Thursday Night Loaded: Award-Winning Spirits

A couple weeks back, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition was held (March 18 to 20) and I totally missed it.

Mind you, the award ceremony wasn’t streamed to the web nor uploaded to Youtube so really all I missed was a pdf list of the winners quietly being posted to the internet. (Next year, I really should see about getting prairie dog to spring for me to go down and cover the action.)

The big surprise was the double gold winner for best vodka: Alberta Pure Vodka.

Seriously. Alberta Pure. It’s 2011’s best damn vodka.

Long ago when I was a young man, a friend once quipped that he’d heard Alberta Pure was a petroleum byproduct. That casual jest tainted the brand for me such that I’ve never even tasted it. And while I’m no vodka enthusiast, whenever I’ve needed a bottle, I’ve always skipped over Alberta Pure thinking it base, cheap and polluted — a product of the tarsands. Turns out, it may just be an affordable, Canadian-made spirit with a world-class reputation.

Who knew? Well, San Fran’s boozehounds, for one. Guess I should put my biases aside and start supporting the homegrown potato juice.

After the jump, I’ll rattle off some of the top names from the World Spirits Competition, and where the winner isn’t available in Saskatchewan (which is almost always the case) I’ll list off the next most winningful brands that are and what award they received.

VODKA
Big winner: Alberta Pure Vodka (Double Gold Medal, Best Vodka)
Best found here: Crystal Head Vodka (Double Gold Medal)

GIN
Big winner: Sloane’s Dry Gin (Best in Show Unaged White Spirit, Best Gin, Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: Beefeater Gin (Gold Medal), Hendrick’s Gin (Silver Medal)

WHITE RUM
Big winner: Tøz White Gold Rum (Best White Rum, Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: Flor de Caña 4 Year Old Blanco Rum (Double Gold Medal)

DARK/GOLD RUM
Big winner: Angostura 5 Year Old Caribbean Rum (Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: Havana Club Añejo Rum (Gold Medal)

FLAVOURED RUM
Big winner: Black Beard Spiced Rum (Silver Medal)
Best found here: Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum (Silver Medal)

SILVER/GOLD (UNAGED) TEQUILA
Big winner: Espolon Blanco Tequila (Best Silver Tequila, Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: José Cuervo Silver (Bronze Medal)

REPOSADO TEQUILA
Big winner: Excellia Reposado Tequila (Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: Don Julio Reposado Tequila (Silver Medal)

ANEJO TEQUILA
Big winner: El Tesoro Añejo Tequila (Best Añejo Tequila, Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: Herradura Añejo Tequila (Bronze Medal)

STRAIGHT BOURBON
Big winner: 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: Bulleit Bourbon (Gold Medal)

SMALL BATCH BOURBON
Big winner: Basil Hayden’s Bourbon (Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: Knob Creek Bourbon (Double Gold Medal)

CANADIAN WHISKY
Big winner: Forty Creek Confederation Oak Canadian Whisky (Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: Forty Creek Barrel Select Canadian Whisky (Silver Medal)

BLENDED IRISH WHISKEY
Big winner: Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve Irish Whiskey (Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: Jameson 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey

BLENDED SCOTCH
Big winner: Kingdom 17 Year Old Scotch (Best Blended Scotch, Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: Chivas Regal 18 Year Old Scotch (Gold Medal)

DISTILLERS’ SINGLE MALT SCOTCH
Big winner and best found here: Caol Ila Single Malt Scotch Distillers Edition (Best Single Malt Scotch, Double Gold Medal)

HERBAL/BOTANICAL LIQUEUR
Big winner and best found here: Luxardo Sambuca (Best Herbal/Botanical Liqueur, Double Gold Medal)

COFFEE LIQUEUR
Big winner: Maholo Island Liqueur (Gold Medal)
Best found here: none

CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR
Big winner and best found here: Mozart Black Chocolate Cream Liqueur (Bronze Medal)

NUT LIQUEUR
Big winner and best found here: Luxardo Amaretto (Silver Medal)

CREAM/DAIRY LIQUEUR
Big winner: Mozart Gold Chocolate Cream Liqueur (Best Cream/Dairy Liqueur, Double Gold Medal)
Best found here: Bailey’s Cream Liqueur (Double Gold Medal)

OTHER LIQUEUR
Big winner: Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur (Gold Medal)
Best found here: Glayva Liqueur (Bronze Medal)

SCHNAPPS
Big winner and best found here: Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps (Gold Medal)

APERITIF
Big winner: Lillet Rosé (Gold Medal)
Best found here: Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth (Bronze Medal)

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

4 thoughts on “Thursday Night Loaded: Award-Winning Spirits”

  1. Under Blended Irish Whiskey, Bushmills Black Bush is a gold medal winner, and it is available in Saskatchewan liquor stores.

  2. Right you are.

    I only listed the highest rated of the spirits that are available in Sask. There are 41 pages of award winners and I didn’t have time to double check even every double gold and gold medal to see if they were in the SLGA database.

    As it is, the list you see above took far longer to compile than I care to admit.

  3. Incidentally, another surprise winner was Canadian Mist Black Diamond Canadian Whisky taking a silver medal. I’m sure it used to be carried in Saskatchewan and wherever else I’ve seen it it’s generally very inexpensive.

    So, another humble homegrown hooch that’s considered an upmarket delicacy abroad.

    Kind of like Celine Dion.

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