I'm currently having a blast as a featured blogger at SXSW in Austin, Tex., but I must take a quick break to share yesterday's announcement of the winners from the first-ever Ultimate Spirits Challenge spearheaded by F. Paul Pacult. Congrats to the winners! Here's the press release:
March 15, 2010 (New York, NY): Ultimate Beverage Challenge’s (UBC) first Ultimate Spirits Challenge was held at Astor Center on March 1-3, 2010. The inaugural Ultimate Spirits Challenge proved that integrity, method, and credibility can flourish and be the driving forces in a competitive beverage alcohol environment. More than 520 entries from scores of companies and nations were entered, but only a dozen distillates were awarded the esteemed USC Chairman’s Trophy as the highest scoring spirits of their category.
Following four stages of competitive judging over the course of three days, Ultimate Spirits Challenge Chairman’s Trophy winners were arrived at based on their aggregate score on the 100-point scale. Panels of carefully selected spirits authorities (such as Assistant Judging Chairman Sean Ludford, Dale DeGroff, Andy Seymour, Jacques Bezuidenhout), educators (Steve Olson, Doug Frost), buyers (James Conley, Ethan Kelley, Audrey Saunders), and author-journalists (David Wondrich, gaz regan) employed UBC’s innovative multi-stage scoring system that determined the best of the best entries.
Said UBC Judging Chairman and Managing Partner F. Paul Pacult, “It’s clear that a perfect storm of superbly qualified judges, meticulous and innovative methodology, the state-of-the-art clinical environment of Astor Center, and a gifted operational staff helped usher in a new era of beverage alcohol competitive evaluation. I’m looking forward to 2011 already.”
The Chairman Trophy winners and Semifinalists for the 2010 Ultimate Spirits Challenge are:
Ultimate Spirits Challenge Chairman’s Trophy Winners & Semifinalists 2010
Vodka & Aquavit Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Orzel Vodka (Poland) Semifinalists: Skyy Vodka (USA) Vermont White Vodka (USA) Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka (Finland) Gin & Genever Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Broker’s London Dry Gin (England) Semifinalists: Beefeater 24 Gin (England) Citadelle 2009 Reserve Gin (France) Tanqueray London Dry Gin (England) Tequila & Mezcal Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Tres Agaves Anejo Tequila (Mexico) Semifinalists: Sambra Mezcal, (Mexico) Don Pilar Anejo Tequila (Mexico) Del Maguey Tobala Single Village Mezcal (Mexico) Rum & Cachaça Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Mount Gay Rum 1703 (Barbados) Semifinalists: Zafra 21 Year Old Rum (Panama) J. Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum (Jamaica) Bacardi 8 Years Old Rum (Puerto Rico) Ireland & Wales Whiskey Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Midleton Very Rare 2008 Blended Irish Whiskey (Ireland) Semifinalists: Connemara 12 Year Old Peated Single Malt Whiskey (Ireland) Bushmills 1608 Single Malt Whiskey (Ireland) Redbreast 12 Years Old Pure Pot Still Whiskey (Ireland) Scotland Whisky Chairman’s Trophy Winner: The Macallan Fine Oak 21 Year Old Malt Whisky (Scotland) Semifinalists: Johnnie Walker Gold 18 Year Old Blended Whisky (Scotland) Royal Salute 21 Year Old Blended Whisky (Scotland) Glenmorangie Signet Single Malt Whisky (Scotland) US & Canada Whiskey Chairman’s Trophy Winner: George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey (USA) Semifinalists: Sazerac 18 Year Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey (USA) Crown Royal XR Blended Canadian Whisky (Canada) Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (USA) World Brandy, Grappa & Eau-de-Vie Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Nonino Grappa Il Merlot (Italy) Semifinalists: Macchu Pisco (Peru) Bartlett Spirits of Maine Apple Brandy (USA) Giovi Clear Brandy of Cactus Pear (Italy) Cognac Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Frapin Chateau Fontpinot XO Grande Champagne Cognac (France) Semifinalists: Landy XO Cognac (France) Pierre Ferrand Selection des Anges Grande Champagne Cognac (France) Hennessy XO Cognac (France) Armagnac Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Chateau du Busca-Maniban Hors d’Age Tenareze-Armagnac (France) Semifinalists: Chateau de Laubade 1960 Bas-Armagnac (France) Marie Duffau Hors d’Age Bas-Armagnac (France) Cles des Ducs VSOP Armagnac (France) Calvados Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Boulard Grand Solage Pays d’Auge Calvados (France) Semifinalists: Coeur de Lion Hors d’Age Pays d’Auge Calvados (France) Roger Groult 8 Year Old Pays d’Auge Calvados (France) World Liqueurs, Absinthes & Other Chairman’s Trophy Winner: St Germain Elderflower Liqueur (France) Semifinalists: Herbsaint Original Liqueur d’Anis (France) Bauchant Orange Liqueur (France) Mathilde Raspberry Frambroise (France) For a complete list of all results and scores please go to: www.ultimate-beverage.com/USCresults2010/ ABOUT ULTIMATE BEVERAGE CHALLENGE Founded by award-winning journalist, author, educator and critic F. Paul Pacult, wine and spirits publishing industry veteran David Talbot, and Spirit Journal managing editor Sue Woodley, Ultimate Beverage Challenge is now providing both the industry and consumers with a clear and unassailable indication of beverage alcohol quality, in terms that are readily accessible.
• Ultimate Cocktail Challenge, in which spirits and wines will be judged on how well they perform in classic cocktails, occurs on April 12-14, 2010. • The inaugural Ultimate Wine Challenge, for the evaluation of fine still, sparkling, and fortified wines, will be held on June 7-11, 2010.
For more information on all three 2010 UBC competitions, for help with entry forms, for complete Ultimate Spirits Challenge scores, please go to www.ultimate-beverage.com or call 1-347-878-6551.