For the best spirits in town … and the world!

Date posted:
June 27, 2024

The Trophy Spirits Show – brought to you by Investec - is the only competition in South Africa which assesses a representative array of international and local high-end spirits, liqueurs and aperitifs available to consumers in this country. Its judging methodology is based on the tried and tested system developed over many years by the Trophy Wine Show. Amongst its key features are three person judging panels, at least one of whose members is an international specialist invited to South Africa specifically to judge the competition.

The 2024 iteration of the show saw considerable breadth and depth to the entries received across all classes. It is clear that the producers and importers of high-end products have come to trust the panels which sit in judgement of their spirits and liqueurs.

There were 106 entries received this year from 17 producers and distributors with 56 brands, spread through 7 categories. In terms of total entries, the whisk(e)y classes saw the greatest number (33). These were mainly from Scotland, though there were also submissions from South Africa and Ireland. Included in this line-up were malt, grain and blended whiskies, as well as pot-still whiskeys. It is a tribute to the respect in which the show is held that most of the major brands were represented. The gin classes saw a fair spread of entries across all three categories – London Dry, Distilled and Flavoured Gin, and included local craft submissions as well as entries from many of the international producers. Brandy was well represented with pot-still submissions from the Cape and France (Cognac). Unsurprisingly, given the worldwide surge in interest in tequila/agave and rum, there were strong entries in these classes. Good representation of vodkas and cream liqueurs completed the judging line-up.

For the first time in the history of the competition a panel could not separate its two top scoring products and finally resolved to share the trophy for the show’s best whisky between the top grain and the top malt. The annual battle between France and South Africa for the brandy crown saw Van Ryn’s securing this coveted trophy with the Single Potstill Brandy Aged 20 Years

The attrition which thinned out the craft gin producers following the Covid-related lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 seems to be over, with 26 gins entered. Gold medals were awarded in both the London Dry and Flavoured Gin classes.

As in previous years, entries came in from producers in places as far afield as England, Ireland, Scandinavia, Italy, the Caribbean, the highlands of Scotland, the deserts of Mexico, the villages of Cognac and pretty much everywhere in between. Included among these exotics were at least 54 different brandies, liqueurs, whiskies and gins from the Cape and Gauteng. South Africa's share of the gold medals and trophies was significant enough to serve as a tribute to the craft and skill of our domestic distillers, and a vindication of Investec’s commitment to an industry which makes a major contribution to employment and to the country’s GDP.

Back at the tasting benches was the world’s leading gin judge, David T Smith, while Louise Martin (Whisky) from Scotland and Claire Blackler MW (brandy and rums) from the UK joined the competition’s local panellists for the first time. These international specialists shared their expertise with local judges and associates. The South African judges were Andy Watts, Neil Paterson, Dr Mare-Loe Prinsloo, Carla Weightman, Sean Gunns and Leah van Deventer.

The associate judges were Jason McEvoy, Anriënka Vlok van Zyl and Sulette Oelofse. Show convenor Michael Fridjhon was Chairman of the Judges.

There were 106 samples across 7 classes: 33 whiskies, 26 gins, 22 brandies and cognacs, with vodkas, tequilas, rums and liqueurs totalling a further 25 entries. And at the end of the day there were 11 gold medals, 37 silvers, 36 bronzes and a mere 11 Best in Class trophies.

Trophy and Gold Winners

Trophy for Best Pot-distilled Brandy/Vinolok Trophy for Best Premium Spirit/Investec Trophy for Best Brandy of Show

Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy Aged 20 Years

 

Trophy for Best Grain Whisk(e)y/Investec Trophy for Best Whisky of Show (tied)

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky – Single Grain Double-Matured

 

Investec Trophy for Best Malt Whisk(e)y/Investec Trophy for Best Whisky of Show (tied)

Tomatin 2012 Single Cask Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky – WhiskyBrother Excl

 

Investec Trophy for Best London Gin/Riedel Trophy for Best Gin of Show

Amarula Premium African Gin

 

Investec Trophy for Best Single Pot Still Whisk(e)y

Redbreast 12 Year Old Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

 

Investec Trophy for Best Blended Whisk(e)y

Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky

 

Trophy for Best Vodka of Show

Absolut Elyx Vodka

 

Trophy for Best Flavoured Gin

Cape Fynbos Gin – Citrus Edition

 

Trophy for Best Cognac

Martell XO Cognac

 

Trophy for Best Tequila of Show

Avion Reposado Tequila

 

Investec Trophy for Best Liqueur of Show

Wild Africa Caffé Latte Cream Liqueur

 

Gold Medal Winners

 

Bisquit & Dubouché Cognac V.S.O.P.

Frapin Grande Champagne Cognac 1270

Gordon’s London Dry Gin

Inverroche Amber Gin

Inverroche Verdant Gin

Johnnie Walker Green Label Blended Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 15 Years

KWV Alambic Blend Potstill Brandy 15 Year Old

Metanoia Klein Karoo Gin

Richelieu Vintage Brandy 10 Year Old

SKYY Vodka

The Singleton of Dufftown Single Malt Scotch Whisky 15 Years Old

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