10/09/2020 With so many spirits brands competing, DROUET VSOP COGNAC bagged the no. 1 spot and was crowned with Spirit of the Year at the 2020 Bartender Spirits Awards.
DROUET VSOP COGNAC Wins a total of 6 medals: Double Gold, Spirit Of The Year, Distillery Of The Year, Best Value Of The Year, Brandy Cognac Of The Year, and Brandy Cognac Producer Of The Year Award at the 2020 Bartender Spirits Awards which is made by Drouet. The brand is imported by Glass Revolution Imports in the USA.
With so many spirits brands competing for the back bar space, the medal winners at the second Bartenders Spirits Awards could be the place to look for where spirits are judged by top bartenders and mixologists for the on-premise market of the USA.
The second edition of the Bartender Spirits Awards results are now out and here are the highlights from America's leading spirits competition for the bar industry.
The Bartender Spirits Awards judge spirits across the parameters of Mixability, Balance and Versatility, Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish, Package and Price.
This competition recognizes that bartenders are the true influencers – their passions and tastes provide direction for the consumer, especially via their guidance with wine, beer or spirit recommendations. “We really wanted a way to recognize those spirits that would be a great addition to any bar and that are completely on-trend in terms of packaging and price,” said Sid Patel, Founder and CEO of Beverage Trade Network. “Whether bartenders are looking to plug a very specific gap in their existing spirits inventory, or construct an entirely new cocktail menu from scratch, what better advice could they get than from fellow bartenders?”
Medals were awarded to those spirits that meet very specific judging criteria, with a goal of identifying spirits that should become additions to bar inventories. Each spirits brand was evaluated on Mixability, Balance and Versatility, Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish, Package and Price.
In the hands of 4th generation PATRICK DROUET, this artisan distillery is nestled close to the town of Cognac. Its vineyards situated in GRANDE CHAMPAGNE 1er CRU, the top growth area or «cru» of Cognac, yield elegant Eaux de vie that receive long ageing in French oak barrels to reach optimal maturity.
Accomplished master distiller, Patrick Drouet, is a true “modern style old schooler" blending the best of traditional methods and new thinking. Between tending the vines, harvesting, vinification, distilling, ageing, and bottling, all taking place on the estate, Drouet is the essence of a SINGLE ESTATE Cognac. Produced in small quantities and distilled with great precision and passion, Drouet Cognacs are benchmarks, pure, and stunningly smooth. Drouet is quickly establishing itself as one of Cognac’s top family-owned estates, attested by its impressive accolades in recent years.
COLOUR: Mahogany with copper hues.
NOSE: Crisp apple, vanilla, brown spices and cinnamon.
PALATE: Gorgeous balance between freshness of fruit and sweet-scented notes.
FINISH: Remarkably long finish with great balance between bright acidity and sweetness.
COMMENTS: Beautifully matured to perfection Velvet, drink it on the rocks as an aperitif, or nightcap.
Double Distillation is obligatory for Cognac, giving it its unique taste. The first distillation takes place traditionally in copper stills. The wine used is low in alcohol favoring aromas concentration. Heated and distilled into a first cloudy distillate of 30% abv.
The second distillation creates a bright spirit of about 70% abv. Only the best “cut” is kept containing delicate aromas, which is then filled into barrels for ageing. This will be Cognac, as we know it.
Drouet purchases its barrels from different barrel makers in Cognac. Specifically, their own suppliers are Doreau, Marchive, and Allary, the latter for which they seem to have a preference given they are smaller sized.
Their own barrels range from 225 to 550 litres, keeping in mind that the typical range in Cognac is from 350 to 400 litres.
Almost every year, Drouet purchases new barrels. The barrels from Allary are made with oak trees from the Limousin region. The (wood) grain is rather on the larger side with a darker toasting, which gives spicy, and roasted flavours/aromas. Larger wood grain is rather typical for Cognac, which is different than for the wine industry that requires finer grain. Larger grain wood typically comes from faster growing oak trees.
A barrel can be used up to a maximum of 60 years, assuming that it is regularly looked after and kept in good shape.
One should remember that when an Eau de Vie (EDV) or spirit comes out of the alembic, it goes straight into new barrels, for colouring and tannin acquisition.
If the barrel is new, the EDV stays for 6 months in the barrel. Then it is transferred (via pump) to an older barrel. If the barrel has already once contained EDV, the new EDV will be kept therein for 8-10 months.
Then the EDV will be transferred to older used barrels. It is up to Patrick via frequent barrel tastings and monitoring, who will decide of the barrel change.
For VSOP, one uses a barrel that has been utilized for at least more than 3 years. More a Cognac ages, more it is transferred into older barrels to round it off, and minimize taking on new wood characteristics. In this regard, a XO and Paradis Hors d’Age will be aged in barrels that are 30-40 years old.
There were 7 double gold winners which scored 96 and more points, 127 gold medals in the 2020 Bartender Spirits Awards. The 2020 competition saw submissions from 34 countries including some new additions like Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Switzerland. The United States had the top submissions where 251 brands were entered followed by Mexico and Australia demonstrating the growth in Tequila and Australian craft spirits culture. Japan was the top favorite when it came to overall quality by country with the highest average by country for gold medals.
‘Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the industry,’ explained Sid Patel, CEO of Beverage Trade Network, the Organizer company of BSA, ‘and when we come out of this, we hope to see a strong rebound in the hospitality sector. The increased number of quantity in 2020 submissions truly demonstrated the faith our industry has in the long term outlook of our hospitality industry’.
Winners will also be promoted on BTN’s new direct to consumer portals Los Angeles Drinks Guide, London Drinks Guide, and Get Drinks Delivered along with BTN’s trade portal Bartenders Business and BevRoute
The top 100 spirits for bars will also be marketed to thousands of bartenders and mixologists via the Top 100 On-Premise Spirits website.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bartender Spirits Awards along with Bartenders Business will be offering its support to the industry with Bartenders Looking For Jobs Help Page on BSA and on BB and Daily Updates On The Reopening Of On-Premise Industry.
ABOUT THE BARTENDER SPIRITS AWARDS
The aim of Bartender Spirits Awards is to provide independent and honest reviews for brands who are looking to enter the U.S. on-premise industry. The judging panel consists of some of the most renowned names in the U.S. bar industry, all of them with extensive expertise within the on-premise industry. The result will be a relevant and practical source of reference for bartenders, bar managers, bar owners, and other industry professionals when making purchasing decisions for their establishments.