Exceptional, Alternative, Trendy and Unusual at the WSA – Trends & Tips 2023
Exceptional, Alternative, Trendy and Unusual at the WSA – Trends & Tips 2023
It is in the nature of the spirits
Producers and consumers often ask us how there can be different ratings for products with identical recipes. To clarify from the outset: for industrial products with perfect recipes and equipment, products are almost identical – we’re talking here about variations of one to two points according to our WOB system.
Small distilleries, on the other hand, have greater variation per distilling procedure. If a few thousand litres of a recipe are distilled and then blended, one reduces the variations of the individual outputs.
One thing applies equally to small and large producers though: they all work with foodstuffs, therefore quality differences in the individual ingredients can occur regularly, but which should not significantly affect the product quality. If the supplier of juniper berries for a gin changes, it can have a considerable influence. Foodstuffs are largely unprocessed and if need be, are modified in a natural manner through mechanical or enzymatic effects. Examples: raw or pickled fruit and vegetables, eggs, flour, milk, nuts, etc.
What was noticeable at the World Spirits Award 2023
After 20 years, for the first time we experienced a sad decrease in samples and producers. The general mood is simply not good. In the best years, we had 180 distillates of 100%, now only 35 products were rated. That hurts. For the first time after many years of increasing numbers, also fewer fruit spirits and especially gins were entered. Evidently the zenith has already been reached.
In the gin sector there were also positive aspects because the New Western Style Gins are once again more similar to London Dry Gins. The juniper berry component is more clearly identifiable again and the willingness to experiment appears to be exhausted.
The number and quality of the whiskies served to the tasters was incredible. And this was also enjoyable: not only did massive smoky malt/peat aromas play on the palates of the jury but the products were divided into two groups – classical & fruity, smoky malt & peat.
A true hype could be observed for the cream liqueurs. The number, quality and sophistication of the recipes are almost unbelievable. It is a true delight to sample the liquid confectionery. Producers from the Caribbean islands are now also producing cream liqueurs on a rum basis – in the case of tequila there have already been spirits with chocolate or coconut aromas to rate for many years.
Fewer samples and producers also mean fewer titles and awards
The World Spirits Award is a selective and representative spirits competition. The regulation sets out that the prized titles are only awarded from 5 or 10 products or else 5 or 10 producers. However, if these numbers are not reached, there is also no ‘World Spirits Award’ or ‘Spirit of the Year’ to be won in different groups of a category. Basically: the industry itself bears the responsibility if it does not participate regularly in the World Spirits Award.
World Spirits Shots
Wolfram Ortner’s flagship concerning spirits is the TV format “Inside World Spirits”. Now he has created a lighter version, the “Inside World Spirits Shots”.
The title says it all: it includes short video clips – “shots”, which are naturally published exclusively on the internet whenever they deal with spirits.
The “Spirits Shots” are presented in a professionally competent, informative and entertaining manner to the viewers: the protagonists are spirits from the whole world and everything else surrounding this highly “spiritual” subject.
Here are some subjects to get a for it:
- The difference between white, red and black currants
- The wine grape: from grape via lees to brandy
- Multi-variant aniseed spirits from around the world
- Properly tasting and enjoying spirits
- Testing spirit glasses
- Pairings of spirits and cheese, tea, chocolate, cigars ...
- Spirits: ageing ability and drinking temperature
The shots are short and snappy, lasting only 5 minutes, and communicate expert knowledge in an entertaining manner. They are not only for interested people or as training instruments, but also serve as advanced training for professionals or those people who wish to be such experts.
The “Inside World Spirits Shots” reach spirit enthusiasts at world-spirits.com or directly at iws.tv and can also be streamed with English subtitles.
Inside World Spirits© with Wolfram Ortner
Mastermind Wolfram Ortner is working carefully on the implementation of the concept “World Spirits Tasting Video” with its centre stage directly 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 trailers. In the secure area at www.world-spirits.com, registered users can watch new episodes of “Inside World Spirits© with Wolfram Ortner” every 3 weeks. Specials round off the programme and are also disseminated on the internet and the website. The beginning was “How to taste spirits correctly”, with humorous and ironic instructions!
“Inside World Spirits”, a witty mixture of entertaining talk and information about the subject “Spirits of the World”, is set to become our flagship. Ortner’s interviewees are a distiller, an audience representative and celebrity, as well as the Swiss landscape architect and botanical specialist Patrick Altermatt.
In 2019 the first series with 15 episodes was shot. In the form of a relaxed conversation (15 minutes) the videos encompass knowledge on the chosen themes as well as technical information on production which are 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 are presented orally and in pictures.
Nor is music neglected: the group “Humus” has composed and presented live the soundtrack for six episodes consistent with the subject.
The predominant language is German, and the individual takes are dubbed into English or vice versa. Example: In a Gin episode, we talk about the production of the premium spirits, discuss different styles such as London Dry Gin, New Western Style Gin or Sloe Gin and then sensorially break down three products. In addition, a botanical, such as herbs and spices, is presented in each episode and analysed for its suitability in cooking or as an ingredient in a spirit.
Per episode we invite a viewer who can answer professional questions in depth (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, including 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 watched exclusively on the website of world-spirits.tv and worldspirits.tv (in the secure user area) until they are broadcast by TV stations.
15 episodes of Inside World Spirits with English subtitles can be streamed right now
In the past years we have shot 15 exciting episodes of Inside World Spirits. Now they are available for streaming in the protected area at www.world-spirits.com. Just register on the website and click on the requested episodes!
In each episode more than 15 exciting minutes await you:
- Specialised information about fruits and spirits
- Entertainment on a “spiritual” basis
- Celebrity and distiller talk
- Tour around the botanical gardens of the earth
- Sensory assessment of the world’s best spirits
The concentrated expertise of the contents is a perfect learning and advanced training aid. Moreover, it broadens the horizon for distillers, sommeliers and spirit enthusiasts.
Ready to go:
register, log in and stream at www.world-spirits.com
WSA Spirits Finder, in the Apple Store and Google Play: 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 a bar, restaurant, café or wherever else you might be. It doesn’t matter in which country you want to calculate your spirits – 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, as well as the costs such as service charges and VAT, and you can also receive a customer-friendly price, which you can print.
In addition, as a registered user you will have access to the secure 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 and can benefit from our lifetime 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 – besides the Online Guide and the Spirits Calculator, another highlight 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.
© Wolfram Ortner, World Spirits, www.world-spirits.com