Australian rum triumphs at ISC

The Bundaberg Rum Distillery has won the coveted International Spirits Challenge 2021 award for best distillery tour, plus Gold medals in the visitor centre category and for its Bundaberg Master Distillers Collection Small Batch Distillery Edition Rum.

The ISC noted: “Over the past year, under limited capacity, the visitor centre has offered a self-guided museum tour, expert-led tours through the operational distillery and a blending experience for guests to create their own rum straight from the barrel.”

It added that “Australia has the biggest reputation in the Gold medals” this year.

Vok Beverages scored three Gold medals for its Beenleigh Artisan Distillers 2017 Flood Rum, Inner Circle Australian Cask Strength Rum and Inner Circle Australian Navy Strength Rum.

Inner Circle said: “Both of our beloved rums have been awarded gold medals at the International Spirits challenge 2021. Inner Circle is now fully Australian-owned and operated again. It is produced for rum enthusiasts all over the world to enjoy.”

Other Australian brands that took out Gold medals were Australian Distilling Co’s grape vodka and the non-alcoholic Lyre’s Amalfi Spritz.

Barbados Rum named Supreme Champion

Proof that rum is definitely having a renaissance came with the news that Foursquare Distillery in Barbados won the coveted International Spirits Challenge 2021 Supreme Champion award for its Redoubtable 14 Year Old rum.

A rigorous blind tasting process featuring many of the world’s most renowned spirits experts yielded a total of 36 trophies at this year’s ISC. Trophy winners spanned Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, gin, Cognac, Armagnac, vodka, rum, shochu, baijiu, liqueurs, tequila, mezcal, aquavit, fruit distillates and premixed drinks.

Foursquare Redoubtable was then selected as the very best spirit – it features a combination of rums aged in ex-bourbon and first fill ex-Madeira casks, bottled in 2020.

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International Spirits Challenge director Justin Smith said: “The ISC is now in its 26th year and it is firmly established as the premier event for honouring outstanding spirits from around the world. Congratulations to all of our medal winners, trophy winners and the Supreme Champion – Foursquare Redoubtable.

“The ISC is renowned for its robust blind tasting process, and only exceptional spirits earn medals, so the winners deserve great credit for impressing our exacting judges. The results highlight the level of skill, innovation and dedication that exists within the global spirits industry, as the overall quality on show at the ISC continues to increase despite challenges posed by the pandemic.

“We received a record number of entries for the ISC in 2021, and we look forward to it growing yet again next year.”

Other ISC highlights included:

  • William Grant & Sons was named Distiller of the Year after securing an impressive medal haul across a number of categories, including 34 gold medals and two double golds within Scotch whisky.
  • Chivas Brothers scooped two trophies within the Scotch whisky category, for its Royal Salute and Aberlour brands, and was named Scotch Whisky Producer of the Year after also winning three double golds and 47 gold medals.
  • Parent company Pernod Ricard also won Gin Producer of the Year after Beefeater and Plymouth won double gold medals.
  • Irish Distillers also won Irish Whiskey Producer of the Year after winning a trophy and two double gold medals.
  • Suntory Spirits won a double gold and 13 gold medals as it was named Japanese Whisky Producer of the Year.
  • The American Whiskey Producer of the Year award went to Sazerac, which won 19 gold medals for its portfolio.
  • Taiwanese producer Kavalan was named World Whiskies Producer of the Year. Kavalan also won a trophy for Best Visitor Centre in the Spirits Tourism Awards. Australian rum producer Bundaberg won the trophy for Best Distillery Tour.
  • Moët Hennessy won Vodka Producer of the Year thanks to the strong performance of its Belvedere brand.
  • De Kuyper Royal Distillers was named Liqueurs Producer of the Year, with two trophies.
  • Yaesen Shuzo won Shochu Producer of the Year after taking home two trophies and a double gold medal.
  • San Diego-based Cutwater Spirits won Premixed Drinks Producer of the Year
  • Own-label spirits performed well in the tasting. Aldi was named Supermarket Own Branded Spirits Producer of the Year after securing an impressive medal haul.

The full ISC results are available here.

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