ultimate spirits challenge’s top picks
The inaugural Ultimate Spirits Challenge took place in New York City in March, as the first event of spirits writer F. Paul Pacult’s three-part Ultimate Beverage Challenge. Following four stages of competition, spirits were judged on a 100-point scale. From the 520 entries in the event, only a dozen distillates received the highest scores and were awarded the Ultimate Spirits Challenge Chairman’s Trophy.
The judging panel included assistant judging chairman Sean Ludford as well as spirits industry experts Dale DeGroff, Andy Seymour, Jacques Bezuidenhout, Steve Olson, Doug Frost, James Conley, Ethan Kelley, Audrey Saunders, David Wondrich and gaz regan.
Winners of the Chairman’s Trophy were:
- Vodka & Aquavit: Orzel Vodka
- Gin & Genever: Broker’s London Dry Gin
- Tequila & Mezcal: Tres Agaves Anejo Tequila
- Rum & Cachaça: Mount Gay Rum 1703
- Ireland & Wales Whiskey: Midleton Very Rare 2008 Blended Irish Whiskey
- Scotland Whisky: The Macallan Fine Oak 21 Year Old Malt Whisky
- U.S. & Canada Whiskey: George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
- World Brandy, Grappa & Eau-de-Vie: Nonino Grappa Il Merlot
- Cognac: Frapin Chateau Fontpinot XO Grande Champagne Cognac
- Armagnac: Chateau du Busca-Maniban Hors d’Age Tenareze-Armagnac
- Calvados: Boulard Grand Solage Pays d’Auge Calvados
- World Liqueurs, Absinthes & Other: St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
For the full list of semifinalists and winners, click here.