Search Challenge Results

2012 Ultimate Spirits Challenge Results

Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2012

March 5–9, 2012

Astor Center, New York City

For 2012 there are 31 Chairman’s Trophies awarded, representing the best of the best; Finalists in each section are also identified.

In addition to the score, products are distinguished with the following Accolades, as a guide to consumers:

95-100 Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
90-94 Excellent, Highly Recommended
85-89 Very Good, Strong Recommendation
80-84 Good, Recommended

A note on the icons:

 
Tasting Note
Tasting Note: composite judges' tasting notes for products which scored 85 and up. Roll over icon to view.
 
Great Value
Great Value: indicates products with a favorable relationship between their price and final score.  
 
Purchase Now
Product Image: to assist you with visual identification, we've included an image for each product evaluated. (Please note that age statements, vintages or label may vary slightly from the specific product evaluated but it represents a helpful portrayal of the brand.) Click icon to view.

Download a printable copy of the complete results (PDF)

Aperitif | Vodka | Aquavit | Gin | Genever | Rum | Cachaça | Tequila | Mezcal | Whiskey | Whisky | Brandy | Liqueur | Soju/Shochu/Baijiu

 

Aperitif

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 96 Lise Baccara Troussepinete Red Aperitif France, 17% abv, $20.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The rich, ruby/crimson color is stunningly beautiful. Aroma is piquant, tart and intensely berried, with undertones of blackberry and blackcurrant. The astringent entry flavor is carried by the high acidity, which pushes the fruit forward. Textbook quality.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 95 Lise Baccara Troussepinete White Aperitif France, 17% abv, $20.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty golden/marigold color; dazzling appearance. Opening nosings encounter multilayered aromas of biscuit batter, tart orchard fruits, Sultanas and yeast. First tastes are treated to lush flavors of raisins, dried apricot and bread dough. Long in the throat. Luscious.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 90 Aperol Aperitif Italy, 11% abv, $22.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The bright rose/blushing orange appearance is bright and clear. The herbal rush in the first inhalations tweaks the nose and sets the stage for the astringent, pleasingly tart tastes of orange peel, tangerine and grapefruit. A classic taste profile that enhances numerous cocktails.
Great Value Photo    
 

Vodka

Unflavored Vodka

All vodkas were judged in category flights of like-with-like. The Chairman's Trophy - Vodka was awarded based on the highest scoring vodka across all the unflavored categories.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 94 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka United States, 40% abv, $25.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Immaculately clean and clear. Aroma is intensely grainy, dusty dry and snack cracker-like. In the mouth, the taste profile is off-dry to semisweet, decidedly grainy and breakfast cereal-like, with a distant flavor of vanilla bean. Outstanding.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 Luksusowa Vodka Poland, 40% abv, $14.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pristine, oily (texture) appearance. This is an aroma of gravitas and is clean, slightly sweet and vegetal. On palate, the viscosity is what gets noticed first, then the satiny smooth flavor follows. A vodka of substance.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 UV 80 Vodka United States, 40% abv, $12.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Limpid and clean. Bouquet is corny sweet and like fresh unbuttered popcorn. In the mouth, the taste profile is wholesome, delicately corn-like and delectable. Fresh and compelling.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Ocean Vodka United States, 40% abv, $32.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clean and spotless appearance. Aroma is delicate and just a shade sweet; comes on with air contact. In the mouth, the taste grainy and grassy, displaying a trace of sugarcane bitterness. Texture is appealingly silky.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Vektor Vodka Russia, 40% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Spring water clear and pure. Emits a defined wheat-based aroma that is akin to dry breakfast cereal and is slightly toasty. Texture is medium-weight and moderately viscous. Taste is grainy, snack cracker-like and a little tobacco leaf-like.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Zodiac Vodka United States, 40% abv, $26.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clear as rainwater. Minerally/earthy aromas are supported by a refined potato spirit substance that carries the bouquet forward. Potato element emerges semisweet with gusto in the flavor profile, as the texture goes chewy.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 91 Breckenridge Vodka United States, 40% abv, $27.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Unblemished clarity. Aroma starts out like unbuttered popcorn then takes a minerally turn as it aerates in the glass, ending on a granite/stony note. In the mouth, the corny/grainy flavors rush forward, then receded at the mildly sweet finish.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 91 Finlandia Vodka Finland, 40% abv, $17.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Immaculate see-through appearance. Very faint fragrance of malt and minerals/earth in the inhalations. Ethereally light, balanced and graceful in the mouth in the tradition of Scandinavian distillers. Lovely and elegant.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 91 I SPIRIT Vodka Italy, 40% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Translucent and pure. Comes off smelling first of cereal grains, then with further air contact the bouquet turns more biscuit and fruity, almost grapy/musty. In the mouth, the pleasing viscosity and dry neutrality of the flavor make for ultra-smooth quaffing.
  Photo    
  Finalist 91 Milano Green Ultra Premium Vodka Italy, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Crystalline, flawlessly pure appearance. Aroma opens up with gently sweet and grainy scents that invoke unsalted snack crackers especially. In the mouth, the taste profile features the wheat essence in the form of breakfast cereal mostly, but also in the sleek, silky texture.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 91 Nemiroff Distinct Vodka Ukraine, 40% abv, $19.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clean and clear appearance. Elegant, layered aroma offers seductive fragrances of citrus, herbs (bergamot) and green tea. In the mouth, the flavor profile is acidic, fresh and satiny smooth, with a touch of toastiness in the aftertaste.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 91 Vesica Vodka Poland, 40% abv, $12.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Crystalline pure. In the nose this potato vodka displays pure, herbal aromatics, especially an intriguing dalliance with mint. On palate, the taste profile includes an oily texture, a touch of sweetness and an herbaceousness that’s enthralling.
Great Value Photo    
  90 Heroes Premium Vodka United States, 40% abv, $17.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pure and limpid appearance. Slightly toasty and roasted in the first sniffs, then delightfully grainy later on. On palate, the entry is smooth and the midpalate is moderately oily and grainy dry.
Great Value Photo    
  90 LiV Vodka United States, 40% abv, $25.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pure and clean. Loads of astringent potato skin aroma works well with the supple texture and high acidity, creating an elegant bouquet. In the mouth, the flavor profile includes delicate toastiness and a nutty aspect. Satiny texture.
  Photo    
  89 Absolut Elyx Vodka Sweden, 40% abv, $50.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Flawless purity. Nose is vigorous and demonstrative in a grainy/breakfast cereal manner, even a touch toasty. On palate, the first aspect noticed is the viscous texture, then the smooth, grain cracker flavor kicks in. Ends on a stone dry note.
  Photo    
  89 Cupcake Original Vodka United States, 40% abv, $17.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clear and bright. Nose is neutral to slightly grainy sweet. In the mouth, there’s more substance than in the aroma as the flavors include herbs, toasted grain and muffin dough. Pleasantly brisk and clean.
Great Value Photo    
  89 Iceberg Vodka Canada, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Crystalline and clear. Owns a gently sweet opening aroma, then the scent turns slightly herbal. In the mouth, the taste is super-clean, bright, acidic and neutral. Smooth as silk texture.
Great Value Photo    
  89 Still Waters Single Malt Vodka Canada, 40% abv, $39.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pristine appearance. Aroma is incredibly toasty/roasted and malty, showing far more aromatic character than most vodkas. In the mouth, the taste profile is sweet, malty, piquant and spicy. Idiosyncratic and appealing because of its uniqueness.
  Photo    
  88 Grand Traverse Distillery True North Vodka United States, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Unblemished clarity. Toasty aroma, with subtle notes of rye bread and seeds. In the mouth, the texture is medium-weighted and the flavors include biscuit batter, peppery spice and a touch of caramel. Ends smoothly.
  Photo    
  88 Khortytsa Ultimate Vodka Ukraine, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
See-through perfection. Aroma sports an herbal quality that’s more dried than fresh and also hints at snack crackers. In the mouth, the flavor profile includes touches of slate/minerals, cereal grain, herbs and egg whites. Texture is lovely and silky.
  Photo    
  88 Platinka Original Vodka Belarus, 40% abv, $24.99, 1 L Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pristine visually. Neutral aroma comes alive with additional air contact, becoming earthy and mossy/lichen-like. In the mouth, the taste profile is delightfully clean and refreshing due to the graininess and the proper acidity. Finishes long and creamy.
  Photo    
  88 SPRING44 Vodka United States, 40% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pure perfection. Toasty, buttery and creamy aromas abound in the nose. On palate, the toastiness turns into graininess and breakfast cereal with milk. Lush, elegant aftertaste that is silky and textured.
  Photo    
  87 Belvedere Vodka Poland, 40% abv, $35.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Ideal clarity. Offers off-dry aromas of rye bread dough, seeds and palm oil. In the mouth, the first taste is beany and kernel-like, then at midpalate there is a pleasingly roasted taste of nuts and charcoal/tar.
  Photo    
  87 Core Batch #44 Vodka United States, 40% abv, $35.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty crystalline appearance. Aroma offers appealing fruity/orchard scents that are crisp and acidic. In the mouth, the flavor profile is tart yet ripe and engagingly fruity, mostly apple/pear. Excellent finish.
     
  87 Grand Traverse Distillery Wheat Vodka United States, 40% abv, $24.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Crystalline and pure. This aroma is intensely grainy and breakfast cereal-like, with a comet’s tail of tarragon. On palate, the flavor rings with bone dry graininess and an underlying suppleness that make for pleasurable drinking.
  Photo    
  87 Khortytsa Silver Cool Vodka Ukraine, 40% abv, $25.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
See-through perfection. Aroma sports an herbal quality that’s more dried than fresh and also hints at snack crackers. In the mouth, the flavor profile includes touches of slate/minerals, cereal grain, herbs and egg whites. Texture is lovely and silky.
  Photo    
  87 Khortytsa Platinum Vodka Ukraine, 40% abv, $25.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pure and flawlessly clean. Has a stone-like minerality in the opening whiffs that convert to a gently sweet and grassy/earthy bouquet. On palate, it is neutral, smooth and clean, with little flavor to offer. Aftertaste is refreshing, clean.
  Photo    
  87 Nemiroff Lex Vodka Ukraine, 40% abv, $29.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rainwater clear. Toasty and citrusy aroma is compelling and inviting. On palate, there are plump flavors of wheat cracker, tobacco leaf and spice/herb (coriander, clove, in particular). Medium-weighted, creamy finish.
  Photo    
  87 Nemiroff Original Vodka Ukraine, 40% abv, $14.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clear and pure appearance. Smells of grain and toasted nuts in the first inhalations, then it turns delicately sweet. In the mouth, the flavor profile is moderately oily, creamy and yeasty/doughy. Excellent aftertaste of toasted grain.
Great Value Photo    
  86 New Amsterdam Vodka United States, 40% abv, $13.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clear as rainwater. Opening aromas are pleasantly grainy and cereal-like, then the bouquet settles in to offer more substantial graininess. On palate, it is smooth, balanced and clean.
Great Value Photo    
  86 Pearl Vodka Canada, 40% abv, $12.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Delicate aroma is like morning cereal, even a touch oatmeal-like, then with more air contact it turns delightfully stately and Wheat-Thins cracker-like. On palate, entry is moderately oily and at midpalate there are gentle flavors of white rice and grain.
Great Value Photo    
  86 Prairie Organic Vodka United States, 40% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Sparkling clean visually. Intense upfront aroma is all about dry breakfast cereal and dried herbs, especially thyme. In the mouth, the taste profile is off-dry and grainy. Finishes long and sinewy.
  Photo    
  85 Flyte Vodka Canada, 40% abv, $29.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Impeccably pure. Aroma-wise, this vodka comes off a touch sweet, in addition to the stone-like quality that’s intensely mineral-like. In the mouth, it is silky in texture, sweeter than most vodkas and nicely grainy.
  Photo    
  85 Peace Catskill Mountain Vodka United States, 40% abv, $34.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Flawless purity. Aromas include yeast, sourdough early-on, then fruitier aspects emerge, notably, tropical fruits such as pineapple, guava and papaya. Viscous, grainy, minerally and sweeter in the mouth than in the nose. Buttery finish.
  Photo    
  85 Reyka Vodka Iceland, 40% abv, $30.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Crystalline visually. Upfront aromas include a slight smokiness/sootiness that eventually blows off leaving behind scents of grain mash, unsalted butter and minerals. Dry flavor is highlighted by light smoke, granite/minerals and a super-smooth aftertaste.
  Photo    
  84 Balls Vodka United States, 40% abv, $24.00, 1 L Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  84 Platinum 7X Vodka United States, 40% abv, $10.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Belvedere Intense Unfiltered Vodka Poland, 40% abv, $45.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Fris Vodka Denmark, 40% abv, $10.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  81 Nemiroff Lex Ultra Vodka Ukraine, 40% abv, $45.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Vodka

Flavored Vodka

All flavored vodkas were judged in category flights of like-with-like flavors. The Chairman's Trophy - Flavored Vodka was awarded based on the highest scoring flavored vodka across all the flavor categories.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 91 BAK'S Bison Grass Zubrowka Flavored Vodka Poland, 40% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pale green hue. First nosing detects an engaging grassiness, but also a creamed vegetable scent that’s immensely appealing; earthy/grassy aspects emerge more with air contact. On palate, the flavor features spirit grass and soft tropical fruits.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 90 Ketel One Citroen Flavored Vodka Netherlands, 40% abv, $26.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pristine appearance. Elegant and keenly tart aromas of lemon peel, lemon zest and spirit make for delectable sniffing. In the mouth, the high level of acidity maintains the delightful freshness from palate entry through aftertaste. Superb.
Great Value Photo    
  89 Cupcake Ginger Snap Flavored Vodka United States, 35% abv, $17.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Crystalline appearance. The appealing spicy, gingery opening fragrance tells the aromatic story in a nanosecond. Clean, defined and zesty in the mouth. Well-conceived flavored vodka geared for younger demographics.
Great Value Photo    
  89 Finlandia Grapefruit Flavored Vodka Finland, 37.5% abv, $17.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Impeccable clarity. Soft and astringent aromas of fresh-off-the-tree grapefruit make this bouquet sublime and refreshingly true to the source. In the mouth, the tartness keeps the flavor profile vivid and clean.
Great Value Photo    
  88 Ketel One Oranje Flavored Vodka Netherlands, 40% abv, $26.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pristine appearance. The orange flavoring is juicy yet subtle, which serves this vodka well aromatically. In the mouth, the orange flavor explodes on the tongue, offering bright, tart and genuine tastes.
  Photo    
  87 Cupcake Devil's Food Flavored Vodka United States, 35% abv, $17.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clean and clear. Aroma is gently sweet, bakery-like and doughy, even a touch spicy. On palate, the delicately sweet flavor is teasingly cake-y and admirably fresh rather than cloying.
Great Value Photo    
  87 Valentine White Blossom Elderflower Flavored Vodka United States, 35% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clear as spring water. Aroma is highly floral, semisweet, moderately fruity and attractively fragrant. Tastes of tropical fruits and delicate elderflower. Finishes drier than the midpalate, vibrant and charming.
  Photo    
  86 Crop Organic Cucumber Flavored Vodka United States, 35% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Flawlessly clean visually. The aroma is softly tantalizing, vegetal and authentic to cucumber. On palate, there’s a pleasant astringency and freshness that keeps the focus squarely on the flavoring.
  Photo    
  85 Fris Whipped Flavored Vodka Denmark, 40% abv, $10.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Unblemished, clear appearance. Smells of sweetened cream, egg whites and meringue. Pleasantly sweet and creamy in the mouth.
Great Value Photo    
  84 Belvedere Citrus Flavored Vodka Poland, 40% abv, $35.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  84 Zodiac Black Cherry Flavored Vodka United States, 40% abv, $26.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Belvedere Black Raspberry Flavored Vodka Poland, 40% abv, $35.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Belvedere Bloody Mary Flavored Vodka Poland, 40% abv, $35.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Fris Citrus Flavored Vodka Denmark, 40% abv, $10.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Skyy Infusions Coconut Flavored Vodka United States, 35% abv, $18.49, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 SPRING44 Honey Flavored Vodka United States, 40% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 UV Whipped Flavored Vodka United States, 30% abv, $12.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
       
  82 Finlandia Redberry Flavored Vodka Finland, 40% abv, $17.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  82 Fris Orange Flavored Vodka Denmark, 40% abv, $10.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  81 Cupcake Chiffon Flavored Vodka United States, 35% abv, $17.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  80 Cupcake Frosting Flavored Vodka United States, 35% abv, $17.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  80 Finlandia Raspberry Flavored Vodka Finland, 37.5% abv, $17.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  80 Square One Organic Basil Flavored Vodka United States, 40% abv, $34.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Aquavit

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  93 Linie Aquavit Norway, 41.5% abv, $26.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pale golden color is pristine in its purity. Smells enticingly of caraway and rye bread in the initial sniffs, then settles down into a more serious spirit bouquet that's touched with wood. Clean, caraway seed-like, satiny textured and dusty dry in the mouth. A clinic on how delicious aquavit can be.
  Photo    
 

Gin

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 95 Plymouth Gin United Kingdom, 41.2% abv, $30.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
This benchmark cocktail gin uniformly garners praise for its generous and soft palate, remarkably crisp and clean tang and subtle smoothness. Notes of coriander and cardamom merge brightly with citrus in this remarkable gin.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 94 Beefeater 24 London Dry Gin United Kingdom, 45% abv, $30.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
This winner artfully combines juniper, coriander and lemon notes in a potent aromatic mélange; on the palate, the addition of green tea and grapefruit peel add dimension and great depth in a supremely well-knit expression.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 Beefeater London Dry Gin United Kingdom, 47% abv, $19.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pungent and assertive classic London Dry style gin, with an intensely satisfying juniper and licorice zip. On the palate, it’s clean and brisk with coriander and black pepper notes and a long and tingly finish.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Caorunn Small Batch Scottish Gin Scotland, 41.8% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Remarkable example of a modern gin that is clean, dry, well-knit and refreshing. Scottish in origin, it introduces a medley of unusual botanicals including heather and bog myrtle to deliver a fascinating and bracing twist on a classic.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Tanqueray TEN London Dry Gin United Kingdom, 47.3% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Citrus and juniper dominate, with touches of orange and lime emerging. Subtle opening develops into a broad citrus palate, with earthy notes of cinnamon and angelica. Rich, assertive but balanced, with a powerful peppery finish.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Tanqueray London Dry Gin United Kingdom, 47.3% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
London dry gin aromas of juniper freshness joined by orange blossom, anise and lean minerality. Flavor profile is cleansing and rich, with notes of grapefruit, sappy juniper, black pepper and a vibrant, cleansing and very long finish.
Great Value Photo    
  91 Edinburgh Gin Scotland, 40% abv, $34.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Soft, subtle, smooth and creamy, this juniper-light and enchanting gin is bright and delicate, with hints of coriander and citrus leading the way. Pretty and delightful.
  Photo    
  90 Bombay Sapphire East London Dry Gin United Kingdom, 42% abv, $29.99, 1 L Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Restrained in style with moderated juniper, and a pleasing emergence of orris root, grains of paradise, cubeb berries and other subtle botanicals. Citrusy zip is backed with a slight and cleansing bitterness on the palate.
  Photo    
  90 Oxley Gin United Kingdom, 47% abv, $50.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Expressive licorice leads the way, with star anise and lime emerging in a charming bouquet that brings a dazzlingly tangy and citrusy palate. Fresh and satisfying.
  Photo    
  89 Death's Door Gin United States, 47% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Juniper and coriander dominate the aromatics, with a hint of fennel and anise; the flavor sings the same song – woodsy richness of pine and earth, and a clean and long-lasting finish.
  Photo    
  89 Farmer's Organic Botanical Gin United States, 46.7% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
An abundance of floral aromatics – elderflower, lemongrass, rose - emerge from this delightfully pretty and surprisingly potent New World gin. A floral richness and mouth-cleansing freshness completes the package.
  Photo    
  89 Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength Gin United Kingdom, 45.2% abv, $37.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A potent gin that combines an old style with modern flavors of melon and cucumber. Potent palate includes candied melon, mint, light juniper and a creamy, mouth-filling roundness.
  Photo    
  89 The Botanist Islay Dry Gin Scotland, 46% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Gentle yet bright citrus aromas yield to a mouthful of lemon and lime braced with a tingly and assertive power, a junipery tingle and a peppery finish.
  Photo    
  88 BLOOM London Dry Gin United Kingdom, 40% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A modern gin with a generous nose of floral expressiveness and delicate spiciness. A touch of sweet herbs gives it a lovely rounded body and finish.
  Photo    
  88 Citadelle Gin France, 44% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Almond, nutmeg, cinnamon and fennel lead the pretty parade of botanicals in the generous nose; on the palate, beautifully knit flavors of almond, citrus and juniper deliver on the aromatic promise. Clean and brisk finish.
  Photo    
  88 No. 3 London Dry Gin United Kingdom, 46% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clean and bright aromas of grapefruit and pine erupt from this beauty, its savory freshness packed with mouth-watering acidity and potent depth. Formidable and rewarding.
  Photo    
  87 Knockeen Hills Heather Gin United Kingdom, 47.3% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Abundant floral and licorice notes; mellow, inviting and intense, with an equally bracing licorice tang and spicy, peppery finish. Powerful, bracing and clean.
  Photo    
  87 Martin Miller's 80 Proof Gin United Kingdom, 40% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Woodsy aromatics of licorice, juniper and orange peel, with hints of black pepper and cinnamon bark rule; flavors of orange, melon and juniper emerge with a pleasing sweet/bitter balance and a floral richness.
  Photo    
  86 Darnley's View London Dry Gin United Kingdom, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Subtle, earthy aromas emerge first, signaling depth and complexity; well-grounded juniper and citrus, with touches of elderflower and fennel, emerge on a well-rounded palate and a peppery tang.
  Photo    
  86 Hendrick's Gin Scotland, 44% abv, $34.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Enticing floral and juniper nose; delicate rose and cucumber notes backed with a refreshing juniper punch finishes with a touch of candied rose petal and a rich and refreshing zip.
  Photo    
  86 Tanqueray Rangpur Gin United Kingdom, 41.3% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
An array of lime peel and pith blast from this New World/Old World gin amalgam; fresh lime fruit and Keffir lime leaf flavors backed with cinnamon and anise offer a refreshing and zesty finish.
Great Value Photo    
  85 Dancing Pines Gin United States, 40% abv, $32.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A forest of juniper joined by sweet and zesty licorice leads the aromatic way, followed with a clean and bracing tingle of potent pepperiness.
     
  84 New Amsterdam Gin United States, 40% abv, $13.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Genever

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.

Genever

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 94 Bols Barrel Aged Genever Netherlands, 42% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
An aged Genever of this quality deserved its universal raves. The traditional maltiness of Genever is bolstered by time spent in wood, adding a rounded, creamy spiciness and hint of vanilla to the mix.
  Photo    
  91 Bols Genever Netherlands, 42% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pre-Prohibition cocktail favorite that defines sophisticated maltiness, this is the benchmark Dutch-style gin. Lush, mouth-watering and satisfying whether for cocktails or sipping.
  Photo    
 

Rum

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 96 Appleton Estate Reserve Rum Jamaica, 40% abv, $27.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Eye-catching chestnut color; flawless purity. Integrated, lean notes of molasses, spice, tree bark and nut. Creamy and honeyed at entry, then the taste detonates into an explosion of cocoa, vanilla and baked fruits. One of the great spirits of the world.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 95 Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 Years Old Rum Dominican, Rep., 40% abv, $38.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Beautiful copper/bronze color; impeccable clarity. Firm, straightforward aroma that is chockfull of molasses and citrus notes in the first sniffs, then the bouquet expands to include wood plank and tree sap. Flavor is delightfully highlighted by spicy pepper and brown sugar tastes.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Banks 7 Golden Age Rum West Indies, 43% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty orange/bronze color. Highly evocative spicy and sea breeze-like aromas bring to mind the tropics. In the mouth, the flavors merge into a unified taste that exhibits roots, tree bark and cooking spices (thyme, sage). Big-textured finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Banks Endeavour Limited Edition I Rum West Indies, 43% abv, $549.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bronze/burnished orange color. Vibrant aromas of dried fruits, old leather/men’s club, tree bark and herbs make for enchanting sniffing. Taste profile is deep and complex, showing off nicely fused flavors of oak, winter holiday cake spices and caramel.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Banks 5 Island Rum West Indies, 43% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pristine clarity. Compelling aromas of wood sap, egg cream and spice delight the olfactory sense. Flavor profile is jam-packed with cinnamon, vanilla, molasses and prune tastes that ignite the taste buds. Creamy aftertaste.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 Appleton Estate 12 Years Old Rum Jamaica, 43% abv, $32.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pure amber color. Intriguing, gentle scents include palm oil, oaky resin, nutmeg and almond paste that appear in delicate waves. Tastes of brown sugar and honey, in particular at midpalate, then in the finish there is a suppleness that is bedazzling.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Bacardi 8 Rum United States, 40% abv, $22.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Warm harvest gold color. Scent offers clean, off-dry and sensuous aromas of cake frosting, vanilla bean and caramelized onion. All the pleasing aspects of the bouquet show up in the flavor profile plus a deft touch of winey sherry to complete the experience. Sophisticated, delicious.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 J. Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum Jamaica, 63% abv, $22.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clear and clean. Surprisingly, the aroma is expectedly spirity and caney/grassy but hardly aggressive or harsh. On palate, the spirit does set off fire alarms, but again there’s a sugarcane/vegetal quality to it that’s becoming and real.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 Plantation Original Dark Overproof Rum Trinidad, 73% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep mahogany hue. Brings truckloads of caramel, toffee, treacle and spice fragrances in the vivid and delectable aroma. On palate, the overproof spirit (73%) is present but is neither scorching nor abrasive; rather it is fat and bacony.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 Vizcaya Cask 12 Dark Rum Dominican, Rep., 40% abv, $22.00, 1 L Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty burnished orange color. Attractive fragrance is akin to English toffee, honey and wood chips/sawdust. In the mouth, the taste profile shines with bittersweet chocolate and cocoa notes that last long into the aftertaste. Tasty, savory.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Bacardi Solera Rum Mexico, 40% abv, $22.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Copper/orange color. Offers linear aromas of molasses and brown sugar in measured amounts. On palate, the flavor profile leans towards elegance more than gusto and that's fine. Mineral-like aftertaste refuses to go too sweet. Nicely done.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Blackwell Gold Rum Jamaica, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Beautiful and bright dark bronze color, with red highlights. Smells deeply of demarara sugar, molasses and treacle. In the mouth, the full-blown molasses comes across like cocoa bean and chocolate cake frosting, lasting long into the finish. Takes no prisoners and why should it?
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Cockspur Rum Barbados, 40% abv, $32.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Old gold/amber color. No-nonsense aroma is sugarcane sweet and direct upfront then emits spicier (cinnamon, vanilla) notes in a final aromatic thrust that’s pleasing. Confectioner taste is marshmallow-like and sugary, but also a touch fruity and acidic, which promotes freshness.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Don Q Añejo Aged Rum Puerto Rico, 40% abv, $15.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Attractive old gold color. The bittersweet cocoa bean-like aroma is zesty and delectable. On palate, the cola-like and beany taste is sweeter than the bouquet, and displays a touch of egg cream/vanilla in the exceedingly pleasant finish.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Dos Maderas 5+5 PX 10 Years Old Rum Spain, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Alluring deep mahogany color. Big-time aromas of molasses, brown sugar and honey bounce off the olfactory sense like pinballs. Taste is sherry sweet, yes, but is neither cloying nor unctuous on palate. Astringent, bittersweet finish that's just right.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Plantation Grande Reserve 5 Years Old Rum Barbados, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Topaz/chestnut color. Opening aromas offer fresh garden scents of dried herbs (thyme), brown sugar and biscuit dough. In the mouth, the flavors include sap, maple, marshmallow and honey. Satisfying, serious aftertaste.
Great Value Photo    
  91 Cockspur Old Gold Rum Barbados, 43% abv, $19.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Gorgeous copper/tawny color. Heady aromas of caramel, nuts, dried fruit and molasses hold together beautifully. Taste-wise, the flavor profile is more off-dry than dry due primarily to the oakiness and vanilla backdrop in the finish.
Great Value Photo    
  91 Denizen Rum Trinidad and Jamaica, 40% abv, $15.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pristine appearance. Offers tantalizing early aromas of baked orchard fruits, baking spices and brown sugar, then the bouquet turns huskier and more molasses-like. In the mouth, the taste profile is creamy, oily and more bittersweet than sweet and therefore savory and complex.
Great Value Photo    
  88 10 Cane Rum Trinidad, 40% abv, $30.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Brown sugar, molasses and cooked fruits emerge in the charning nose; ground nuts and dark brown sugar lead the flavor profile with a hint of maple syrup; finishes clean and light.
  Photo    
  88 Bacardi Anejo Rum Mexico, 40% abv, $18.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Medium amber color. Gently sweet and sugary aromas rise from the glass. In the mouth, the tastes include gum, citrus, dried fruits (pears, plums) and molasses. Aftertaste closes the circle in style with a delicate kiss of brown sugar.
Great Value Photo    
  88 Bacardi Reserva Limitada 14 Years Old Rum United States, 40% abv, $109.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bronze/copper color. Alluring scents of pipe tobacco, honey and brown sugar abound in this generous, delicately sweet and oaky bouquet. Taste profile features multilayered flavors of cream cheese frosting (like for carrot cake), cola nut and molasses. Elegant and classy.
  Photo    
  88 Don Q Gran Añejo Rum Puerto Rico, 40% abv, $59.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep amber/brown color. Smells of bakery shop, flaky pastry, brown sugar and butter cream. In the mouth, the flavors are drier than anticipated and touched with traces of citrus, dark caramel and cane sugar. Finishes medium-long and velvety.
  Photo    
  87 Prichards' Fine 6 Years Old Rum United States, 40% abv, $28.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty amber/topaz hue. Highlighted aromas include toasted marshmallow, praline and brown sugar paste. Tastes of baked fruits (especially apricot and pear), roasted almonds and honey. Finishes long in the throat and toasty.
  Photo    
  86 Bacardi Gold Rum United States, 40% abv, $14.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Light amber color. Straightforward bouquet emits semisweet aromas of honey, vanilla bean and sawdust. On palate, the flavor profile is marginally sweeter and more sap-like than the bouquet. Hints of dried fruits appear in the aftertaste.
Great Value Photo    
  86 Cruzan Aged Dark Rum U.S. Virgin Islands, 40% abv, $13.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Light topaz color. An array of fragrances, from ashes to nutmeg to dark chocolate, delight the olfactory sense. On palate, the flavor menu is broad, offering bittersweet tastes of dark honey, maple syrup, tree sap, root beer and baking spices.
Great Value Photo    
  86 Vizcaya Cristal White Rum Dominican, Rep., 40% abv, $22.00, 1 L Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clear as rainwater appearance. Opening aromas include parchment, refined sugar, grass, vegetation and minerals. In the mouth, the taste menu is layered, highlighting the grassy/vegetal aspect more than the sweet element. Silky texture.
  Photo    
  85 Mount Gay Eclipse Black Rum Barbados, 50% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Dark amber/chestnut color. Smells of cola nut, cocoa, toasted nuts and egg cream/vanilla soda. In the mouth, the elevated spirit (50%) never gets in the way of the hearty, baked banana in syrup and vanilla bean flavors. Robust, delectable aftertaste.
  Photo    
  85 Prichards' Private Stock 10 Years Old Rum United States, 45% abv, $80.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Amber hue. Loads of ripe, semisweet aromas abound, specifically, molasses, treacle, oak resin and toasted marshmallow. On palate, the flavor menu boasts cola, dried orchard fruits, brown butter and chocolate cake frosting.
  Photo    
  84 Don Q Gold Aged Rum Puerto Rico, 40% abv, $13.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Don Q Cristal White Aged Rum Puerto Rico, 40% abv, $12.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Prichards' Crystal Unaged Rum United States, 40% abv, $24.95, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  82 Shellback Silver Rum Barbados, 40% abv, $15.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
       
 

Rum

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.

Rhum Agricole

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 95 Rhum J.M. White Rhum Agricole Martinique, 50% abv, $36.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Extravagant cornucopia of ripening tropical fruit – mango, overripe bananas, papaya – and a wild, funky earthiness combine for an aromatic explosion; flavors are intensely rich of fresh sugar cane and tropical fruit; a delight.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 Clement Cuvee Homere Hors d'Age Rhum Agricole Martinique, 44% abv, $99.95, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Lushly pretty nose of vanilla, crushed nuts and cooked fruit, with a touch of old wood and tobacco; gorgeous array of tropical fruit, vanilla, sweet cream and caramel dashed with cinnamon, clove and lemon. Emminently sippable, with an everlasting finish, the cream of the Caribbean.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Rhum J.M. VSOP Rhum Agricole Martinique, 45% abv, $57.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Nougaty richness with cinnamon and clove aromas; tastes of spiced butter and lemony toffee; smooth and subtle finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Rhum J.M. Millésimé 2001 Rhum Agricole Martinique, 47.2% abv, $119.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Redolent of crushed walnuts and pecans, pecan pie and brown sugar; flavors are more sophisticated, with notes of saddle leather, old wood and tobacco joining the subtle sweetness. Bold, old and enchanting.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 St Barth Cool Rhum Agricole Guadeloupe, 40% abv, $90.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bananas and soursop aromas with a brown sugar richness; clean, sweet and buttery, with cooked tropical fruits and a touch of spice on the finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 91 Depaz Blue Cane Ambre Rhum Agricole Martinique, 45% abv, $35.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Cooked bananas in brown sugar, with a hint of tobacco on the nose; flavors include fresh banana, crisp lemon candy, pipe tobacco and a yeasty funk; sophisticated yet exuberant.
  Photo    
  89 Clement VSOP Vieux Rhum Agricole Martinique, 40% abv, $39.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Vanilla and spice aromas lead to a mild cooked fruit and brown sugar charm; finishes clean and rich, with a brisk cinnamon tang.
  Photo    
  88 Clement Premiere Canne Blanc Rhum Agricole Martinique, 40% abv, $29.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Lush, funky eathiness of cooked tropical fruits and cinnamon buns; the flavors combine a well-knit lemon custard, lime leaf and candied orange peel. Clean and bright finish.
  Photo    
  87 Clement XO Tres Vieux Rhum Agricole Martinique, 44% abv, $139.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Tack room aromas of earth and age lead this austere and sophisticated rhum; unsweetened chocolate and salted caramels with tobacco and chair leather express age, while a burst of lemon acids clean and refresh.
  Photo    
 

Rum

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.

Flavored Rum

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  81 Bacardi O Flavored Rum United States, 35% abv, $17.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  80 Bacardi Dragon Berry Flavored Rum United States, 35% abv, $17.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  80 Don Q Pasion Passion Fruit Flavored Rum Puerto Rico, 30% abv, $13.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  80 Don Q Coco Coconut Flavored Rum Puerto Rico, 21% abv, $13.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  80 Malibu Red Flavored Rum United States, 35% abv, $17.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Rum

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.

Spiced Rum

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  89 Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum St Croix, USVI, 47.3% abv, $21.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Mahogany/henna color. Vivid aromas, in particular, beeswax, minerals, dry earth, vanilla, allspice and sugarcane thrive. In the mouth, the spice aspects are vibrant but don’t eclipse the rum foundation and that’s what is so appealing about this big-hearted spiced rum. Excellent structure due to 47.3% alcohol-by-volume degree.
  Photo    
  86 Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum Virgin Islands, 46% abv, $17.50, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Attractive honey/amber color. Big-time, assertive aromas of vanilla bean and cake frosting immerse the olfactory sense. In the mouth, the flavor profile features moderately spicy, smoky and semisweet tastes that last long into the aftertaste.
Great Value Photo    
  85 Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum U.S. Virgin Islands, 40% abv, $15.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty topaz color. The delicate spiciness that wafts up from the glass is gentle and compelling in a dried fruit/nutty manner. The taste profile highlights the spice more than the fruits or nuts. Finishes rummy and softly bittersweet.
Great Value Photo    
  83 Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum United States, 40% abv, $22.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Blackbeard Spiced Rum Puerto Rico, 43% abv, $14.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  80 Shellback Spiced Rum Barbados, 40% abv, $15.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
       
 

Cachaça

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 91 INOX Original Silver Cachaça Brazil, 40% abv, $30.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clear as rainwater. Intensely grassy opening aroma is supported by graceful scents of mandarin and fig; a "turning heads" bouquet of grace and presence. On palate, the oily texture lends a lot to the overall character of the in-mouth experience as the creaminess accentuates the vegetal/grassy flavor. Top-notch.
Great Value    
  89 Sagatiba Velha Aged Cachaça Brazil, 38% abv, $26.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pale amber color; excellent purity. Aromatic traits include lead pencil, gardenia, sage and allspice. In the mouth, the taste profile features more of the grassiness that one expects. Obviously, the wood maturation has added to the allure of this spirit and was carefully done.
  Photo    
  84 Sagatiba Pura Silver Cachaça Brazil, 38% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Tequila

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.

Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 94 Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Silver Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $52.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich candied nose of cream corn, roasted squash and a subtle dash of citrus; flavors include cooked nectarine sunflower seeds and cotton candy, with a long and lingering lemony finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 El Mayor Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Lovely floral nose of desert rose, geranium and talcum powder, with a flavor profile including pepper and spice, apricots and lime, with a touch of smoke and toasted bread. Lovely mouth-watering finish.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 Siete Leguas Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Earthy lowland aromas of dill weed and brine, with a touch of paper and pine; silky, slightly salty and refreshingly brisk, with a startlingly crisp tang and a bright, long lasting finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Tequila Tromba Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $27.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty aromas of white flowers, orange peel and talcum powder; tangy sage and thyme flavors with a lime zest tang and a light but persistent sweetness, finishing with a crackling mix of sweet and citrusy.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $26.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Scents of freshly ground white pepper, chalk and charcoal; lightly sweet flavors of jalapeño pepper, anise and herbs, ending fresh and clean, well-balanced and off-dry.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Olmeca Altos Plata Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $24.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Classy flower petal and white peppery aromas with a touch of talcum powder; flavor profile very peppery and assertive with loads of limey acids, lemon peel and a cleansing zippy finish.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Tres Agaves Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $27.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bold agave and fresh herb notes with a hint of vinegar and licorice on the nose, with a pleasing and appetizing bitterness, moderate acidity and slightly puckery finish.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 91 Don Julio Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $40.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Notes of dill and tree fruit and a touch of jasmine and fermenting agave; on the palate there’s a white peppery zip and a stony minerality with a touch of honey.
  Photo    
  90 El Jimador Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Enticing earthy aromas of damp slate, green pepper, fresh dill, grass and roasted pumpkin on the nose; palate is round and oily, with rich agave and lightly briney notes that fill the mouth with classic rustic tequila flavors.
Great Value Photo    
  90 Herradura Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $39.95, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Earthy and rustic aromas of cooked agave and roasted pumpkin, with a mouthful of savory herbs – sage, oregano and mint; finishes light and focused with some floral notes.
  Photo    
  89 AGAVE 99 Silver Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 49.5% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Fresh citrusy nose with hints of pencil shavings and dried herbs; bright, shiny palate shows perfectly managed higher alcohol, with an intense but pleasing finish.
  Photo    
  89 Hacienda de Los Diaz Highlands Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $40.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Orchard aromas of ripe and over-ripe fruit and a buttery richness on the nose; white pepper and lime zest flavors create a very long lasting and puckery finish.
  Photo    
  88 Arsenal Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Green beans and brine form the earthy aromatic opening, with flavors of dried thyme, oregano and grass followed by anise and white pepper. Savory and lip-smacking.
Great Value Photo    
  88 Avion Silver Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $40.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Modern tequila made for American tastes – sweetly pretty, peachy and delicate, with modest flavors of mint, wet slate and stone fruit. Modest yet clean finish with a charge of graphite.
  Photo    
  87 Ambhar Tequila Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $45.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pencil shavings, fermented agave and lime-laced minerality on the opening nose, tasting of fresh cut grass and dusty green herbs. Potent and restrained.
  Photo    
  87 Corzo Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Sweet agave aromas dominate with a touch of pear and mint; moderately sweet and citrusy, with refreshingly clean taste and charming finish.
  Photo    
  87 T1 Selecto Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 43% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Notes of green olive and asparagus, with a hint of smoke, followed by flavors of fresh herbs, agave and chile powder. Medium-weight with some minerality, and a good peppery and slate-like finish.
  Photo    
  86 901 Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clean and bright aromas of cucumber, nectarines and peaches highlight a very pretty introduction, joining with flavors of lemon and white pepper in a very direct and crisp tequila.
  Photo    
  85 KIRKLAND Silver Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $18.99, 1.75 L Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A fresh and direct tequila with aromatic notes expressive of ripe agave and touches of citrus; flavors are equally direct, with cooked agave, white pepper and lime, and a clean finish.
Great Value Photo    
  85 Lunazul Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $21.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Spicey nose of eucalyptus and dried mint with white pepper and cooked fruit; on the palate it’s fresh and lean, with robust agave and moderate acidity; finishes bright and light.
  Photo    
  84 Jose Cuervo Platino Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $60.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  80 Manana Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $45.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Tequila

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.

Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 94 Ambhar Tequila Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $48.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Delicate geranium and talc nose with a whiff of cotton candy; on the palate a straight-forward and well-knit mix of cooked agave, vanilla and salted caramels; good sweet and citrusy balance and a pure, laser-like finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Manana Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $50.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Lovely aromas of cinnamon and clove with similar flavors joined by black pepper and pure agave; light caramel and a hint of woodfire gives way to bitter-sweet coffee and a long, lingering finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Siete Leguas Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $42.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Expressive, focused nose of cooked agave, citrus zest and paper; super clean palate of bright intensity with lime peel, dill, light vanilla and oaky sweetness; crisp, tingly and very long lasting finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 El Jimador Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Classic fruit and vanilla balance with notes of sandalwood and nutmeg; perfectly balanced and inviting flavors, including cooked pears, cinnamon and clove, with a high acid finish with ripples of vanilla.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 El Mayor Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $23.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Modest but pleasing cinnamon and woody nose opens up to a smooth and rounded mouth feel, with a good vanilla and agave balance. Finishes lightly peppery with fine oily fullness.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Tres Agaves Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $32.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bright and clean flan and cooked agave nose in fine harmony, and flavors of nectarine and pear sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg and a touch of coco; finish lasts very long with a spritz of lime and pepper.
  Photo    
  Finalist 91 Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $56.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Toasted bread, dried thyme and mace notes provide a delicate bouquet, followed by an elegant and lightly vanilla and anise sweetness; clean and zippy finish with notes of mouth cleansing minerality.
  Photo    
  90 KAH Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 55% abv, $45.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A balanced clove, cinnamon and fresh corn sweetness merges with fragrant roasted fruit aromas; similar flavors mixed with potent lemony acidity finishes with a peppery zing that refreshes and lingers.
  Photo    
  89 Don Julio Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $45.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Aromas of spice cake, sandalwood and vanilla cream, soft and enticing, with a flavor array including cinnamon and nutmeg, custard and brown sugar.
  Photo    
  88 Corazon Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Woodsy fragrances of vanilla and sap, with fresh mint, toffee and green tea; flavor profile includes sweet brininess with a rich resiny quality and a rounded and generous mouthfeel.
  Photo    
  88 Herradura Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $41.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Brine, dried thyme and sage, with earthy expressive aromas backed with an oaky creaminess; assertive and peppery flavors followed by eucalyptus, smoldering agave and tingly white and black pepper.
  Photo    
  87 Olmeca Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $24.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pleasing aromas of fruit and brine, with notes of cooked pumpkin and super-ripe agave; richly sweet yet loads of agave quality with hints of crushed nuts and vanilla, with fine acidity and a clean finish.
  Photo    
  86 Casa Noble Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $49.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Graceful aromas of salted caramel, agave, and sea salt, with flavors of fresh picked dill and pickle brine; elegant palate sweet with cooked fruit, followed by notes of light toffee and candied nuts; finishes long and toasty sweet, like buttered pastry.
  Photo    
  85 Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $26.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Notes of spiced apples, vanilla and clove lead the way , with hints of nutmeg and cedar; light and citrusy on the palate, with a tingle of white pepper and a minerally and crisp finish.
  Photo    
  85 Lunazul Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $21.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Mellow earthiness and light, herbal creaminess on the nose, with gentle mix of agave, black pepper and mint among the prominent flavors; tempered, nutty sweetness and clean acidity to finish.
  Photo    
  84 AGAVE 99 Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $44.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  84 Corzo Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $52.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  84 Don Roberto Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  84 Hacienda de Los Diaz Highlands Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $40.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Avion Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $44.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Tequila

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.

Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 97 Siete Leguas Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $44.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Crushed hazelnuts, toasted coconut, butterscotch and roasted pineapple spiked with lime peel and grapefruit pith. Zesty and lively with a pleasing, long-lasting finish smacking of sandalwood and brown sugar.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 94 Avion Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $48.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Delicate mix of cooked tree and tropical fruit, vanilla and toasted coconut, with a dusting of light brown sugar and sweet baking spices. Very pretty.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Don Julio 1942 Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $125.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Sweet vanilla toffee aromas, toasted almonds and baker’s chocolate, filling the mouth with flavors of agave baked with brown sugar. Sweet tropical fruit notes complete the finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 KAH Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Richly creamy, caramel apple nose with touches of baking spices; the flavors shine with cinnamon flan, nutmeg and egg nog notes; finishes explosively with notes of orange peel, cedar and rum raisin.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Casa Noble Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $59.95, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Aromas of nougat, crushed nuts and vanilla at the start; spicey and slightly briney palate with lip-smacking acidity and a touch of tobacco leaf to balance the oaky sweetness.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 El Jimador Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Earthy and potent aromas of dill, olives and baked pineapple, with a generous and lush flavor profile of salt, pickled peaches and vanilla cream, and a tangy finish.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Tres Agaves Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $37.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Toasted coconut, brown butter and nutmeg aromas and flavors finishing in a nicely balanced fruit, spice and citrus mélange – fine finish with substantial acidity.
  Photo    
  Finalist 91 Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $98.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Creamy, sweet caramel, light maple syrup and toasty oak with a rippling and pungent acidity; a clean, delicate yet powerful expression.
  Photo    
  89 Don Julio 70 Claro Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $70.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Roasted tropical fruit and citrus with vanilla, caramel and toasted oak, all surrounding an agave heart. Lots of toasted, even charred oak, black pepper and touches of chocolate and coffee undertones. A lean yet rounded anejo.
  Photo    
  89 Herradura Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Sweet and well-balanced with baked tropical fruits, vanilla, caramel, baking spices and candied coconut. Touch of slat and black olive on the robust finish.
  Photo    
  88 Ambhar Tequila Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $50.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pleasing vanilla and baking spice nose, with subtle flavors of candied yam, preserved lemon and star anise; fine body and a pure and clean finisher.
  Photo    
  88 El Mayor Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Nose of black bananas and maple syrup, with flavors of crushed walnuts, passionfruit and toasted coconut. Lush, nutty and a fine sipper.
  Photo    
  87 AGAVE 99 Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 49.5% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Assertive aromas of pine forest and fresh-turned earth, tasting of anise, orange peel, pickle brine and salted caramel. An expressive powerhouse.
  Photo    
  87 KIRKLAND Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $21.99, 1 L Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pleasing aromatic blend of vanilla custard, wood spice and agave; loads of baking spices – cinnamon, clove, mace – and a touch of chile powder make this a satisfyingly spicy and enticing anejo with a mouth watering finish.
  Photo    
  87 Lunazul Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $21.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Toasty oak and light tobacco aromas followed by a rich, even oily mouth filled with star anise, pine and candy corn flavors. Clean and refreshing finisher.
  Photo    
  87 Manana Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $55.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Subtle nose of sandalwood and nutmeg very expressive of oak; lightly sweet with hints of chocolate and café au lait and some vibrant acidity similar to lemon and lime leaf on a long lasting finish.
  Photo    
  86 T1 Estelar Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $54.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pungent mix of toasted oak and ripe tree fruit with a tangy fruit vinegar zip; good astringency, notes of coffee, roasted cocoa and black pepper in the finish.
  Photo    
  85 Don Roberto Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $44.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Roast peaches, mint and toasted bread aromas with cooked banana and salted lemon caramel flavors. Sweet cocoa and coffee finish.
  Photo    
  84 Corazon Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  82 Corzo Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $64.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Tequila

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.

Extra Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 94 Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $125.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Whiffs of chocolate and old cigar box emerge as this beauty warms, yielding to coffee and leather; the mouth fills with rounded mature flavors of baking spices, toasted coconut and black pepper, and finishes with a mouth watering astringency.
  Photo    
  88 Alquimia 6 Years Old Extra Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $150.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Gold/amber color. First nosings encounter toasty, roasted vegetable aromas, including cigar box and tobacco leaf scents, then the bouquet turns oaky/resiny. On palate, the taste profile relies mostly on the oaky vanilla that supports the creamy texture well.
  Photo    
  86 Herradura Seleccion Suprema Extra Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $375.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Earthy mix of green olives, pine forest and roasting fruit, knit together with a load of creamy vanilla; well-rounded notes of sweetened condensed milk, espresso beans and lime zest and a tangy, zesty finish.
  Photo    
 

Tequila

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.

Tequila Mixto

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  84 Azteca Gold Mixto Joven Abocado (Gold) Tequila Mexico, 38% abv, RUB700.00, 700 ml , seeking US Importer Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Mezcal

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 92 Del Maguey Vida Single Village Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 42% abv, $36.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Earthy aromas of fresh green herbs and dusty roadsides announce a rustic expressiveness; smoked fruit, a touch of smoldering rubber and lemon and lime pull together the classic Oaxacan profile.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 91 Mano Negra Tobala Mezcal Mexico, 48% abv, $90.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Smoked chiles and a sugar cane sweetness emerge first from this muscular mescal, succeeded by a bit of brine; the flavors are rich with over-ripe fruit and a sweet sootiness characteristic of classic mezcal. Finishes briney and assertive.
  Photo    
  Finalist 91 Sombra Mezcal United States, 45% abv, $35.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A potent combination of smoke and ripe fruit, this mezcal is expressive of the rusticity and earthiness expected from great mezcal. Riveting acid finishes the smoked fruit and green herb flavors.
  Photo    
  Finalist 90 El Tinieblo Joven Mezcal Mexico, 40% abv, $44.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A blast of sweet smokiness erupts from this youthful mezcal, with a clean and refreshing limeiness and a satisfying pulse of earthiness. Expressive and evolved.
  Photo    
  Finalist 90 Los Amantes Reposado Mezcal Mexico, 40% abv, $64.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Benchmark smoldering smokiness lead the aromas, while the palate finds a creamy and lemony balance to a authentically Oaxacan sootiness. Finishes with massive smoke but a mouth-watering and lingering finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 90 Pierde Almas Tobala Joven Mezcal Mexico, 47.8% abv, $114.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Earthy brineyness and smokey aromas erupt; flavors of smoked peaches and candy corn merge with a creamy mouthfeel for a generous and potent finish.
  Photo    
  89 Mano Negra Espadin Mezcal Mexico, 50% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clean and fresh aromas of very ripe fruit followed by a smoldering fruit wood fire; rich milky sweetness and a lemony zing and a clean and delightful finish.
  Photo    
  89 Pierde Almas Conejo Joven Mezcal Mexico, 51.2% abv, $259.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pure and clear. Shows aggressive aromatic notes of black pepper, road tar, tobacco leaf and dill right out of the gate. In the mouth, the ashy, smoky, peppery flavors highlight both flowers and fruit in equal measure. Delightful.
  Photo    
  89 Wahaka Joven Tobala Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 40% abv, $80.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pomace and crushed gravel aromas, followed by smoked fruit and chiles; smoked pineapple and citrus fruits and a touch of sweet roasted yams spritzed with lemon lead the flavors in this agave rich spirit.
  Photo    
  89 Wahaka Joven Madre Cuishe Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 40% abv, $80.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Easy, lightly smokey opening – for a mezcal, at least – develops nto a complex amalgam of over-ripe fruit, rose petals and candied flowers. Cleansing lemon and lime notes leave a clean and refreshed palate.
  Photo    
  87 Wahaka Reposado con Gusano Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 40% abv, $35.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Aromas of roasted squash, candied fruits and smoked meats combine for a dramatic bouquet; the flavors include smoked chiles, dried dill and oregano and candy corn. Fresh, lemony finish.
  Photo    
  87 Wahaka Joven Ensamble Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 40% abv, $80.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Gently earthy nose of dusty herbs and crushed, ripe tree fruit yield to flavors of lavender, cooked pineapple, apples and pears backed by a restrained smoke and spice thread.
  Photo    
  86 Ilegal Reposado Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 40% abv, $39.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Unusual smokeless mezcal presents pure agave aromas with hints of vanilla and caramel; flavors emerge as a well-knit and precise expression of roasted pumpkin and sweet spices.
  Photo    
  84 Wahaka Joven Espadin Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 40% abv, $30.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Whiskey

American Whiskey

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 92 Balcones "1" Texas Single Malt American Whiskey United States, 52.5% abv, $67.50, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Brilliant deep amber/bronze color. Smells early on of caraway, leather and dried fruits, then with aeration aromas of flowers and malted milk appear. Intense, grainy and resiny in the mouth. Succulent finish.
  Photo    
  89 Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey United States, 45% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Topaz color. Toasty, Graham crackers, sap and vanilla bean abound in the first nosings; fruity and leathery later on. In the mouth, it tastes of charred oak, toasted almond and marshmallow. Long in the aftertaste and slightly honeyed.
  Photo    
  88 Clyde May's American Whiskey United States, 42.5% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty amber hue. Old books/old saddle leather upfront aromas are supported by delicately sweet grainy notes. On palate, the flavor profile bursts open with dried fruits, sage and black pepper. Silky finish.
  Photo    
  88 Kansas Spirit American Whiskey United States, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Tarnished silver color; pure. Aromas include cocoa bean, coffee latte, grain spirit and maple. In the mouth, it’s surprisingly sweet and biscuit, always like spiced sugar cookies. Delectable and savory.
  Photo    
  85 Benjamin Prichard's Lincoln County Lightning Unaged Corn American Whiskey United States, 45% abv, $19.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Attractive pewter color. Opening aromas offer new spirit freshness, mostly in the pleasant forms of spring flowers (jasmine, honeysuckle) and dried orchard fruits (pears especially). On palate, it’s warming, flowery and quite sweet. Smoky finish.
  Photo    
  83 Hudson New York Corn American Whiskey United States, 46% abv, $34.00, 375 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  82 White Pike Young White American Whiskey United States, 40% abv, $35.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  81 Benjamin Prichard's Single Malt American Whiskey United States, 40% abv, $51.95, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  81 Double Diamond American Whiskey United States, 40% abv, $32.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  81 Mickey Finn Blended Whiskey with Natural Apple Flavors Wheat Whiskey Netherlands, 35% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Whiskey

Bourbon

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 98 Blanton's Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 46.5% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Authoritative single barrel nose of dried fruits, brown spices and restrained vanilla; flavors of salted caramel, honey, walnuts, orange peel and milk chocolate. Stays creamy, even unctuous as the finish unfolds with a remarkable dryness and elevated citrusy conclusion. Ultimate sophistication in bourbon.
  Photo    
  Finalist 97 Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 50% abv, $69.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Intense and potent with aromas of dark fruit, smoked meat and fruit cake); on the palate it’s expressive and powerful, more dry than sweet with notes of leather, tobacco and a tangy brininess. Finishes crisp and spicy, with cinnamon, clove and mace on board with prune leather and a touch of cocoa.
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 Breckenridge Bourbon United States, 43% abv, $39.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Lustrous copper color. Splendidly lush cornmeal, English toffee, coffee bean and corn oil scents headline the aromatic phase. Multilayered flavor profile is rife with buttered popcorn and brown butter notes that last well into the robust finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 William Larue Weller 12 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 66.75% abv, $69.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Creamed corn, toasty oak, crushed almond and vanilla scents emerge in a massive and powerful eruption of a beautifully knit aged expression; the flavor profile is dry, complex and toasty, with a restrained sweetness and an intensely grainy and long finish. Intense and potent.
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 45.2% abv, $32.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Flowery and pretty opening offers hints of cedar shavings and brown sugar-coated almonds, while the flavors start moderately sweet, adding a bit of toasted bread, smoky oak and candied orange peel to the rounded corny sweetness and unsweetened cocoa at the finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 46.9% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Enticing yet dry scents of leather, vanilla, coconut and black pepper, with a rich, sweet and sappy pine-like tang, followed by a flash of unsweetened cocoa powder, then oaky vanilla, and maple sap. Finishes crisp and full.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 95 Benjamin Prichard's Double Barrel Bourbon United States, 45% abv, $72.95, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Attractive burnished orange hue. Opens up with big, comely maple, vanilla, buttered corn-on-the-cob and resin notes. In the mouth, the sinewy texture supports full-out tastes of oak, cocoa bean and caramel corn. Superb.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Bulleit Frontier Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 45% abv, $27.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Toasted rye, brown butter and an intense graininess lead the aroma array, with savory and spicey flavors of fresh sweet corn, nougat, buttered popcorn and brown sugar. Finishes with an intensely peppery tang and lots of long, corny/grainy tastes.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 95 Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 45% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Medium gold in color; the nose brings notes of butterscotch, clover, vanilla, and old leather. The big body bears a palate with an almost wine-like character that balances intense fruits, honey, and vanilla with a light spiciness that shows off the distiller's craft. The finish is long and warm.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 95 Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch Extra Aged Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 43% abv, $12.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Subtle scents of banana, rose, fresh cut grass and marzipan; palate is semisweet, oaky and honeyed, with toffee and light caramel tastes emerging. Finishes lean, off-dry and regal.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 95 Four Roses Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 50% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Well-balanced and potent with a good alcohol/oak/grain balance; notes of leather, breakfast cereal and honey, and tasting of caramel, nougat and oaky vanilla; finishes bright with a mix of cereal, toasted rye bread, popcorn, and honey. Seamlessly integrated and graceful bourbon.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve 9 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 60% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Dry sophisticated and muscular, with a density and power controlled by a toffee, cocoa and maple syrup sweetness; baking spice, eucalyptus and resiny, with a drying and peppery finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 47.8% abv, $199.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Sizzling bacon, tack room leather and marzipan among the top notes, underlined with a surprisingly rich sweetness for its age. Elegant, beguiling and intense, so beautifully knit that the flavors of coffee, marzipan and vanilla appear seamless; finishes tangy, sweet, and resiny.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Small Batch 12 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 55% abv, $99.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Honeysuckle, toasted oak and almond toffee. Subtle fruit flavors of dried apricot and ripe plum with suggestions of brown sugar, honey and cherries. Fruity finish with delicate hints of plum, apricot and chocolate covered cherries.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 45% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Intriguing notes of dark chocolate and toffee with spiced apple cobbler quality; tastes initially like toffee and vanilla bean, building to a peachy caramel and maple syrup glaze quality. Beautifully knit, robust and classy.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 94 Old Forester Signature Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 50% abv, $22.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Spicy aromas of black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and dry vanilla with a hint of leather; flavors start with creamy caramel and lots of classic bourbon sweetness – maple syrup, vanilla cream and orange peel. Tangy dryness and citrus balance out the finish with a touch of licorice toffee.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 94 Parker's Heritage Collection Cognac Finished 10 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 50% abv, $79.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Complex nose of prunes, raisins and buttered popcorn; flavor profile that’s sophisticated and masculine, with candied apples and caramel corn picking up hints of dried fruit, old leather, tobacco leaf and a mouth-filling oiliness. Licorice Allsorts and fruity nuttiness brings a dry and sophisticated conclusion.
  Photo    
  93 Benchmark Old No. 8 Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 40% abv, $11.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Toffee, crushed nuts and baking spices on the nose, with classic bourbon flavors of brown sugar, caramel and vanilla. A bit of orangey zip and corn sweetness complete the rich and satisfying picture.
Great Value Photo    
  93 Eagle Rare Single Barrel 10 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 45% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Nicely aromatic pop of toasted wheat bread, dried tobacco leaf, over-ripe banana and charcoal; somewhat restrained on the palate, it starts dry and evolves into a resiny richness, with flavors of toast, raisins, charred oak and candied almonds. The finish is long, sweet, moderately fiery, and oily.
  Photo    
  93 George T. Stagg 18 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 71.3% abv, $69.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Dynamic and richly perfumed, a powerhouse of potency and grace. Aromas of bittersweet chocolate, egg cream, brown sugar, marshmallow and nougat. The palate entry is silky, and intensely flavorful with muscular notes sherry, dark toffee and very old cognac in its earthiness. Large and in charge in every way.
  Photo    
  92 Jefferson's Presidential Select 18 Years Old Bourbon United States, 47% abv, $89.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep chestnut color. Elegant, stately aroma offers dusty dry scents of sawdust/wood plank, cooking spices (black pepper, clove) and caramel corn. In the mouth, the flavor reaches its zenith at midpalate, where the taste components merge into a single woody, leathery flavor.
  Photo    
  92 Jefferson's Bourbon United States, 41.15% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Topaz color. Bouquet features elements of corn-on-the-cob, snack crackers, marshmallow and baked apricot. On palate, the flavor profile breaks loose and expands its horizons by adding aspects of toffee and praline. Ends elegantly.
  Photo    
  92 Kentucky Tavern Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 40% abv, $10.69, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Lots of pleasing fruit aromas – banana, apple, cherry – and a moderate vanilla sweetness. Light on the palate and tastes of sweet peaches in cinnamon brown sugar. Good balance and nicely spicy finish.
Great Value Photo    
  92 Wild Turkey Rare Breed Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 50.5% abv, $35.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
New leather, resin and pine aromas, with a flavor profile that gathers sweet vanilla oakiness, sweet corn piquancy, cedar and pine with a luxurious creamy quality; smooth and chewy, it’s a robust and challenging mouthful with a enticing candied walnut finish.
  Photo    
  91 Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 45% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A terrific mix of sugary sweet corn and intense spiciness; like the buttery richness of brown sugar or pecan pie, bolstered with a touch of soot and grilled peaches. Potent and engaging, finally smooth and satisfying.
Great Value Photo    
  91 Early Times 354 Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 40% abv, $15.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Enticing banana walnut cake aromas, with a rich, treacly opening, followed by crushed walnuts, pleasing sweet and lemony cleansing quality; straightforward and pleasant corn richness, with a tangy aggressiveness.
Great Value Photo    
  91 Hudson Four-Grain 4 Years Old Bourbon United States, 46% abv, $45.00, 375 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty topaz hue. Aroma features evolved and melded (for its age) fragrances of lead pencil, stone and unsweetened breakfast cereal. Taste-wise, the flavor profile highlights the oaky vanillin, popcorn and faintly fruity aftertaste.
  Photo    
  91 Old Forester Birthday 2011 Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 49% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Brashly spicy, vanilla-rich and new leathery, with flavors that include dark plums, raisins, a hint of orange peel, cinnamon and clove. There’s a caramel creaminess that leads to a crisp, spicy and satisfying finish.
  Photo    
  91 Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 50.5% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Sweet corn and baking spices with a leathery dryness is backed with a peppery and aggressive richness and notes honey, nuts and black tea. Big and powerful.
Great Value Photo    
  90 Benjamin Prichard's Double Chocolate Bourbon United States, 45% abv, $68.95, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep amber color. The seductive fragrance of cocoa bean/dark chocolate compels one to taste this whiskey. On palate, loads of rich, cocoa-like flavors meld beautifully with the corn spirit and the oak. Really works as a whiskey.
     
  89 Hudson Baby Bourbon Bourbon United States, 46% abv, $40.00, 375 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pristine purity. Offers spirit, corny, oily aromas that come out of the gate aggressive, then settle down turning more floral and fruity. In the mouth, it’s clean, astringent, fresh and still somewhat floral.
  Photo    
  89 Wild Turkey 81 Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 40.5% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Lightly vanilla and fruit backed with corn sweetness and spicey rye in a rounded and welcoming rye-influenced bourbon. Caramel, honey, vanilla, orange peel and the rye spiciness complete the package with a tingly finish.
Great Value Photo    
  88 Four Roses Yellow Label Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Vibrant cornbread, butter and spice scents; crisp and sweet at first, then a touch of caramel and leather, and a light marshmallow like softness. Finishes medium long with loads of sweet corn and toasty oak.
Great Value Photo    
  88 Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition 12 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 54.4% abv, $99.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Apples and pears sizzled with nutmeg and a hint of rose petal on the nose, flavors include spicy buttered rye toast dusted with cinnamon, pear compote and brown butter. Finishes smooth and mellow with tang of maple syrup.
  Photo    
  88 Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 43% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Flowery and popcorn-like aromas yield to underlying scents of sweet grain, pepper and a bit of mint; some charred corn and spice becomes drying and clean on the medium finish. Charming and easy to drink.
Great Value Photo    
  86 Cacao Prieto Cacao 4 Years Old Bourbon United States, 40% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Chestnut color. Vigorous aromas of cocoa bean, vanilla extract and corn syrup all converge in the early bouquet, then fade slightly with aeration. In the mouth, the taste profile is sweet, corny and chocolaty. Thick texture.
     
 

Whiskey

Rye Whiskey

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 94 Masterson's Straight Rye Whiskey Canada, 45% abv, $79.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Amber color. High-flying breakfast cereal aromas waft up from the glass, dry and grainy. In the mouth, the flavor profile includes earth/soil, oaky vanilla, sap and tree bark. Concludes in a satiny rush that’s appealing and sophisticated.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Bulleit Rye Whiskey United States, 45% abv, $27.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Attractive bronze color; pure. First inhalations detect rye bread, caraway seeds and pepper; then the nose turns marginally sweeter. On palate, there’s a succulence that’s seductive and delicately sweet while being savory.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 91 Sazerac Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey United States, 45% abv, $26.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty auburn color. Offers bread dough aromas that are yeasty, slightly sour/tart and clean. On palate, the flavors are fruity (plums), creamy and resiny dry. Aftertaste features sap, maple syrup and seeds.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 90 Benjamin Prichard's Rye Whiskey United States, 40% abv, $51.95, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Amber/topaz hue. Heady aromas of spirit, old oak, men’s club/old books and buttered corn-on-the-cob. In the mouth, the flavor profile settles into a lean, sinewy texture that’s rife with grainy cereal tastes as well as toasted marshmallow.
  Photo    
  89 Woodford Reserve Master's Collection New Cask Straight Rye Whiskey United States, 46.2% abv, $99.00, 375 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bronze/henna color. Fairly closed off aroma until traces of beeswax and parchment emerge, along with bread dough. On palate, it’s fruity, grainy, woody and spicy as the texture grows plump and creamy. Aftertaste is buttery and smooth.
  Photo    
  84 Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Aged Cask Straight Rye Whiskey United States, 46.2% abv, $99.00, 375 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey United States, 46% abv, $45.00, 375 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Whiskey

Tennessee Whiskey

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 91 George Dickel Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey United States, 43% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bright amber/honey color. Truckloads of caramel corn, hazelnut, waxpaper and toffee aromas delight; a tantalizing bouquet. Flavor-wise, the entry shows a trace of pipe tobacco while the midpalate tastes feature buttered popcorn, bacon fat and peanut butter. Handsome, integrated whiskey.
Great Value Photo    
  89 George Dickel #12 Tennessee Whiskey United States, 45% abv, $22.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bronze color. Plump and grassy in the front-end aroma, then with aeration notes of paraffin, grain kernel and tobacco ash kick in. Tastes of light honey, cereal grains and cigarette tobacco. Finishes creamy, buttery and sassy.
  Photo    
  88 Benjamin Prichard's Tennessee Whiskey United States, 40% abv, $41.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Medium amber/topaz color. Very vegetal and earthy in the first ethereal sniffs, then the aroma finds its’ footing, giving off scents of sourdough bread and corn-on-the-cob. On palate, flavors of caramel corn and caramel come alive, lasting long into the aftertaste.
  Photo    
  88 George Dickel #8 Tennessee Whiskey United States, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Harvest gold color. Sooty aromas of fireplace ashes, tobacco leaf and lanolin vie for attention. In the mouth, the base flavor is toasted grain while supplementary tastes of almonds and dried fruit accentuate the corn.
Great Value Photo    
 

Whiskey

Blended Irish Whiskey

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 99 Midleton Barry Crockett Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 46% abv, $240.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is amazingly harmonious and complex with waves of peach, dried red fruits, toffee, wild herbs, vanilla fudge, honey, and cocoa with hints of sea salt, cedar, and baked apple. Silky and warming with a honey-like texture. The oak notes are seamlessly integrated with exotic spices found on the finish. Perfection in a glass.
  Photo    
  Finalist 97 Jameson 18 Years Old Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $85.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics are simply beautiful with waves of dried pear, peach, toffee, honey, almond butter, orange peel, and vanilla. Rich and semi-viscous in the mouth with layers of concentrated fruit, malt, grain, and roasted nuts. Perfectly balanced with a dry finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 Tullamore Dew Reserve 10 Years Old Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $32.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich and unctuous offering a creamy, malty core with a generous spice and ginger notes. The palate is quite generous, offering flavors of biscuit, caramel, toffee, dried fruits, and roasted nuts. Ideally balanced and as charming as Whiskey can be. The perfect nightcap.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Bushmills Black Bush Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose explodes with scents of dried apricots, prunes, dates, sweet sherry, roasted nuts, almond brittle, mango, and a mélange of tropical notes. A rich, semi-viscous mid-palate that expands with notes of dark chocolate, treacle, and decadent fig preserves, in full agreement with the nose.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 95 Bushmills Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A very fragrant Whiskey with scents of fresh grass and spring flowers with touches of candied almonds, mango, and a faint coconut impression. The palate delivers on the promise of the nose being youthful while lush and generous with flavors of baked orchard fruits that become quite dry and a bit green on the finish.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 95 Jameson 12 Years Old Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $50.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is incredibly lush and complex offering waves of ripe oranges and tropical fruits with accents of caramel, toffee, cinnamon, vanilla, and Sherry. The palate is lush and full while clean and vibrant with baked orchard fruits and honey taking the lead. Long trailing secondary notes of bacon fat, toasted walnuts, and butterscotch linger on the finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Jameson Black Barrel Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $35.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Delicate while generous with the scents of crisp green apples, toasted grains, citrus, oak, and black pepper. the palate is vibrant and spicy with pepper notes gripping the semisweet malt and grain core.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 46% abv, $250.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is rich and exotic with the scents of baked tropical fruits, honey, ginger, black currants, plum, nutmeg, and toffee, with hints of cinnamon, allspice, and pepper. Ideally balanced with a rich velvety core and a dry, oak filled finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Midleton Very Rare Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $125.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
An epic whiskey with flawless balance. Perfectly proportioned with layers of baked baked apple and pear, toffee, toasted nuts, grain, honey, apricot, and aan exotic supporting note of brown baking spices.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Michael Collins Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $26.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Complex with seamless integration of dried fruits, pepper, granola, nougat, and vanilla with hints of milk chocolate and orange peel. Wonderfully proportioned with long lingering grain, caramel, and spice notes.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 94 Powers John's Lane Release 12 Years Old Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 46% abv, $65.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Incredibly rich and malty with loads of Sherry notes, treacle, saddle leather, toffee, brown butter, dark chocolate, honey, cigar box, and vanilla bean. Luxuriously textured with great length and perfect balance. Simply amazing.
  Photo    
  93 Jameson Gold Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $60.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich with harmonious notes of honeycomb, toasted barley, treacle, granola, dried bitter cherries, vanilla bean, and rye bread. Silky while delicate marrying the complex set of flavors seamlessly delivering dry and lush notes simultaneously. A beautiful Whiskey with style and panache.
  Photo    
  93 McFadden Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Lovely amber/old gold color. Vibrant aromas include toasted grains, unsalted snack crackers and yeasty bread dough. On palate, there’s a distinctive herbal quality that doesn’t get in the way of the primary grain and oak flavors. Concludes semisweet and toasty.
  Photo    
  93 Powers Gold Label Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $30.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is filled with the unmistakable pot still character and classic, hefty Irish Whiskey flavors of honeycomb with toasted grain, biscuits, vanilla cream, and touched with subtle notes of black pepper and cardamom. Wonderfully balanced and uplifting.
  Photo    
  93 Powers 12 Years Old Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $35.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is a wonderfully concentrated version of the standard Powers Whiskey with a greater presence of toffee that marries ideally with honey, toasted grains, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon bark. The palate echoes the nose offering rich pot still Whiskey character with refreshing spice and oak notes.
  Photo    
  93 Tullamore Dew Reserve 12 Years Old Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $40.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich with sherry notes a with a bit of honey, nougat, fig, brown spice, and vanilla compliment the sweet grain and malt core. The palate is remarkably vibrant considering its weight and viscosity with a fresh citrus accent and lingering notes of shortbread and ginger biscuits.
  Photo    
  93 Tullamore Dew Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $26.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is soft, pleasing and seductive with scents of grain, fresh baked bread, spearmint, orange, vanilla, and spring flowers. The palate offers a bit of an oily character adding length and a pretty texture note. An absolute classic.
  Photo    
  92 2 Gingers 4 Years Old Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Delicate and massively appealing with rich notes of malted barley, wild honey, caramel, and vanilla, with hints of orange zest and nutmeg. Silky while vibrant on the palate with a refreshing brown spice and pepper note with accents of ginger and fresh toasted grain.
Great Value Photo    
  92 Jameson Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $28.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is generously dominated by toasted grain notes with hints of roasted nuts, dry earth tones, and citrus. Medium-bodied with grain and granola forward flavors supported by notes of honey, orange peel, and cinnamon.
  Photo    
  91 Finian's Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is complex and inviting with scents of sweet malted barley, toasted grains, wild honey, butter toffee, and vanilla. The palate fully expresses the nose delivering a lush and vibrant multi-layered flavor experience with delicate accents of nougat, black pepper, and roasted nuts.
  Photo    
  88 Concannon Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $25.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pleasingly delicate while generous with rich notes of malted barley, wild honey, citrus, caramel, and peach, with hints of toffee and nutmeg. Velvety while zesty with a refreshing notes of ginger, black pepper, and oak.
  Photo    
 

Whiskey

Irish Pot Still Whiskey

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 96 Redbreast Cask Strength 12 Years Old Irish Pot Still Whiskey Ireland, 57.7% abv, $65.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bold and generous are the two best words to describe this whiskey. Waves of baked orchard fruits and tropical fruits fill the nose with supporting notes of toffee, toasted malt, honey, treacle, nutmeg, and clove. Rich and viscous on the palate showing both power and grace.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Redbreast 12 Years Old Irish Pot Still Whiskey Ireland, 43% abv, $40.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Outrageously complex offering a tremendous melange of baked apple and pear flavors married perfectly with honey, toffee, toasted grains, peanut brittle, brown butter, and nutmeg. The finish lingers for minutes offering a great interplay of black pepper, clove, and caramel.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Redbreast 15 Years Old Irish Pot Still Whiskey Ireland, 46% abv, $75.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is incredibly complex and seductive offering scents of caramel orange, honey, baked apples, toasted grains, brown baking spices, and toffee. The palate is equal to the nose offering a lush core of sweet fruit and spiced laced malt. Richly textured with flavors that linger for minutes.
  Photo    
 

Whiskey

Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 97 Bushmills 16 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $74.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is generous and quite herbal with lush with honey and caramel. Scents of eucalyptus, mint, and pine needles, mingle with sweet malt, caramel, candied cashews, and dark chocolate. The palate is lush while lively with accents of dry citrus zest and earth oak tones. Ideally balanced and full of intrigue.
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 Michael Collins 10 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Wonderfully aromatic with loads of butterscotch, cereal, honey, roasted almonds, apple, and lightly smoked toffee. Decadent and spicy with layers of malt, herbs, and loverly black pepper notes.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Bushmills 21 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $124.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose reveals a clever marriage of dark, dried fruits, like red and black currants, and apricot, with toffee, vanilla, cocoa nibs, and roasted nuts. The palate is harmonious, rich, and ideally balanced, with alternating waves of malt, toasted grains, nuts, and more dried fruits with accents of candied ginger.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Bushmills 10 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose showcases mineral, orange marmalade, and almonds with hints of smoke. Altogether lean. The palate is far more generous, offering flavors of biscuit, caramel, toffee, dried fruits, and marzipan. Dry and a bit austere with greatly defined note of grain and a clever, subtle use of wood.
  Photo    
  89 Tullamore Dew 10 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $35.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bright and vibrant on the nose with toasted grains in the lead with accents of orange peel, cinnamon, and allspice, dried apricot, and vanilla. Equally vibrant on the palate with lingering fruit, spice, and oak notes. A real beauty.
  Photo    
 

Whiskey

Irish Poteen

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  92 Knockeen Hills Irish Poteen Ireland, 60% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is pure and delicate with notes of ripe pear, star fruit, and sweet grains. The palate is incredibly silky and refined delivering vibrant fruit flavors with hints of grass, heather, and pear skins. Perfectly balanced with style and grace.
  Photo    
 

Whisky

Canadian Whisky

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 92 Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Amber/old gold color. Zesty aromas of eucalyptus, new leather and caramel corn delight and impress the olfactory apparatus. In the mouth, the corny sweet taste menu includes black pepper, raisins, figs and prunes. Finishes like buttered popcorn and elegantly.
  Photo    
  Finalist 91 Canadian Mist Black Diamond Canadian Whisky Canada, 43% abv, $14.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Marigold yellow/amber color. First inhalations detect raisins in cereal, toasted almond and tree sap aromas. In the mouth, the flavor profile ascends with tastes of caramel, honeyed breakfast cereal and toasted marshmallow. Ends on a sour apple note.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 91 Still Waters Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $39.95, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pale amber color. Opening nose is charred and toasty upfront, then turns deeply grainy. On palate, the flavor menu features lean tastes of corn syrup, poppy seeds, trail mix and dried apricot. Concludes medium-long.
     
  Finalist 90 Royal Canadian Small Batch Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Topaz color. Intriguing aromas include tropical fruits (banana, pineapple), pine cones, fibers/textile and toffee. In the mouth, taste profile is astringent at entry then opens up becoming more peppery and cereal-like.
Great Value Photo    
  89 Gibson's Finest 12 Years Old Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty topaz hue. Tart aromas of cereal grains, beeswax and waxpaper abound. In the mouth, there’s a seriously dry and caramel-like taste of tobacco and wood resin. Aftertaste is narrow in focus, desert dry and intensely corny.
  Photo    
  89 Rich & Rare Reserve Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $11.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bronze color. Cornmeal and parchment aromas highlight the early on aroma phase, followed by breakfast cereal and baking spice after aeration. In the mouth, the entry is zesty and richly creamy while the midpalate features oaky vanilla and resin. Aftertaste is robust.
Great Value Photo    
  88 Collingwood Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $27.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Brilliant topaz/14-carat gold color. Rich aromas of toffee and coffee bean rise from the glass. In the mouth, the flavors include oatmeal, rye bread, sesame seeds and toffee. Finishes medium-long, off-dry and corny.
  Photo    
  88 Wiser's Super Premium 18 Years Old Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $64.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Attractive bronze hue. Aromatic shades of honey, jasmine, brown rice, saddle leather and treacle make for intriguing sniffing. On palate, the taste menu soars with caramel, honey, prunes and figs. Concludes long, satiny and grainy.
  Photo    
  88 Wiser's Legacy Super Premium Canadian Whisky Canada, 45% abv, CAD49.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Visually appealing copper/bronze color. Smells of corn-on-the-cob, corn bread and poppy seed muffins. In the mouth, the flavor profile boasts corn oil, toffee, honey and snack crackers. Ends on a buttery note.
  Photo    
  87 Black Velvet Reserve Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $13.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pale gold color. First whiffs encounter herbal, earthy and marshmallow scents. On palate, the entry is creamy while the midpalate showcases roasted walnuts, toasted marshmallow and cereal grains. Concludes gently sweet and woody.
Great Value Photo    
  87 Crown Royal Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $25.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Orange/bronze hue. Dramatic aromas of honey, sherry, spearmint and roasted peanuts make deep impressions. Palate entry features light toffee while midpalate sensations feature chocolate-covered cherries and dried pineapple taste.
  Photo    
  86 Wiser's Small Batch Canadian Whisky Canada, 43.4% abv, CAD29.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Lovely bronze color. Aromatic highlights include oak resin, soy sauce and peanut oil. In the mouth, the taste profile reveals dry to off-dry flavors of lanolin, vegetable oil, roasted almonds and toasted grains. Aftertaste is zesty and hearty.
  Photo    
  86 Wiser's Deluxe Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $25.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty deep amber color, nearing bronze. Scents of cornhusk, poppy seed and corn syrup rule the aromatic phase. On palate, the flavor menu highlights caramel corn and tree sap. Finish is medium-long, tarter than the midpalate and lean.
  Photo    
  85 Canadian Mist Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $11.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Harvest gold color. Sweet maple-like aromas are complemented by deeper scents of vanilla bean, dark caramel and honey. Taste-wise, it’s akin to maple syrup, pipe tobacco and baked apricot. Long in the finish.
Great Value Photo    
  85 SinFire Cinnamon Flavored Canadian Whisky Canada, 35% abv, $16.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Gold/amber color. Spicy, nose-pricking cinnamon comes leaping out of the glass in potent waves. In the mouth, the zesty/spicy flavor profile clearly favors the cinnamon flavoring over all else, yet to its credit it’s not sweet. Cinnamon blast is tame by the aftertaste.
  Photo    
  83 Crown Royal Black Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $30.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Whisky

Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 97 Caol Ila 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $50.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics are incredibly complex and intense while being harmonious and gentle. Scents of grass, smoldering embers, bacon, nutmeg, and dried fruits. The palate offers a lovely, silky texture with incredible length and a pleasing viscosity and a deft touch of wood. A beautiful world-class malt.
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 Bowmore 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $119.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Amazingly complex offering notes of caramel, wild flowers, malt, peat smoke, and dried fruits. Luxuriously textured being wonderfully viscous while vibrant and never cloying as the rich fruit and decadent sweet malt notes evolve to spice and smoke with toasted grains. An absolute gem!
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 Glen Grant 16 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $79.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose reveals a sophisticated and refined malt with loads of ripe apple and pear supported by nutmeg, malt, roasted almonds, and citrus. Delicate while generous on the palate with long lingering notes of honey, vanilla, and mace with hints of pepper.
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 Glenfarclas 25 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $149.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is rich with the scents of Sherry, orange marmalade, fruit cake, honey, mocha, and dates with accents of cigar, leather, dark chocolate, roasted walnuts, and caramel. Wonderfully balanced and luxuriously textured showing obvious signs of great maturity. A rare and ponderous malt.
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 Glenmorangie Signet Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $199.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics are amazingly generous with scents redolent of rare, reserve casks of rum with sweet malt, mocha, orange zest, and roasted walnuts. The palate is like velvet in its texture with a firm toasted grain note emerging on the finish along with brown baking spices and vanilla. Purely hedonistic.
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 Lagavulin 16 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $90.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The luxurious nose offers a mélange of sweet baked apples and peaches with assertive accents of smoke, peat, vanilla, iodine, almond brittle, and prunes. The palate is incredibly oily and viscous with its dry nature in tantalizing contrast with its rich fruit and malt notes. A timeless classic.
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 Tomatin 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $54.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Wonderfully generous and complex offering scents of sweet Sherry, baked apples, cinnamon, and dark chocolate with accents of smoke and wild flowers. Silky and long lived on the palate with a beautiful marriage of orchard fruits, malt, and baking spices. Absolutely charming.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Aberlour 16 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $65.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose explodes with the scents of sweet Sherry, Christmas cake, crème brûlée, vanilla, bean, and rich roasted malt. Vibrant while incredibly dense and chewy on the palate with gobs of dried fruits, caramel, and brown baking spices. A real charming bruiser of a malt!
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Aberlour 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $100.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is amazingly complex delivering waves of sherry with dark chocolate, vanilla bean, orange zest, honey, baked orchard fruits, and allspice with hints of star anise and nougat. Wonderfully balanced on the palate with bold, rich Sherry and malt tones supported by dry nutty and oak accents. Lovely.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Ardbeg Uigeadail Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 54.2% abv, $74.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics wonderfully rich and complex offering a perfect marriage of peat smoke with dense malt, roasted nuts, sweet Sherry, orchard fruits, and vanilla. Incredibly rich and viscous offering waves of fruit, malt, smoky peat, and too many supporting notes to list here. A bold and brash malt.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Dalwhinnie 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $65.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Beautiful scents of heather, peat, and fresh cut grass fill the nose.Creamy while sprite on the palate being enveloped in a spicy, mildly smoky, and zesty enveloping the semi-viscous core. A complex malt that deftly walks the line between lush and dry.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Glenfarclas 17 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $89.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich and complex aromas of dried apricots, figs, roasted nuts, toffee, and a generous dose of Sherry leap from the glass. The palate introduces notes of marzipan, sweet black currants, allspice, and hints of clove. Perfectly proportioned with hedonistic pleasure and style.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Glenfarclas 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $44.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is filled with scents of rich fruitcake, caramel, Sherry, roasted walnuts, toffee, and ginger biscuits. The palate delivers waves of decadent fruit, spice, and malt with a generous dose of sweet Sherry. Simply beautiful and hedonistic.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Glenmorangie 25 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $579.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Classic Glenmorangie aromatics of tea biscuits, toasted grain, honeycomb, brown butter, caramel, and vanilla. Wonderfully silky and warming on the palate with incredible length and soft, viscous trailing toffee and Bourbon cask notes.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Talisker 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 45.8% abv, $50.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Wonderfully smoky with waves of dark sugars and treacle breaking baking rich malt and waves of wild herbs and heather. The palate opens sweet and complex with toasted malt notes. Incredibly viscous with great vibrancy. The perfect match of maturity and youthful vigor.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 The Glenlivet French Oak Reserve 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $40.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics are simple beautiful offering waves of honey, vanilla bean, pale malt, spring flowers, and baked apples. Delicate and sophisticated on the palate offering the ideal marriage of malt, spice, fruit, and oak trailing toward a dry, softly peppered finish.
  Photo    
  94 Aberfeldy 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Delicate aromatics of baked pear and apple mingle with pale malted barley, toasted grains, nougat, and vanilla, with hints of leather and toffee. Incredibly vibrant and youthful on the palate making this malt an ideal aperitif as its vigor is certainly a spark to the appetite.
  Photo    
  94 Aberfeldy 21 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $169.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Incredibly delicate aromas of malt, honey, heather, toasted grains, and toffee rise from the glass. Beautifully textured with layers of complex malt, spice, floral, and a clever dose of oak. Superbly balanced and sophisticated with long, lingering heather and honey accents.
  Photo    
  94 Aberlour A'bunadh Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 59% abv, $70.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Richly and generously aromatic with waves of marzipan, sweet malt, roasted nuts, and toffee. Lush and lingering notes of Sherry, dense dried fruit, honey, and caramel. A big and bold malt ready for a full-bodied cigar.
  Photo    
  94 Aberlour 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $42.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Incredibly expressive on the nose offering indicators of both youth and maturity with rich Sherry accents mingling with roasted nuts, toasted grain, honey, nougat, and caramel. Lush and viscous on palate entry marrying baked fruits with rich cask notes and sweet honey.
  Photo    
  94 Ardbeg 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $54.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics are quite assertive (in classic Ardbeg style) leaping up from the glass offering scents of concentrated peat with accents of iodine, evergreen shrubs, sweet malt, and campfire. Dry while semi-viscous with waves of peat, toasted barley and malt, and smoked meats. Brilliant!
  Photo    
  94 Ardbeg Corryvreckan Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 57.1% abv, $84.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics are bold with a seamless tour de force of sweet, dense malt, peat, campfire, toffee, baked apple, orange zest, and roasted nuts. The palate offers waves of sweet malt and fruit, caramel, sea salt, vanilla-accented oak, and black pepper. The unctuous texture is perfectly balanced with tremendous length and style.
  Photo    
  94 Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $63.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A complex nose of toasted malt, dates and figs with a prominent sweet sherry quality. The palate is soft and semi-lush with sherry sweetness, nutmeg, allspice, and dried fruits. A beautiful malt wide wide appeal.
  Photo    
  94 Bowmore Legend Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Vibrant, crisp, and bold aromas of sea air, faint smoke notes, toffee, and toasted grains. Lively on the palate with hints of citrus, malt and oak. Finishes clean with a healthy dose of black pepper. An ideal aperitif.
  Photo    
  94 Bowmore 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $45.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A simply beautiful nose marrying scents of sweet malt, wild flowers, honey, kumquat, and campfire. Perfectly balanced offering sweet fruity and cocoa notes with dry smoke, brown spices and pepper. Bright and fresh while mature and sophisticated.
  Photo    
  94 Bowmore 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $69.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
An alluring nose of figs, dates, currants, chocolate, and wild flowers rise from the glass. The palate reveals a Sherry cask finish done to perfection marrying ideally with the Whisky’s rich fruit driven core. Lush and warming while being vibrant and inviting.
  Photo    
  94 Cardhu 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $43.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Wonderfully rich and decadent on the nose with loads of sweet caramel malt, toffee, shortbread, and butterscotch with accents of sandalwood, dried herbs, and cinnamon. Bright and vibrant on the palate with a generous dose of baking spices and black pepper to add lift to the lush malty core.
  Photo    
  94 Clynelish 14 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $49.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics seamlessly marry notes of sweet malt, toasted grain, tea biscuits, heather, honey and accents of sea salt, vanilla, and caramel. Perhaps the best nose in the Whisky world. The palate is rich and velvet like carrying on the malt and honey notes toward a lingering spicy finish.
  Photo    
  94 Cragganmore 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $50.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics leap from the glass filling the room with the sweet scents of malt, ripe orchard fruits, crème caramel, wild flower honey, banana bread with hints of oak and smoke. Perfectly balanced with a creamy texture that gives way to a complex spice mélange found on the finish. Superb.
  Photo    
  94 Glen Garioch 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 48% abv, $65.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich but delicate notes of fresh hay, honey, toasted almonds, and heather fill the nose with hints of nougat and toffee. The palate is generous while semi-dry delivering waves of grains with roasted almonds and walnuts flanked by honey and soft treacle notes. A real beauty.
  Photo    
  94 Glen Garioch Founders Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 48% abv, $45.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose reveals rich malt and honey notes with fresh baked granola, baked apple, and toffee with hints of cocoa and coconut. Dense and viscous on the palate with a fruity core and accents of brown spice, oak, and orange peel.
  Photo    
  94 Glenfarclas 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is dense with scents of rich dried fruits, dark caramel, Sherry, roasted walnuts, toffee, and candied ginger. The palate delivers waves of rich orchard fruit, baking spice, and malt soaked with sweet Sherry lingering on for minutes. A benchmark.
  Photo    
  94 Glenfiddich Gran Reserva 21 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $130.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich and malty with complimenting tropical fruit aromatics as well with toffee, mocha, toasted marshmallow, vanilla, and molasses with a hint of smoke. Decadent while sprite on the palate with a dry, spicy undertone that adds balance and sophistication.
  Photo    
  94 Glenfiddich 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $85.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich sherry notes marry ideally with dense orchard fruit with accents of red currants, butter toffee, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and hints of clove. On the palate the Sherry notes really come alive laying a base for the dry malt, pepper, baking spice, vanilla, and oak.
  Photo    
  94 Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 48.8% abv, $99.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Incredibly rich offering scents of vanilla, Christmas cake, treacle, marzipan, caramel, and waves of roasted nuts. Dense and chewy on the palate with superb balance and length finishing with s sweet smoky and faintly meaty note.
  Photo    
  94 Glenmorangie Lasanta 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose offers a complex mélange of toasted grain with scents of fig, apricot, and dates supported by notes of honey, vanilla, clove, and cinnamon. The palate is luxuriously textured and generous being nearly chewy. Incredibly seductive and stylish.
  Photo    
  94 Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $69.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is rich and robust with scents of honey, peach, crème brûlée, and vanilla. The palate echoes the nose being lush while lively with zesty, citrus like edges that emerge on the finish. Texturally perfect this wood finish really works ideally marrying malt with the sweet, rich flavors of Sauternes.
  Photo    
  94 Oban 14 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $65.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Wonderfully complex aromatics showing sweet malt notes supported by accents of peat, campfire embers, and sea salt. A lush texture on entry with enough viscosity to suspend the melange of flavors on the palate before a swift wave of peat, smoky wood, pepper, cloves, take it to the finish.
  Photo    
  94 Old Pulteney 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $41.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich malt, caramel and baked orchard fruit notes are supported by hints of sea salt, nutmeg, toffee, brown butter, and nutmeg. Rich and unctuous on the palate with a chewy malt driven core. wonderfully balanced whilst generously proportioned with great length. A real winter warmer.
  Photo    
  94 The Glenlivet 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $30.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Beautifully aromatic seamlessly marrying scents of pale malt, toffee, heather, honey, wild flowers, and pine cone, with hints of sultanas and black pepper. Ideally balanced with a velvet like texture showcasing a soft brown butter backdrop. A venerable standard.
  Photo    
  94 The Glenlivet 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $60.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Butterscotch and rich baked orchard fruits take the lead with supporting notes of mint, mocha, and oak. The palate is rich while dry with complex wood and spice notes framing the lush core. Despite its weight this malt is quite austere and refined.
  Photo    
  94 The Glenlivet Nadurra 16 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 48% abv, $60.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep, rich scents of butterscotch, toffee, and vanilla bean rise from the glass. The palate is rich and massive with a lush core of sweet malt supported by baked apple, brown baking spices, and caramel. A big and assertive malt perfectly proportioned for a nightcap.
  Photo    
  93 Aberlour Non-Chill Filtered 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 48% abv, $60.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Massive Sherry cask notes fill the nose with supporting notes of grain, honey, marzipan, toasted nuts, and caramel. Incredibly rich and nearly chewy on the palate with a core of sweet malt married with baked apples and pears. A beautiful malt.
  Photo    
  93 Auchentoshan Valinch Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 57% abv, $60.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
An absolute beast of a malt Whisky filling the nose with scents of brown butter, candied orange peel, ginger biscuits, nougat, marzipan, and vanilla cream. Dramatically proportioned with layers upon layers of sweet malt, toffee, nuts, and ripe orchard fruits. A very singular Whisky with great depth and style.
  Photo    
  93 Benromach Peat Smoke Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $65.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is filled with the scent of sweet grains taking the lead accented by generous wisps of smoke, baked apples, black pepper, and ginger biscuits. The palate ideally balances malt with waves of smoke, spice, oak, and earth. A bold and beautiful malt.
  Photo    
  93 Glen Garioch 1986 Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 54.6% abv, $249.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A robust and weighty malt with scents of treacle, honeycomb, toffee, raisins, and caramel with hints of nutmeg, campfire, and pepper. Lush and chewy on the palate with a sweet, viscous malt driven core. A beautiful beast.
  Photo    
  93 Glenfarclas 105 Proof Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 60% abv, $79.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A bold and massively proportioned malt that carries its incredible strength with ease and grace. Scents of sweet dried fruits, toffee, caramel, orange marmalade, and sweet Sherry fill the nose. Silky and concentrated on the palate with lingering notes of dark chocolate, roasted nuts, and allspice.
  Photo    
  93 Glenfarclas 21 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $119.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich and complex with deep aromatic notes of sweet Sherry, brown butter, baked apple, caramel, and honey with accents of vanilla and coconut. Full-bodied whilst being dry and vibrant with a malt and Sherry driven core. It finishes semidry with emerging herbal and heather notes.
  Photo    
  93 Glenkinchie 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $50.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Wonderfully floral and grassy with accents of honey, citrus, toffee, and orange peel, with hints of star anise, mint, and vanilla. Soft, round, and silky with dry notes of brown spices, oak, and steel cut oats.
  Photo    
  93 Glenmorangie Original 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Aromas of toasted grain, Bourbon cask, and spring grass fill the nose. The palate is dry but generous with a semi-lush core that features honey, floral notes, roasted almonds, and toasted grain. Wonderfully complex and simply hedonistically pleasing.
  Photo    
  93 Glenmorangie 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $99.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is wonderfully fresh, harmonious, and complex marrying malt, grain, and flora with accents of honey, orange, roasted nuts, and nutmeg. Incredible length and beautifully rich with new wrinkles being revealed with each sip. A beauty.
  Photo    
  93 Port Charlotte An Turas Mor Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $65.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A big and beautiful malt with gobs of sweet, vanilla soaked malt, peat smoke, toffee, honey, and roasted nuts. Silky and viscous on the palate with nearly endless flavors of decadent malt with sweet peat accents.
  Photo    
  93 Speyburn Highland 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $27.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Remarkably vibrant and charming with scents of delicate malt, honey, ginger biscuits, toasted almonds, and orange peel. Light and refreshing on the palate which is not to say average or boring rather a complex and refined malt with a great deal of charm.
  Photo    
  93 The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $60.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A big and bold malt whisky revealing scents of roasted walnuts and hazelnuts, orange peel, caramel, peach, banana bread, and cocoa. Ultra rich and silky on the palate with exotic spices and tropical fruit supporting the sweet malt core. Brilliant.
  Photo    
  93 The Balvenie Portwood 21 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $180.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Intense and complex with scents of roasted nuts, dried red fruits, toffee, marzipan, and caramel with hints of cedar and clove filling the nose. Creamy and lush on the palate with a warming Port influence. Graceful whilst bold and generous.
  Photo    
  93 The Glenlivet 21 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $130.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Incredibly complex and well-knit offering scents of malt, heather, Sherry, toasted oak, dried cherries, honey, and marzipan with hints of cinnamon, cocoa, and brown butter. Wonderfully balanced and complex with new flavors revealed with each sip. A big whisky for a big occasion.
  Photo    
  92 Auchentoshan 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $50.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Delicate and sophisticated on the nose with sprite aromatics of vanilla cream, toasted grain, citrus zest, marzipan, and banana bread. Fresh and vibrant on the palate with perfect balance and long lingering notes of malt, subtle brown spice accents, and raisins.
  Photo    
  92 Bruichladdich The Laddie Ten Unpeated 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $57.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The rich malt and seaside notes leap from the glass proving that you don’t have to peaty to be a big Islay malt. Brine and brawn are two words to describe the palate as bright notes of heather, roasted almonds, and citrus are in support. Quite oily and dense nearly requiring a fork.
  Photo    
  92 Glen Grant 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $45.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is quite floral with waves of honey, sweet grain, citrus zest, and hay as well. Medium-bodied with a refreshing vibrancy and soft toasted grain notes. Ideally balanced being a lovely choice for the evening’s aperitif.
  Photo    
  92 Glenfarclas 40 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $469.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is rich with Sherry, figs, prunes, and dates with accents of cigar, leather, dark chocolate, candied orange, caramel, and roasted walnuts. The palate delivers a delicious explosion of fruit, toffee, brown baking spices, and cocoa. Perfectly balanced and luxuriously textured marrying maturity with vibrancy.
  Photo    
  92 The Balvenie Tun 1401/Batch 3 Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 50.3% abv, $250.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Incredibly rich and mature while still being vibrant and youthful offering scents of ripe and baked orchard fruits with toffee, caramel, orange peel, and almond granola. Remarkably balanced with great length lingering on for minutes showing trailing accents of brown baking spices, honey, and ginger.
  Photo    
  92 The Glenrothes Select Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $45.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is greeted with scents of rich tropical fruits with accents of butterscotch and toasted grains. The palate is equally sweet and soft with sweet vanilla oak notes running through the flavors of grain and malt. It finishes with more fruit notes and a complimenting brown spice accent and a lush sweet malt note.
  Photo    
  91 Auchentoshan Classic Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Delicate aromatics with waves of stewed apples and pear, wood shavings, marzipan, toasted grain, and dried cherries. Surprisungly creamy and lush on the palate with flavors of milk choclate,
  Photo    
  90 Glenmorangie Astar Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 57.1% abv, $79.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is assertive in its core of grain and malt with honey and toasted oak. The core essence of rich malt, toasted grain, honey, wild flowers, and touches of vanilla are flanked by youthful cask notes. Long, lingering grain and honey flavors coat the throat.
  Photo    
  89 Glen Garioch 1994 Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 53.9% abv, $109.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose jumps from the glass offering with floral notes with with toffee, molasses, heather, ginger, and caramel with hints of mint, coriander, and campfire. The palate is equally massive and powerful delivering a lush and chewy fruit and ,alt driven core with gobs of pepper, brown spice, and ginger candy. Not for the faint of heart!
  Photo    
  89 Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $49.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is certainly “porty” and fruity relegating the grain to the background. The palate is dense and fruit driven employing the sweet grains and ripe orange and currant flavors to add depth and length. A very stylish and complex spirit.
  Photo    
  88 Glenmorangie Artein 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $79.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Incredibly complex and alluring on the nose marrying orchard fruits with red currants supported by wild honey, toasted grains, fresh herbs, anise, and cashew butter. Vibrant with a silky core of honeyed malt coat the palate. Ideally balanced and refined begging for each new sip to come.
  Photo    
 

Whisky

Blended Scotch Whisky

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 95 Buchanan's Special Reserve 18 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $69.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Notes of fresh baked shortbread biscuits, heather, wild honey, and toasted grains fill the nose. The palate is wonderfully silky and rich with waves of malt, baked orchard fruits, and brown spices. Lovely.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Royal Salute Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $175.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich and complex with the aromatics showing waves of dark toffee, toasted grains, butterscotch, and cocoa. Wonderfully sweet and luxurious with great length lingering on the palate for minutes with brilliant brown spice and oak notes on the finish.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Buchanan's Red Seal Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $142.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bright notes of wild honey, vanilla bean, and waves of toasted grain fill the nose. Ideally balanced with a silky core flanked by subtle spice and oak notes. A refreshing aperitif.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Chivas 25 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $250.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics are beautiful and generous as scents of toffee, caramel, sweet malt, honey, and toasted coconut leap from the glass. Luxuriously textured on the palate as the sweet malt flavors coat the tongue and throat. A massive and complex blend that will warm the bones on the coldest of nights.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Dewar's 18 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $79.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Wonderfully generous aromas of roasted malt, saddle leather, roasted nuts, wild flower honey and nougat fill the nose. The palate is generous and viscous with red fruit notes emerging on the mid-palate and lingering accents of brown baking spices.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Dewar's 12 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $28.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Scents of sweet grass give way to rich sweet malt, honey, tea biscuits, and toffee. The palate is sweet and vibrant while generously proportioned with the rich malt core flanked by accents of saddle leather, nutmeg, and toasted grain.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 Dewar's Signature Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $199.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Sweet and waxy on the nose with scents of toasted grains, leather, toasted wheat bread, and vanilla. A soft palate entry leads to a medium body accented by black pepper and hints of ginger and cloves.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Johnnie Walker Gold Label Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $85.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is luxurious offering a careful mélange of fruit, malt, grain, brown baking spices, roasted almonds, vanilla bean, and brown sugar. The palate echoes the nose being ultra silky and lush with waves of complex flavors. Ideally proportioned and seductive proving that blended Whiskies can be just as terrific and stylish as a top single malt.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $34.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is dense with scents of sweet malt, dried fruits, brown spices, and sea salt, with accents of black pepper. The palate echoes the nose with the dried fruits (apricot, apple, mango) with accents of toffee and caramel. Ideally balanced with lingering grain and smoke notes.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $220.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is seductive and harmonious offering a seamless marriage of aromatics whose sum is unique and nearly beyond description. The palate carries this theme offering a luxurious texture with layers of malt, caramel, plum, marzipan, toffee, and sweet smoke notes. A classic.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Wemyss Malts Peat Chimney Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A big and phenolic malt with bold aromatics of peat smoke, brown butter, orange peel, roasted nuts, and grains with hints of earth, bacon, and macaroons. Rich and round on the palate with a malty core flanked by herbs, pepper, ginger, and more smoke. A great cigar malt.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Chivas 18 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $75.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose reveals a wonderfully complex blend of malt, roasted nuts, toasted wheat bread, honey, vanilla, brown baking spices, and orange peel with accents of bacon, black pepper, and oak. The palate is semisweet while perfectly balanced ideally marrying malt, spice, and oak.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Dewar's White Label Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $21.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose reveals a dry, earthy whisky with accents of toasted grain offering scents of corn and oats with accents of caramel, toffee, and vanilla. Medium-bodied with a grain centric core, toasted bread, leather, mineral, and black pepper.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Mount Keen 12 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky United Kingdom, 40% abv, RUB1500.00, 700 ml , seeking US Importer Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose shows rich notes of sweet Sherry, fruitcake, toasted malt, and baked apples, with accents of brown spice and oak. Lush and generous on the palate with great length and balance.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 The Black Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A brash and bold blend with waves of grain, orchard fruits, and a sweet smoky note that acts as a backdrop for the generous portions fruit, oak, spice, and grain. well balanced with a growing smoke note that eventually gives way to vanilla, citrus, and pralines.
Great Value Photo    
  89 Buchanan's Deluxe 12 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $35.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Medium amber color. Well-endowed aroma offers scents of oloroso sherry, vanilla, chocolate and sweet oak. Goes all-out on the palate in full-throttle tastes of grain malted barley, cooked mash, cereal and butterscotch. Creamy, desirably sweet finish.
  Photo    
  88 Pig's Nose Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $29.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is filled with the scent of sweet tea biscuits with accents of honey, toasted grains, and roasted nuts. The palate is fresh and rich with gobs of sweet malt coating the tongue and throat. A beautiful everyday Whisky.
  Photo    
  86 Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $23.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Delicate and multilayered with scents of toasted steel cut oatmeal, wild flower honey, and caramel with accents of the sea, fresh herbs, and black pepper. Medium-bodied with a fresh and vibrant feel.
  Photo    
  85 Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $18.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is wonderfully fragrant and complex offering lovely scents of toffee, vanilla, toasted coconut, shortbread, and spring flowers. The palate echoes the nose while showing a sweet center and dry peppery finish. A nicely constructed malt blend that will please the dedicated single malt drinker.
Great Value Photo    
  85 Grant's Family Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $20.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bright and vibrant on the nose with scents of toasted grain, granola, honey, baked apple with hints of vanilla, brown butter, and smoky malt. Delicate and wildly approachable on the palate with ideally balanced notes of malt, grain, spice, and oak. Superb as a solo act or in any Whisky cocktail.
Great Value Photo    
  85 King Arthur 8 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky United Kingdom, 40% abv, RUB790.00, 750 ml , seeking US Importer Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Delicate notes of malt, granola, dried orchard fruits, and oak fill the nose. Nicely balanced with soft, well-proportioned flavors of grain, toffee, fruit, caramel, vanilla, and spicy oak.
  Photo    
 

Whisky

Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 94 Johnnie Walker Green Label Blended Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $60.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is complex and playful with sweet malt, roasted nuts, smoky grains, clove, cardamom, and pepper. The palate is generous being nearly explosive with waves of malt whisky notes, treacle, toffee, and butterscotch, with a firm touch of pepper. Beautifully textured.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Buchanan's Master Blended Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $42.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bright notes of wild honey, vanilla bean, and waves of toasted grain fill the nose. Ideally balanced with a silky core flanked by subtle spice and oak notes. A refreshing aperitif.
  Photo    
  Finalist 90 Sheep Dip Blended Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $39.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bright copper/bronze color. Aroma features malted milk balls, marshmallow, pine, black pepper and dried herbs. In the mouth, the flavor profile highlights the malted grain and semisweet oakiness, which borders on vanilla extract. Aftertaste is medium-long, a touch sap-like and gently spiced.
  Photo    
  89 Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $26.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Delicate aromatics and butterscotch, with loads of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and sweet grain. Silky with dry grain notes framing the rich malt core. Ideally balanced and perfect as an aperitif served with a splash of your best ginger beer.
  Photo    
 

Whisky

Japanese Whisky

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 96 Yamazaki Single Malt 18 Years Old Japanese Whisky Japan, 43% abv, $120.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Burnt orange/burnished color. Lovely, stately upfront aroma of pipe tobacco, cigar box, sausages and buttered popcorn. In the mouth, there are exciting tastes of sap and maple, as well as nougat, candy bar and roasted almond. Finishes spirity, grainy and world-class.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Hakushu Single Malt 12 Years Old Japanese Whisky Japan, 43% abv, $44.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Straw yellow/pale gold hue. Multilevel bouquet includes complex aromas of candle wax, multigrain bread, breakfast cereal and sap. On palate, the taste profile includes gentle waves of wood smoke, tobacco leaf and malted milk candy balls. Aftertaste is medium-long and sweet.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Yamazaki Single Malt 12 Years Old Japanese Whisky Japan, 43% abv, $44.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep gold color. Lovely opening aroma is delicately spicy and brown rice-like in its grain intensity. In the mouth, it’s dusty dry, softly spicy (ginger), nutty/nougat, cocoa bean-like and succulent. Aftertaste is creamy, viscous and wonderfully nutty.
  Photo    
  Finalist 90 Hibiki Blended Malt 12 Years Old Japanese Whisky Japan, 43% abv, $55.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Light amber/yellow color. Flowers and spice greet the olfactory sense in waves. On palate, there’s a keen nuttiness (walnut) and a bitterness that work well in tandem at entry, then the midpalate turns caramel-like and mildly sweet.
  Photo    
 

Whisky

French Blended Whisky

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  83 Bastille 1789 French Blended Whisky France, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Whisky

Indian Single Malt Whisky

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  88 Amrut Indian Single Malt Whisky India, 46% abv, $44.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Amber/topaz color. Exhibits malty grain and candied fruit in the pleasing aromatic phase. In the mouth, melded flavors of tar, ashes, malty grain and woody vanillin work in harmony. Concludes softly and with a baked fruit (pear) taste.
  Photo    
 

Brandy

American Brandy

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  86 E&J Gallo VS American Brandy United States, 40% abv, $10.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Appealing amber/old gold color. Vibrant grapy aromas feature aspects of nuts, oak and over-ripe grapes. Soft and silky in the mouth and pleasing ripe and sweet. Solidly made and matured.
Great Value Photo    
  85 E&J Gallo VSOP American Brandy United States, 40% abv, $12.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Old gold/topaz color. Direct and vivid aromas of sawdust, caramel and dried apricots waft up from the glass. In the mouth, the flavor profile features traces of toffee, walnuts and toasted marshmallow.
  Photo    
  85 Paul Masson Grande Amber VSOP American Brandy United States, 40% abv, $13.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Chestnut brown color. The aroma features nicely melded scents of hard cheese, winter holiday spice and raisins. Taste profile offers biscuity, honey-like flavors that are medium complex and straightforward.
Great Value Photo    
  84 Paul Masson Grande Amber VS American Brandy United States, 40% abv, $9.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  82 E&J Gallo XO American Brandy United States, 40% abv, $14.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Brandy

Armagnac

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 97 Delord 1978 Bas-Armagnac France, 40% abv, $120.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep chestnut color; impeccable clarity. Multiple aromatic impressions include traces of rancio, dry earth, grape preserves and wood plank, with wrapped in an oily/buttery aroma. Highly complex taste aspects include marzipan, nougat and walnut paste. Classically majestic.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Dartigalongue Hors d'Age Bas-Armagnac France, 40% abv, $58.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Attractive topaz/amber color. Demonstrative aromas of black raisins, plums and treacle highlight the bouquet. Tastewise, this brandy is desert dry and slightly tobacco leaf-like. Finish is extended, spirity and immensely satisfying.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Chateau de Laubade 1982 Bas-Armagnac France, 40% abv, $179.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Burnt orange/copper color. Upfront aromas include earthy notes, such as forest floor and moss/lichen, along with dried yellow fruit aspects and nuts. In the mouth, the taste profile ascends in delicate flavors of almond paste, dried apple, over-ripe grapes and cocoa.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Armagnac Castarède VSOP 10 Years Old Armagnac France, 40% abv, $60.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Old gold/marigold color is pure. Vigorous aromas of toffee, cheese and sawdust delight the olfactory sense as the aroma expands with further aeration into a sumptuous bouquet that's dry and bittersweet. Tastes of prunes, oak resin and plums abound in the generous flavor profile. Lovely.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Chateau de Laubade Intemporel No. 5 30 Years Old Bas-Armagnac France, 40% abv, $169.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Lovely topaz color; perfect clarity. Complex aromas greet the olfactory sense in cresting waves of marzipan, praline and oaky vanillin. Tastes of prunes, grapes, plums and candied nuts. There's also an underlying spiciness that's highly appealing.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Marie Duffau Napoleon Bas-Armagnac France, 40% abv, $37.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Eye-catching topaz/bronze color. Smells remarkably orchard fruit-like, biscuity and tart. In the mouth, the flavor profile screams of spicy oak, dried apricot, pepper and marzipan. What is so attractive is its dried fruit highlights.
  Photo    
 

Brandy

Calvados

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 96 Calvados Drouin 25 Years Old Calvados, Pays d'Auge France, 42% abv, $189.99, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Beautiful burnished orange/copper color. Ultra-sophisticated bouquet ascends in waves of baked apple, spiced apple and winter holiday cake aromas that bedazzle the olfactory sense. Vivid and clean in the mouth, the flavor profile highlights the creamy/oily texture and impeccable spirit. A masterpiece.
  Photo    
  Finalist 95 Pere Magloire 20 Years Old Calvados, Pays d'Auge France, 40% abv, $75.00, 375 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep topaz color. Surprisingly delicate aroma of beeswax, tart apple, apple peel and gentle baking spice. Long in the mouth, this is a taste profile of elegance and intensity. Aftertase is all about the baked apple that's just lightly spiced. Luscious.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Boulard VSOP Calvados, Pays d'Auge France, 40% abv, $49.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Beautiful medium amber/old gold appearance. Opening aromas feature lovely, measured spice and dried fruit notes that are in sync with each other, providing a rewarding nosing experience. Taste offers complex, integrated nutmeg, cinnamon and baked apple and pear flavors.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Berneroy VSOP Calvados France, 40% abv, $34.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty old gold color; excellent clarity. Aromas include toast with marmelade, apple butter and apple peel. In the mouth, the taste profile is pleasantly spicy and baked, with added aspects of dough/pastry and honey. Sophisticated and lovely.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Calvados Drouin 1982 Calvados, Pays d'Auge France, 42% abv, $210.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Orange/amber color. The opening nose features traces of dried apple, dried pear and vanilla extract. In the mouth, the flavor turns more like baked apple than dried apple and there's an aspect of toffee that adds luster.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Pere Magloire XO Tres Vieux Calvados, Pays d'Auge France, 40% abv, $75.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bronze to copper color. This aroma has baked apple written all over it, plus some traces of sawdust and nutmeg. In the mouth, the flavor features dry to off-dry tastes of baked apple and apple pastry. Finish is long and complex.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Pere Magloire VSOP Calvados, Pays d'Auge France, 40% abv, $40.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Amber/topaz color. Smells upfront of spiced apple and apple strudel more than fresh apple or apple peel. Tastewise, there's a dusty dryness to this Pays d'Auge that is attractive and sophisticated.
  Photo    
  89 Berneroy XO Calvados France, 40% abv, $60.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Amber/topaz color; flawless purity. Initial aromatic bursts include subtle notes of cinnamon, new leather and apple juice, plus a more serious aspect of oak. Tastewise, the flavor profile highlights the oak/apple dance, as the taste finishes on a spicy, zesty note.
  Photo    
 

Brandy

Cognac

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 97 Frapin Château Fontpinot XO Cognac Grande Champagne France, 41% abv, $90.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Gorgeous burnished orange color; flawless purity. Gloriously sophisticated aroma of equal parts power and grace as the lead scent is clearly the grape element. On palate, the integrated flavor profile features deep tastes of raisins, pears, nectarines and oak. Aftertaste is one of Cognac's finest.
  Photo    
  Finalist 96 Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac France, 40% abv, $120.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep mahogany/chestnut brown color. Nutty, toasty richness in the aroma is apparent in the first whiffs; second nosing passes offer an new set of features, including toffee and nougat. Taste profile is stunningly layered, oily, creamy and pruny. Majestic and classic.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Camus Extra Elegance Cognac France, 40% abv, $400.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bright burnished orange color. Spice abounds in the opening aromatic passes and the spice aspect builds with further air contact as the nutmeg and allspice take the lead. Flavorwise, the midpalate is chockful of plums, black raisin and cherry notes. Long, deep aftertaste.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Francois Voyer XO Gold Cognac France, 40% abv, €100.00, 750 ml , seeking US Importer Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty topaz color. Aromas include marzipan, grape preserves and baking spices. In the mouth, the flavor profile features black raisins, oaky vanillin, maple and honey. Finish highlights dried fruit and candied nuts.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Pierre Ferrand Ancestrale Cognac France, 40% abv, $800.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Dark amber color. Deep, complex opening aromas of toffee, dried fruits (pear, apricot), tobacco leaf, baking spice, old leather and toasted almond abound. In the mouth, the flavor explodes on the palate in tsunamis of baked fruits, baking spice and oak. Splendid.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac France, 45% abv, $44.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Attractive amber/old gold color. The elevated spirit level is apparent right from the first sniff, along with more subtle aspects such as sawdust, pastry dough and oak. Flavor profile is guided entirely by the abv (90 proof) which lends an element of "grip" that is unusual for Cognac. Excellent.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Camus VSOP Elegance Cognac France, 40% abv, $43.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Medium amber color. Appealing grapy/orchard fruit aromas rise form the glass in gentle waves. In the mouth, there's a keen spiciness that complements the fruit aspect in a dry fashion that's clean and straightforward.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Martell XO Cognac France, 40% abv, $150.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep chestnut color. Highly attractive and spicy front note aromas meld well with the dried tropical fruit element (kiwi, guava). In the mouth, the taste profile includes savory flavors of pineapple, walnut paste, oak, vanilla and new honey. Seductive.
  Photo    
  Finalist 93 Normandin-Mercier Prestige Cognac Fine Champagne France, 40% abv, $85.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Copper color; impeccable clarity. Aromatics include raisins, allspice, sawdust, moss, earth and plum fragrances. Entry flavors are evolved and direct, then at midpalate the profile turns integrated, fruity and ripe. Lovely.
  Photo    
  92 Delamain Pale & Dry XO Cognac Grande Champagne France, 40% abv, $99.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep topaz/chestnut brown color; unblemished purity. Complex aroma highlights the old leather, dried fruit and baking spice trademark scents of Grande Champagne. Flavor profile features vanilla, biscuit batter, dough, nutmeg and plums. Timeless splendor.
  Photo    
  92 Garde Marine Extra XO Cognac France, 40% abv, RUB3500.00, 700 ml , seeking US Importer Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Gorgeous new copper color. Aromas of parchment, beeswax and nuts abound. Rich, viscous texture is accented by top-notch flavors of caramel, over-ripe grapes and oaky vanilla bean. Aftertaste is medium-long, dry and nutty.
  Photo    
  92 Landy VSOP Cognac France, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clean and clear amber/old gold color. Pear and nectarine aromas come faintly across in the opening whiffs as the nose is decidedly fruit driven but also delicate. The raisin-like flavor is buttressed by the solid, resiny texture. High acidity level gives structure to the entire sensory experience.
  Photo    
  92 Landy XO Cognac France, 40% abv, $119.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty medium amber color. There's an attractive spiciness that makes this bouquet special and idiosyncratic. On palate, the flavor profile includes elements of dried fruits (in particular, pear), raisins and plums. Finish is long and woody.
  Photo    
  91 Camus Ile de Re Fine Island Cliffside Cellar Cognac France, 40% abv, $95.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Gold to amber color; superb clarity. A decidedly unique note of saltwater taffy is the highlight of the aroma. On palate, the taste features surprising notes of baked banana and pears, along with a salty tang.
  Photo    
  89 Camus Ile de Re Fine Island Cognac France, 40% abv, $47.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Amber/topaz color. Smells alluringly of honey, toffee and prune Danish pastry. In the mouth, the structure is firm, acidic and medium-viscous while the taste profile promotes dried fruits (plums, raisins) and nougat. Different and tantalizing.
  Photo    
  89 Camus Ile de Re Fine Island Double Matured Cognac France, 40% abv, $65.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Deep amber color; flawless purity. Initial sniffs detect unusual aromas of kiwi, minerals and moss/lichen. Tastes of toffee, marzipan, praline and almond paste. Oak shows up in the finish.
  Photo    
  89 Jean Fillioux La Pouyade Cognac France, 42% abv, $64.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Lovely amber tone; unblemished clarity. Smells of over-ripe grapes, old leather, dried pineapple and tobacco leaf; this is a highly complex bouquet. Tastes of oak, baking spices (delicate cinnamon, nutmeg) and oak. Is there rancio here due to an inherent earthiness? Possibly, yes. Delicious.
  Photo    
  89 Landy VS Cognac France, 40% abv, $22.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Medium amber color; excellent clarity. Opening aromas abound with grapy, woody, resiny charm and then with additional air contact reaches an aromatic crescendo of nuts and dried fruit. In the mouth, the the flavor aspects bind well, especially the wood and the grapes. Aftertaste is extended, clean and elegant.
  Photo    
  88 Distillerie du Peyrat Rare Organic Cognac France, 40% abv, $63.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pretty topaz/bronze hue. Aromas include parchment, tobacco leaf, new leather and dried fruits, especially apricot and pineapple. Taste profile is delicate, more fruity than woody and is slightly toasted. Finish is medium-long.
  Photo    
  88 Louis Royer "Force 53" VSOP Cognac Fine Champagne France, 53% abv, $49.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Attractive bronze color. Bouquet is vivid and pungent with spirit and grapes. In the mouth, the oak takes centerstage, as the spirit and the fruit diminish slightly, making for an overall experience of grace and power. Nicely done and it's good to see a higher abv.
  Photo    
 

Brandy

French Brandy

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  89 St. Remy VSOP Authentic French Brandy France, 40% abv, $13.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Attractive medium amber/old gold color. Offers vivid aromas of baked pear, black raisins and brown sugar in the nosing stage. Taste aspects include fresh, new honey, Sultanas and grape preserves, ending in the throat with traces of banana and guava.
Great Value Photo    
  88 St. Remy XO Authentic French Brandy France, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Topaz/mahogany color. Deep aromas abound in the first sniffs, as confectioner scents of vanilla, nutmeg, dried pineapple, dried apricot and orange peel please. Flavor profile is sophisticated, moderately complex and filled with traces of candy bar, plums and black raisins.
Great Value Photo    
  87 St. Remy Ninety Proof Authentic French Brandy France, 45% abv, $20.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Amber color; superb purity. The animated and spirity aroma is alluring, moderately nut-like and woody. In the mouth, the flavor rings with tropical fruit elements as well as judicious touches of honey and oak.
Great Value    
  83 Launcelot XO French Brandy France, 40% abv, RUB1200.00, 700 ml , seeking US Importer Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  81 St. Vincent XO Vielle Reserve French Brandy France, 40% abv, RUB800.00, 700 ml , seeking US Importer Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Brandy

Grappa

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 92 Jacopo Poli Sarpa Barrique Grappa Italy, 40% abv, $62.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The pale topaz/amber color is dazzling. There are traces of spice, oak (sawdust, plank), herbs, over-ripe grapes, grape must and pepper in this highly complex bouquet. Entry is surprisingly spicy and vivid, then the midpalate turns creamy, oily and resiny. A classic beauty.
  Photo    
  Finalist 91 Bepi Tosolini Cividina Grappa Italy, 40% abv, $25.00, 1 L Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clear as rainwater; flawless purity. Smells compellingly out of the aromatic gate of ripe grapes, grape must, yeast and pears. Tastes incredibly fresh, gently sweet and grapy. Aftertaste lingers for a long time in enticing waves of grapes, pineapple and nectarine.
Great Value Photo    
  88 Jacopo Poli Sarpa Grappa Italy, 40% abv, $53.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clear and pewter colored. Fruity/grapy aroma is enticing and vibrantly fresh. In the mouth, the taste profile features a perfectly measured dose of grape must, fresh spirit and tropical fruit.
  Photo    
 

Brandy

Pisco

  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 92 Pisco Porton Pisco Peru, 43% abv, $39.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Clear as spring water. Compelling aroma of freshly crushed grapes; highly floral (honeysuckle, orange blossom) and slightly spicy; an extremely pleasant bouquet. On palate, the flavor rush is all about the grape varieties; it is likewise citrusy.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 90 Don Alvaro Mollar Pisco Peru, 42% abv, $45.00, 750 ml , seeking US Importer Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Impeccable clarity. Intensely grapy in the initial sniffs, then after more aeration the aroma kicks into high gear, offering copious amounts of fresh garden fragrances, including carnation, rose petal and jasmine. Delicious and integrated in the mouth.
     
  89 KAPPA Pisco Chile, 42.5% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pristine appearance; sediment free. Lovely first aromatic impressions that are rife with honeysuckle especially. In the mouth, the flavor profile builds in intensity as the fresh grapiness acts as the foundation while the acute acidity maintains the freshness and structure.
  Photo    
  81 Inca Gold VIP Pisco Peru, 42% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
 

Brandy

Spanish Brandy

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  86 Don Cortez Solera Gran Reserva Brandy de Jerez Spain, 40% abv, RUB1400.00, 700 ml , seeking US Importer Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Dark mahogany color. Shows loads of caramel, toffee and honey on the nose. In the mouth, the taste profile highlights the oak and the sherry influence of the solera. Big tastes of prunes, raisins and plums abound.
  Photo    
 

Liqueur

All liqueurs were judged in category flights of like-with-like (e.g., flights of dairy liqueurs, flights of herbal liqueurs, etc.). The Chairman's Trophy - Liqueur was awarded based on the highest scoring liqueur across all the liqueur categories.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  Chairman's Trophy 95 Chartreuse Green Liqueur France, 55% abv, $59.00, 750 ml Extraordinary,
Ultimate Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics are bold offering scents of bark and roots, cedar, coriander, anise, rosemary, jasmine, and thyme with hints of tarragon and green tea. Rich and sweet with a bright peppery balance. A classic.
  Photo    
  Finalist 94 Bushmills Irish Honey Whisky Liqueur Ireland, 35% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is a true force of nature ideally marrying scents of ripe orchard fruits, sweet grain, coconut, candied orange peel, roasted cashews, and pure wild flower honey. The palate delivers waves of classic Irish Whiskey infused with honey, citrus, and toasted nuts. Lovely.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 94 Merlet Crème de Fraise, Strawberry Liqueur France, 18% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pure wild strawberries fill the nose with hints of blood orange and subtle citrus notes. Perfectly balanced with just the right touch of sweetness. Now strawberries are always in season.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 94 Merlet Crème de Cassis, Blackcurrant Liqueur France, 20% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Mind blowing in its purity and concentration offering scents of ripe and bittersweet fruit that fills the nose. The palate is perfectly balanced with sweet and tart fruit in complete harmony. A work of art.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 94 Merlet Crème de Peche, Peach Liqueur France, 18% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Nosing this great liqueur is like smelling a bowl of freshly cut peaches sensing the ripe fruit sugars, the crisp natural acidity, and the mildly bitter skins. The Merlet liqueurs are the benchmark of fruit liqueurs.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 94 Montenegro Amaro Italy, 23% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Wonderfully sweet and bitter with layers of citrus zest, black tea, mandarin orange, anise, coriander, and bitter cherry. A great way to end a meal.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 Merlet Crème de Framboise, Raspberry Liqueur France, 18% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics are unmistakably raspberry with both ripe and semi-tart berries. The alcohol is seamlessly integrated with bright citrus notes. Brilliant.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 93 St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur France, 20% abv, $35.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Incredibly fruity and floral with bright flavors of melon, citrus zest, pear, and quince. Silky and viscous while being vibrant and uplifting. No bar is complete without this unique modern icon.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Clement Creole Shrubb Liqueur Martinique, 40% abv, $32.95, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Vibrant and aromatic with scents of orange peel, Amaro-like botanicals, wild herbs, with bitter berries in support. Great straight, on ice, or in a cocktail.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Cointreau Noir Liqueur France, 40% abv, $42.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich with the scent of ripe orange, orange zest and a deep, brown spirit. It has the same bright and pure notes of orange found in the classic Cointreau with supporting notes of vanilla, brown baking spices, and ginger.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Drambuie Speyside Malt 15 Years Old Whisky Liqueur Scotland, 43% abv, $59.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Incredibly rich and honeyed on the nose with a beautiful melange of herbs, spices, heather, roots, and ginger. Rich and silky on the palate with a sweet, mature malt whisky backbone flanked by waves of viscous honey infused with heather, herbs, and roots. A beauty.
  Photo    
  Finalist 92 Merlet Crème de Poire, Pear Liqueur France, 18% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Vibrant and fresh with the scent ripe pear and pear juice. Ideally balanced with soft William pear flavors supported by hints of citrus and seamlessly integrated alcohol.
Great Value Photo    
  Finalist 92 Pernod Absinthe France, 68% abv, $70.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich with anise scents of anise leaping from the glass. viscous on the palate while vibrant enough to keep it from being cloying. A classic.
  Photo    
  91 Bols Black Raspberry Liqueur Netherlands, 17% abv, $11.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Bright and pure tasting of freshly crushed berries with balanced bitter fruit and acid notes. Ideal straight or in your favorite cocktail.
Great Value    
  91 Brady's Irish Cream Liqueur Ireland, 17% abv, $9.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich and creamy with whiskey at its heart supported by notes of chocolate, butterscotch, caramel, and vanilla.
Great Value Photo    
  91 Pallini Limoncello Italy, 26% abv, $26.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The aromatics confirm that suspicion filling the nose with the scent of fresh squeezed lemon juice, zest, and sweet wild flowers. The palate is bright and refreshing stimulating the mind and the appetite, with each zesty sip inviting the next.
  Photo    
  91 Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur Italy, 40% abv, $36.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Fresh and delicate on the nose with sweet candied orange peel and concentrated juice. The palate is incredibly viscous with a sweet, orange centric entry that gives way to orange zest, ginger, and hints of clove.
  Photo    
  91 The Knot Irish Whiskey Liqueur Ireland, 50% abv, $24.00, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
This whiskey liqueur is big on the whiskey element with a a dose of sweet caramel, vanilla, and ginger biscuits. It’s not a whsikey rather a very different liqueur with power.
Great Value Photo    
  90 Cacao Prieto Don Estaban Chocolate Liqueur United States, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Wonderfully complex and unique with bright notes of dark chocolate with supporting notes of toffee, vanilla bean, and toasted marshmallow with a hint of pepper.
     
  90 Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur Italy, 32% abv, $30.99, 750 ml Excellent,
Highly Recommended
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The nose is an unexpected, complex mélange of aromas ranging from dried cherries to toasted nuts, cardamom, stone fruit pits, and pretty floral notes. The palate is delicate and balanced while generous.
  Photo    
  89 Art in the Age Rhuby Liqueur United States, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich and herbal with a unique blend of floral and botanical notes that marry to create a semi-tart liqueur that is not too tart and not too sweet. Pure and vibrant.
  Photo    
  89 Breckenridge Bitters United States, 36% abv, $32.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Wonderfully bittersweet with notes of roots, bark, dried herbs, dried orchard fruits, and stone fruits with hints of vanilla and pepper.
  Photo    
  89 Gozio Amaretto Italy, 24% abv, $24.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Pleasingly fresh with sweet aromas of almonds with brown baking spices and bitter cherry, peach, and apricot notes.
  Photo    
  89 Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao Liqueur France, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Beautiful aromatics of ripe orange and tangerine with citrus zest and vanilla with hints of fruit cake. Rich and warming on the palate with enough viscosity to offer length and the right portion of acidity to keep it fresh and vibrant.
  Photo    
  88 Art in the Age Snap Liqueur United States, 40% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich and vibrant spiced rum notes with a blast of ginger biscuits, nutmeg, clove, vanilla, clove, and molasses with hints of black tea and cinnamon.
  Photo    
  88 Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur Ireland, 17% abv, $23.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Wonderfully rich with the aromas and flavors of roasted nuts, almond butter, toffee, cocoa, vanilla, and sweet cream. A decadent classic.
  Photo    
  87 Amarula Liqueur South Africa, 17% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich and creamy with a generous caramel backdrop supported by notes of chocolate, baked banana, nutmeg, and hints of cinnamon.
Great Value Photo    
  87 Antica Classic Sambuca Italy, 38% abv, $19.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Aromatics range from licorice to star anise. The palate is quite viscous without being cloyingly sweet offering intense licorice and anise flavors in perfect marriage.
Great Value Photo    
  87 Bols Crème de Cassis, Blackcurrant Liqueur Netherlands, 17% abv, $11.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich, fruity, and pure with the aromatics and flavors of macerated black currants with lingering sweet red berry juice.
Great Value Photo    
  87 GIVEN Liqueur France, 17% abv, $34.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A sophisticated and unique liqueur ideally marrying tequila with sweet and tart lime creating a spirit with a silky core and bold, fresh flavors.
  Photo    
  87 Luxardo Apricot Liqueur Italy, 30% abv, $22.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Complex and rich with ripe and tart apricot notes supported by blanched almonds, baked peach, orange zest, and soft hints of cardamon.
  Photo    
  87 Mathilde Poire Liqueur France, 18% abv, $27.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich and silky with a sweet pear juice entry with supporting notes of under ripe pear, pear skins, and soft citrus notes. Serve chilled.
  Photo    
  86 Adult Chocolate Milk Liqueur United States, 20% abv, $18.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The name says it all is this playful liqueur tastes exactly as it should, like rich chocolate milk with a subtle hint of alcohol. Enjoy chilled on ice or in your evening coffee.
Great Value Photo    
  86 American Honey Bourbon Whisky Liqueur United States, 35% abv, $21.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Sweet, vanilla soaked bourbon fills the nose with sweet notes of honey, vanilla, allspice, and subtle citrus notes.
  Photo    
  86 Bols Peach Brandy Liqueur Netherlands, 30% abv, $11.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Vibrant with aromatics and flavors of ripe and tart peaches with soft trailing white peach juice notes. A great cocktail addition.
Great Value    
  86 Lough Hyne Liqueur Ireland, 32% abv, $27.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich notes of honey and sweet herbs fill the nose. Irish whiskey is at its heart dominating the flavor profile with supporting notes of honey and floral notes with hints of vanilla.
     
  86 Plymouth Sloe Gin Liqueur United Kingdom, 26% abv, $37.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
The scents of freshly crushed red berries with sweet cherries and a hint of dried tart cherry and blanched almonds. Silky and fresh on the palate with a bright berry driven core finishing dry with subtle citrus notes.
  Photo    
  85 Becherovka Liqueur Czech, Rep., 38% abv, $24.00, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
An herbal explosion on the nose offering waves of wild mint, ginger, cardamon, roots, licorice, and many more spices.
  Photo    
  85 Benjamin Prichard's Sweet Lucy Whisky Liqueur United States, 35% abv, $24.95, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Rich, viscous and quite sweet with the heart of bourbon marrying with ripe peach, apricots, and orange peel with hints of vanilla and ripe tropical fruits.
     
  85 Bols Cherry Brandy Liqueur Netherlands, 30% abv, $11.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Incredibly vibrant with sweet and slightly tart cherry notes mingling with supporting flavors of almonds and a hint of Amarillo.
Great Value Photo    
  85 Gran Gala Triple Orange Liquor Infused with Stock 84 VSOP Brandy Liqueur Italy, 40% abv, $21.99, 750 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
Scents of sweet orange, zest, blanched almonds, apricot, and marzipan fill the nose. Rich and quite viscous on the palate with waves of sweet orange presented on a soft, brandy canvas.
  Photo    
  85 Tujador Honey-Tequila Liqueur Germany, 33.5% abv, $16.99, 500 ml Very Good,
Strong Recommendation
Tasting NoteTasting Notes:
A bright and refreshing liqueur with an agave spirit at its core supported by notes of honey, citrus, and light caramel with hints of citrus and vanilla.
Great Value Photo    
  84 Antica Black Sambuca Italy, 38% abv, $19.95, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  84 Bols Creme de Cacao Dark Liqueur Netherlands, 25% abv, $11.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
       
  84 Calisaya Liqueur United States, 35% abv, $46.50, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  84 Coffee Heering Coffee Liqueur Sweden, 35% abv, $25.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  84 Feuille D'Or Super Premium Coffee Liqueur Israel, 23% abv, $20.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  84 Goldwasser, Danziger Der Lachs Herbal Liqueur Germany, 40% abv, $27.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  84 Ponchos 1910 Tequila Coffee Liqueur South Africa, 35% abv, RAN200.00, 750 ml , seeking US Importer Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  84 Villa Massa Limoncello Italy, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Feuille D'Or Gold Premium Orange Liqueur Israel, 40% abv, $25.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 LICOR 43 Liqueur Spain, 31% abv, $25.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Luxardo Cherry Liqueur Italy, 30% abv, $22.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  83 Tuaca Vanilla Liqueur United States, 35% abv, $23.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  82 Berentzen Apple Liqueur Germany, 20% abv, $20.00, 1 L Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  82 Hiram Walker Caramel Apple Liqueur United States, 15% abv, $10.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  82 Kweichow Moutai Small Batch Blend Liqueur China, 53% abv, $135.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  81 Art in the Age Root Liqueur United States, 40% abv, $44.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  81 Schonauer Apple Liqueur Germany, 21% abv, $21.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo    
  80 Dancing Pines Chai Liqueur United States, 30% abv, $36.00, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
       
  80 diAmore Quattro Orange Liqueur United States, 40% abv, $15.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
       
 

Soju/Shochu/Baijiu

Chairman's Trophy and Finalist status are determined by the judging chairmen, using a scoring curve based upon the number of entries and overall categorical scoring.
  Award Score Product Accolade            
  84 TY KU Barley Soju Japan, 20% abv, $24.99, 750 ml Good,
Recommended
    Photo