ISW March Tasting: Fruit Spirit & Liqueur

ISW awards the best fruit brandies, fruit spirits and fruit liqueurs / Seven special prizes awarded / Cointreau is fruit liqueur of the year

The third edition of Meininger's International Spirits Award (ISW) was dedicated to the world of fruit distillates in March. Around 260 brandies, spirits, liqueurs and fruit spirits were ready to be blind tasted and evaluated by the jury at the themed tasting. The jury awarded a total of 78 medals, including, for the first time this year, five top awards in the Grand Gold category. 55 products were awarded gold medals, 18 others silver. A special honour was also bestowed on seven outstanding products, which received a special award in their respective categories. 

The jury, consisting of spirits experts, distillers, bar professionals and other luminaries from research and teaching, once again based their evaluation on the proven ISW scheme, in which the products are not only evaluated, but also decisively described in sensory terms.

Seven special awards

Cointreau is considered a classic in the world of Triple Secs. That it is still a true benchmark more than 170 years after its invention is impressively proven not only by a Grand Gold Medal, but also by the special award as "Fruit Liqueur of the Year 2021 international". It owes its quality above all to the highly aromatic (bitter) orange peels, which form the basis for its balanced fresh, fruity and intense aroma.

The award for the "Fruit Liqueur of the Year 2021 national" goes to the Williams Liqueur from the Lantenhammer distillery. This outstanding liqueur already won a gold medal at the ISW in 2020, and this year the final accolade follows with Grand Gold and the Special Award, which once again demonstrates the distillery's expertise. 

The title of "Fruit Brandy of the Year 2021 national" was also won by the Lantenhammer Distillery from Schliersee. With its apricot brandy in mulberry wood barrels from the high-end range “Raritas”, which also won a Grand Gold medal, Lantenhammer provides a strong argument for allowing fruit distillates to mature in barrels even more often.

The distillery Louis Morand & Cie SA in Valais, Switzerland, also has reason to celebrate. Its top product Abricot Coeur Eau-de-Vie was awarded a gold medal by the jury and also secured the special award as "Fruit Brandy of the Year 2021 international". A real statement in the art of Swiss distilling.

The distillery Gebr. J. & M. Ziegler from Freudenberg can be pleased about a gold medal, the best fruit spirit in the tasting and the associated special award as "Fruit Geist of the Year 2021". Their forest raspberry spirit underlines the art of distillation of the highest quality and convinced with a full, natural aroma all along the line.

Lighter, somewhat sweeter and more accessible fruit spirits are in vogue, as evidenced by the large number of entries in this category. From now on, Echte Nordhäuser Reiche Ernte Marille can call itself the "Fruit Spirit of the Year 2021 national", which not only won this special award but also brought a gold medal to Nordhausen.

The award for the "Fruit Spirit of the Year 2021 international" goes to Escholzmatt in Switzerland. The Studer distillery based here also won a gold medal with the award-winning Vieil Abricot Oak & Smoke. The jury was particularly impressed by the innovative combination of full fruit aromas, fine smoke and wood flavours as well as a good balance.

"We are very pleased to be able to offer a platform to the great world of fruit spirits this month. One of the most exciting categories of all, which has not been in the spotlight so much in recent years, but which is definitely worth discovering more again," Director Degustation Christian Wolf sums up.

Alexander Thürer, Member of the Board of Meininger's International Spirits Award, considers the tasting a complete success: "We had an unbelievable variety, both in terms of the countries of origin and in terms of the product styles. What was also striking was the fact that there were hardly any faulty products, which stands for enormous expertise on the part of the master distillers. This makes tasting really fun!"

The next themed tasting will take place in mid-April, when the jury will turn its attention to the diverse world of gins.


An overview of all the medal winners of the March tasting can be found here:


About Meininger's International Spirits Award ISW
The international spirits competition was launched 18 years ago by Meininger Verlag. Until 2020, spirits experts from all over the world gathered once a year in Neustadt an der Weinstraße to taste and evaluate spirits of all kinds from all over the world. With the new orientation towards a monthly, theme-specific tasting format, the competition guarantees an even more detailed tasting and assessment of the submitted spirits by a proven jury of experts, now focusing specifically on special spirits categories.

Meininger's International Spirits Award ISW is one of the most important spirits competitions in the world today. With its tasting methodology, the competition sets new standards in the field of spirits evaluation. Based on the international 100-point scheme, the spirits are not evaluated comparatively, but individually according to appearance, smell and taste by a jury of experts without knowledge of the producer. In addition, the competition describes each tasted spirit sensorially in terms of the aromas and attributes typical of the respective competition category. From this, an aroma diagram is created that is comprehensible and understandable for distillers and consumers and gives a first impression of the flavour of the spirit.

Founded in 1903 in Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Meininger Verlag is one of the oldest German specialist publishers. The company specialises in particular in the wine and spirits sector. Internationally, Meininger Verlag has made a successful name for itself with the MUNDUS VINI Grand International Wine Award. In addition to well-known trade magazines, the media company organises trade fairs, industry events and trade congresses. The portfolio of Meininger Verlag also includes FINEST SPIRITS in Munich, the trade fair for premium spirits with an international festival character.


Press contact:
Nicole Zeisset
Meininger Verlag GmbH
Maximilianstr. 7-15
67433 Neustadt/Germany
Tel.: +49 6321 89 08 94
E-Mail: [email protected]

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Special Awards March Tasting 2021