International Spirits Challenge 2014

Rewarding quality, celebrating excellence

Marks and Spencer's was delighted to be involved with the International Spirits Challenge this year. To have our products endorsed by this recognised competition reaffirms the hard work we have put in, to expand and diversify our range. By participating in these awards we have increased awareness of the quality of our spirits range both within the trade and also to consumers.
Emma Dawson, Wine & Spirits Buyer, Marks & Spencer Group plc

We are delighted to receive recognition from such a respected and independent industry body as the International Spirits Challenge. The quality of the panel means that this award is of great significance to us, and we are honoured to have received it for a third consecutive year, reflecting our commitment to our range, our products, our suppliers and to our customers...
Anne Jones Wines, Beers and Spirits Buying Team Waitrose Ltd

Quality is our No. 1 priority and we are delighted with the Sierra results from the ISC. Not only does this endorse our own views but it also provides an independent reference point for our customers and consumers which we can use beneficially in our Brand communications strategy...
Bill Oddy Managing Director of Sierra Tequila UK Distributor, The Drinks Company Ltd

The Whisky Exchange is delighted to have won the ISC's Independent Spirits Retailer of the Year– although we have been honoured with several awards in recent years we are particularly proud of this one as we were nominated and voted for independently by the industry rather than entering ourselves. To win this coveted title twice in three years is very special...
Tim Forbes The Whisky Exchange

Winning an ISC award for our whisky has great value because it's the only authentic "Spirits" competition. The judges are real specialists...
Kazuyuki Takayama, European Brand Manager, Suntory

KWV has participated in the International Spirits Challenge for many years, as our company believes that it offers an objective, credible and highly competitive platform by which KWV benchmarks its products, and is recognised for its quality...
Hymli Krige, Communications Director, KWV South Africa Ltd

We were very honoured to pick up two Trophies this year and received numerous new business references as a direct result, as well as congratulations from clients...
Kevin Shaw, Managing Director, Stranger & Stranger

I am proud to have worked with the International Spirits Challenge for many years, particularly when I am judging alongside the most dedicated "Master Blenders" of the World. Therefore I know that every spirit sample evaluated receives the highest scrutiny possible which not only reflects the success of the competition but more importantly benefits the consumer...
Richard Paterson, Master Blender, Whyte & Mackay Ltd

KWV's number one priority is quality and measuring ourselves against the best products and producers in the world. The ISC being one of the oldest competitions and most certainly the most independent competition there is, showcases a lot of products over the whole spirits portfolio. As a company we were proud to be honoured with the Best Brandy trophy in 2013 and this shows the dedication of our team to be the best when looking at our track record in previous years. The ISC will always be the competition to track the best quality brands...
Lourens Stander, Manager: Blending and Distillation, KWV South Africa

Entry Deadlines

JAN 17 Gin & Genever, Liqueurs

FEB 14 Vodka, White Spirits, Tequila & Mezcal, Anise Spirits

MAR 14 Rum, Cachaça, Brandy & Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Pisco, Grappa

APR 11 Scotch Whisky, World Whiskies

MAY9 Design & Packaging, Marketing

Tasting Awards

Tasting Awards

The ISC Tasting Awards winners are established through a rigorous judging process - a highly controlled operation held over seven days of intense blind tastings by panels of more than 50 respected and experienced industry professionals. Samples are delivered to the judging area in flights of numbered tasting glasses to ensure the accuracy of the blind tasting. Each judge will assess products according to their age, region and variety which is determined by the entrant and verified by the chairman. Each product is blind tasted and awarded a score for its aroma, appearance, taste and finish. Scores are collated and recorded by the category chairman before Trophy, Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals are awarded.

The ISC takes great care in ensuring that all products are blind tasted equally and fairly in the correct conditions set by the ISC rules. The chairman will monitor each product ensuring that all samples are consistent and authentic. This precise judging process is the basis of the reputation the ISC has established for rewarding quality and celebrating excellence.

Medal System
90 - 100 Trophy Outstanding product, exceptional quality
80 - 89.9 Gold Excellent product, superb standard
70 – 79.9 Silver Fine product, above average
60 – 69.9 Bronze Good product, meets the quality standard set by the ISC

Tasting Special Awards

There are four special awards that recognise the very best in the blind tasting challenge. These recognise the best overall spirit and the best performing drinks companies of the year.

Individual Distillery of the Year

This award celebrates the performance of a spirits portfolio from an individual distillery that has entered the challenge.

Distiller of the Year

Designed to show consistent excellence and quality across large spirit portfolios, the Distiller of the Year award is scored on a weighted points system based on the performance of all brands entered by a company.

Supreme Champion

For this award, all the trophy winners are re-tasted blind by the category chairmen. The Supreme Champion Spirit is then awarded to the highest scoring trophy winner of the competition.

Outstanding Contribution

This award celebrates the work and commitment of an individual who has made a significant impact on the drinks industry. The ISC chairmen vote for each year's winner.

rewarding quality, celebrating excellence