Over the last few years Australia has seen a new generation of spirit and liqueur producers emerge. Walk into most bars in Melbourne and the shelves will show a large range of locally crafted spirits with some having a cult like following amongst bar staff and patrons alike. Now, Melbourne’s undisputed reputation as the spirits capital of Australia will be strengthened as The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) presents Australia’s first awards dedicated to Australian made whiskies, gins, vodkas, rums and liqueurs.
Following the success of the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards’ distilled spirits and liqueurs award, RASV has created a stand-alone event to provide Australian producers of distilled spirits and liqueurs, with an essential benchmarking opportunity, to celebrate the long tradition and excellence of Australian distillation and spirits making and give Australian spirits producers the opportunity to promote their spirits and liqueurs to industry and consumers.
Created in close consultation with industry experts, the new awards are reflective of an increased consumer interest and market trends and highlights the innovation and excellence demonstrated by Australian distillers.
The awards were judged last week by Australia’s leading experts in spirits and liqueurs from across the whole of the industry.
Tastings were done blind, and numbers are tallied to produce a score out of 100. A gold medal is awarded to anything scoring over 90 points; silver is 82-89.9 points; bronze 74-81.9 points. This means there could be multiple gold winners – or none – in each category.
The competition features three main classes – dark spirits (whisky, brandy and rum), clear spirits (gin and vodka) and “alternative spirits” (liqueurs, schnapps and more).
The year’s most hotly contested categories are undoubtedly whisky and contemporary gin, says head judge Nick Stock. “Whisky is sort of like the pinot noir equivalent of the wine world – it’s super geeky, and there’s a lot more history there,” he says.
‘High Spirits’, 2015 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards Cocktail Party & Presentation Evening
Commencing with an official presentation announcing this year’s gold medal and trophy winners, ‘High Spirits’ was a unique opportunity to enjoy some of the newly awarded spirits and liqueurs in a selection of enticing cocktails crafted by some of Melbourne’s best mixologists.
The Champion Trophy winners for the inaugural ADSA are:
- Whisky: Great Southern Distillery, Limeburners Peated Single Malt Barrel M227(WA)
- Gin: The Tailor Made Spirits Company, The West Winds Gin – The Sabre (WA)
- Brandy: VOK Beverages, Black Bottle XO Brandy (SA)
- Rum: Hoochery Distillery, Spike’s Reserve (WA)
- Liqueur: Castle Glen Australia, Pecan & Hazelnut Liqueur (QLD)
- Alternative Spirits: Edgemill Group, Zeus Oyzo (VIC)
- Champion Australian Distiller: Lark Distillery (TAS)