Exceptional, Alternative, Trendy and Unusual at the WSA 2021

"Golden Efficiency"

Two gin distillers displayed an outstanding performance at the WSA 2021:

  • Aeijst won both possible titles with only one gin ("Spirit of the Year" and Award 2021.
  • The Cutura Distillery won the title "Spirit of the Year" for each of their two gin products and furthermore the Award 2021 for their Slow Gin - as well Rheinbrand from Switzerland for "Rheinbrand Dry Gin Hemp Edition".

DHL – stands for Density – Harmony – Length

These three letters tend to call to mind a parcel delivery service. In the WOB system which is used at the World Spirits Award as a particularly accurate and fair evaluation system, they are abbreviations from which the harmony of a spirit is composed. This depends not only on the overall impression but in particular also on these “DHL” properties. A spirit without density, harmony and length can never be classed as a top product. Experience has shown that vodkas in particular are almost always characterised by a good density and length. For products stored in wooden barrels such as rum or whisky, these special properties can be arguable and in some cases even barely perceptible. There is constant work towards improving the WOB system.

Quality improvement through constant fine-tuning of WSA definitions

To be able to evaluate products perfectly, we must constantly hone our internal definitions: e.g. for gin, herbal spirits and bitters or vodka. It can happen that a product was awarded double gold years ago and now “only” has a low gold medal. This indicates that it would now be necessary to submit the product in a different group to achieve an optimal result. All these changes are of course regularly updated in the WSA regulations.

Glittering medals in the cornfield

In January at the WSA 2021 sampling, the jury was impressed with the northern German Korn products. It is incredible what has been happening in recent years in the “granary”. Many enterprises are characterised by innovation and commitment to absolute quality. These products cannot be seen as just a step before whisky: in their style, their facets range from smoked malt to peat products and can easily hold their own against many whiskies with a sensational performance across the board in this segment due to their quality.

Aperitif or Alperitif – that is the question

Spirits enthusiasts tend to think of Mediterranean surroundings when it comes to an aperitif and perhaps a traditional Campari or Campari Spritz. In the Alpine region there are now also producers that have dedicated themselves to the production of aperitif spirits that can hold their own in comparisons with internationally known “colleagues”. Eagles Mountain Distillery and Tirolikum Schnappsbrennerei are worth a mention here.

Strong start, before fading away

This saying is unfortunately true when it comes to the quantity of submissions of 100% distillates in the last 18 years. While in 2004 mainly distillates were evaluated, in 2021 the number was down to around 50 products. It is difficult to find a reason for this.

However, it is pleasing in this segment for Williams pear distillates to have been honoured with double gold for the first time in 18 years. The following Williams pear spirits impressed the jury:

  • Spezialitäten-Brennerei & Whisky Destillerie Liebl GmbH – Williamsbirne Edition Lena
  • Fruchtbrennerei Franz Tinnauer – Rote Williamsbirnenbrand

It is amazing what an expert can make out of such a little red or yellow Williams pear!

Five gin years – a success story

We’ve had five strong gin years in a row – we now feature around 90 gins from around the world that are evaluated by the WSA jury. The strong differentiation of the groups was a successful step in judging the spirits more accurately and fairly.

Gin specialists have established themselves in recent years. Here one should mention the Styrian distillery Krauss, the English “Gin gingerbread house” Fairytale and the St. Wolfgangsee gin specialist Johannes Peinsteiner. These distilleries have a firm grasp on the “gin” segment – for many others it is now a hobby and a desire to make a personalised gin.

After Jagatee (tea spiked with fruit schnapps or rum) and arolla pine spirits, now punch & co

2021 seems to be the year of punch – the Graz distillery Franz Bauer submitted the whole segment for evaluation. At the other end of the scale, you can find a “cold mulled wine” made of Teran red wine, alcohol and spices from Aura in Croatia, as well as punch products from Freihof and Erber. The difference between punch and Jagatee is the stronger rum component in Jagatee.

WSA curiosity cabinet

Every year, certain specialist products stand out that make tasters ask themselves: “Who would drink this?”

New products are regularly being invented that are mostly oriented towards a related product in a “solid form”. For example, you can find in both liquid and solid forms:

  • Bimmerle KG Private Distillery – United Cakes of America New York Cheesecake, United Cakes of America Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Horvath’s Spezereyen Kontor GmbH – Gänserndorfer Limoncello-Cream-Likör
  • If perhaps you don’t know what the number one Chinese state drink is – the answer is: Kweichow Moutai – Kweichow Moutai Legendary China Collection (Du Fu Edition)

Coffee & cigar distillates

“World Spirits” is also known as a trendsetter and motivates the distillers of fruit brandies to produce harmonious accompaniments for coffee and cigars. Destillerie Tinnauer has produced the perfect accompaniment for a cigar with the mature “Zwetschken Zigarrenbrand Reserve 2010” in the group of cigar distillates.

Rejuvenation of the World Spirits Jury

It is incredibly hard to become a WSA jury member – getting there is a long and difficult process. The WSA is the only competition worldwide that trains its tasters at its own Academy in order to ensure the extremely high quality standards of this competition. In 2019, eight young people successfully completed the “Master of World Spirits” training course and, due to their above-average sensory abilities, were judging as B-tasters in the jury team, where they did an excellent job. And so we can look forward with confidence to the changing of the guard in the next five years.

World Spirits Print Guide 2021 – E-book & print and online guide      

The “World Spirits Guide 2022” (in German and English) is being published once again in magazine form, as stand-alone German and English print versions. The 2021 version is currently available, as well as the content of the online guide at world-spirits.com for an annual subscription of 72 euros.

The world of fine brandies and traditional spirits puts its products to the test at the “World Spirits Award” year after year: a perfectly qualified jury, comprised of international experts, samples, evaluates and describes all submitted samples according to the specially developed WOB system.

At the top of this 100-point scheme there are the World Spirits medals: double gold, gold, silver and bronze; in addition, the best are bestowed with the title “World Spirits Awards” and “Spirit of the Year”.

A special criterion of the competition is the classification of the distilleries: three of them this time received the title “Distillery of the Year”, the best in each category are “World Class Distilleries”.

All guide versions revolve around the current “World Spirits Award”. The individual media report about tips and trends, the participating distilleries are portrayed with text and images, and all the products of the competition – classified according to category and groups – are presented in order as a chart.

The e-book is free, the print version costs 10 euros, plus postage. The online guide with approx. 350 portrayed distilleries with product descriptions can be ordered from the shop at www.world-spirits.com as an annual subscription for the price of 72 euros.

Welcome to the world of fine spirits and enjoy reading!

Inside World Spirits with Wolfram Ortner©

Mastermind Wolfram Ortner is already working meticulously on the implementation of the concept "World-Spirits Tasting Video" with the center stage right in the WOB distillery in the Nock-Land. TV stands for "Tasting Videos" as well as for "Television": The videos are both offered to TV stations and published on the platform YouTube as trailer. In the protected area at www.world-spirits.com registered users can watch new episodes of „Inside World Spirits© with Wolfram Ortner“ in 3-week intervals. Specials round off the programme and are also disseminated on the internet and the website. The beginning started with „How to taste spirits correctly“, a humerous and ironic instruction!

„Inside World Spirits“, a witty mixture of entertaining talk and information about the subject „Spirits of the World“, is supposed to become our flagship. Ortner’s interlocutors and highlights are a distiller, an audience representative or celebrity as well as the Swiss landscape architect and botanical specialist Patrick Altermatt respectively.

2019 the first series with 15 episodes was already shot. In the form of a relaxed conversation (15 minutes) the video will encompass knowledge on the chosen themes as well as technical information on production which will be completed with a presentation and sensory analysis of three products consistent with the theme of the programme. Of course, the producers of the individual products will be presented orally and in pictures.

Nor will music be neglected: the group „Humus“ has composed and presented live the soundtrack for six episodes consistent with the subject.

Predominantly, the language is German and the individual takes are dubbed into English or vice versa. Example: In a Gin episode, we will talk about the production of the premium spirits, discuss different styles such as London Dry Gin, New Western Style Gin or Slow Gin and then sensorially "disassemble" three products. (In addition, a botanical (herbs, spices) is presented in each episode) and analysed for its suitability in cooking or as an ingredient in a spirit.

Per episode we will invite a viewer who can answer professional questions profoundly (e.g. What is „astringency“?) Interested? You can find a form for at least five questions to the editors at www.world-spirits.com . Please fill it in and send it off with your address!

The target group for World-Spirits TV are those who are interested in spirits, distillers, journalists and all those to work in industries related to spirits and gastronomy.

The individual episodes of the World Spirits Tasting videos „Inside World Spirits with Wolfram Ortner“© can be monitored exclusively on the website of world-spirits.tv and worldspirits.tv (in the protected user area) until they are broadcasted by tv stations.

WSA Spirits Finder, in the Apple Store and Google Store:
Search app for spirit lovers and professionals

The World Spirits Award is known amongst experts as being the highest quality spirits award in the world. You now have the possibility to access the results directly, all the way back to 2008, using the WSA Spirits Finder. The WSA app (in German and English) has the following functions, which are available free of charge:

  • WSA Spirits Finder
  • WSA Spirits Calculator
  • WSA Website

Detailed information on the approx. 4,000 spirits – from A for Asbach Uralt to Z for Zwack Unicum: producers around the globe, from manufacture to industry (with direct links to the websites), products ranging from absinthe, Armagnac and Moutai to tequila and plum distillates (some with photos). You can select distilleries, restrict your search to medals or WSA years, choose a special brand or a special product, and much more. This comprehensive data pool is based on the results of the professional jury at the annual World Spirits Award. The app also includes verbal descriptions of brand-name products and the exact number of points they received (maximum 100 WOB points), meaning that it offers in-depth information on the price/performance ratio.

The Spirits Calculator is primarily designed for the catering and hotel sector, but can also be used by private individuals and professionals to calculate prices. It is basically a pocket calculator with modern technology and functions, which, in just a few steps, enables you to calculate spirits per portion – at the bar, in a restaurant, in a café or wherever else you might be. It doesn't matter which country you want to calculate your spirits in – this service tool includes all the important variables. The core function is the absolute calculation and not the percentage calculation of spirits. You can also enter the net income per portion and in doing so, as well as the costs such as service charges and VAT, you can also receive a customer-friendly price, which you can also print.

In addition, as a registered user you will also have access to the protected area on the World Spirits website, where you can find information from the spirits world which is hidden from non-users.

The WSA motto is “Simply the Best in Spirits!”. And, with the new WSA app, you will become part of the community who are sure to benefit from our life's work in spirits, always a ‘spiritual’ step ahead.

The WSA Spirits Finder at world-spirits.com

The official “World Spirits” website is equipped with helpful features – one highlight, besides the Online Guide and the Spirits Calculator, is the Spirits Finder, a database with the results of all the annual WSA products that have been tasted. The tool makes searching for producers or products simple, and also shows comparisons of the results of each product at different tastings. All functions are identical to those in the app.