Exceptional, Alternative, Trendy and Unusual at the WSA – Trends & Tips 2022
The complete gin madness
Last year we had already had a „ gin – fifth take“. Actually we had assumed that the number of submitters would decrease by 50% by itself. But we were off track. To our great surprise a new record number of 110 gins were presented to the tasters for assessment.
I think it is worth scrutinising what is happening in the New Western Style Gin segment. This group is a playground for creative people and for experiments concerning aromas. In the EU it is clearly defined that the juniper component in gin must be noticeable. If a gin becomes a pure herb and spice spirit, then this has nothing more to do with the true concept of taste and misleads the consumer with the label on the bottle on the shelf.
During the tasting in 2022, we definitely made sure that at least a little more juniper should be noticeable in this segment. New Western Style Gins with truffles, truffle- orange or chocolate etc. were also served to the jury.
One highlight within the assessment was a lot of Overproof Gins that are simply superb. They impress with their taste, harmony as well as in fragrance. There-
fore, it is a misconception that a high alcohol content overpowers the aromas.
When wood becomes a problem
Tasting products matured in wooden casks can in some cases be borderline and strain the taste buds. If ageing in casks leads to a green and emaciated characteristic, then such products are absolutely overpowering. The state of wonderful harmony between wood and spirit seems to be a thing of the past.
What is behind all this? (or: what is this due to?)
There are less and less suitable types of wood for the cooperages. Due to the high demand for used casks, even more inferior goods reach the cask cellars of the producers.
Economic interests also contribute to the perfect quality of a product. As a rule, used and old casks are naturally much cheaper than new ones. But presently one cannot make this argument to the producers.
Large used casks are dismantled and assembled as small casks. The different previous fillings are naturally needed, but if sherry finish is printed on the label, it should also be noticeable in the bottled product.
The Islay aromas are fully in line with the trend – and literally a matter of taste
The birthplace of these markedly smoky aromas are the Scottish islands whose whiskies disappeared into blends as inferior products many years ago.
But the aroma-hype is reflected in the entire world of spirits: from grain spirits via brandy and rum to gin or in general any grain-based products , one can find the Islay basic aromas.
Smoky malt, peat, coal and ash
Regarding whiskies, a new contemporary history has evidently begun in the matter of smoky malt. If an aromatic smoky malt has been malted with pure coal and not with peat, then the taste buds on the palate have quite a lot to contend with. The coal-like and ashy notes are in some cases so intense that they are unilaterally overpowering and almost “violate” the palate. But whatever the clientele finds tasty is good.
Conspicuous aromas and special features
For the first time juniper spirits from Slovenia were submitted which were not macerated but produced through fermentation and distillation.
An acorn spirit could also be found in the jury‘s programme that had been fermented with malt and almost displayed the stylistics of a pear spirit.
Just in time for summer, several aperitive beverages were assessed, designed either as pure or spritzed enjoyment.
Products from Asia were served for tasting too and their quality was really convincing – for example a gin also left very positive impressions.
The House of Hermann Jansen endeavoured to have the probably best genever of the company‘s history assessed.
The chequer tree can be compared with “gold in the glass” – for the first time three very different flavours of the “service tree”, as it is also called, were awarded.
World Spirits Print Guide 2023 – E-book & print and online guide
The “World Spirits Guide 2023” (in German and English) is being published once again in magazine form, as stand-alone German and English print versions. The 2022 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 highly qualified jury comprising 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 accorded with the titles “World Spirits Award” 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 reports about tips and trends and the participating distilleries are presented 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 13 euros, plus postage. The online guide with approx.
350 presented 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!
World Spirits Shots coming soon
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.