Blog: Dowd On Drinks

Annual SF medal avalanche on schedule

Posted on April 8, 2010 by William M. Dowd

Memo to self:

When I start my own distillery, make a point of entering products in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Near guarantee of winning some sort of medal to use in marketing campaign.

The topic of medal awards at wine and spirits competitions has long been a contentious one. One school of thought is that if you don’t hand out a lot of medals, you won’t get a lot of entries. Another school thinks stricter standards will make the medals that are awarded more prestigious, thus encouraging more participation.

I subscribe to the latter philosophy, which is why Anthony Dias Blue’s annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition seems to be on my radar. Not that some of the very top awards aren’t worthy of such attention; it’s the sheer volume of double gold, gold, silver and bronze medals handed out each year.

At the recent SF event, judges awarded an astounding 131 double golds — not your usual golds, but double golds, an honor that require unanimous agreement from the judges.

Part of that medal avalanche comes from the fact there are so many categories — 71 of ‘em — and part from the fact the competition is known for its medal generosity. When you hand out hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of medals, the entry fees alone make for a hefty pot. Add to that the organizer’s offer of rolls of award stickers to pop on your bottles — at $60 per roll of 1,000 — and the medal flood makes financial sense.

For those of you curious who walked off with the top awards, here is a list of double gold medals by category. You can get all the medal results online.

VODKA

• Best Vodka/Double Gold: Chase Vodka, Herefordshire, England, $40

• Double Gold Medals: V-One Vodka, Poland, $26; Rökk Vodka, Sweden; Ciroc Vodka, France, $32; SF Vodka China Beach Vodka, California, $35; Nemiroff Vodka Lex Ultra, Ukraine; Nemiroff Vodka Delikat, Ukraine

FLAVORED VODKA

• Best Flavored Vodka/Double Gold: Rain Organics Cucumber Lime Vodka, Kentucky, $21

• Double Gold Medal: Finlandia Grapefruit Fusion Vodka, Finland, $19

AQUAVIT

No double golds

GIN

• Best Gin/Double Gold: Beefeater Gin 24, England, $30

• Double Gold Medals: Wembley Gin, Romania; Bluecoat American Dry Gin, Pennsylvania, $28; Bellringer Gin, USA, $18; Hendrick’s Gin, Scotland, 35; New Amsterdam Gin, California, $14; Gordon’s Gin, England, $15

SOJU / SHŌCHŪ

No double golds

WHITE RUM

No double golds

DARK / GOLD RUM

• Best In Show/Double Gold: Vizcaya VXOP Solera Rum, Dominican Republic, $38

• Double Golds: 10 Cane Rum, Trinidad, $25; Stolen Gold Rum, Caribbean, Trinidad, $21; Tommy Bahama Golden Sun Rum, Barbados, $20; Berkshire Mountain Ragged Mountain Rum, Massachusetts, $30; Ron Viejo de Caldas Rum, Manizales, Colombia, $13; Angostura 7 Year Old Dark Rum, Trinidad & Tobago; Santa Teresa Selecto Rum, Venezuela, $25; Flor de Caña Gold Rum, Nicaragua, $15; Cruzan Aged Dark Rum, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, $16; Pampero Aniversario Rum, Venezuela, $39

FLAVORED RUM

No double golds

EXTRA-AGED RUM

• Best Extra-Aged Rum/Double Gold: Pusser’s 15 Year Old Rum, Nelson’s Blood, Trinidad, British Virgin Islands, $55

• Double Golds: Ron Abuelo 7 Year Old Rum, Panama, $20; Ron Abuelo 12 Year Old Rum, Panama, $20; Cruzan Single Barrel Extra-Aged Rum, St. Croix, American Virgin Islands, $32; Carupano Legendario, Carupano-Sucre, Venezuela, $1,000

OVERPROOF RUM

No double golds

RHUM AGRICOLE

No double golds

CACHAÇA

• Best Cachaça/Double Gold: Medal, Leblon Cachaça, Minas Gerais, Brazil, $30

• Double Golds: Germana Tradicional Cachaça, Minas Gerais, Brazil, $34; Savassi Premium Oak Cachaça, Minas Gerais, Brazil, $9; INOX Cachaça, Brazil

OTHER SUGAR CANE BASED SPIRITS

No double golds

SILVER / GOLD (UNAGED) TEQUILA

• Best In Show – White/Double Gold: Trago Silver Tequila, Altos de Jalisco, Mexico, $40

• Double Golds: El Tequileño Platino Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, $35; Dulce Vida Blanco Tequila, 100 Proof, Jalisco, Mexico, $40

REPOSADO TEQUILA

• Best Reposado Tequila, Double Gold Medal, Trago Reposado Tequila, Altos de Jalisco, Mexico [40%] $45.

• Double Golds: Medal, AGV 400 Reposado Tequila, Altos de Jalisco, Mexico, $45; Dos Lunas Reposado Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, $39; Tequila Blu Reposado Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, $38; Corrido Reposado Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, $35; José Cuervo Tradicional Reposado Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, $25

EJO TEQUILA

• Best Añejo Tequila (Tie) /Double Gold Medal: El Jimador Añejo Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, $30, and Mujer Bonita Añejo Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, $25

• Double Golds: Tequila Cinco Blancos Añejo Tequila, Los Altos, Jalisco, Mexico, $23; U4RIK Añejo Tequila, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico, $45; Orgullo Añejo Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, $37; Don Julio Añejo Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, $48

EXTRA-AGEDEJO TEQUILA

• Double Gold: Rey Sol Extra-Aged Añejo Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, $300

MIXTO TEQUILA

• Double Gold: Somonque Silver Mixto Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, $13

FLAVORED TEQUILA

No double golds

MESCAL, SOTOL, BACANORA

• Best Mescal/Double Gold: El Zacatecano Añejo Mescal, Zacatecas, Mexico, 0%] $42

• Double Gold: Mina del Eden Reposado Mescal, Zacatecas, Mexico

OTHER AGAVE SPIRITS

No double golds

STRAIGHT BOURBON

• Double Gold: Johnny Drum Private Stock Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Kentucky, $45; William Larue Weller Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Kentucky, $70

SMALL BATCH BOURBON 10 YRS. AND UNDER

• Double Gold: Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Seasoned Oak Finish, Kentucky, $90

SMALL BATCH BOURBON 11 YRS. AND OLDER

No gold medals

SINGLE BARREL AMERICAN WHISKEY 10

• Double Gold: Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon, 1999 Vintage, Kentucky, $25; Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon, Kentucky, $40

SINGLE BARREL AMERICAN WHISKEY 11

• Best Bourbon/Double Gold: Elijah Craig Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Kentucky, $40

• Double Gold: Wild Turkey Bourbon Tradition, Kentucky, $115

TENNESSEE WHISKEY

• Double Gold: George Dickel Cascade Hollow Tennessee Whiskey

AMERICAN STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY

• Double Gold: Sazerac 18 Year Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, Kentucky, $70; Sazerac Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, Thomas H. Handy, Kentucky, $70

AMERICAN BLENDED WHISKEY

• Double Gold: Jeremiah Weed Blended Bourbon Whiskey, Cherry Mash, USA, $18; Jeremiah Weed Blended Bourbon Whiskey, USA, $18

CORN WHISKEY

• Double Gold: Balcones Baby Blue Corn Whiskey, Texas, $38

CANADIAN WHISKY

• Best Canadian Whisky/Double Gold: Seagrams VO Canadian Whisky, Canada, $23

• Double Gold: Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky, Canada, $50

BLENDED IRISH WHISKEY

• Best Irish Whiskey/Double Gold Medal: Bushmills 1608 Irish Whiskey Limited Edition, Ireland, $100

• Double Gold: Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey, Ireland, $32

SINGLE MALT IRISH WHISKEY

• Double Gold: Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey, Cask Strength, Connemara, Ireland, $60

PURE POT STILL IRISH WHISKEY

• Double Gold: Redbreast 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey, Ireland, $60

OTHER WHISKEY

• Double Gold: Suntory The Yamazaki 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Japan, $110; Suntory The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky, Vintage 1984, Japan, $650

FLAVORED WHISKEY

No double golds

BLENDED SCOTCH

• Blended Scotch/Double Gold: The Grand Bark Equinoxe Blended Scotch, Scotland, $55

• Double Gold: The Grand Bark Epitome Blended Scotch, Scotland, $1,500; Pinch Scotch, Scotland, $45; Old Parr Superior Blended Scotch, Scotland, $75

DISTILLERSSINGLE MALT SCOTCH

• Best Single Malt Scotch/Double Gold: Ardbeg Single Malt Scotch, Corryvreckan, Islay, Scotland. $85

• Best In Show – Whisky/Double Gold: Isle of Jura Single Malt Scotch, Prophecy, Islands, Scotland, $70

• Double Gold: Glenglassaugh 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Highland, Scotland, $234; Aberfeldy 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Highland, Scotland, $149; Ardbeg Single Malt Scotch, Airigh Nam Beist 1990, Islay, Scotland, $85; Glenmorangie Original 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Highland, Scotland, $40; Glenmorangie 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Lasanta Sherry Cask, Highland, Scotland, $50; Glenmorangie 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Extremely Rare, Highland, Scotland, $100; Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch, Signet, Highland, Scotland, $200; Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Speyside, Scotland, $65; Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Speyside, Scotland, $130; The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Single Barrel, Speyside, Scotland, $60; The Balvenie 17 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Madeira Cask, Speyside, Scotland, $120; Tomatin 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Highland, Scotland, $70; The Glenrothes Alba Reserve Single Malt Scotch, Speyside, Scotland, $60; The Glenlivet 16 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Nadurra, Speyside, Scotland, $60; The Glenlivet 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, Nadurra Triumph, Speyside, Scotland, $85; Laphroaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Islay, Scotland; Ardmore Traditional Cask Single Malt Scotch, Highlands, Scotland; Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Highlands, Scotland, $55; .Oban 14 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Highlands, Scotland, $80; Caol Ila 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Islay, Scotland, $50; Clynelish 14 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Highlands, Scotland, $50; Stronachie 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Speyside, Scotland; Glen Taite 19 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Speyside, Scotland, $99Blended Malt Scotch

BLENDED MALT SCOTCH

No double golds

COGNAC VS THREE STAR

No double golds

COGNAC VSOP OR EQUIVALENT

• Double Gold: Louis Royer Fine Champagne Cognac VSOP, Force 53, Cognac, France, $50; Bache-Gabrielsen Cognac VSOP, Cognac, France, $40; Cognac Ferrand Landy VSOP, France; Cognac Ferrand Landy VSOP, France

COGNAC XO OR EQUIVALENT

• Double Gold: Comandon Cognac XO, France, $145; Cognac Frapin Cognac XO, Chateau Fontpinot, Grande Champagne, France, $95

COGNAC EXTRA-AGED / VINTAGE

No double golds

ARMAGNAC VSOP OR EQUIVALENT

No double golds

ARMAGNAC XO OR EQUIVALENT

• Best Armagnac, Double Gold Medal, Comte de Lauvia 21 Year Old Armagnac, Eauze, France [40%] $35.

ARMAGNAC VINTAGEPRE 1985

No double golds

CALVADOS VS, VSOP, XO, HORS

• Double Golds: Berneroy Calvados Fine, France, $16; Père Magloire Calvados VSOP, Normandy, France, $40; Père Magloire Calvados XO, Normandy, France, $75; Roger Groult 15 Year Old Calvados Pays d’Auge, France, $72

CALVADOS VINTAGE

• Best In Show – Brandy/Double Gold: Père Magloire 20 Year Old Vintage Calvados, Normandy, France, [40%] $100

APPLE BRANDY

• Double Gold: Cornelius Applejack, New York, $45

ALAMBIC BRANDY

No double golds

FRENCH GRAPE BRANDY

No double golds

AMERICAN GRAPE BRANDY

No double golds

SPANISH GRAPE BRANDY & BRANDY

• Double Gold Medal, Cardenal Mendoza Brandy, Brandy de Jerez, Spain, $45

INDEPENDENT SINGLE MALT SCOTCH

• Double Gold: Stronachie 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch, Speyside, Scotland

BLENDED MALT SCOTCH

No double golds

GRAPPA

• Double Gold: Alexander Grappa di Moscato, Conegliano, Italy, $33

PISCO

• Best Pisco/Double Gold: Pisco “O” Torontel Pisco, Ica, Peru, $35

FRUIT BRANDY OTHER THAN GRAPE

No double golds

OTHER BRANDIES

No double golds

FRUIT LIQUEUR

• Best In Show – Liqueur/Double Gold: Grand Marnier 100th Anniversary Liqueur, France, $135

• Double Gold: Merlet Crème de Framboise, France, $27; Bvland Blackberry Liqueur, Spain, $15

HERBAL / BOTANICAL LIQUEUR

• Double Gold: EFE Yas Uzum / EFE RakiLiqueur, Turkey; Aperol Liqueur, Padua, Italy, $22

COFFEE LIQUEUR

• Double Gold: Santa Teresa Araku Rum, Venezuela, $24

CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR

No double golds

NUT LIQUEUR

No double golds

CREAM / DAIRY LIQUEUR

• Best Cream Liqueur/Double Gold: Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, Belgium, $30

• Double Gold: Tres Leches Triple Cream Liqueur, USA, $21; Godiva Caramel Liqueur, Belgium, $30; Bottega Gianduia Liqueur, Italy, $25

OTHER LIQUEUR

No double golds

SCHNAPPS

No double golds

ABSINTHE

No double golds

APÉRITIF

No double golds

PRE-MIXED COCKTAILS

No double golds

OTHER MISCELLANEOUS SPIRITS

• Double Gold: Underground Herbal Spirit /Herbal Bitter Liqueur, Utah, USA, $28; Corsair Wry Moon Unaged Rye Whiskey, USA, $34

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