Judging Process



Ensuring equal consideration

Throughout four days of highly controlled blind tastings, our experienced judging panels taste every product to decide if it is medal-worthy. Judges do not receive any information on producer or price point, ensuring each spirit is judged fairly, equally, and without bias.


Judging each entry on its own merit

While tasting, judges evaluate each product on an individual basis—not compared to other entries in the flight. During this stage, judges determine which entries are worthy of a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal. Entries that receive a Gold medal from all judges on a panel earn a Double Gold award.


Recognizing the best of the best

On the final day of the Competition, select Double Gold spirits advance to the Sweepstakes round. Here, all Competition judges deliberate to determine the Best of Class and Best in Show Premium Award winners.

What does each medal mean?


Awarded to the very few entries that receive a Double Gold medal for three consecutive years.

Double Gold

Awarded to the entries that receive a Gold medal rating by all members of the judging panel; these are among the finest products in the world.


Exceptional spirits that are near the pinnacle of achievement; these products set the standard for their categories.


Outstanding spirits that show refinement, finesse, and complexity; these winners are among the best examples of their categories.


Well-crafted spirits that are commercially sound, modestly attractive, and free from significant flaws; these winners are excellent examples of their categories.



  • Best of Class: The best example of each spirit type
  • Best in Show (the Competition’s highest honors): Chosen from the Best of Class winners, these awards highlight the best spirit in each of these five categories: Unaged White Spirit, Aged White Spirit, Whisky/Whiskey, Brandy, and Liqueur
  • The Tasting Panel Magazine Distillery of the Year: Recognizes the single distiller earning the most points, measured by the number and level of awards won
  • Importer of the Year: Recognizes the single importer earning the most points, measured by the number and level of awards won
  • Director’s Award of Excellence: Honors an outstanding portfolio of quality and diverse spirit