While it is perhaps a little too soon to describe the state of the wine and spirits industry as safely at pre-Covid levels, there are several indicators which suggest that there is a new vitality amongst producers and distributors. One of the key metrics is the breadth of entries at this year’s Trophy Spirits Show – now brought to you by Investec.
The 128 entries received this year from 34 producers and distributors were spread through nine categories: amongst the whisky submissions there were brands from Scotland, Ireland, South Africa and the United States. There were malt whiskies, grain whiskies and blended whiskies.
There were potstill brandies from France (Cognac) and South Africa, rums, tequilas, vodkas and aperitifs, there was grappa and absinthe, creme de cassis and cream liqueurs – in short a cornucopia of the distillers and licoriste’s art.
For the first time since the inception of the competition the trophy for the show’s best brandy went to a South African single pot still, the Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy aged 15 years, and in fact all of the top award-winning brandies were single pot stills from the cellars of the Cape.
The attrition affecting craft gin producers seems to have been put behind us, with entries slowly getting back to pre-Covid levels, and yielding trophies and gold medals in the London Dry and well as in the Distilled Gin classes.
There was wide and substantial representation from the world of whisk(e)y, with gold medal and trophy winning entries in the malt, Irish and blended Scotch categories, with some of the biggest names in the world of whisky represented on the winners’ podium.
As in previous years, entries came in from producers in places as far afield as the Americas, England, Japan, Scandinavia, Cuba, Italy, Germany, the sun-washed islands of the Caribbean, the highlands of Scotland, the deserts of Mexico, the villages of Cognac and pretty much everywhere in between. Included among these exotic origins were at least fifty different brandies, liqueurs, whiskies and gins from the Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
Unsurprisingly, South Africa’s share of the gold medals and trophies was important enough to serve as a tribute to the craft and skill of our domestic distillers, and a vindication of Investec’s commitment to this very vital industry. There was an equally broad representation of international judges – back at the tasting benches for the first time since 2019.
David T. Smith from England, widely regarded as the world gin expert, George Harper, (Scotland and Ireland) and Eric Goettelmann from France shared their expertise with local judges and associates (all graduates of the spirits judging academy run by Michael Fridjhon on behalf of the Trophy Spirits Show).
The South African judges were Neil Paterson, Kobus Gelderblom, Kurt Schlechter, Mare-Loe Prinsloo and Dave Gunns. The associate judges were Lisa de Beer, Kudzai Kupeta and Wellington Muromba. Show convenor Michael Fridjhon was Chairman of the Judges.
There were 9 gold medals, 39 silvers, 40 bronzes and a mere 10 trophies. Cumesh Moodliar, head of Investec Private Bank SA, says: “We know many of our clients will enjoy the bespoke tastings and engagement opportunities that the Trophy Wine and Spirits Shows, brought to you by Investec, present – and we look forward to hosting them.”
All the Trophy Winners for Investec Trophy Spirits Show
- Investec Trophy for Best Brandy of Show
Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy aged 15 years Investec
- Trophy for Best London Gin & Riedel Trophy for Best Gin of Show
Triple Three Just Juniper Berry Gin
- Investec Trophy for Best Distilled Gin
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin
- Investec Trophy for Best Blended Whisky
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch
- Whisky Investec Trophy for Best Malt Whisky, Investec Trophy for Best Whisky of Show & Vinolok Trophy for Best Premium Spirit
The Glenlivet 18 Years of age Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Investec Trophy for Best Single Pot Still Whiskey
Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Aged 12 Years
Investec Trophy for Best Liqueur of Show
Amarula Cream with Marula Spirit – Ethiopian Coffee
Gold Medal Winners
- Aberlour A’Bunadh Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- anCnoc 2006 bottled for WhiskyBrother&Co
- Gabriel Boudier Dijon Crème de Cassis
- Gabriel Boudier Dijon Saffron infused Gin
- Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky – Aged 12 Years
- Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky
- KWV FIFTEEN Alambic Blend Potstill Brandy
- Poetic License Old Tom Gin
- Van Ryn’s Single Potstill Brandy aged 12 years