The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2015

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Page 120 of 136

120  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2015 RESULTS OF THE 2015 The San Francisco World Spirits Competition hosted its 15th annual competition March 19–22 at the elegant Hotel Nikko in downtown San Francisco. Continuing its tradition of record-breaking entries annually, this year the number of submissions totaled 1580 (up 7% from the year before) from 41 states, 66, countries covering 90 classifications. Many categories of spirits experienced a marked increase this year, most nota- bly gin (nearly triple the entries in three years), bourbon, rye whiskey and single malt Scotch. Always a harbinger of trends in the marketplace, the competition is considered to be the rite of passage for top quality spirits. The competition has mirrored, and spurred, the spirits industry's explo- sive growth over the last 15 years. The San Francisco Competition has always been a bellwether for trends in spirits consumption and growth. Our caliber of judges, our international reputation and professional organization of the competition helps the marketplace be assured of tremendous quality control and opportunities. Over the last 15 years as we've witnessed this explosive growth in spirits, we also note that the further sub-categorization of aging and types of spirits is proliferating. We are in an exciting time in the beverage business. Forty-one international judges gathered this year with several renowned judges returning to the roster, including noted spirits writer and author David Wondrich, double degree Doug Frost, MS, MW, leading NYC-based mixologist Julie Reiner and writer Sean Ludford. Tony Abou-Ganim, aka the Modern Mixologist, has served as Chief Judge now for his sixth year. —Anthony Dias Blue, Executive Director The NEAT Glass The San Francisco World Spirits Competition this year chose the NEAT Glass as the official tasting glass. After considerable comparative tasting conducted by myself, Chief Judge Tony Abou-Ganim and others, it was decided that the unique proper- ties of the patented NEAT Glass make it the best vessel from which to assess the character- istics of a spirit. Because of its exceptional shape, this glass eliminates the strong alcohol burn present in most other spirits glasses that can seri- ously interfere with rendering a well-considered judgement. The judges were pleased with the performance of the glass. "It is perfectly designed," Tony Abou-Ganim said, "The NEAT Glass is able to capture the essence of every spirit." Most judges found, because of not having to deal with the alcohol burn typical of other glasses, that the entire tasting experience was less fatiguing than in the past. The glass also made for more accurate judgements. The NEAT glass, the result of a fortuitous glass blowing mishap, is made by Arsilica Inc. a Las Vegas company. —A.D.B.

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