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2013 Ultimate Spirits Challenge

Award Recipients


Ultimate Spirits Challenge lists below the award recipients for 2013. Each Chairman’s Trophy winner and group of Finalists represent the best in their individual category.


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Download a printable list of the Award Recipients (PDF)

Aperitif | Vodka | Aquavit | Gin | Rum | 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      
Chairman's Trophy 92
Lillet Jean de Lillet 2009 Aperitif France, 17% abv, $39.99, 750 ml
Such a wonderfully intoxicating bouquet of orange marmalade, white flower, baked peaches and ripe apricots. Subtle traces of ripe cantaloupe and pineapple. In the mouth it is exquisitely delicate with soft flavors of ripe apricot and baked peaches. Honey and pineapple flavors develop before a mellow and perfumed finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 90
Aperol Aperitif Italy, 11% abv, $22.00, 750 ml
Bright pink orange hue. Zesty orange and ruby red grapefruit aromas. The palate resembles the bouquet, while offering sweet flavors and grapefruit peel. Bright and zippy. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 94
Tahoe Blue Vodka United States, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml
Crystal clear. Offers a clean nose of minerals and apricot kernel, both following on the palate, along with a hint of Carr's water crackers and freshly pressed grape juice. Clean with subtle complexities. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
American Harvest Organic Spirit Vodka United States, 40% abv, $23.99, 750 ml
Lively aromas of green apples, pears and minerals. Flavors are of delicate flowers and Bosc pears with hints of sweetness here and there. Texture starts light and silky, mouth coating, and finishes starchy. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Boru Vodka Ireland, 40% abv, $18.00, 750 ml
Immaculately clean. Very fresh on the nose with an astonishingly delicate floral bouquet with faint traces of cucumber. In the mouth it opens with a satisfying grainy sweetness followed by cucumber, minerals and, citrus pith before lingering on the palate. Finishes very smooth. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka United States, 40% abv, $23.99, 750 ml
Starting off with strong aromas of biscuit dough and a extremely subtle touch of sweet smoke, it moves into a well rounded body and faint lychee and coconut water flavors before a smooth, crisp finish. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Khortytsa Platinum Vodka Ukraine, 40% abv, $13.99, 750 ml
Incredibly clean and clear, subtle aromas of peach, apricot, sweetgrass and perhaps a hint of lychee rise from the glass. A very faint trace of blossom is interlaced on the nose as well. In the mouth it is full, rich and defined with flavors of stone fruits, a vegetal sweetness and grains. A crisp finish follows with lingering sweetness. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Khortytsa Ultimate Vodka Ukraine, 40% abv, $13.99, 750 ml
Clear and clean with essences of spring water and a hint of toasted wheat. A faint trace of fruit stone comes into play as well. Once in the mouth it is mellow and balanced with a starchy sweetness and a deep mineral complex. Incredibly smooth finish. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 95
HOPHEAD Pot Stilled Hop Flavored Vodka United States, 45% abv, $29.99, 750 ml
Clean and clear. Distinct aromas of hops, copper and yeasty beer, almost sour and very piquant. Dry and opulent in the mouth with light and soft texture, like fresh mineral water with pleasantly subtle overtones of hops, perfectly balanced. Intriguing and refreshing. USC 2013. Great Value. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 96
Linie Aquavit Norway, 41.5% abv, $26.99, 750 ml
Light amber color, very bright and clear. Subtle aromas of orange peel are deep and clean, with undertones of dried fruit. In the mouth it is dry and savory, suede in texture with with slight sweet spice, nutmeg, caraway, and dried orange peel. Exceptionally balanced and smooth. USC 2013. Great Value. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 96
Fords Gin United Kingdom, 45% abv, $34.99, 1 L
Crisp and clean. Forest like aromas of pine with sweet Thai basil fill the nose. In the mouth flavors are full of sweet herbs and a touch of black pepper. It is smooth and lively on the tongue. Ultimately refreshing. USC 2013. Great Value. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Door County Distillery Ridges Lighthouse Gin United States, 47% abv, $19.99, 750 ml
The nose is loaded with notes of anise, juniper, fennel and cardamom. The palate has a milky texture and very spicy palate reminiscent of an Indian spice cupboard. USC 2013. Great Value. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Fifty Pounds London Dry Gin England, 40% abv, $32.99, 750 ml
Incredibly clean with pronounced aromas of cherry blossom and citrus zest yet maintains very delicate. Mellow grainy notes shine through as well. The grain continues in the mouth with a subtle sweetness and warm, round vanilla and ripe raspberry profile. The sweetness follows into an exceptionally delicate finish. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Plymouth Gin United Kingdom, 41.2% abv, $30.00, 750 ml
An appealing nose of citrus peel, candied peel, floral and spicy character. The palate is fairly light and zippy. A wonderful gin that will work in all manner of cocktails and highballs. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Tanqueray London Dry Gin United Kingdom, 47.3% abv, $19.99, 750 ml
Intensely perfumed and woodsy on the nose with juniper rushing forward followed by a delicate hint of coriander. The taste profile follows suit with more juniper, damson plum and an elegant, mineral driven sweetness. Also displays a fresh, citrus quality. Finishing lightly fruity, it boasts a warm, lingering sweetness. Wonderful. USC 2013. Great Value. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Beefeater London Dry Gin United Kingdom, 47% abv, $20.00, 750 ml
Fresh and mellow. Sweet citrus aromas mix with thyme and rosemary. The flavor is dense and concentrated in the mouth with a good bit of spice. It is dry with distant hints of sweet oranges. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Plymouth Navy Strength Gin United Kingdom, 57% abv, $35.00, 750 ml
Wonderfully grainy, clean and piney on the nose with intense aromas of fresh berries, blossom and sage jumping out of the glass. All this is followed by a voluptuous mouthfeel and a dusty sweetness in the mouth. Juniper and savory herbs rush to the front. An elegant finish ensues with a lingering sweetness. Amazing. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 98
Brugal Papa Andres Rum Dominican Rep., 40% abv, $1200.00, 750 ml
Lovely burnt orange/henna color. Majestic aroma explodes from the glass in waves of vanilla bean, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Meaty, big-hearted, yet silky on the palate, as toasted flavors of honey, flavored tobacco, and raisins deeply impress. A textbook, a road map on how memorable molasses-based rum can be. A legend. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
Appleton Estate 12 Years Old Rum Jamaica, 43% abv, $32.00, 750 ml
Possesses a dark amber hue with notes of banana flambee, cinnamon sticks and melted chocolate. Dark chocolate also shows on the palate, along with a hit of molasses and sweet vanilla oak. A lovely sumptuous, benchmark rum. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Appleton Estate Reserve Rum Jamaica, 40% abv, $27.00, 750 ml
Complex aromas of molasses, dried tropical fruits, cherries, and candied nuts. The flavor profile is dry and spicy with cinnamon, clove nutmeg, and dark brown sugar that turn to deep caramel and burnt sugar on the finish. It is smooth and light in texture, creating a supple mouthfeel. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Banks 5 Island Rum West Indies, 43% abv, $29.99, 750 ml
Ripe mango and cantaloupe leap from the glass followed by vanilla, confectionery cherry, lime zest and a suggestion of buttermilk. Dried apricot as well. In the mouth it is pleasantly viscous with delicate hints of ripe mango, ripe cherry, lime zest and dried apricot. The finish is very smooth with ripe mango notes. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Brugal Siglo de Oro Rum Dominican Rep., 37.5% abv, $110.00, 750 ml
The bright amber/auburn hue is highly appealing. Offers deep roasted nut, bakery spice (cinnamon, vanilla), and brown sugar aromas that linger in the glass. Tastes of candied walnut, burnt orange peel, and pipe tobacco. Luscious and opulent. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Phraya Deep Matured Gold Rum Thailand, 40% abv, $49.99, 750 ml
Compelling aromas of vanilla, baked apricot, orange marmalade and exotic spices draw you in. Toasted coconut can also be detected. Delectably honeyed in the mouth and offering deep flavors of baked cherries, baked apricot, fresh cinnamon and orange zest. The finish is soft, delicate and honeyed and lingers on the palate. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 96
Rhum Clement Grande Reserve 6 Years Old Rhum Agricole Martinique, 44% abv, $54.95, 750 ml
Delicate and floral on the nose with hints of honeysuckle, orange blossom and also suggesting fresh cinnamon. Moving into the mouth, it is very soft and displays its citrus side along with an extremely subtle touch of white peppercorn. The finish is long and smooth. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Depaz Blue Cane Amber Rhum Agricole Martinique, 41.5% abv, $35.00, 750 ml
Aromas are clean with brown sugar, light syrup and sweet spices all blended together. It is smooth and soft in the mouth, dry with flavors growing from light brown sugar to thoroughly spiced with an earthy complexity. The finish is spicy and a touch smoky. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Rhum Clement Grande Reserve 10 Years Old Rhum Agricole Martinique, 44% abv, $69.95, 750 ml
Incredibly delicate nose. Slightly floral yet also displaying almond and toffee notes before delving into citrus undertones. Brown sugar shines through on the palate and then bursts with fresh cherry and orange peel. The finish is very smooth and lingers. Delicious. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 95
Milagro Silver, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml
Mellow and round. The nose is melon like with hints of flowers. The palate is clean with earthy flavors reminiscent of fresh green pastures. Light and airy in the mouth. A supporting backbone of salinity gives way to subtle spice on the finish. Delightful. USC 2013. Great Value. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Cruz del Sol Silver, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $49.99, 750 ml
Savory and powerful. A mix of herbs and clay soil dominate the aromas. In the mouth it is almost salty with plenty of spice up front. Earthy flavors of hearty grasses persist tenaciously on the palate. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Don Julio Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $49.99, 750 ml
Pungent and fruity. The nose is full of ripe tropical fruit. In the mouth the texture is thick and soft, with lots of salty undertones. A hint of grassiness on the smooth finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Z Tequila Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $30.00, 750 ml
Very clean. Oatmeal and grass on the nose followed by a subtle earthiness. The taste profile echoes the aromas with toasted snack cracker, grass and a hint of muscat. The finish is, again, very toasty and shows a touch of the earthiness that precedes it. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Montalvo Plata, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $35.00, 750 ml
Starting off with lemon and a touch of pepper, it opens up into smoke and cedar aromas. In the mouth, it is extremely mellow and a warm earthiness balances out sweetgrass and smoke and also carries a lifted citrus tone. The finish is warm and grassy and maintains a wonderful balance that lingers quite long. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Pueblo Viejo Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml
Sweet aromas of vanilla and spice jump out of the glass. The palate is decidedly earthy and dry with salty mineral flavors. Minimal spice on the finish with echoes of the sweet aromas. Vibrant and tasty. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Siete Leguas Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml
Pungent cherry, grass and saline aromas fill the glass and lead into a slightly earthy, grainy taste profile. Also showing a hint of smoke.The cherry and saline qualities return on the finish and it ends dry. Delicious. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Tequila Cabeza Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 43% abv, $42.99, 1 L
Toasted seeds and spices such as coriander seeds, with a lovely fruity temperament. An easy, soft and fruit driven tequila that is light in body and character. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
El Tesoro Platinum Plata, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $50.00, 750 ml
Incredibly clean and compellingly pungent with overtones of earth and flowers, reminiscent of fresh cut sweet grass. The texture is silky and rich. Flavors begin sweet and turn to tingling spice, and finish with a refreshing saline quality. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Silver, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $52.99, 750 ml
Deep and complex. Aromas of roasted tropical fruit are thick with high tones of young grass. The flavor is intense with dark spices and molasses without being sweet. The grainy texture turns suede for a supple finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Olmeca Altos Plata, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $24.00, 750 ml
Smooth and clean. Aromas of fresh green grass are light and airy, supported by minerals and lime. In the mouth the flavor is dry and silky, with flavors of green apple skin, minerals and young green herbs. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 95
Siete Leguas Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $42.99, 750 ml
Straw with flecks of gold in the color. Incredibly spicy and earthy on the nose with hints of cedar and butterscotch. The mouth feel is round and oily while the taste offers more of that spicy and cedar character. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
IZKALI Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $33.00, 750 ml
Fresh salty earth aromas are layered with light toffee and caramel. Plush and smooth in the mouth with an almost viscous consistency. Light flavors of earth, pineapple and very subtle smoke leave a pleasant herbal flavor. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Carmesi Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $33.99, 750 ml
Light and golden. Aroma is briny, with soil and earth qualities. In the mouth it is light and salty with intensely spicy earth flavors of grass. There is a distant hint of vanilla on the finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Lunazul Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $19.99, 750 ml
Fresh and grassy. Aromas are layered with fresh green grass, tart citrus and salty minerals. Darker in the mouth, flavor profile is dry and rich with deep roasted earth flavors. Smooth from beginning to end. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $56.99, 750 ml
Vibrant. Citrusy and salty on the nose, with a touch of vanilla in the background. In the mouth, flavors are of burnt orange and sweet spices. Dry, with plenty of richness and slightly grainy texture. Lingers long in the mouth. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Casamigos Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $49.99, 750 ml
Clean and fresh. Aromas are of spice covered oranges, quite pungent. In the mouth it is toasty with flavors of roasted earth, salty minerals and hints of vanilla. The texture is leathery with palpable spice all the way through. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Olmeca Altos Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $24.00, 750 ml
Smooth and mellow. Aromas are of lightly roasted sweet potatoes and squash. It is light in the mouth with a silky texture. Salty at first, the flavors develop nicely into rich spices, roasted vegetables with a touch of sweetness at the end. Wonderful. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Piedra Azul Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $17.99, 750 ml
Aromas of fresh limes and flowers are clean and bright. Remarkably smooth and plush texture in the mouth. The flavor profile is mostly dry with limes, minerals and light herbs on the long finish. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Tres Agaves Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $32.99, 750 ml
Light golden hue with woody, spicy, pepper aromas. Palate is grassy and herbal with notes of cedar and fresh basil. The finish is long but not overpowering. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 96
IZKALI Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $38.00, 750 ml
Begins with a fantastic bouquet of toasted oak, vanilla and cashew butter with delicate hints of caramel, orange blossom and lime zest. In the mouth it is rich with suggestions of brown sugar, vanilla, caramel and lime zest flavors along with a hint of gentle smoke that crescendos into a lengthy finish tinged with vanilla and sweet smoke. Wow! USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Siete Leguas Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $44.99, 750 ml
Straw colored, with a lively nose of cracked white pepper and freshly crushed hot peppers. Palate is sweeter than one would expect, with a hint of vanilla that weaves through flavors of grass, pepper and white flowers. An intricately balanced tequila. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Lunazul Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $21.99, 750 ml
Butterscotch, vanilla, almond toffee and a slight hint of white chocolate, cinnamon and clove comprise this fabulous bouquet. Once in the mouth, vanilla takes over with undertones of smoked sea salt, butterscotch and lime zest. A semisweet finish with traces of toffee ensues. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Corazon Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml
A gentle nose of burned grass, toasted oat, lime zest and a touch of vanilla and toasted coconut. Once in the mouth it is very soft and mellow with delicate hints of vanilla, sweet smoke and lime zest. The finish is semisweet and long. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Don Julio 70 Claro Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $69.99, 750 ml
Aromas are creamy and grassy with hints of citrus in the background. In the mouth it is mostly dry to off dry with plenty of fresh green spice up front, going from fiery to smooth with a hint of sweet creamy orange on the finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Don Julio Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $57.99, 750 ml
A light gold hue. The nose is fresh and vegetal. Palate show grass, agave, green pepper and a hint of warming oak. The texture is silky smooth, and the finish offers a note of earthy honey and the already mentioned vegetal notes. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 95
Casa Sauza XA Edición Limitada Extra Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $150.00, 750 ml
Ripe pineapple and green pepper aromas are sweet and piquant. It begins sweet and earthy with jicama and grassy flavors and slowly unfolds a bit of jalapeño spice with vanilla cream undertones. The texture is smooth with a dusty finish. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Alquimia Extra Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $135.00, 750 ml
A wonderfully delicate nose of vanilla, sugarcane, toasted oak, butterscotch, citrus pith and sea air. More subtle traces of grass as well. In the mouth it is delectably smooth. Flavors of vanilla, gentle smoke, butterscotch, brown sugar and lime zest are present. The finish is dry with notes of vanilla and a lingering salinity. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Malinalli Extra Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $96.00, 750 ml
Very delicate aromas of lime, sweetgrass, smoke and vanilla. A touch of white flower as well. In the mouth, vanilla becomes more apparent as well as a touch of honey and is balanced by lime zest and a smoky saline quality. This salinity endures into the finish and is balanced by a vanilla sweetness. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Don Julio Real Extra Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $350.99, 750 ml
Intense smoky aromas lift out of the glass. A creamy texture glides in the mouth, with lush butter, tart limes and asparagus coming through on the palate, all ending in a spicy finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
San Matias Gran Reserva 3 Years Old Extra Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila Mexico, 40% abv, $49.99, 750 ml
Cinnamon and clove aromas with a background of green herbs. The flavor is salty and spicy leading into spiced oranges and green vegetables. Lightly smoky throughout with a pleasant sandy texture. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 95
Del Maguey Minero Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 46% abv, $69.99, 750 ml
Opening with an floral array of honeysuckle, apple blossom, vanilla and ripe pear, it carries a delectable undertone of smoked white peppercorn. Once in the mouth it is incredibly smooth and delightfully sweet with reoccurring vanilla notes and a very subtle touch of honey. All of this wraps up into an impeccable, fruity finish. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 46% abv, $69.99, 750 ml
Aromas of roasted fruit, sweet spice and wood fire. Complex wave of flavors begins with salt and lime, turning to smoky earth, and progressing to deep sweet roasted fruit. Smoke permeates all the way through underneath primary flavors. It is soft and easy in all it's intricacies. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Del Maguey Santo Domingo Albarradas Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 46% abv, $69.99, 750 ml
Intense and smooth. Aromas are layered with sweet earth, herbs and a touch of smoked fruit. Flavors begin saline and bright and quickly move to deep and smoky with cedar and cayenne. Spice and herbs on the finish. The texture is round and silky. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Del Maguey San Luis Del Rio Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 46% abv, $69.99, 750 ml
Earthy aromas of greens and root vegetables with a touch of tropical fruit. Sweet and savory in the mouth, plenty of smoky peppers and wood charcoal with fresh pineapple flavors peeking through. Smooth and complex. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Sombra Joven Mezcal de Oaxaca Mexico, 45% abv, $34.00, 750 ml
Smoky and intense aromas of roasted earth and charred vegetables. Smooth and silky in the mouth with light peppery spice and smoky flavors underneath vegetal and herbal flavors. Robust and rustic. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 96
Balcones 1 Texas Single Malt American Whiskey United States, 53% abv, $65.00, 750 ml
Seductive dark honey color. Soft and sweetly spiced aromas of golden raisin and nutmeg. It is dry in the mouth with a grainy wood texture, earthy structure with flavors of barley and cinnamon. Smooth and spicy on the long finish, with a touch of char. Relaxed and full of flavor. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 92
Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat American Whiskey United States, 45% abv, $29.99, 750 ml
Oats and vanilla dominate the nose but offers a hint of vanilla as well. Once in the mouth it opens up into a delicate, honeyed mouthfeel but is offset by an equally mild citrus and cherry profile. Finishes effortlessly. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 97
Blanton's Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 46.5% abv, $49.99, 750 ml
Leather and buttered popcorn pop up on the nose, along with vanilla, dried cherry and oak notes all reminiscent of a Panettone cake. The texture is oily and fat, while the taste is buttery, rich and sumptuous. It finishes with notes of toasted wood and butter. An incomparable whiskey that unfolds in the glass. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 50% abv, $39.99, 750 ml
Pleasantly fruity on the nose suggesting, apricot, pear and cherry while maintaining a toasted oak characteristic as well. On the palate it edges closer to the toasted oak traits of vanilla, smoke and cedar and ends elegantly. Citrus plays a balancing role in the finish. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Jim Beam Devil's Cut Bourbon United States, 45% abv, $23.99, 750 ml
Distinct aromas of dark cherry, vanilla, toasted oak and blossom develop into a flavor profile of brown sugar, citrus, dried apricot and a delicate hint of smoke. The smokiness lingers into the finish and is accompanied by a touch of honey and orange zest. Very smooth. USC 2013. Great Value. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Jim Beam Black Bourbon United States, 43% abv, $21.99, 750 ml
Delightful aromas of confectioners cherry, vanilla and cinnamon on the nose accompanied by a slight hint of smoke and almond. Slightly honeyed in the mouth, a very rich texture, with underlying tones of confectioners cherry and vanilla. These same flavors translate into a long, mellow and semisweet finish. USC 2013. Great Value. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2012 12 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 49% abv, $49.99, 750 ml
A distinct nose of orange and ginger confiture with notes of crystallized sugar. Muscovado sugar character come through in the mouth, while the finish is intensely rich. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 47.8% abv, $119.99, 750 ml
Tangerine and baked cherry dominate the nose while also offering banana, shortbread and vanilla aromas. In the mouth, it is deep and rich with maple syrup notes while also maintaining a lifted citrus overtone. The finish is delightfully bold and elegant with citrus playing a major role. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
William Larue Weller 12 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 61.7% abv, $69.99, 750 ml
Scents of marzipan and tamari jump out of the glass. Red kirsch flavors attack the palate with hits of violet and butter. There is also a saline leather saddle streak in the mouth, which makes the mouth water and beg for more. Exceptional! USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 45% abv, $24.99, 750 ml
Delicate and smoky on the nose displaying notes of citrus, cedar, maraschino and a touch of blossom. Very mellow in the mouth and alludes to honey, citrus and maple. Dried fruits play a role as well. The citrus motif carries on into the finish which also prominently features a maple like sweetness. Outstanding. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon United States, 50% abv, $49.99, 750 ml
Baked cherries and toasted coconut swathed in vanilla and almond butter makes up the nose while honey, marmalade and maple syrup make up the palate. Incredibly smooth and delightfully sweet. Polished and refined finish referring back to baked cherries and almond butter while maintaining its delicate sweetness. Fantastic. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Knob Creek Single Barrel 9 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 60% abv, $40.99, 750 ml
Amber hued with grassy, spicy notes in the perfume, and a salivating smell of melted butter and oak. Spice attacks the midpalate with a good dose of acidity and a dark peppery finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Zackariah Harris Kentucky Straight Bourbon United States, 40% abv, $11.99, 750 ml
Aromas of banana creme pie and baked cherries followed by a subtle hint of toasted oak, and vanilla. Also offering a touch of honeysuckle. Round, mellow and slightly sweet on the palate while showing subtle flavors of vanilla and toffee. The mellow quality endures through the finish ad baked cherries show once more. Incredibly smooth. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 94
Knob Creek Rye Whiskey United States, 50% abv, $40.99, 750 ml
A golden amber hue with menthol confectionery notes on the nose. Grass and peppermint notes on the palate with a hint of dried cherry. The finish is long, spicy and bold. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Masterson's French Oak Finished 10 Years Old Rye Whiskey Canada, 45% abv, $79.00, 750 ml
Exceptionally floral nose with hints of elderflower, honeysuckle and marmalade. Once in the mouth it flaunts a distinctively grainy sweetness followed by brown sugar and toffee. Also a slight hint of citrus. The finish is incredibly smooth and allows the sweetness to continue but also refers back to its floral nose. Very delicate. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Bulleit Rye Whiskey United States, 45% abv, $27.99, 750 ml
Deep golden hues. Aromas are earthy and rustic with hints of spice and leather. In the mouth, the flavor is rich with intense sweet and savory spice up front. It is grainy and woody with hints of savory vanilla at the end. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Masterson's American Oak Finish 10 Years Old Rye Whiskey Canada, 45% abv, $79.00, 750 ml
Subtle and rich. Aromas of fresh cut wood chips and light smoke. In the mouth it is leathery and dry with plenty of clove, cinnamon, and allspice. Light smoke turns into smooth vanilla flavor that lasts long in the mouth. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Sazerac Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey United States, 45% abv, $26.99, 750 ml
Beginning with hints of toasted oak, vanilla, and smoke aromas, this opens up into ripe orchard fruit, more vanilla and candied tangerine. This develops into more citrus for a smooth finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Whiskey

Tennessee Whiskey

Award Score      
Chairman's Trophy 95
George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whiskey United States, 45% abv, $24.99, 750 ml
Beautiful amber color with pronounced vanilla, apricot and campfire smoke aromas on the nose. Incredibly smooth in the mouth with flavors of vanilla, orange peel, honey and brown sugar. Baked cherry notes begin developing before finishing effortlessly with subtle tones of vanilla and brown sugar. Outstanding. USC 2013. Great Value. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 93
George Dickel Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey United States, 43% abv, $45.99, 750 ml
Beautiful amber hue. A delicate and floral nose along with hints of shortbread, vanilla, toasted coconut and almond butter. Honey comes into play on the palate and brings with it sour cherry, orange peel and a subtle hint of ripe plum. The orange peel extends delicately into the elegant finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 97
Jameson 18 Years Old Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $85.00, 750 ml
Aromas are smooth and sweet with light caramel and cinnamon buns. In the mouth the flavor profile is dry and earthy with undertones of caramel and toffee. The texture is incredibly smooth and silky. It sits lightly in the mouth. Flavors continue to develop leaving a light vanilla note on the finish. Outstanding. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Jameson 12 Years Old Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $50.00, 750 ml
Bursting with cherry, vanilla, and orange marmalade aromas followed by a subtle smoke and mineral complex. This is followed by an incredibly smooth and balanced palate brimming with candied fruit, toast, smoke and a superbly balanced grainy sweetness. The finish is quite long and allows cherries and vanilla to shine through. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Jameson Gold Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $60.00, 750 ml
Delicate and fragrant with citrus and honeysuckle playing a lead role. Also suggestion of brown sugar and oats. On the palate it is incredibly full, opulent and honeyed and allows the citrus and honeysuckle to show through. The finish is rather elegant and while floral, also takes on a hint of maraschino cherry for a much appreciated balance. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Kilbeggan 18 Years Old Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $115.99, 750 ml
A happening nose of vanilla, coffee bean and coconut aromas. The palate is rich and inviting with warming notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and spice, along with an oily and viscous texture. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Bushmills Black Bush Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $28.99, 750 ml
A bright amber hued whiskey with a rich, sweet, sherry-like nose and a toasted grain quality. Flavor is balanced, delicately sweet, and slightly honeyed. The finish is rich and flavorful. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Tullamore Dew Special Reserve 12 Years Old Blended Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $40.00, 750 ml
Clean and earthy. Aromas are of fresh coffee grounds and shrubs. Incredibly smooth in the mouth with round earthy flavors, almost floral, and a light vibrant texture. Lightly smoked and woody on the subtle and pleasant finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 97
Redbreast 15 Years Old Irish Pot Still Whiskey Ireland, 46% abv, $75.00, 750 ml
Beautiful amber color in the glass with powerful orange blossom and thyme aromas followed by subtle cedar and cherry notes. In the mouth, incredibly smooth and rich with brown sugar, baked apricots, orange and vanilla. The finish is robust and mouth watering and reintroduces blossom perfume as well as a slight vanilla undertone. Amazing. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
Redbreast Cask Strength 12 Years Old Irish Pot Still Whiskey Ireland, 57.7% abv, $90.00, 750 ml
Fuji apple, ripe plum, honeysuckle, orange blossom and toasted almond aromas ensnarl your senses, each racing to get to your nose first. Incredibly robust in the mouth with vanilla and baked cherries entering the mix before receding into a exquisitely cultured finish accentuated by honey and vanilla. Absolutely astonishing. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
Redbreast 12 Years Old Irish Pot Still Whiskey Ireland, 43% abv, $40.00, 750 ml
Delectable citrus aromas rise from the glass to your nose bringing notes of vanilla, toasted oak and baked cherry. Sherry-like and creamy in the mouth with baked cherry and vanilla battling for presence against brown sugar and orange peel. All of these flavors endure into an intricate and eloquent finish involving all characteristics. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy Irish Pot Still Whiskey Ireland, 46% abv, $250.00, 750 ml
A captivating nose of toffee and dried fruits with a hint of caramelized ginger. Spicy toffee flavors, toffee apple and vanilla beans come through in this warming Irish whiskey. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 95
Tullamore Dew 10 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $35.00, 750 ml
Bursting with toffee and chocolate yet balanced by a distinct touch of honeysuckle and orange blossom. This bouquet of aromas is followed by ripe plum and apricot in the mouth with a touch of honeyed sweetness. Boasts a rich finish with honey and toffee showing through while also showing a delicate fruity side. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Bushmills 10 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $39.99, 750 ml
Notes of toffee, vanilla and baked apple on the nose. White fruits, vanilla and fudge abound on the palate, with a tasty rich and long finish. Multilayered and complex. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Bushmills 21 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey Ireland, 40% abv, $124.99, 750 ml
This is a whiskey with layers of character. Amber hued, with a distinct Oloroso sherry nose, and rancio and umami notes. Mineral notes mingle on the palate along with a dry, savory taste. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Connemara Single Malt Irish Whiskey United States, 40% abv, $44.99, 750 ml
This golden hued whiskey is peaty and complex with secondary and tertiary character. The palate is made up of mushrooms, rancio and toast flavors, with a super long finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 93
Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, $49.99, 750 ml
Intense cedar and campfire smoke aromas accompanied by undertones of shortbread and baked cherries. In the mouth, brown sugar is featured prominently along with baked cherries and a faint hit of citrus. The campfire smoke returns on the finish along with a touch of honey. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Pike Creek Premium 10 Years Old Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, CAD40.00, 750 ml
Delicate aromas of orange blossom, honeysuckle, cedar and vanilla. Incredibly rich mouthfeel with maple syrup, citrus and baked peaches. Also suggesting cinnamon and perhaps smoke. A grainy, lasting finish follows. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Wiser's 18 Years Old Canadian Whisky Canada, 40% abv, CAD66.00, 750 ml
Powerful vanilla aromas on the nose along with subtle notes of licorice and cinnamon lead into a robust and honeyed mouthfeel with flavors of baked stone fruits and citrus pith. The finish is long and mellow and continues with the honey motif. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 100
Highland Park 25 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 45.7% abv, $299.99, 750 ml
Astonishingly powerful aroma with brooding aromas of vanilla, baked cherries, toffee, and toasted walnut. Breakfast cereal, orange marmalade and cloves are buried beneath. In the mouth it is full, robust and spicy with vanilla, toffee, baked cherries with underlying profiles of white chocolate and sweet smoke. An intense, sweet finish. The ultimate classic! USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 97
Glenfarclas 17 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $89.99, 750 ml
Gold hay hue. The nose is an intricate range of smoke, minerals and sherry. On the palate, there is butterscotch, more sherry and peat. Smoke continues to stay with you long after the final sip. A whisky of complexity and depth, offering a very long finish. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 97
Highland Park 30 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 48.1% abv, $399.99, 750 ml
Incredible deep amber hue in the glass with honeysuckle, ripe apricot, almond and pipe tobacco dominating the nose followed by a delicate touch of vanilla. In the mouth it is sumptuous and elegant with vanilla, white chocolate, clove, and fresh cinnamon making a dazzling appearance. The finish is distinctly intense, bold and sweet. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
BenRiach 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $55.99, 750 ml
Wonderful fruit aromas of ripe apricot, baked peaches, muscat, and tangerine are complemented by honeysuckle, elderflower and cherry blossom. Subtle notes of vanilla and toasted wheat are present as well. In the mouth it is honeyed with vanilla, and ripe apricot presiding over traces of tangerine zest and lasts for a mellow finish. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
Glenfarclas 25 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $149.99, 750 ml
A spectacular nose of sherry aromas, including brine, cured olives, leather and nuts. The oily and waxy texture leads to a complex palate, which reveals tastes of dark bitter chocolate, vanilla bean, smoke and sherry. The finish lingers forever. A dry, rich and intricate whisky. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
Glenfiddich 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $89.99, 750 ml
Sunny amber hue. Offers a lavish nose of toffee and dried fruits. The palate is rich with savory sherry flavors, melted butter, caramel, sultana raisins, and dried cherries. There is a super long saline finish with notes of malt and smoke. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
Highland Park 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $49.99, 750 ml
Dark gold, verging on amber, in color. An earthy, Oloroso sherry nose, with delicate wafts of smoke and leather. Honeyed heather notes show on the palate, with an intriguing herbacious quality. Malt, smoke and sherry build in the midpalate, while the finish is gently sweet with hints of leather and sherry. Spectacular. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Aberlour 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $100.00, 750 ml
Beautiful deep amber in the glass. Powerful aromas of peach, ripe apricot, and orange zest fill the nose along with more subtle notes of chocolate and toffee. On the palate, licorice, honey and cream ensnarl your taste buds with a touch of vanilla and lead into a long, smooth and honeyed finish. Outstanding. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Ardbeg 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $60.00, 750 ml
A beautiful light, straw yellow hue in the glass with bold smoky aromas giving way to orange zest, white flower, vanilla and fresh cinnamon. In the mouth it is bold with an astonishing balance of smoke, honey, orange and vanilla. A constant give and take of these flavors leads to an elegant finish marked by hints of smoke and vanilla. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Benromach 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $49.99, 750 ml
Bursting with ripe fruit flavors reminiscent of mango, dark cherry and tangerine as well as offering deeper notes of vanilla, butterscotch, shortbread, and honeysuckle. In the mouth it is rich with a sherry sweetness balanced by gentle peat smoke and candied tangerine. It barrels into the finish boldly with notes of honey and citrus zest. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Glenfarclas 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $44.99, 750 ml
Shows the color of gold. Smells like a dry Manzanilla sherry, with aromas of sea spray. Flavors of saltwater taffy weave through a palate of, now, sweeter sherry tastes, along with enticing notes of vanilla and baking spice. The finish is sweet and salty. A very elegant and balanced whisky. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Glenfarclas 21 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $119.99, 750 ml
Deep gold hue. Sherry aromas are fully present on the nose. Notes of hazelnut, mountain air and dried fruits, all mingle in the bouquet, along with a touch of smoke and vanilla creme anglaise. The palate is rich with dried fruits and flavors of vanilla custard, interlaced with smoke. The finish is long lasting. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Glenfiddich 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $59.99, 750 ml
Deep gold, near amber, hue. A generous nose with aromas of sherry and sea spray. The palate is rich with flavors of toffee, salt water, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper spices. The texture glides, while the finish has oxidative sherry notes, caramel and peat. There's a lot going on here. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Glenmorangie Extremely Rare 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 46% abv, $109.99, 750 ml
Crisp aromas of fresh cut wood, toasted grains and hints of salty toffee. Very silky texture coats the mouth nicely with subtle nutmeg, spiced lemon, and sweet wood flavors. Light smoke and caramel flavors linger long in the mouth. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Highland Park 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $69.99, 750 ml
Gold hue. Smoke, peat, ocean spray and a hint of herbal sage exude from the nose. Smoke follows through on the palate along with a taste of dried mushroom and a hint of chocolate. The texture glides, and the palate offers spice, dried fruits and a note of rose petal. Spectacular. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Highland Park 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $119.99, 750 ml
Gold hue leading to light amber. There is a layered nose of smoke, peat and rancio. The nose continues to unfold in the glass with aromas of curry and preserved citrus. The palate offers sweet, dried fruit character with butterscotch flavors, orange peel and spice. The finish is delightfully long. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Laphroaig Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 57.8% abv, $59.99, 750 ml
Wonderful and intense aromas of peat smoke and cedar rise to your nose and are balanced by lemon zest, toffee, vanilla and coconut meat. It is incredibly bold on the palate with smoke and cedar leading the charge followed by brown sugar, honey and citrus. The peat smoke endures well into the lengthy finish as well as hints of honey. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
The Glenlivet 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $60.00, 750 ml
Gold amber hue. A seductive nose revealing smoke, dried pineapple and ginger aromas. Sweet sherry flavors weave in and out of the palate, with dried tropical fruit character and a nice amount of peat. The finish is dry, with perceptible oak tannins. A treat to the senses. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 43% abv, $75.00, 750 ml
Delightful aromas of tangerine zest, toasted oak, baked cherries, peat, vanilla and undertones of white flower and smoke lift the spirit from the glass. In the mouth it is rich and honeyed with notes of brown sugar, tangerine, smoke and vanilla. Delicate flavors of dark cherry are also present. The finish is wonderfully intense and sweet. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 95
Royal Salute 21 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $175.00, 750 ml
Powerful aromas of vanilla, toasted oak and baked cherries allude to a more subtle layer of cherry blossom, dried apricot, toasted oat and white raisin. It is delightfully soft in the mouth. Vanilla, dried apricot and a faint trace of smoke and biscuit appear on the palate. A lingering finish of honey and toasted oak. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Buchanan's Special Reserve 18 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $69.99, 750 ml
Bright amber in color. Layer of aromas on the nose, including dark chocolate, Indian pickles and smoke. Sherry flavors, along with marmalade, spice and chocolate, follow on the rich palate. The finish is savory with a touch of tobacco, apricot, and lingering smoke. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Dewar's Signature Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $199.99, 750 ml
Gentle aromas of dried peaches and apricots. The initial flavor is slightly sweet followed by distinct peat and smoke that grows in power on the finish. The texture is light and remarkably smooth. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Royal Salute 38 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $650.00, 750 ml
Aromas are decidedly sweet with light toffee, burnt sugar, nutmeg and oatmeal, with an integrated smoky background. In the mouth sweet and smoky flavors glide on a silk like texture with hints of tobacco and dark caramel. Deep and mellow. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $220.00, 750 ml
Aromas are clean and floral, with light brown sugar and biscuits. Spicy and rich in the mouth with cinnamon stick, nutmeg and clove, undertones of vanilla custard. Sandy texture is consistent and a pleasant match for all the spice. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Buchanan's Master Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $42.00, 750 ml
Wonderful perfume of toasted oak, vanilla, candied orange, ripe peach and baked cherries with a delicate smoky complex. In the mouth, brown sugar and honey complement baked cherry and ripe plum to form a rich mouthfeel. A smooth, mellow and honeyed finish ensues. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Buchanan's Red Seal 21 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $134.99, 750 ml
Enticing aromas of honeysuckle, candied orange, clove, toasted grains rise from the glass as well as a hint of pipe tobacco. Exceptionally soft in the mouth with baked fruits and a deep smokiness taking the stage. A grainy sweetness is also present which leads into an elegant and subtly smoky finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Chivas 25 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $250.00, 750 ml
Bright amber hue. Mouth watering toffee, prune and beeswax aromas lift out of the glass. There is toffee in the entry, while flavors of umeboshi plums and butter coat the mouth. The texture is wonderfully oily and the finish is bold and spicy, with a lingering note of old leather. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Chivas 18 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $75.00, 750 ml
Has an amber hue, and offers a lavish nose of orange pulp and leather. The palate is rich with a multitude of flavors including dark chocolate, cinnamon, caramel, leather and tobacco. The finish is long, with a peppery note. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Dewar's 12 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $28.99, 750 ml
Wonderfully smoky on the nose, reminiscent of smoked meats, vanilla, toasted oak, baked cherries and ripe apricot make a cameo as well. Once in the mouth, it is soft and mellow with vanilla, brown sugar, baked cherries and subtle orange zest flavors. On the finish it is smooth and long with dark chocolate and vanilla notes. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Dewar's 18 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $79.99, 750 ml
Amber color, with aromas of orange pulp and vanilla custard. Texture is viscous, and carries rich flavors of lush toffee apples, fudge, ginger and honey, along with a bright citrus note and balanced oak and peat. The finish is sweet and long. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Johnnie Walker Double Black Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $90.00, 750 ml
Aromas are decidedly savory with peat, bacon, and fresh herbal undertones. The flavor profile has hints of sweet bran, cinnamon and tobacco with a smokey and grainy finish. Very smooth. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
The Black Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $24.99, 750 ml
Dark gold, verging on amber, hue. Sherry and peat aromas mingle on the nose. The palate starts with a savory peaty smokey aspect and leads to lush butterscotch and vanilla flavors. Has a smokey, honeyed finish. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 94
Haig Supreme 1627 Blended Malt Scotch Whisky Scotland, 40% abv, $30.00, 750 ml
Golden amber and bright in color. Aromas are grainy, layered with forest underbrush and smoke. Decidedly dry and savory in the mouth, leathery and smoky with flavors of tobacco, cedar and mace. The finish is dusty with char. Outstanding. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 93
E & J XO American Brandy United States, 40% abv, $14.99, 750 ml
Dusty, earthy aromas on the nose, with hints of candied red berries. The palate is sweet with an initial rush of red cherries and a hint of banana in the midpalate. A fairly light bodied brandy that finishes with a honeyed note. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Brandy

Armagnac

Award Score      
Chairman's Trophy 97
Delord 30 Years Old 1981 Bas-Armagnac France, 40% abv, $110.00, 750 ml
Secondary and tertiary aromas, such as miso, dried chanterelles and leather, sing in this long aged armagnac. The palate shows hints of stony mineral and tamari, along with a hint of butterscotch. An intricately balanced spirit. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
Dartigalongue Cuvée Louis Philippe Bas-Armagnac France, 42% abv, $200.00, 750 ml
A complex and layered armagnac with notes of rancio, mushroom and tamari on the nose, along with poached apples and pears. The same fruit aromas come through on the palate with a savory bouillon cube character at the end. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
Laubade 1974 Bas-Armagnac France, 40% abv, $234.99, 750 ml
Aromas of campfire, fragrant wood, and sweet spices are cozy and warm. It has a rough suede texture that pleasantly coats the mouth. The flavor profile begins dry and savory dominated by rich wood with herbs, undertones before turning to deep molasses and coffee flavors on the finish. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Laubade XO Bas-Armagnac France, 40% abv, $79.99, 750 ml
A gorgeous nose of grass, pepper and cedar box aromas. Palate is spicy and lean, with a hint of dried fruits, leather, soy and minerals. The finish is long and delicious. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
De Montal VS Armagnac France, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml
Astonishing aromas of grape, smoke and field fresh strawberries are balanced by subtle stone fruit and floral notes. In the mouth it is slightly smoky and bringing orange marmalade and strawberries into the equation. The finish is satisfyingly sweet with a distinctly smoky edge. Fantastic. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
De Montal XO Armagnac France, 40% abv, $110.00, 750 ml
Dried fruit aromas in the form of apricots and papaya, mingled with buttered popcorn. Palate is leathery and dry, with hints of caramel and apricot. Provides a long finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Brandy

Calvados

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      
Chairman's Trophy 96
Boulard XO Calvados France, 40% abv, $110.00, 750 ml
Baked apple, almond toffee, vanilla and dark cherry are followed by an alluring floral complexity and a subtle smokiness that define the nose. Once in the mouth vanilla, almond and dark cherry shine through before allowing a much fainter profile of honey to reach the surface. A mellow finish with baked apple and almond follows. Outstanding. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Calvados Christian Drouin Hors d'Age Calvados, Pays d'Auge France, 42% abv, $140.00, 750 ml
Fig, baked apricot, candied orange peel and honeysuckle comprise this exquisite bouquet. Once in the mouth, honey, brown sugar, toasted wheat and dark plum come to the front with brown sugar and dark plum resonating on the finish. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Pere Magloire VSOP Calvados France, 40% abv, $40.00, 750 ml
Opening with intoxicating aromas of candied orange, maraschino cherry, honeysuckle, ripe melon and a faint hint of coriander, it carries seamlessly in to a rich mouthfeel with honey, candied orange, sweet spice and ripe melon cascading over your tongue. The finish is soft and delicate and maintains a honeyed sweetness. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Lecompte 5 Years Old Calvados France, 40% abv, $45.00, 750 ml
Wonderfully fruity nose with red apple, ripe peach, ripe mango and muscat aromas, respectively. Underneath this layer of fruit is a delectable bouquet of cherry blossom and elderflower. The fruit motif continues accompanied by essences of brown sugar and dried apricot. It finishes harmoniously with dried apricot and red apple. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Lecompte 18 Years Old Calvados France, 40% abv, $150.00, 750 ml
Baked apples and caramel on the nose, with a hint of menthol. Leather and fruit flavors come up on the palate, along with warm spices, such as nutmeg and cloves. Finishes with a note of dried apple. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Calvados Christian Drouin XO Calvados, Pays d'Auge France, 40% abv, $77.00, 750 ml
Sweet aromas of fresh and dried apples mixed with flowers. The flavor profile is dry with lots of herbal background notes giving way to more fruity and floral flavors in the long finish. The texture starts out smooth and opulent and makes its way to rough suede. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Lecompte 12 Years Old Calvados France, 40% abv, $75.00, 750 ml
Bursting with apple, cardamom, cinnamon, honeysuckle, candied orange and toasted walnut aromas on the nose. Possesses a robust mouthfeel and it dives into brown sugar, baked pie crust, baked apple, cinnamon flavors with a lingering orange characteristic. Baked cherries make an appearance as well. The finish is effortless and long. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Brandy

Cognac

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      
Chairman's Trophy 98
Hardy XO Cognac France, 40% abv, $125.00, 750 ml
Smooth and rich aromas of spiced raisins and cider with coffee and molasses undertones. Flavor is equally deep with caramel and tobacco notes riding on a silky texture that leaves a touch of cinnamon spice on the finish, along with long lasting floral echoes. Beautiful. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 97
Jean Fillioux Cognac XO Grande Reserve Cognac Grande Champagne France, 44% abv, $130.00, 750 ml
Delicately perfumed with white peaches, oranges and lilies. Nectar like consistency is smooth and rich. Undertones of cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg support creamy vanilla custard and candied orange flavors. Slightly sweet and pungent, it is deep and complex with utmost elegance. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
Delamain Extra XO Cognac Grande Champagne France, 40% abv, $220.00, 750 ml
Notes of earth, honey, nuts and butter on the nose. The palate continues with flavors of shortbread cookies, dried fruits, vanilla bean and oak. The finish is long and almost sweet. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
Frapin Extra 50 Years Old Cognac Grande Champagne France, 40% abv, $600.00, 750 ml
Complex aromas of raisins, dried cherries, and spiced orange peel. The flavor profile is just off dry with hints of dried fruit, toffee and spice coming through. The texture is smooth, woody and even toned throughout. Light in the mouth, with an incredible depth of flavor and long pleasant finish. Delicious. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 96
Louis Royer XO Cognac France, 40% abv, $123.86, 750 ml
Opulent and pure aromas of grapes, raisins, mild sweet spice and flowers. Very pretty. The texture is rich and smooth on the lighter side. Flavors of vanilla, sugar cookies, and eggnog are indulgent yet delicate. Finishes with hints of butterscotch and cream. Delightful. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Frapin VIP XO Cognac France, 40% abv, $184.00, 750 ml
Aromas are grapey with plenty of cinnamon and baked cherry. The flavor profile is lightly sweet with date honey, lightly roasted nuts and sweet baking spices. Supple texture finishes smoothly with pleasant grape and floral flavors. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
HINE Rare VSOP Cognac France, 40% abv, $59.99, 750 ml
Dark amber hue. The nose is reminiscent of black peppercorns and leather, both follow on the palate, along with a mineral edge and dry tannic finish. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Merlet Cognac Brothers Blend Cognac France, 40% abv, $45.00, 750 ml
Complex aromas of citrus, quince, grains and subtle flowers. It is spicy and grainy in the mouth, with flavors of cedar and turmeric at the forefront giving way to a softer and slightly sweet woody finish. Delicate flavors with a powerful body. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Rémy Martin 1738 Cognac Fine Champagne France, 40% abv, $50.00, 750 ml
Rich and spicy aromas of dried figs, cinnamon, and spice cake. The flavor is dry and spiced with a grainy texture and lots of woodsy flavor. Herbs and dried fruit flavors emerge toward the end and deep spice resonates throughout. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Delamain Pale & Dry XO Cognac France, 40% abv, $99.00, 750 ml
The aromas are sweetly perfumed with honeysuckle and cherry blossoms. There is considerable spice in the mouth layered on top of the satiny texture. Flavors of apples, chamomile and honey are well integrated. Lovely. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Louis Royer VSOP Force 53 Cognac France, 53% abv, $39.71, 750 ml
Grapey aromas are slightly floral and herbal with undertones of warm spice. Flavor profile is spicy with turmeric, star fruit, and honey notes, moving to breakfast cereal and toasted vanilla cookies. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Brandy

French Brandy

Award Score      
Chairman's Trophy 93
St-Rémy Réserve Privée French Brandy France, 40% abv, £30.00, 700 ml
Profound aromas of crushed sloe berries, smoke, candied orange peel and toasted oak give way to mellow aromas of vanilla and almond. In the mouth, vanilla and almond are front and center with baked cherries and a subtle smokiness building up to a finish dominated by exquisite vanilla and dried apricot flavors. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
St-Rémy XO French Brandy France, 40% abv, $13.50, 750 ml
Delicate aromas of vanilla interlaced with honeysuckle, blossom, orange marmalade and dried cranberry. Once in the mouth, the orange marmalade adds a lifted energy to deep flavors of brown sugar, raisin, dried apricot and fig. Brown sugar and raisin carry through onto a soft finish. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 97
Bocchino Riserva Carlo Bocchino Grappa Italy, 43% abv, $150.00, 750 ml , seeking US Importer
Vibrant aromas of citrus peel, mountain flowers with savory undertones. More citrus and flowers in the mouth augmented by hints of nutmeg and a gentle sweetness, though the flavor profile is more saline than sugary. Smooth and clean. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Grappa Marolo Moscato Grappa Italy, 42% abv, $60.00, 750 ml
Clear as water. The aromas open up with stone fruits and freshly fermented grape must. The palate has pretty, almost sweet, peach flavors, with a distinct note of muscat and vanilla flower. The finish is long and fruit driven. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Nonino Il Moscato di Grappa Italy, 41% abv, $45.00, 375 ml
Crystal clear in the glass. Highly fragrant with aromas of white flowers, muscat grapes and peach pit. Offers a viscous texture, with peach notes coming through on the palate, along with a hint of pear drops. A very pretty grappa. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Alexander Grappolo Grappa Italy, 40% abv, $100.00, 750 ml
Very pretty floral aromas of apple blossom, chamomile and white peaches. The initial flavor is sweet and lemony. Light herbal flavors are delicate and long lasting through the pillowy texture. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Bocchino Cantina Privata Nebbiolo da Barolo Grappa Italy, 42% abv, $120.00, 750 ml , seeking US Importer
Distinct aroma of freshly brewed black tea, thyme and apples. The flavor profile is dry and herbal with dried red apples and hints of grain. The texture is smooth suede with a bit of dryness at the finish. Rustic. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Grappa Marolo Brunello Grappa Italy, 42% abv, $60.00, 750 ml
The aroma is complex with layers of hay, grass, and fresh flowers. The flavor profile is semisweet with grapey and floral overtones. The texture is somewhat sandy. Lemon essence and white pepper linger for an aromatic finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Brandy

Pisco

Award Score      
Chairman's Trophy 95
Barsol Supremo Mosto Verde Pisco Peru, 41.5% abv, $39.99, 750 ml
A very aromatic spirit that shows a lot of grape character and a herbal, grassy quality. The mouth feel is smooth and viscous, and finishes with a hint of pineapple character. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 92
Barsol Selecto Italia Pisco Peru, 40% abv, $35.99, 750 ml
The perfume on this Pisco is reminiscent of rose, muscat and confectionery fruit aromas. A very pretty, fruit driven palate with a long finish. High acidity keeps the freshness level high and therefore refreshing. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Pisco Portón Acholado de Mosto Verde Pisco Peru, 43% abv, $39.99, 750 ml
Floral notes of Jasmin bounce off the nose, along with very fruity and fresh herbal aromas. The palate show jasmine and green tea character, with a long finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 94
Cardenal Mendoza Brandy de Jerez Spain, 40% abv, $44.99, 750 ml
Sherry-like aromas of raisins, dried figs and nuts. The flavor profile is dry and nutty with undertones of tart dried fruits. It is a rough suede texture in the mouth, smooth on the palate with piquant cinnamon spice on the finish. Lovely. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
Gran Duque de Alba Oro 25 Years Old Brandy de Jerez Spain, 40% abv, $150.00, 750 ml
Brimming with maraschino cherry, dried prune, baked fig and dark chocolate aromas, it also shows a delicate floral side. In the mouth it is supple with brown sugar and baked cherries while maintaining a briny side as well. Incredible balanced finish lingers on the palate. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 97
La Muse Verte Absinthe France, 68% abv, $65.00, 750 ml
Fresh and floral. Aromas of white flowers and young green herbs are strong and almost sweet smelling. Fluffy in the mouth, smooth and warm it expands to coat the entire palate. Layered flavor is full of apples, herbs, and a touch of peppermint. The finish is spicy, mouthwatering and full. Outstanding. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 95
Plymouth Sloe Gin United Kingdom, 26% abv, $37.00, 750 ml
Wonderful and powerful aromas of licorice, damson plum, and citrus pith leap forward from the glass along with an incredibly herbaceous undertone suggesting eucalyptus and mint. Similar notes flourish on the palate and also open up into brown sugar and baked sour cherries. The finish is perfectly balanced with tart cherry and cinnamon. USC 2013. Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation
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Finalist 94
Belle de Brillet Cordial France, 30% abv, $45.00, 750 ml
Smells wonderfully of pear, green apple and elderflower. Very powerful aromas. In the mouth, the pear and green apple develop into gracious honey tones with a hint of cinnamon and continue onto the finish. Outstanding. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 94
Merlet Crème de Cassis, Blackcurrant Liqueur France, 20% abv, $24.99, 750 ml
Deep purple ruby hue with lots of blackcurrant aromas. Offers fantastic structure in the form of tannins and acidity, with a generous amount of sweetness and an honest blackcurrant taste. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
BOLS Amaretto Netherlands, 28% abv, $10.99, 1 L
The nose is a telling bouquet of almond butter, orange peel, baked cherries and shortbread which gives way to baked cherries, almond and toasted coconut with a very subtle hint of cinnamon. The orange peel reintroduces itself on the finish. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Joseph Cartron Pamplemousse Rosé/Grapefruit Liqueur France, 18% abv, $26.99, 750 ml
Light salmon pink and cloudy. Aromas of sweet pink grapefruit and pink roses. Sweet/tart on the palate with a touch of bitter pith. The texture is silky and medium thick. Balanced and delicious. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 93
Merlet Crème de Fraise, Strawberry Liqueur France, 18% abv, $24.99, 750 ml
Strawberry jam, confectioners sugar and an incredibly subtle herbaceous note on the nose. Once in the mouth, powerful strawberry flavors overlay extremely delicate hints of cinnamon and clove. The finish is rich and shows prominent confectioners strawberry. Delicious. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Bauchant Orange Liqueur France, 40% abv, $25.00, 750 ml
Golden hued, with a nose that is reminiscent of orange cake, orange peel and spice. The palate is vigorously sweet and citrus driven, mingled with warming cognac. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Luxardo Sangue Morlacco Cherry Liqueur Italy, 30% abv, $24.99, 750 ml
Aromas of fresh and cooked dark cherry are sweet and rich. The flavor is sweet and dark, medium rich in texture with a hint of spice on the finish. Layers of flavor combine fresh bing cherries and sultanas. Perfectly balanced. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Merlet C2 Cognac & Cassis Liqueur France, 33% abv, $40.00, 750 ml
Delightful black currant, blueberry and framboise aromas fill the glass along with a subtle hint of peach. Once in the mouth, the blueberry and framboise flavors take hold and last well into the finish. Very balanced finish, and quite long. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Merlet Crème de Peche, Peach Liqueur France, 18% abv, $24.99, 750 ml
Wonderful bouquet of peaches, cloves, fresh cinnamon and a very faint hint of fresh cream. Very delicate on the palate and displaying a rich fresh peach and apricot character. A refreshing, peach-filled finish lingers on the palate. USC 2013. Great Value. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 92
Pernod Absinthe France, 68% abv, $70.00, 750 ml
Swamp green with yellow hues, very vibrant. Aromas are dominated by sharp anise with softer undertones of green apples and herbs. On the palate it is piquant and acidic with a fair amount of grainy spice. Herb flavors are persistent as is a pleasant tingling after each sip. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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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      
Chairman's Trophy 94
Iichiko Frasco Barley Shochu Japan, 30% abv, $70.00, 750 ml
Fantastic grapey aromas followed by ripe plum, ripe apricot and confectionery raspberry form a powerful bouquet on the nose but once in the mouth it takes a more elegant and subtle turn. Subdued flavors of ripe pear and ripe apricot still make themselves seen before a very soft and delicate finish. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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Finalist 91
ByeJoe Red Baijiu China, 40% abv, $29.99, 750 ml
Crisp aromas of pear, red apple, and honeysuckle give way to more subtle notes of vanilla and ginger on the nose. A grainy sweetness on the palate along with traces of honey, ripe apricot and red apple. The apricot translates into a crisp finish that lingers on the palate. USC 2013. Excellent, Highly Recommended
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