Judging for the Ultimate Spirits Challenge was a four-day, multi-stage process.

The winners have been announced for the second annual Ultimate Spirits Challenge, a four-day competition that took place at New York’s Astor Center on March 1-4, 2011. The Ultimate Spirits Challenge was presented by Ultimate Beverage Challenge (UBC), founded by F. Paul Pacult, David Talbot, and Sue Woodley. UBC’s mission is “to identify, recognize and reward those products which stand out in their respective categories, showing superior quality.”

Glasses await judging backstage at Astor Center.

Nearly 600 entries from around the world were submitted for the multi-stage blind tasting, with 27 Chairman’s Trophy honors awarded to the highest scoring spirits in their category. The judges, led by Judging Chairman Pacult and Assistant Judging Chairman Sean Ludford, included Eric Alperin, Jacques Bezuidenhout, Tad Carducci, James Conley, Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, Jim Meehan, Robert Plotkin, Julie Reiner, Jack Robertiello, Steve Olson, Andy Seymour, Aisha Sharpe, Willy Shine, Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan and David Wondrich.

Julie Reiner and F. Paul Pacult confer during the Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

With so many high quality products in competition, Pacult said there were “close contenders for the Chairman’s Trophy in many of the categories.” He noted that “the Scotch Whisky category was, in particular, filled with great spirits. Therefore, Sean Ludford and I decided we had to award five Trophies for Scotch. Across all spirit categories, however, the quality level was impressive.”

This year, Pacult and Ludford will provide brief tasting notes for all Chairman’s Trophy-winning products and Finalists. Pacult will also record video reviews for each Chairman’s Trophy winner, which will be available on the UBC website in the coming weeks.

For a complete list of all results and scores, visit: ultimate-beverage.com/wine_reviews/spirits-results.

To find out more about UBC and its upcoming Ultimate Cocktail Challenge (April 5-8, 2011) and Ultimate Wine Challenge (June 2-6, 2011) competitions, go to www.ultimate-beverage.com.

Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2011 – Chairman’s Trophy Winners


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Unflavored: Finlandia Classic Vodka (Finland)
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Flavored: Ketel One Citroen Flavored Vodka (Netherlands)


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Gin: Beefeater London Dry Gin (United Kingdom)


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Blanco: Olmeca Plata Blanco, 100% Agave Tequila
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Reposado: Cabo Wabo Reposado, 100% Agave Tequila
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Añejo: Calle 23 Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Extra Añejo: Grand Mayan Extra Añejo, 100% Agave Tequila


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Mezcal: El Tinieblo Joven Mezcal


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Rum: Dos Maderas PX 5+5 Rum (Spain)


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Bourbon: George T. Stagg 17 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Rye: Sazerac Straight 18 Years Old Rye Whiskey


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Blended: Michael Collins Blended Irish Whiskey
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Single Malt: Tyrconnell Madeira Finish 10 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Single Malt Cask Strength: Aberlour a’bunadh Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Single Malt Speyside: The Balvenie Peated Cask 17 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Single Malt Islands: Highland Park 18 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Single Malt Islay: Lagavulin Distillers Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Blended: Dewar’s 18 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Canadian: Canadian Mist Black Diamond Canadian Blended Whisky


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Aged: Cardenal Mendoza Brandy de Jerez 17 Years Old Spanish Brandy (Spain)
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Unaged: Rémy Martin V Grape Spirit (France)


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Cognac: Martell XO Cognac


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Armagnac: Delord 25 Years Old Bas-Armagnac


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Calvados: Boulard Grand Solage VSOP Pays d’Auge


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Fruit: Merlet Crème de Cassis, Blackcurrant Liqueur (France)
  • Chairman’s Trophy, Herbal: Stroh Jagertee Liqueur (Austria)


  • Chairman’s Trophy, Aperitif: Lillet Rosé Aperitif (France)

Photos: Michael Gold / The Corporate Image, courtesy UBC