Cape Brandy stole the spotlight in the African leg at the Intercontinental Spirits Challenge

Celebrating Global Excellence in Distilled Products

The Intercontinental Spirits Challenge, a global showcase of exceptional spirits, recently concluded its journey, and saw South African spirits celebrated for outstanding craftsmanship.

Following the highly successful Africa leg held in Stellenbosch on May 24th and 25th, 2023, where exceptional Cape Brandy and diverse gins took centre stage, the challenge continued its quest for excellence during the European leg, which took place during the week of June 12th, 2023.

Throughout the Intercontinental Spirits Challenge, the emphasis remained on evaluating and celebrating outstanding beverages while promoting professionalism and camaraderie among industry peers. The challenge’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of excellence was evident in the remarkable achievements of the participants.

The panellists, consisting of industry experts, meticulously evaluated an impressive array of spirits and liqueurs from 13 countries. This comprehensive evaluation ensured that only the finest and most exceptional beverages received recognition, reflecting the global diversity and excellence within the Intercontinental Challenge.

Cape Brandy, a distinct category, showcased South African spirits’ exceptional craftsmanship and rich heritage. The judges were captivated by the depth of flavour, complexity, and unparalleled quality of Cape Brandies. Notably, Sydney Back Potstill Brandy 15 Years and Oude Molen XO shone brightly, earning Trophy Awards for their outstanding character and finesse. Other noteworthy Cape Brandies, such as Tokara XO Potstill, Bayede! XO, Mimosa’s Alambic Potstill XO, Boschendal Potstill 10 Year Brandy, and Durbanville Hills 10-Year-Old Merlot Potstill Brandy 2011, made a lasting impression, further establishing Cape Brandy as a category of remarkable distinction.

Gin and Genever account for a significant portion of entries, reflecting the popularity and diversity of this spirit. The array of entries showcased the versatility and creativity within the gin industry, ranging from classic London Dry gins to barrel-aged expressions and intriguing flavoured variants. Judges were especially impressed by the London-Dry category, awarding a trophy winner, highlighting its exceptional qualities and craftsmanship.

In addition, the Intercontinental Spirits Challenge also highlighted the growing category of rum, with a particular focus on aged rums. As one of the panellists noted, “The rums varied in style and approach,” showcasing the diverse range of flavours and techniques employed by distillers. The number of aged rums in the challenge reflects the increasing interest and appreciation for this beloved spirit among connoisseurs and casual enthusiasts alike.

DGB from South Africa emerged as the most impressive producer in the African leg of the tasting, with an outstanding performance in the competition. Their commitment to excellence was showcased through one trophy-winning entry, three Double Gold Awards, and one Gold Award.

A Belgian producer, Deluxe Distillery emerged as a true standout during the European tasting. It captured the spotlight with four Double Gold Awards and a coveted Trophy Award, affirming its dedication to crafting spirits of unparalleled quality.

The Intercontinental Spirits Challenge serves as a platform to honour and recognise the talents of the participating producers, celebrating their remarkable contributions to the world of spirits. In addition, the competition strives to uphold the highest standards of professionalism while fostering a sense of camaraderie among industry peers.

The Intercontinental Spirits Challenge extends its heartfelt congratulations to all participants and award recipients for their exceptional achievements. Their contributions to the world of spirits continue to elevate the industry and inspire excellence.

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About the Intercontinental Challenge

The Intercontinental Challenge aims to raise professionalism in the drinks industry. Tastings occur on different continents under one umbrella to find the best drinks worldwide. By not having one centralised event, industry experts can better assess products regionally, lower the cost of entry, and significantly reduce the carbon footprint by hosting tastings on different continents instead of at one central location.

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