Asian Masters round-up

Spirit producers around the world are keen on innovating with their products. In the Asian Luxury Masters 2019, the panel tasted a range of spirits covering vodka, whisky, gin and rum. Beginning with vodka, the organic spirits from Purity Distillery received several medals including a Master, Gold and Silver medal. The Master winner ‘Super 17 Premium Organic Vodka’, was thought particularly exceptional. As Ken Man, described it, ”the texture is full of malty creaminess and it is only premium vodka that can achieve this smoothness.”

Moving up the price point to under HK$500, Thailand’s ‘Iron Balls Vodka’ aroused our judges’ attention with its clean and pure texture. Indeed, Iron Balls is a trendy gin bar in Bangkok, and the distillery was set up in the bar. Apart from vodka, it also produces good quality gin which took a Gold in the competition. “The gin has a strong yuzu and citrus notes that resemblances a lot of Japanese gins. It will be perfect for making a Martini.” Gagan Gurung, wine and spirits consultant and owner of Tell Camilla Cocktail Bar, said.

Copperhead Gin was another standout performer. Its The Gibson Edition won a Master for its pronounced layers of botanical fragrance, including coriander, cucumber and cinnamon; while Gold medallist Copperhead Gin Black Batch showed some interesting flavours, such as black tea and liquorice.

For the whisky flights, therte were four bottles from Australia, and the panel enjoyed the entries, such as the Rochfort Single Malt (White), which was given a Gold medal for its “beautiful intensity with rich and long finish”, according to Terry Wong.

The two entries from Australian distillery Chiefs Son were single malt whiskies, which earned a Master and a Gold. For the former, the judges liked the “peaty notes with some bitter herbal fragrance like ginseng”, according to Cecilia Wong, spirit columnist and critic.

During the tasting, the panel was excited by one particularly interesting entry – Penfolds Lot 518 Spirited Wine with Baijiu, which won a Silver medal in the competition. Classified as a specialty spirit, it is a Shiraz that has undergone a two-stage fortification process, with Baijiu as the second spirit addition. The creation is bold but the panel felt there was room to perfect the blend. “I am a bit confused because there are both Baijiu and Shiraz characters but they don’t really speak to each other well enough,” Gurung said. As the blend was so distinctive, Wong swiftly identified the bottle before we unveiled it, “this bottle enjoyed an overwhelming response in China because the inclusion of Baijiu, a national drink in China, really works in the market. Set aside the tasting, this is a good marketing gimmick to catch the Chinese’s attention,” she said.

Luxury Masters – Asia 2019

Company Product Type Medal
Gin Super Premium
Iron Balls International Iron Balls Gin Super Premium Gold
Gin Ultra Premium
Copperhead Copperhead Gin The Gibson Edition Ultra Premium Master
Copperhead Copperhead Gin Black Batch Ultra Premium Gold
Gin Ultra Premium over HK$500
Spirit Of Harrogate Slingsby Navy Strength Gin Ultra Premium Gold
Speciality Spirits HK$700-HK$800
Treasury Wine Estate Penfolds Lot 518 Spirited Wine with Baijiu Fortified Wine/Baijiu/Spirit Silver
Vodka Super Premium
Purity Distillery Super 17 Premium Organic Vodka Super Premium Master
Iron Balls International Iron Balls Vodka Super Premium Gold
Vodka Ultra Premium
Purity Distillery Ultra 34 Premium Organic Vodka Ultra Premium Gold
Purity Distillery Connoisseur 51 Reserve Organic Vodka Ultra Premium Silver
Liqueurs Super Premium
St. George Spirits St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur Super Premium Silver
Rum Gold/Dark Super Premium
Neptune Rum LTD Neptune Rum Super Premium Silver
World Whisky – Single Malt Aged Under 12 years Super Premium HK$500-HK$600
Rochfort Distillery Single Malt Prestige Collection (White) Super Premium Gold
World Whisky – Single Malt Aged under 12 years Super Premium Over HK$700
Chiefs Son Distiller Chiefs Son Single Malt 60% Single Malt, Super Premium Master
Chiefs Son Distiller Chiefs Son Single Malt 45% Single Malt, Super Premium Gold
Rochfort Distillery Single Malt Prestige Collection (Gold) Super Premium Silver

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