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Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles announces award-winners.
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Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles announces award-winners.

This year’s competition took place from 23 to 25 August 2019 in Fenyang, China.

The event issues three types of awards: Grand Gold Medals, Gold Medals and Silver Medals. Once again, the competition has proven to be a barometer of the latest trends in the spirits arena. Read on for an overview of the results.

This year’s competition saw 48 Grand Gold Medals awarded. Baijius stole the show by winning 13 of them. Agricultural rums followed, tying with whiskies for 7 awards, then Brazilian cachaça with 6 medals, and Armagnac with 4. Cognacs, brandies, gins, a Peruvian pisco, tequila and fruit brandy complete the picture.

At the end of the competition, the Grand Gold Medals are tasted a second time by all the panel chairs, who deliberate in order to award ‘Spirits Selection Revelation’ trophies to innovative products that meet current consumer demand, making them particularly representative of present-day trends. Nine products were selected for their unquestionable quality:

  1.     Armagnac Pure Folle Blanche 12 ans Bas Armagnac by Domaine Tariquet
  2.     Peruvian pisco La Botija Puro Quebranta Borde by Bodegas y Viñedos Tabernero S.a.c
  3.     Cognac Deau Napoleon Cigar Blend by Distillerie des Moisans
  4.     Martinique agricultural rum HSE Extra Vieux Single Malt Finish Highland 44%
  5.     Serbian apricot brandy Hubertova Rakija Kajsija, by Wine and Spirits Consulting Ltd.
  6.     Scotch whisky Finlaggan Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Cask Strength, by The Vintage Malt Whisky Company
  7.     Baijiu Niulanshan Erguotou Baijiu Aroma Long Lasting 53%, by Beijing Shunxin Agriculture Co. Ltd.
  8.     Baijiu Golden Stone Fellowship 50.8%, byJinshitan Liquor Group Co. Ltd.
  9.     And Baijiu Baofeng Wine – National Color Fragrance – Chentan 35 50%, by Baofeng Wine Co. Ltd.

As is customary, special attention is also paid to organic spirits. Among organically certified Grand Gold medal winners, and for the second consecutive year, the Organic Revelation trophy was awarded to a Brazilian cachaça that caught the experts’ attention: the Pai Vovô Ouro cachaça by Fazenda Fazenda Aliança Ind de Aguardente Ltda is produced in the state of Paraiba, in northeast Brazil. Created just two years ago, this newly-minted cachaça stems from a skilful blend of traditional production methods and state-of-the-art technology. The sugar cane is grown, harvested and fermented traditionally, but the distillery is equipped with high-end copper stills. The result is a delicate, elegant and balanced cachaça, with a floral nose showing aromas of tropical fruits, vanilla and caramel.

Aside from these results, Baijius are the undisputed leaders of the awards list, coming away with 199 medals. Considering the number of Baijiu entries this year, which accounted for more than a third of the total, this makes sense. Their (over)representation in the competition should, however, be put into perspective as 35% of spirits consumed worldwide are Baijius.
The Rum category also holds on to its prime position, garnering 15.4% of the total medals awarded, followed by brandies (including Cognac and Armagnac) with 11.4% of medals. The excellent results posted by cachaça entries, which won 5.2% of awards, and gin (4.55% of medallists), also deserve a mention, reflecting their meteoric rise in the international marketplace.

This year, spirits from 59 producing countries came under the rigorous scrutiny of a panel of some of the finest tasters in the world. In total, 103 specialised judges representing 28 different nationalities participated. The diversity of entries and varied background of the judges combine to make this competition unique and turn it into a true world spirits championship.

The next Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles will take place from 18 to 21 August 2020, in the city of Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. The event will turn the spotlight on Latin America’s incredible rums. Salud!

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