Winners of the 2010 Ultimate Spirits Challenge Announced

The winners have been announced for the inaugural Ultimate Spirits Challenge, a three-day, four-stage competition that took place at New York’s Astor Center on March 1-3, 2010. 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 provide both the industry and the consumer with a clear, reliable indication of beverage alcohol quality, in terms that are readily accessible.

From a list of over 520 entries from around the world, USC judges awarded the Chairman’s Trophy to a dozen distillates, the highest scoring spirits in their categories. Judging panels made up of spirits authorities (Jacques Bezuidenhout, Dale DeGroff, Sean Ludford, Andy Seymour), educators (Doug Frost, Steve Olson), buyers (James Conley, Ethan Kelley, Audrey Saunders), and writers (Gaz Regan, David Wondrich) utilized UBC’s multi-stage scoring system to determine the best of the best entries. Mr. Pacult (UBC’s Judging Chairman and Managing Partner) said “a perfect storm of superbly qualified judges, meticulous and innovative methodology, the state-of-the-art clinical environment of Astor Center, and a gifted operational staff helped usher in a new era of beverage alcohol competitive evaluation. I’m looking forward to 2011 already.”

The Chairman’s Trophy winners and Semifinalists for the 2010 Ultimate Spirits Challenge are listed below. Note that the Chairman’s Trophy Winner is considered an “Extraordinary / Ultimate Recommendation,” while Semifinalist represents an “Excellent / Strong Recommendation.”

Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2010 – Chairman’s Trophy Winners & Semifinalists

Vodka & Aquavit

  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Orzel Vodka (Poland)
  • Semifinalists
    • Skyy Vodka (USA)
    • Vermont White Vodka (USA)
    • Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka (Finland)

Gin & Genever

  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Broker’s London Dry Gin (England)
  • Semifinalists
    • Beefeater 24 Gin (England)
    • Citadelle 2009 Reserve Gin (France)
    • Tanqueray London Dry Gin (England)

Tequila & Mezcal

  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Tres Agaves Añejo Tequila (Mexico)
  • Semifinalists
    • Sombra Mezcal (Mexico)
    • Don Pilar Añejo Tequila (Mexico)
    • Del Maguey Tobala Single Village Mezcal (Mexico)

Rum & Cachaça

  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Mount Gay Rum 1703 (Barbados)
  • Semifinalists
    • Zafra 21 Year Old Rum (Panama)
    • J. Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum (Jamaica)
    • Bacardi 8 Years Old Rum (Puerto Rico)

Ireland & Wales Whiskey

  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Midleton Very Rare 2008 Blended Irish Whiskey (Ireland)
  • Semifinalists
    • Connemara 12 Year Old Peated Single Malt Whiskey (Ireland)
    • Bushmills 1608 Single Malt Whiskey (Ireland)
    • Redbreast 12 Years Old Pure Pot Still Whiskey (Ireland)

Scotland Whisky

  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: The Macallan Fine Oak 21 Year Old Malt Whisky (Scotland)
  • Semifinalists
    • Johnnie Walker Gold 18 Year Old Blended Whisky (Scotland)
    • Royal Salute 21 Year Old Blended Whisky (Scotland)
    • Glenmorangie Signet Single Malt Whisky (Scotland)

USA & Canada: Whiskey/Whisky

  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey (USA)
  • Semifinalists
    • Sazerac 18 Year Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey (USA)
    • Crown Royal XR Blended Canadian Whisky (Canada)
    • Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (USA)

World Brandy, Grappa & Eau-de-Vie

  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Nonino Grappa Il Merlot (Italy)
  • Semifinalists
    • Macchu Pisco (Peru)
    • Bartlett Spirits of Maine Apple Brandy (USA)
    • Giovi Clear Brandy of Cactus Pear (Italy)


  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Frapin Chateau Fontpinot XO Grande Champagne Cognac (France)
  • Semifinalists
    • Landy XO Cognac (France)
    • Pierre Ferrand Selection des Anges Grande Champagne Cognac (France)
    • Hennessy XO Cognac (France)


  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Chateau du Busca-Maniban Hors d’Age Tenareze-Armagnac (France)
  • Semifinalists
    • Chateau de Laubade 1960 Bas-Armagnac (France)
    • Marie Duffau Hors d’Age Bas-Armagnac (France)
    • Cles des Ducs VSOP Armagnac (France)


  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: Boulard Grand Solage Pays d’Auge Calvados (France)
  • Semifinalists
    • Coeur de Lion Hors d’Age Pays d’Auge Calvados (France)
    • Roger Groult 8 Year Old Pays d’Auge Calvados (France)

World Liqueurs, Absinthes & Other

  • Chairman’s Trophy Winner: St Germain Elderflower Liqueur (France)
  • Semifinalists
    • Herbsaint Original Liqueur d’Anis (France)
    • Bauchant Orange Liqueur (France)
    • Mathilde Raspberry Frambroise (France)

For a complete list of all results and scores, visit:

To find out more about UBC and its upcoming Ultimate Cocktail Challenge (April 12-14, 2010) and Ultimate Wine Challenge (June 7-11, 2010) competitions, go to

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  1. Jean on March 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Great that Frapin XO got the award. It’s really a great Cognac house!

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