Monday, March 23, 2009

And the winners are...

The 840+ entry SF Spirits Competition ended yesterday afternoon, with some surprises: Linie Aquavit, after reaching the finish line a bit behind for a number of years, came across as the Best of Show White Spirit - hope it boosts sales, as it is a terrific drink and ingredient - doubt me? Try a aquavit Bloody Mary soon and you may never return to the odorless and colorless variety.

The Best Brown Spirit (also Best Whisky) was American for the first time, Parker's Heritage Collection, the 27 Year Old Second Edition, 48% abv, a spirit that fought in the hardest to settle category, American whiskey (because, as they believe down in Kentucky and environs, their stuff has never been better - for what it's worth, I agree, and it is certainly the best bargain in the spirit world today).

Bluecoat was named Best Gin; I don't agree, but I wasn't on the gin panel, so can't tell what went down before it made it to the showdown sweepstakes. I do know that odd things always happen, and I am inevitably humbled by what I discover I actually like, or dislike, when tasting a slew of similar products - this year for instance my panel didn't send a single orange liqueur on to the final group judgement of best of the best.

Other surprises: the $7 Angostura as the Best Rum; Weber Haus once again Best Cachaça; and Pere Magloire XO Calvados Best of Show Brandy. Other winners: El Tesoro for Best Blanco Tequila and Best Tequila (since El T is the one many tequila fans consider the real number one, quality product, it's reassuring when it comes out on top); Gran Centenario Rosangel for Best Flavored Tequila, Bushmill's 10 Year Old Single Malt took Best Irish, and the Port Ellen 29 Year Old (a $400 limited number) took Best Single Malt Scotch.

Check the Competition website, above linked, for full list of winners soon.

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