of the Gallo Estate Wines, but also the unfortunate passing of Julio Gallo at the age of 87. Before the turn of the century though, E&J Gallo was named “Winery of the Century” by the Los Angeles County Fair’s Wines of the America’s competition and “Best American Wine Producer” by the London-based International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2000. The acquisition of wineries and vineyards in Napa, Monterey and in the Central Coast over the next few years certified the continued growth of E&J Gallo, carrying on a tradition introduced with the first acquisition back in 1954 with the purchase of Cribari Winery in Fresno.
In 2005, they became the first USA based winery to receive the International Standards Organization’s ISO 14001 certification, and purchased the popular Barefoot Cellars brand before the passing away of Ernest Gallo in 2007. The family still live on within the company as Ernest and Julio’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have roles within, effectively becoming the world’s largest family owned winery and the largest exporter of California wine.
So how do their expressions fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes to the varieties I have had the pleasure of experiencing –
Gallo Spritz, Pineapple and Passionfruit– 5.5%
Gallo Pinot Grigio gently spritzed and blended with natural flavours of pineapple and passionfruit.
A soft nose of the well-balanced pineapple and passionfruit, with a natural sweetness and fresh grape aroma coming through. Light on the palate, with a slight burst of the fresh passionfruit, followed by the soft pineapple base. Bursts of the fresh Pinot Grigio comes through on the lingering finish.
Gallo Spritz, Raspberry and Lime – 5.5%
Gallo Grenache Rosé gently spritzed and blended with natural flavours of raspberry and lime.
Light notes of the raspberry and lime on the nose, with a fresh zest and soft sweetness following. The raspberry dominates a fresh and crisp palate, with the lime following to soften the dryness on the long, aromatic finish.
As you may have guessed, these are not your usual expressions when talking about wine, but the inspiration for me to look into E&J Gallo came from the introduction of the Spritz range this year (2015), itself inspired by the sun-drenched fruits of California. The Spritz expressions are said to be “perfect for those who like the idea of wine, but love fruity tastes and want something more informal”. The best way to enjoy is to serve each chilled or over ice.
Of course the more traditional expressions are available, including the base of the pineapple and passionfruit Spritz in the Pinot Grigio, as well as Chardonnay and Moscato, a Whtie Grenache and White Zinfandel if you prefer your rosé styles, and of course Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir amongst the expressions of red available.
The Spritz though are a great change to your normal sparkling choices, and well worth a try before the Summer turns to Winter!
Rocker-cum-brewer, Bruce Dickinson, has every music accolade under his belt worth having, but this is his first in the brewing industry and the fact that it was awarded in a blind tasting, which saw TROOPER unanimously voted best in class by the prestigious panel, makes this victory all the sweeter for Bruce.
This year the BBI competition, which first began back in 1953, attracted a record number of entries. Ed Binsted, BBI President, commented: “This year TROOPER was an outstanding entry. It was marked as the clear gold winner in that class by ALL the judges, I can’t remember this happening before. We set very high standards when conducting the blind tasting, none of the judges know the products they are tasting, as all labels, printed crowns and embossing on the bottles are removed, so the results reflect purely the quality of the products taste. Summing up I would say very well done to TROOPER.”
Commenting on his first beer award for TROOPER, Bruce Dickinson said: “As a dedicated ale drinker myself, I’m very aware of the many great beers available and the extremely high level of competition we face. For TROOPER to have grabbed people’s imagination and taste buds right from the very start has given us all a real sense of satisfaction. But winning our first award just months after TROOPER’s first birthday is the perfect icing on the cake and a great start to our second year in the beer game.”
John Robinson, Robinsons Brand Manager, is delighted with TROOPER’s first beer win: “It really has been an incredible journey and one which we are very proud of – from the initial beer tasting with Bruce, through the excitement of the launch, to now distributing TROOPER in just under 40 countries, quadrupling our export sales, brewing over 5 MILLION pints in its first year, and engaging a whole army of new beer fans – this award makes all the hard work worth it. And the fact that the accolade came on the back of a blind tasting just emphasis what we – and the fans – have been saying since TROOPER was first launched – the beer tastesgreat!”
The medals and certificates will be presented at the annual BBI dinner being held on Thursday 23rd October at The Vintners Hall, City of London.
As a result of TROOPER putting its beery head above the parapets and achieving huge global success over the last 12 months, Bruce Dickinson has been asked to announce the winner of the much-coveted ‘Champion Beer of Britain’ award at the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) in London tomorrow (Tuesday 12th August) at 3pm; organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
Colin Valentine, CAMRA Chairman, commented: “CAMRA are hugely proud to have Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden announcing the winner of the Champion Beer of Britain competition. He is a true real ale lover and has brewed his own beer with Robinsons Brewery called TROOPER which we are going to be selling at the festival.”
The unique flavour of TROOPER ale has proved hugely popular and will certainly be a must-try for many ale enthusiasts at this year’s festival.
The Great British Beer Festival will see over 55,000 thirsty beer lovers attend the week-long event, which will feature over 900 different real ales, ciders, perries and international beers across a total of 29 different bars. Robinsons’ TROOPER beer will be available while stocks last on the ‘Stilt Walker’ Bar (B10).
23rd July saw the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), announce the winners of its 2014 spirits competition. The IWSC now in its 45th year promotes the quality and excellence of the world’s best wines, spirits and liqueurs. Over 70 Gold Outstanding medals were awarded this year across the globe.
Supermarket Lidl impressed judges and was awarded 14 medals including a Gold Outstanding medal for its own brand scotch, the £12.99 Queen Margot 8 Year Blended Scotch Whisky. Other supermarket results included Waitrose which was awarded a Gold Outstanding medal for its £18.00 Scotch Whisky Blended 8 YO and Morrisons Five Times Distilled Vodka which was awarded a Gold medal.
Adnams, the Suffolk brewer impressed judges with its Longshore Vodka and was awarded the prestigious Vodka Trophy. This is the first time an artisan English brand has won the Vodka Trophy, beating vodka producing countries such as Poland, France and Russia.
Twenty countries from around the world were awarded a medal or trophy for gin entries including Slovenia, USA, Australia and Wales. Highlights include German brand Steinhauser, scooping the coveted London Dry Gin Trophy with its See-Gin Bodensee Dry Gin and Egyptian brand Al Ahram picking up a Silver medal with its Butler’s Gin. As well as the London Dry Gin Trophy, this year also saw the introduction of the Contemporary Gin Trophy, won by Bourbon Barreled Big Gin from Captive Spirits Distilling.
IWSC General Manager, Ewan Lacey said, “At the International Wine and Spirit Competition we are excited by the surge in artisanal products, more than double 2013; this has been capped off by Adnams Longshore Vodka beating off competition from all corners of the globe to win the coveted Vodka Trophy. It is an amazing achievement and a massive salute to their skill and dedication.”
The 23rd July saw me travelling down to London to a rather prestigious event where some of the elite spirits would be showcased. A rather bold concept, but when you have the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) 2014 winners, who incidentally were announced that very morning for, in one room, it’s an honour to have been offered the invite. Organised by both the IWSC and The Worshipful Company of Distillers, the event was to the 7th annual and held within the Vintner’s Hall.
All gold winners were on display here, with a smattering of ‘Outstanding’ silver winners (197 overall), alongside brand representatives and Master Distillers, so to me it was the perfect opportunity to not only try some of the names I hear so much about, but to also experience, and ultimately compare, the liquid of a winning brand to other similar flavour profiles and categories.
As I tasted a fair few, for ease, below you will find my tasting notes covering a variety of categories –
Bourbon Barreled Big Gin – 47%
Aged 6 months in a once used Kentucky bourbon barrel. Slight wood aromas on the nose with a smooth vanilla scent following. The vanilla dominates the palate, offering a smooth yet dry finish.
Bedrock – 40%
Fresh and fruity on the nose with red berry and liquorice styles dominating. Sharp on the palate with a rather harsh kick of cinnamon creating a very long and very dry finish.
See-Gin Bodensee – 48%
A rather high kick of alcohol, with plenty of aromas including liquorice on the nose. Smooth and aromatic on the palate, but develops with a good kick of liquorice allsorts. A little raw because of this, but produces a lingering finish.
Hernö Juniper Cask – 47%
Lively with heavy juniper on the nose, rounded off with sweet notes. A smooth start on the palate, developing a sharp citrus that creates a lingering finish.
El Tesoro Añejo – 40%
Light caramel on the nose with hints of banana coming through. Smooth, subtle flavours of dry, sun-kissed toffee creating a lingering finish.
El Tesoro Platinum – 40%
Smooth with notes of caramel and kicks of fresh wood on the nose. Very smooth with a banana flavour dominating. A long, fresh finish that’s slightly dry.
Herradura Seleccion Suprema Extra Añejo – 40%
Light on the nose with fragrant scents of wood and honey coming through. Again light on the palate, with hits of banana and smooth, fresh agave. A slightly sharp finish that lingers.
Milargro Special Reserve Añejo – 40%
Fresh agave on the nose creates a rather aromatic experience. A rich blend of agave and wood on the palate that’s lively, yet lingers to a dry finish.
Vieux Niesson – 45%
Light with high, aromatic notes of cocoa and spices. A slow burner on the palate, with again light, aromatic flavours of wood, spice and almonds. Long finish.
Rum Company Old Guadeloupe Calvados Finish – 43%
Rich apple and orange notes, with vanilla and dried fruits kicking the end. Very smooth on the palate, with the rich aromatic fruit flavours dominating, followed by delicate sweetness that produces a long finish.
Angostura 1824 – 40%
Soft notes of wood and sugar on the nose with hints of vanilla following. Very smooth and rich on the palate, with plenty of fresh kicks of wood, honey and spice on the lingering finish.
Pays d’Auge 8yr – 41%
Rich apple aromas on the nose, yet becomes lighter once onto the palate. More aromatic styling, with a smooth, rather thin finish that’s surprisingly short.
4 Fundos– 42%
Very aromatic on the nose with fresh, light fruit flavours coming through. Sharp and very dry on the palate, with cereal flavours creating a long finish.
Blanton’s Gold Edition – 51.5%
Light wood on the nose with rich wheat and sweet honey combining soon after. A sharp spice start on the palate, that soon mellows into a sweet, long fudge finish.
Russell’s Reserve Small Batch – 45%
Light and aromatic on the nose with plenty of wood notes before dark caramel aromas step in. Light and thin on the palate, creating a mouth-watering flavour of caramel and wood before hitting a sharp finish.
Blanton’s Original Single Barrel – 66.6%
A bold hit of fruit and sweetness combined on the nose. Incredibly rich on the palate with deep kicks of caramel that creates a long finish.
New World Projects Starward Single Cask #1 – 56.5%
Fresh notes of light wood on the nose combined with sweet spice. Very rich on the palate, with an incredible sooth offering of toffee, banana, dry fruits and chocolate to create a lingering finish.
SOUTH AFRICAN WHISKY
Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky 5yr – 43%
Smooth with a slight whisp of smoke on the nose. Light and thin on the palate, with a slight kick of vanilla and coconut before the short finish.
Gibsons Finest Rare Blended 18yr
Smooth caramelised vanilla blended with fruits appear on the nose. A rich, sharp fruity start on the palate, mellowing down to a sweet vanilla and spice combination.
English Whiskey Company Peated – 43%
Delicate peat nose with hints of green fruit coming through. Short, light peat and some kicks of fruit on the palate.
Säntis Malt Edition Snow White 2 – 48%
Light, fresh, soft fruit on the nose, turning over onto the palate too. Aromatic herbs and spices combine with white fruits to create a lingering finish.
Mackmyra Svensk Reserve Double Wood Elegant– 48%
Plenty of wood and malt on the nose, although a lighter experience once upon the palate. Chocolate and tobacco flavours dominate before moving to a smooth vanilla finish.
Tullamore Dew Special Reserve 12yr– 40%
Smooth, soft notes of citrus and almond on the nose. Slightly sweet on the palate, with citrus, honey and spice combining well for a short finish.
Bushmills 10yr– 40%
Light cereal notes on the nose with hints of floral and raisin. Smooth, light and easy to enjoy on the palate, with vanilla, spice and kicks of chocolate combining for a short finish.
Bushmills 16yr – 40%
Dark fruits mix with deep hits of malt on the nose. Sharp, rich malt on the palate too, although smooths into a short finish of sherry.
Bushmills 21yr – 40%
Light, aromatic nose of sherry and fresh fruits. Cinnamon and liquorice combine on the palate, with a long finish of the sherry and malt.
Teeling Vintage Reserve 30yr– 46%
Fine, light caramel notes on the nose, with rich almonds following. Sharp start on the palate, but mellows into a light malt, honey and spice blend that creates a lingering finish.
Redbreast 15yr – 46%
Aromatic ripe fruit on the nose, with a soft malt finish. Plenty of barley and vanilla on the palate creating a rich and slightly sweet finish.
Grant’s Voyager – 40%
Rich on the nose with smooth cereal notes and ripe fruit. A combination of honey, fruit and chocolate dominates the palate, creating a rich, sweet lingering finish.
Ballantine’s Limited Deluxe Blend – 43%
Ripe berry and barley blend on the nose, with hints of citrus cutting through. A sharp start on the palate with vanilla countering the citrus for a long finish.
Grant’s Deluxe 18yr – 40%
A lively cereal nose with a good blend of toffee and honey. A light offering on the palate with toffee and ginger, mixing with hints of spice on the short finish.
Glenmorangie Signet – 48%
Light notes of toffee, fudge, chocolate and cinnamon blending together on the nose. A developing sharpness to a ripe malt kick, which mellows towards the short, rich finish of stoned fruit.
Glenmorangie 18yr– 43%
Light on the nose with citrus and fresh white fruit dominating. A developing kick of spice on the palate, followed by a dry, fruity finish.
Glenglassaugh 30yr – 44.8%
Smooth, dried fruits on the nose, followed by a light offering of raisin on the palate. A good kick of malt and spice on the finish with hints of tobacco.
Glenglassaugh 40yr – 42.5%
Rich chocolate and toffee notes on the nose. Burnt wood blends with nutmeg to create a long, rich, deep offering.
The Dalmore 25yr– 42%
Soft vanilla on the nose with hints of dried fruits and citrus. Soft, smooth oak that warms flavours of chocolate and toffee into rich offerings.
Glenmorangie 25yr – 43%
Light cereal notes combined with coffee and dried fruits on the nose. A slight citrus kick on the palate with honey, subtle spice and oak flavours creating a long finish.
Glenfiddich 125th Aniversary Edition – 43%
Aromatic scents of wood on the nose, with plenty of ripe fruits following. A good citrus burst on the palate, with a developing richness of malt and sweetness, leading to a whisp of smoke on the finish.
Glenfiddich Malt Master Speyside– 43%
Soft toffee and honey combine on the nose with ripe pears. Very soft on the palate, with sharp fruit, spice and vanilla offered on a short finish.
Some absolute crackers available, despite missing out on the likes of vodka, cognac and brandy, fruit spirits, shochu and armagnac as well as the names I’ve already had the pleasure of experiencing (Elmer T. Lee, Southwestern Distillers, The King’s Ginger, Mozart Gold and Col E. H. Taylor Jr the stand out missing expressions from the above list).
One expression that has truly surprised me was the New World Projects Starward Single Cask #1, coming in at a hefty 56.5% and hailing from Australia. This whisky has dominated my conversations of the event to anyone who will listen to me! One that I will be sourcing as soon as possible so I can enjoy a country that granted, you wouldn’t expect to get a good spirit from, especially compared to their wines, but have raised their output considerably and most importantly, winning a gold medal that highlights their work and effort.
Congratulations to them, and to the rest of the winners!
Gabriel Boudier of Dijon won the coveted International Spirits Challenge Trophy “Supreme Champion Spirit” 2014 for the second year in succession.
Speaking at the awards ceremony in London this week M. Jean Battault the Président of Gabriel Boudier said: “It is a great honour to be elected as Supreme Champion Spirit for our Crème de Cassis de Dijon for the second year in a row. This distinction from the home country of such great spirits as Scotch whisky and gin means a lot for a family-owned French company established in Dijon, capital of Burgundy, since 1874.”
“This honour is the result of the passion and hard work of all the people involved with Boudier, including the staff of the company, our suppliers, importers, and our management team, the Battault family, who try to maintain the highest level of quality in all our products. There is no better way to thank them for their endeavours and support; and last but not the least the consumers who gave us their confidence by using our liqueurs in so many cocktails.”