Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles took place from 21 to 23 August 2018 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. During the event, three types of medals were awarded: Grand Gold Medals, Gold Medals and Silver Medals. Once again, the competition proved to be a bellwether for the latest trends in the spirits arena. The following is an overview of the results.

In addition to medals, judges also awarded a Spirits Selection 2018 Revelation Trophy to four spirits. The trophies are only awarded after a second blind tasting with the chairs of the 13 panels, making them highly selective. The winners are considered innovative, in tune with present-day expectations and indicative of current market trends:

  1. The agricultural rum Reimonenq Rhum Vieux Première Cuvée (matured in bourbon casks) from the Reimonenq distillery in Guadeloupe.
  2. Cachaça Gouveia Brasil produced by Gouveia in Brazil
  3. Campo Azul Diamond Tequila produced by Productos Fino de Agave in Mexico
  4. Pisco Tres Erres (1-12 months) produced by Compania Pisquera in Chile

It is now a tradition for the panel to bestow an Organic Spirits Selection Revelation award on an organic spirit that has made the biggest impression on judges during the tastings. This year, Cachaça Perfeição produced by Vistalinda in Brazil became the recipient of this prestigious trophy. This year’s awards list featured 29 Grand Gold Medals. Among them, rum stood out by winning 8 of the accolades, followed by baijiu which clearly distinguished itself this year with 7 awards. A few grappas, a whisky, an Armagnac and a few brandies were also amongst the top-tier winners.

Spirit Category Company Country
Rakia Burgas 63 Special Selection 20th Anniversary  2015 Grape Rakya Bulgarie Black Sea Gold
Guizhou Chun Pure Zhuang Wine 20 Years  1997 Baijiu Chine Guizhouchun Distillery Co.
Shao Kang Long Shang 2016 Baijiu Chine Shaokang Holding Group Co.
50.8%vol Hongzuan Xiangjiao 2003 Baijiu Chine Hunan Xiangjiao Liquor Co.
Sauce Township source 5 years  2013 Baijiu Chine Guizhou Jing Zhen IiquorGroup
Auce Township Leader 1935 Baijiu Chine Guizhou Center Wine Group Co.
38%vol Shaung Bao Cheng Purple Rice Wine 2017 Baijiu Chine MoJiangDiDaoJiuYeYouXianGongSi
Jean Cavé Armagnac Hors d’Age Armagnac France Le Club des Marques SAS
Pastis Henri Bardouin Anisé France Distilleries et Domaines de Provence
GM Gin Mediterranéen Gin France Grap’Sud
Tsilili Tsipouro 2003 Eaux-de-Vie de Marc Grèce Tsililis K. S.A.
Rhum Bologne XO Rhum Agricole Guadeloupe Société Agricole de Bologne
Paul John Edited Indian Single Malt Whisky Inde John Distilleries Pvt Ltd
Grappa La Gold Grappa Italie Roner SpA Distillerie
Amaro Santa Maria al Monte Liqueur-Crème Italie Distilleria F.lli Caffo
Grappa Lugana Invecchiata 2012 Grappa Italie Distillerie Peroni Maddalena
Amaro Formidabile 2018 Bitter Italie Formidabile Liquori & Affini Srl
Grappa Del Me’ – Pilzer Grappa Italie Distilleria Pilzer srl
Saint-James Rhum Vieux Agricole 7 ans Rhum Agricole Martinique Rhums Martiniquais Saint-James
Rhum agricole blanc Neisson Rhum Agricole Martinique Distillerie Neisson
Liqueur Clément Be Red Liqueur-Crème Martinique Héritiers H.Clément
Bougainville Rum Vanilla Rhum aromatisé Maurice E.C.Oxenham & CY.
Tequila Ollitas Reposado Triple Destilado Tequila Mexique Tequila Orendain de Jalisco
Rum da Madeira William Hinton 6 Years Old Rhum Agricole Portugal Icon Key
Rivière Du Mât – Rhum Traditionnel XO Rhum Réunion CEPP
Penderyn Madeira Whisky Royaume-Uni The Welsh Whisky Company
Chairman’s Reserve 1931 Rhum Sainte-Lucie Spiridom
Yushan Kaoliang  Liquor Aged 6 Years Lantern Festival Baijiu Taiwan Aow
Ron Añejo Carupano Legendario 25 Anos Rhum Vénézuela Destilería Carupano

Besides these results, gins and vodkas continued to rank highly. A total 39% of vodkas entered came away with a medal, as did 32% of gin entries. Gin continued to perform extremely well and showed no signs of flagging. The agricultural rum category also remained in prime position with 44% of entries awarded a medal.  Also noteworthy were the excellent results of entries by Bulgaria, which hosted the competition this year: 43% of entries won an accolade, demonstrating the high standard of local spirits production.

This year, spirits from 50 producer countries were subjected to the demanding taste buds of some of the world’s finest judges. A total of 78 specialist tasters representing 26 different nationalities took part. The diversity of competing products and backgrounds of the judges combine to make this competition unique and a true world spirits championship.

The next Spirits Selection competition will take place in August 2019 in the city of Lyliang – Shanxi Province, China.