Spirit Royalty

These Are the Best Spirits in the World, According to More than 400 Judges


August 30, 2018 Home By

The International World Spirits Competition is among the oldest ongoing and meaningful tests of a bottle of liquor’s merits in the world. The award selection process takes place over the course of seven months, with spirits touching the hands of more than 400 judges and undergoing chemical analyses to determine sugar and alcohol content (and deduct points from bottles using illegal additives).

After the seven months have passed, the competition awards each bottle submitted a 1 to 100 rating, with different score totals granting the bottle different medals (the highest score medal is “Gold Outstanding,” or 93 and up). The biggest single bottle awards, though, are more straightforward — “Bourbon Trophy 2018,” “Tequila Trophy 2018” and so on.

This week, the organization announced its winners for 2018 — these are the best spirits in the world in their respective categories.

Best Whiskey (Overall): Tullamore Dew 18 YO

The judge’s final tasting notes for the William Grant & Sons scotch doesn’t mince words: “Full flavoured, unusual and bold yet showing great elegance and balance. Outstanding.” Aged in bourbon casks and finished in ex-sherry, madeira and port casks, this was the highest rated brown liquor in competition at the event.

Best Bourbon: W. L. Weller 12 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Once considered only the king of the small group of quality wheated bourbons, Weller’s 12-year offering is no longer confined to any bourbon niche. One of the most coveted bottles of bourbon in the world stays on top of 2018, already taking home a Double Gold at SFSC and Best in Show (Overall) at the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition.

Best Cask Strength Scotch: SMWS The Scents of Perfection

After storming SFSC to the tune of an unprecedented seven Double Golds, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society continues its tear through spirits awards with another monster haul. Sadly, barely 200 bottles of Scents of Perfection were made available, and you would’ve needed to be a member of SMWS to have had a chance anyway.

Best Tequila: El Tesoro Paradiso Extra Añejo Tequila

A little over a month ago we wrote a story titled “Is This the Best Tequila Brand in the World?” and we’re becoming more and more certain the question isn’t in need of asking. Master disiller Carlos Camarena’s trophy case just got a little more crowded.

A full list can be found on IWSC’s website.

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