The Distillers' tasting of IWSC award winning spirits and liqueurs

Tuesday 24th July 2018

The International Wine and Spirits Competition is an annual event in its 49th year. The Worshipful Company of Distillers marks the Comptition by hosting this tasting of award winning products at Vintners Hall attended by guests from the industry as well as the City and the Livery Companies. It is a busy and buzzy occasion with hundreds of products ranging from the expected gins, whiskies and vodkas to the less obvious vermouths, rums, mescals and akvavits. Brandies, armagnacs and cognacs offered a grand finale. Whilst some brands and products were familiar, the wonder of the event is the introduction of so many new ones, all exceptional.

The tasting process is one of taking the merest sip of the subject spirit or liqueur but the cumulative effect of this can take its toll. Those at particular risk were the participants in the master-classes, pre-booked and occurring just before the main event. Having had a head start on the rest of us, I could not help but notice that the jolliest amongst the 'tasters' were those that had attended the gin master-class. As this would have been my own choice, it was a lucky escape.

The Master Distiller, Bryan Burrough, was keen to mark the occasion with a group photograph of as many Livery Company Masters that he could muster and so we did, fifteen of us! I suspect there were Masters attending the event that missed the photocall; so taken with the delights of the evening.

Whilst certainly a merry occasion, this event is extremely well done and serves the serious purpose of celebrating the craft and innovation of the booming distilling industry, much of which is here in the UK. I thank the Fourth Warden, Paul Taberer, and Assistant Elise Rasmussen for their support at the event and their wisdom for ensuring that we were not the last to leave.