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kickert
03-24-2009, 21:46
The 2009 San Francisco Spirit Competition has come and gone and the results are out. Here are some highlights:


PHC got Best of Show
WT RR Rye got Best Rye
On the low end of things, JBB and OGD got Double Gold and JB White got gold. (Beam seemed to do pretty good overall)
Full results can be found here: http://www.sfspiritscomp.com/pdfs/09ResultsClass.pdf

By the way, Corsair Distillery (where I am now working) got Gold for their gin. Very exciting.

ILLfarmboy
03-24-2009, 22:34
I have to wonder why RR Rye beat Handy.

Also, I think if RR Rye was diluted to 80 proof, Templeton would come out on top.

Are the whiskeys tasted only at their bottling proofs?

scratchline
03-25-2009, 06:17
I came across this critique of the Spirits Competition a few days ago. I assume it has been posted before somewhere on the SB site, but this seems like a good opportunity for a repost.

http://blog.maltadvocate.com/2008/03/26/medal-fatigue/

-Mike

funknik
03-25-2009, 06:29
I came across this critique of the Spirits Competition a few days ago. I assume it has been posted before somewhere on the SB site, but this seems like a good opportunity for a repost.

http://blog.maltadvocate.com/2008/03/26/medal-fatigue/

-Mike
I was looking through the list of winners and thinking the same thing that this article articulates: "how can everyone win?"

I'm not sure how any rye beat the Handy, and how so many Beam products squeezed medals out of the judges....different strokes, I guess.

fricky
03-25-2009, 07:03
It would be interesting to know the bourbon and rye whiskies that did not get a medal.

kickert
03-25-2009, 07:27
I think it is interesting how the results can change each year for non-special release bourbons. Surely if something tops out one year, it will top out every year, but that is not the case.

DeanSheen
03-25-2009, 07:37
It's a complete and total sham. A moneymaker for the people that run the competition and cheap advertising for the spirits producers.

This says it all, taken from Johns Blog, the guy might as well have been a politician, he just keeps talking, says nothing.

John Hansell says:
March 26, 2008 at 8:45 am

I spoke with Paul Pacult, one of the organizers, and here’s what he had to say:

“I somewhat understand your viewpoint as an outsider to the situation. Unfortunately, it’s wrong and not well thought out. What’s happened is that companies send us their best stuff and when something’s good, it’s good. We don’t feel that there needs to be a cut-off for the number of medals since all products are treated in the same manner. Rather than taking the negative viewpoint that you’ve decided to take, I view it more as testament to the rise in quality in distillates over the past generation in all categories. I view the results more in the reality that distillers have taken their art to the highest levels and that the SFWSC judges are recognizing those advances in ways that are fair-minded and unbiased when faced with flight after flight of quality products.”

gothbat
03-25-2009, 08:02
If practically everyone gets a medal then they're pretty much meaningless and if the medals don't mean anything then there is no real reason to strive to try and win one nor is there really any point in having a "competition" in the first place.

mozilla
03-25-2009, 09:23
I whole heartedly support what Corsair is doing and am glad their opporation is off the ground. Good job fellas...keep pumping original products out.

Now, my opinion about the SF Spirits competition...if it can be called a competition.
If you're not competing agianst the other competators...then what exactly are they judging? I am sure that no one would judge free booze as a bad item. How do I sign up to be a judge? There needs to be limits on the medals and entries need to go head to head with like typed spirits(of proof and age).

The last time I looked at their competition...I noted that most of the judges were wine pro's...not distillery pro's. I would prefer to get my distillate judged by folks interested and knowledgible in spirits (like Barturtle)...not wine enthusiasts.

I seriously hope that they change their little marketing competition into a real head to head spirits brawl.

kickert
03-25-2009, 09:39
There is some good discussion in the comments of John's blog.

The best point I read was concerning the use of the "medals" being deceiving. If it were organized around a "Star" system it would make more sense. Everyone submits their best stuff.... it is judged by an expert panel, results are tallied... a rating is awarded based on scores.

Sure any rating system if subjective, but at least that gives a reason for 90% of spirits getting a rating/medal.

Medals do convey the idea of competition, but what SFWSC seems to be doing is more inline with ratings. Although the "best of" designation is certainly an exception.

sailor22
03-25-2009, 09:43
How is Four Roses Mariage in the Single Barrel class? Isn't it a blend of two different Bourbons?

mozilla
03-25-2009, 09:47
Everyone submits their best stuff....


Thanks for reminding me.

Why are these entries not straight off the shelf?

If distilleries can hand select their best stuff....no wonder Beam White label won a medal(and it's not the first time, either). To even consider Beam White a winner over real top shelf items...is upserd.

A real competition should be ordinary product off the shelf....with no entry fees and everyone is judged against each other.

Also, how is it that they differentiate a "small batch"? There is no regulations as to the size of a small batch. Why aren't Single Barrels considered small batch?

Did anyone notice how many of the Beam Small Batch won medals? Seems a bit suspicious :bigeyes:

DowntownD
03-25-2009, 13:38
surely it's been suggested before, but what better way to end-around the nonsense of such competitions than for SB.com to organize one...

American whiskey (of all types) only
blind taste tests by type/category
publicly available expressions only
a wide variety of knowledgeable judges
partner with the Malt Advocate or whomever else if necessary
adamantly resist any political influence
totally not-for-profit
etc

seriously, who could possibly do it better than this community?

cowdery
03-25-2009, 15:44
I don't know if it matters to anyone, but John Hansell's blog post cited above was made following last year's competition.

Anybody who has read my book knows how I feel about ratings, and competitions have the same problems, although I do participate as a judge in the WHISKY Magazine World Whiskey Awards and other competitions they do, and I judged for Bill Owens at last year's American Distilling Institute whiskey competition.

The problem is that it's all so subjective and often, no matter how they try to arrange the categories, you are comparing apples to oranges. Even when the styles are close, you still have the problem that what I like may not be what you like.

I learned a lot from Jim Murray when we did the ADI judging together. He is very good at identifying off flavors that indicate a flaw in the manufacture, especially useful when judging the efforts of micro-distillers. I felt sorry for someone like Rick Wasmund, who is very innovative, but in a rank of more ordinary spirits his stuff tastes odd and not necessarily outstanding. But how do you judge something that is unique?

I noticed once during a WHISKY mag judging that when you taste a lot of different whiskeys, something that tastes a little different (not as different as Wasmund's) will stick out and get extra points, but does that really make it the best?

Yet we live in a world of top ten lists and the centerpiece of most lifestyle journalism is the quest for the best burger or the best pizza, and when such accolades are awarded, the places that receive them get a big spike in business. Many people believe in the myth of "the best," and furthermore believe the shortcut of letting someone else tell them what's good.

Another of life's many mysteries.

squire
03-25-2009, 18:49
True unfortunately and there is little we can do about it except provide information to those who visit this board.

funknik
03-25-2009, 19:46
Chuck....well said, man.

callmeox
03-25-2009, 20:36
I see John Hansell in the active users list so he must have seen the bat signal hit the sky when this thread was started. How else would he know when his name comes up here? :grin:

cowdery
03-26-2009, 15:01
Today I learned that New York will have a very similar annual competition starting in June. More details about both competitions are here (http://www.examiner.com/x-475-Chicago-Drinks-Examiner~y2009m3d26-San-Francisco-names-best-spirits-while-New-York-launches-competing-competition), here (http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2009/03/winner-winner-chicken-dinner.html) and here (http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2009/03/now-new-york-spirits-awards.html).

Obviously, I'm missing a bet. Chicago Intergalactic Spirits Competition anyone?

JamesW
03-27-2009, 09:17
I agree wholeheartedly with what most here have said about the lack of competition and certainly the lack of control over entries in terms of allowing distillers to submit their best bottle for review when an off-the-shelf version may be pale by comparison.

What we really have here is a quartile ranking (or quintile if you count the folks who didn't medal) where the entrants are graded with respect to their counterparts. To "win" a bronze medal simply means that you are at the bottom of the barrel in terms of what's available. A Gold or Double Gold means you are in the top 30% and so on...

I agree that the beam products rate suspiciously high. Baker's and Bookers were Double Gold but Pappy gets a Silver? ... to each his own I suppose....

boone
03-27-2009, 09:54
I came across this critique of the Spirits Competition a few days ago. I assume it has been posted before somewhere on the SB site, but this seems like a good opportunity for a repost.

http://blog.maltadvocate.com/2008/03/26/medal-fatigue/

-Mike

We've already run the race on this show...

Several of us hold very little clout (now) for their kind of competition after learning they voted the nasty-penny-four grain "whiskey of the year" status....

Oh, I look at it to see what they chose but it carries no "backbone" (like it used to) into any decision making of quality of product.
--------------------------

If you search, it's under WR 4 GRAIN BATCH #2 for the "rest of the roast". :slappin: :slappin: :slappin:

Heated? Yes :lol: :lol:

This is one of my posts in that thread....

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/red2black/statusicon/post_old.gif 01-17-2007, 14:00 #44 (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=79377&postcount=44) boone (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/member.php?u=20) vbmenu_register("postmenu_79377", true);
Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
Member #: 20
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/image.php?u=20&dateline=1138980612 (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/member.php?u=20)

Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Nelson County, Kentucky
Posts: 2,614


Re: Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Four Grain (Batch No. 2)


I guess, I am a "traditional bourbon drinker"? Is the audience directed toward "non-traditional bourbon drinker's"? The award was given to a product that's classified as "bourbon" (?)

I guess, I should wait for a "select few" to post something in left field on that. I'm sure in the hell ain't a scotch lover...

Straight and to the point (as Randy has posted elsewhere :grin: )...

I will "assume" that it will carry the "Whiskey of the Year" hang tag. A big "sell point" to say the least.

The non-educated and newbie bourbon buyer will be swayed by the hang tag. Without someone there to guide them they will truly think that this product is going to be "excellent" to say the least. That hang tag ("used" to ) carries clout.

The sad part? They will probably pay around $80 for this bottle. The part that really brings my point to the face? It's nasty stuff. They are going to take that product home to share with family and friends and then...nearly puke pennies.

It will happen.

Hopefully, some will come here for guidance before a purchase. There's a world full of wonderful whiskey's...We're gonna steer them in the right direction. Even if we have to fight to do it.

Make a "most improved" award...or new invention award...but Whiskey of the Year?....Blunder of all blunder's, in my opinion.

Bettye Jo Boone
7th Generation Jacob Beam
G-granddaughter of Joseph L. Beam
First Master Distiller, Heaven Hill Distilleries
and of the first original incorporators of Heaven Hill :grin:

squire
03-27-2009, 10:05
I can imagine the backroom trading, ' naw, he got the double gold last time, it's somebody elses turn'.

barturtle
03-27-2009, 10:06
Today I learned that New York will have a very similar annual competition starting in June. More details about both competitions are here (http://www.examiner.com/x-475-Chicago-Drinks-Examiner%7Ey2009m3d26-San-Francisco-names-best-spirits-while-New-York-launches-competing-competition), here (http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2009/03/winner-winner-chicken-dinner.html) and here (http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2009/03/now-new-york-spirits-awards.html).

Obviously, I'm missing a bet. Chicago Intergalactic Spirits Competition anyone?

Intergalactic? Does that mean there will be a Aldebaran whiskey category?

Eggman
03-30-2009, 23:07
Howdy,

Looks like Jim Beam did well.

Eggman

cowdery
03-31-2009, 09:21
All the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

And everybody wins the double-gold.

tommyboy38
03-31-2009, 09:44
Did anyone not win a medal? Wonder what type of medal I'd win if I took a leak in a whiskey bottle and sent it to them?

In the furture, I think I may avoid any whiskey with a medal from SF.

P.S. - I'm in for the Chicago Intergalactic Whiskey Festival. It should run all year long and the distiller's should keep sending us their best whiskey until we say stop.

OscarV
03-31-2009, 12:59
All you have to do is pay the entrance fee and you get a medal.
Just like in the wine world.

cowdery
03-31-2009, 14:48
Yet today I received several press releases from producers, all crowing about the "prestigious" awards they received in San Francisco.

OscarV
03-31-2009, 14:49
Yet today I received several press releases from producers, all crowing about the "prestigious" awards they received in San Francisco.

You should ask them how much was the purchase.

funknik
03-31-2009, 15:04
In the furture, I think I may avoid any whiskey with a medal from SF.
In that case, you may have to stop drinking whiskey altogether! :cool:

squire
03-31-2009, 15:32
So long as they don't jack up the price.

tommyboy38
04-01-2009, 07:25
I obviously CAN'T stop drinking whiskey so there must be another solution. Maybe I need to convert to dusty pre-SFWSC bourbon exclusively...or I need to drink until I forget about the SFWSC.