Golden prospects for the variety of spirits at the ISW / The winners from the categories Whisk(e)y, Rum, Vodka, Korn and Aquavit at the July Tasting 2022
With summer temperatures of almost 40 degrees Celsius, the jury of international spirits experts in the air-conditioned tasting halls of Meininger publishing house was honored to devote themselves to the supreme disciplines of whisk(e)y, rum, vodka, grain and some other spirits categories. More than 600 products were tasted and evaluated blindly over two days. The best 185 won one of the coveted medals – including 5x Grand Gold, 160x Gold and 18x Silver.
The third and final theme tasting of the year at Meininger's International Spirits Award was dominated by the large categories Whisk(e)y and Rum, which accounted for the majority of the samples submitted. In both categories, an impressive variety could be observed, which was expressed in origin, style or cask finishes. What they all had in common, however, was a consistently high level of quality. But also in other spirits genres such as vodka, grain or aquavit, outstanding products crystallized, which can rightly be seen as a benchmark for their category.
Some of the award-winning products can also be tasted at Finest Spirits from 2 to 4 September 2022. The cult fair for fine spirits will take place again in Munich's MVG Museum after a pandemic-related break. All information about the fair, the exhibitors and tickets can be found under www.finest-spirits.de
We present the special awards from July:
Founded in 2014, the Glasgow Distillery Company is the inspiration for the ongoing boom in the Scottish whisky industry. Since 1902 there had been no distillery in the city, now whisky is traditionally distilled from Scottish barley and soft local water. Even without an age indication, the smoky bottling prevails against the strong competition and wins the only Grand Gold in the Scotch category. New white oak and PX sherry barrels ensure the voluminous harmony of smoke and fruitiness.
Ireland has also experienced a whisky fairy tale in recent years (yes, in this case without e) and hardly any distillery stands out more than Waterford; and not only because of the iconic blue bottles, but above all because of the uncompromising understanding of terroir. The barley from 25 different fields comes together in the "Cuvée" and provides at 50% vol. for a strong and long-lasting mélange of chocolate, citrus aromas and full malt.
70% corn provides the typical bourbon mild sweetness, 30% rye and malt bring complexity and at least six years in freshly charred oak barrels a pleasant maturity and mixability. A small batch bourbon for special occasions, which serves the full range of oak wood maturation and is almost reminiscent of a dessert – somewhere between pecan pie and chestnut cream – especially in the aftertaste.
Of course, whisky from Japan is no longer an insider tip and thanks to innovative distilleries they can emancipate themself more and more from the Scottish character. White Oak's Akashi Single Malt – Japan's first whisky distillery since 1919 – is produced annually in a limited batch and is stored in both ex-bourbon and extensive sherry barrels. A special feature is the imposing floral note of chamomile flowers, blossom honey and sweet hay.
The series "L'Atelier des Rhums" of the Maison J.M has already inspired with several aromatic bottlings that present the diversity of the island of Mauritius. With the "Jardin Fruité" a true masterpiece of fresh sugar cane juice has now been achieved: voluminous ripe fruits, caramel dessert, citrus zest and harmonious wood sweetness make the mouth water. The 24 months in American and French oak give this rhum the perfect maturity.
Of course, the first thing that catches the eye of Swiss vodka from the Studer distillery is the look: the Matterhorn rises from the bottom of the bottle and is surrounded by gold leaf. In the blind tasting, however, the vodka was able to assert itself with its inner values. A soft, rich mouthfeel is accompanied by a gentle earthy aroma that gives the vodka a trace of terroir. There is gold in this – this is now also proven by the gold medal at the ISW.
Three different barrel types – ex-cognac, sherry and ex-bourbon – give the wheat grain of the Emsländer manufactory Heydt an inimitable harmony, which perfectly stages the mild distillate character as well as the influence of the wood trio. In Haselünne in northern Germany – in the shadow of Berentzen's big competitors, so to speak – the private grain distillery Heydt produces fine brandies for lovers without frills year after year. Grand gold for great craftsmanship!