USC Announces First 2015 Results

by The Staff

The Ultimate Spirits Challenge, which now features rolling judging rather than a single event per year, announced scores for gin, vodka and vermouth. From the press release:


Hawthorne, NY (December 9, 2014) Ultimate Spirits Challenge®, the world’s platinum standard for spirits competitions, today announces the winners and full results from the judging of Gin, Unflavored and Flavored Vodka and Vermouth. The Challenge was held last month in the new Ultimate Beverage Challenge evaluation center in Hawthorne, NY. In addition to naming the Chairman Trophy winners, Finalists, Tried & True Awards and Great Values for this category, USC also announces how cocktail-friendly products performed in the Dry Gin Martini, Negroni and Vodka Gimlet.


“This year, we’ve not only moved into our new state-of-the-art evaluation center but we’ve also moved to a new rolling competition schedule,” says Ultimate Spirits Challenge founder F. Paul Pacult. “Breaking up the Challenges into smaller categories means we are able to give each grouping of spirits greater in-depth attention, with the inclusion of cocktails. All our judges agree that this hyper-focus allows USC to provide the most trusted and sought after testimonials that help companies build their brands.”




GIN:  Cold River Gin (United States)

Finalists: Beefeater, Citadelle, Monkey 47, Plymouth, Plymouth Navy Strength, Queens Courage, Sipsmith, Tanqueray, Tanqueray No. Ten


UNFLAVORED VODKA:  Russian Standard Original Vodka (Russia)

Finalists: Belvedere, Boyd & Blair, Deep Run, Khortytsa Platinum, Menage a Trois, Prairie Organic, Purity, Snow Leopard, Spud, Starlite, Van Gogh Blue Triple Wheat, Viche Pitia Classic No. 25


FLAVORED VODKA:  Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Flavored Vodka (Netherlands)

Finalists: Bainbridge Organic Vanilla, Charbay Green Tea, Crop Organic Cucumber, Crop Organic Spiced Pumpkin, Van Gogh Double Espresso, Zu Bison Grass


VERMOUTH:  Noilly Prat Rouge Vermouth (France)

Finalists: Cinzano 1757, Noilly Prat Extra Dry, Martini Rosso Sweet, Noilly Prat Ambre


For complete results including cocktail outcome, visit

For downloadable images go to



All products are rated on the 100-point scale by the spirits industry’s most renowned judges that include award-winning authors, spirits buyers, journalists, educators, bar owners and consultants. The judges for these categories included: USC Founder and Judging Chairman F. Paul Pacult, Judging Co-Chairman Sean Ludford, Tad Carducci, Dale DeGroff, Dan Nicolaescu, Andy Seymour, Will Shine and Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, MW.


All spirits rated 80 points and higher have their own “FULL RESULTS” page which provides each product’s downloadable marketing materials and a bottle image for easy consumer identification. Spirits rated 85 points and higher also receive tasting notes and downloadable shelf-talkers. New for 2015 — cocktail evaluation for suitable spirits categories has been added. USC results are promoted globally via email and web publication to both trade buyers and consumers. In addition, high scoring products are featured in the Ultimate Beverage Challenge Guide published each year in the October issue of Beverage Media reaching more than 70,000 on- and off-premise spirits buyers.



Dec. 30, 2014 for:

–          Cognac, Armagnac, Pisco, Grappa, Calvados, Spanish Brandy, Other Brandy (Cocktail evaluation: Brandy & Ginger Ale, Pisco Sour)

–          Agave – Tequila, Mezcal, Sotol, Bacanora (Margarita)

–          Europe Whisk(e)y (Whisky Sour)

–          Rum/Rhum, Arrack, Cachaça (Daiquiri, Caipirinha)


January 30, 2015 for:

–          Liqueurs, Absinthe, Bitters, Miscellaneous Spirits

–          World (non-Europe) Whisk(e)y (Manhattan)

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