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  1. #1

    Ultimate Beverage Challenge

    Is anyone here familiar with www.ultimate-beverage.com It is the website for a tasting and ranking of all kinds of liquor. This tasting challenge took place at the Astor Center in New York back in March. i'll cut and paste the top of the whiskey list-I just want some feed back their winner and how it beat some of the most revered whiskey names on this board.
    USA & Canada: Whisky/Whiskey

    Accolade ScoreSpirit Name Chairman’s Trophy WinnerExtraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation97George Dickel No. 12 10 yr old Tennessee Whiskey (USA); 45% abv, $17
    FinalistExtraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation95Sazerac Kentucky Straight 18 yr old Rye Whiskey (USA); 45% abv, $69.99
    FinalistExcellent, Highly Recommended94Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select Bourbon (USA); 45.2% abv, $32.99
    FinalistExcellent, Highly Recommended93Crown Royal XR Canadian Blended Whisky (Canada); 40% abv, $165
    Excellent, Highly Recommended93Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon (USA); 45% abv, $24.99
    Excellent, Highly Recommended93Four Roses Mariage 10 yr old Bourbon (USA); 54.8% abv, $79.99
    Excellent, Highly Recommended93Pappy Van Winkle Kentucky Straight Bourbon 20 yr old Bourbon (USA); 45.2% abv, $99.99
    Excellent, Highly Recommended93Parker's Heritage Collection Golden Anniversary Bourbon (USA); 50% abv, $150
    Excellent, Highly Recommended93William Larue Weller Kentucky Straight 12 yr old Bourbon (USA); 62.7% abv, $69.99
    Excellent, Highly Recommended92Bulleit Blue Label Bourbon (USA); 40% abv, $30
    Excellent, Highly Recommended92Evan Williams Single Barrel 2000 Vintage 10 yr old Bourbon (USA); 43.3% abv, $24.99
    Excellent, Highly Recommended92Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon (USA); 40% abv, $18.99
    Excellent, Highly Recommended92Hirsch Selection Small Batch Reserve 4 yr old Bourbon (USA); 46% abv, $35.99
    Excellent, Highly Recommended92Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof Bourbon (USA); 50.5% abv, $45

  2. #2
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    Re: Ultimate Beverage Challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh56 View Post
    Bulleit Blue Label Bourbon (USA); 40% abv, $30
    Bulleit Blue Label?
    Never heard of it, how long has it been out?
    ovh

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Ultimate Beverage Challenge

    I can't imagine a bigger waste of time.

  4. #4
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    Re: Ultimate Beverage Challenge

    Not only a bigger waste of time but makes me suspect of the results. Dickel #12 beats out Pappy, WLW, Handy, etc.? I don't think so.
    “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” - P.J. O’Rourke
    Greg's "bourbondork" blog

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2007
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    Re: Ultimate Beverage Challenge




    Quote Originally Posted by Josh56 View Post
    Accolade ScoreSpirit Name Chairman’s Trophy WinnerExtraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation97George Dickel No. 12 10 yr old Tennessee Whiskey (USA); 45% abv, $17
    ____ ____
    Barrel_Proof

  6. #6
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    Re: Ultimate Beverage Challenge

    Having judged at all of the 'prestigious' wine events in this country and the UK, I can tell you that the results of these judgings are pretty much worthless. From an organizational / desire for accuracy standpoint, the best I've participated in were those held by the Beverage Testing Institute, but they also fell short.

    Sadly, we live in a society that won't go to a movie unless it gets two thumbs up, won't go to a restaurant that doesn't receive four stars, and won't buy a bottle that doesn't merit 90 points or above. There's only one critic who counts, and that is YOU.

    The good news is that the consumer's (and trade's) reliance on awards, scores, etc. seems to be at an all time low. Hope it keeps moving in this direction.
    Mat Garretson
    HIGH WEST DISTILLERY

  7. #7
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    Re: Ultimate Beverage Challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by mrviognier View Post
    Sadly, we live in a society that won't go to a movie unless it gets two thumbs up, won't go to a restaurant that doesn't receive four stars, and won't buy a bottle that doesn't merit 90 points or above. There's only one critic who counts, and that is YOU.
    Amen! I used to praise to high heavens the sub sandwiched that K-Mart used to sell, the menu at the Woolworth's lunch counter (showing MY age!), some of the food available at independent gas stations.

    What is even sadder is that the people who market and distribute said foods stop making it available if the food DOESN'T win some kind of award(s). It seems to me that actual sales volume has little to do with it - I can't be the ONLY person who likes the foods I like...

    Personally, I have NO idea what the critics have to say about the food I eat, the drinks I drink, the car I drive or the lifestyle I live. I just do and consume based on what I like. What my old Marketing professor called a marketer's nightmare (evil grin).
    Mark Edwards - Proof of Sanity Forged Upon Request

  8. #8
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    Re: Ultimate Beverage Challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by mrviognier View Post
    Having judged at all of the 'prestigious' wine events in this country and the UK, I can tell you that the results of these judgings are pretty much worthless. From an organizational / desire for accuracy standpoint, the best I've participated in were those held by the Beverage Testing Institute, but they also fell short.
    Are you at liberty to elaborate further on this? I quickly learned how irrelevant these competitions were to my tastes (and proved once again by this one) but the reality is they are very relevant to the marketplace. I know Chuck has posted/written about his experiences but another judges perspective would be interesting to hear.

  9. #9
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    Re: Ultimate Beverage Challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by T Comp View Post
    but the reality is they are very relevant to the marketplace.
    Really? While my experience is primarily in the wine arena, I can tell you that even the most prestigious competitions mean absolutely squat in the marketplace. If the American (and, increasingly, the international) consumer relies on third-party endorsement of a beverage, it's on the Parkers & Spectators of the world, not awards from a fair, festival, challenge or panel. To put it another way, if given the choice, I'd rather earn an 89 in Wine Spectator than a "Best of Show" or "Double Gold" at the Orange County Fair.

    The only countries in which medals/awards really have had an historical impact on the market are Australia, the U.K. and France; however, even these events are weaker now than ever.

    In most judging competitions, there is:

    1.) An awful lot of unqualified judges sitting on panels. Case in point, I was in charge of a panel of eight judges reviewing Gewurztraminers. Medals were to be awarded by consensus. Every time I came across a truly (IMHO) amazing Gewurz, I was voted down by one of the judges who would find fault with the same wine. I finally asked, "Please give me examples of what you feel is a textbook' Gewurztraminer." The judge replied, "I really don't like Gar-reen-er-miners". Turns out they were friends of the committee, and placed on the panel randomly. Happens a lot more than you'd think.

    2.) A predisposition towards giving medals. In a large majority of wine competitions these days, wineries who submit wines for judging understand that they are obliged to provide up to four cases of any of their wines which medal free of charge. A great case in point is the San Diego Wine Festival. Some claim to use the wine for fundraising...more typical is that the wines find their way into the organizer's cellar. Really cheap way to amass a lot of wine.

    3.) A predisposition towards judging a wine 'upwards'. You think the wine deserves a bronze? Give it a silver. The wine is worthy of a silver? It's a gold medal-winner. To most wine event organizers, the more golds given out, the more attention wineries pay to the events. If the winery thinks their chances of big-time medals is great, they're more likely to enter more wines. That benefits the organizers, because most charge $100+ per entry. More entries = more profit.

    I used to manage a winery which spent over $50,000 per year entering wine competitions. Within a year of my arrival, I had lowered that cost by 4/5ths. The winery owner was sure that sales would slump...in fact they rose by 35%.

    Awards and medals are worth very little in the marketplace...again IMHO.
    Mat Garretson
    HIGH WEST DISTILLERY

  10. #10
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    Re: Ultimate Beverage Challenge

    Quote Originally Posted by mrviognier View Post
    Really? While my experience is primarily in the wine arena, I can tell you that even the most prestigious competitions mean absolutely squat in the marketplace. If the American (and, increasingly, the international) consumer relies on third-party endorsement of a beverage, it's on the Parkers & Spectators of the world, not awards from a fair, festival, challenge or panel. To put it another way, if given the choice, I'd rather earn an 89 in Wine Spectator than a "Best of Show" or "Double Gold" at the Orange County Fair.

    Awards and medals are worth very little in the marketplace...again IMHO.
    Thanks for the insight Mel. My assumption on any importance just comes as a retail customer, who does come across wine and spirit bottle tags and shelf talkers, with things like "double gold" on them. Back in my wine days I experienced many people at tastings and focus groups who put a lot of stock in the BTI ratings too, but that could have just been a Chicago thing. And in my switch to whiskey it is quite impressive how unimpressed SBer's (and BEer's and BDer's) are with any of this.

 

 

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