The 2017 New York International Spirits Competition (NYISC) recently announced medalists from its 8th annual competition, which last month graded 600 spirits from around the world.
The NYISC is notable for its unusual process. Judges only include trade professionals: retail buyers, restaurant owners, professional mixologists, hotel beverage directors, distributors, importers, etc. No writers or bloggers. Only people who actually buy product for their business or employer.
Judges blind-taste entries, but they do receive the market cost of every spirit. They taste in sets of price ranges. Thus they can decide if a spirit’s quality matches its suggested retail price. A spirit that’s gold medal-worthy at $40 may not have received the same accolade at $75.
Quality-per-price is very much on the mind of judges. They’re told to consider an entry as though they would buy it in bulk.
Medals are not handed out frequently. Competition founder Adam Levy, who also runs the alcohol news/reviews website Alcoholprofessor.com, prides his competitions for not being “medal factories.” Levy runs similar spirits, beer and wine competitions in New York, Australia, Berlin and Asia.
Double gold winners at the 2017 NYISC were:
Basil Hayden Rye Whiskey
Speyburn Bradan Orach
Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish
Maxime Trijol XO
Maxime Trijol VSOP
Balcone’s Texas Rum
The rest of the medal winners (gold, silver and bronze) are available here.