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The judges sniffed, swirled, and scrutinized at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2011 in New York earlier this month, before crowning an assortment of international spirits as their favorites.
In vodka, Finlandia Classic Vodka, from Finland took the top prize. In gin, the UK's Beefeater London Dry Gin was deemed the best, while Spain's Dos Maderas PX 5 +5 was the crowd favorite for rum.
A panel of 37 experts -- ranging from writers, bartenders, mixologists and sommeliers -- judged all manner of spirits in 27 categories from whiskey, caldvados, tequilas and liqueurs.
The contest took place in New York City in early March, and the results were announced this week.
Though only in its second year, the contest attracted 600 entries for 2011. All products were served in the appropriate glassware, at ideal temperatures to allow for optimum tasting. Spirits were scored on a 100-point scale that ranged from extraordinary, excellent, very good to good. The following are the Chairman's Trophy Winners.
Unflavored: Finlandia Classic Vodka (Finland)
Flavored: Ketel One Citroen Flavored Vodka (Netherlands)
Gin - World
Beefeater London Dry Gin (United Kingdom)
Tequila - Mexico
Blanco: Olmeca Plata Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila
Reposado: Cabo Wabo Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila
Anejo: Calle 23 Anejo, 100% Agave Tequila
Extra Anejo: Grand Mayan Extra Anejo, 100% Agave Tequila
Mezcal - Mexico
El Tinieblo Joven Mezcal
Rum - World
Dos Maderas PX 5+5 Rum (Spain)
Whiskey - USA
Bourbon: George T. Stagg 17 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Rye: Sazerac Straight 18 Years Old Rye Whiskey
Whiskey - Ireland
Blended: Michael Collins Blended Irish Whiskey
Single Malt: Tyrconnell Madeira Finish 10 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Whisky - Scotland
Single Malt-Cask Strength: Aberlour a'bunadh Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Single Malt-Speyside: The Balvenie Peated Cask 17 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Single Malt-Islands: Highland Park 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Single Malt-Islay: Lagavulin Distillers Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Blended: Dewar's 18 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky
Whisky - Canada
Canadian Mist Black Diamond Canadian Blended Whisky
Brandy - World
Aged: Cardenal Mendoza Brandy de Jerez 17 Years Old Spanish Brandy (Spain)
Unaged: Remy Martin V Grape Spirit (France)
Cognac - France
Martell XO Cognac
Armagnac - France
Delord 25 Years Old Bas-Armagnac
Calvados - France
Boulard Grand Solage VSOP Pays d'Auge Calvados
Liqueurs - World
Fruit: Merlet Creme de Cassis, Blackcurrant Liqueur (France)
Herbal: Stroh Jagertee Liqueur (Austria)
Aperitifs - World
Lillet Rose Aperitif (France)