The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2017

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1 10  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2017 T he San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the nation's largest and most important spirits competition, held its 17th annual judging from April 21 through 23 at Hotel Nikko in downtown San Francisco. Out of a record-breaking 2,252 entries from all corners of the world, the 43-member judging panel awarded a total of 256 with the prestigious Double Gold medal. Never in history has there been a more exciting time for spirits, and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is where the industry looks to find the best of the best—from classic labels found worldwide to fledgling brands just coming into the market, some of them not yet imported to the States. Continuing its annual trend, this year's competition experienced an astounding 18 percent increase in entries over 2016. Some of the most significant growth was seen in the Gin category, which this year brought in 268 entries (up from 197 in 2016, and 136 in 2015), excluding the Flavored and Barrel-Aged Gin categories, which also increased. As always, this year's Competition can be seen as a predictor of future trends and new categories in the spirits industry. Pisco once again proved to be one of the most exciting emerging categories in international spirits. The category was re-classified in 2017 to better reflect the diversity and differ- ences between Chile and Peru, resulting in a 50 percent increase in entrants. For the second consecutive year, La Caravedo Puro Torontel Pisco won Best Pisco as well as Best in Show Unaged White, making 2017 the fourth year in a row that a Pisco has won Best in Show Unaged White. Additionally, in the listings below, you will find two brands of singani, the Bolivian rival to pisco—a category that will surely be expanding in the future. The competition's Whiskey categories also continued to see robust growth. Nearly doubling its 2016 presence, Rye Whiskey had 72 entries in 2017 (up from 37 last year) and the Other Whisk(e)y category had 100 entries (up from 57 last year). The Best Other Whisky award went to Paul John Bold Indian Single Malt, making it the first Indian whisky in the competition's history to win the honor. I would like to extend my gratitude and admiration for our amazing staff in San Francisco—Managing Director Nicolette Teo, Communications Manager Dottie Bridge, Business Manager Chloe Turan, Volunteer Coordinator Janine Galligani and Warehouse Manager Chris Johnson—for their enthusiasm and attention to detail in this demanding process. Director of Judging Tony Abou-Ganim also has my heartfelt thanks for his enormous contribution to the probity and prestige of the Competition. We are listing the Double Gold and Gold medalists here. Suggested retail prices and websites are included when provided by the entrant. For a full list of medals, visit —Anthony Dias Blue, Executive Director RESULTS OF THE 2017 SAN FRANCISCO WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION

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