The results are in … and we couldn’t be more pleased!

There are many spirits competitions out there, but not all of them are like the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, which stands out among the rest.  Its mission, under the direction of director Paul Pacult, is to create and establish a new and higher standard of evaluation for spirits that provides accurate, meaningful and useful results in recognizing and promoting the quality of alcohol beverage products.  


Sanaig, Kilchoman’s core expression with a focus on its Sherry influence was crowned the highest scoring Islay whisky at 97 points!!  This beauty beat other well known Islay whiskies to the peaty punch.  If you’d like to see if it’s available in your state, check out our page on Grapein.  

Kilchoman’s other core expression, Machir Bay, scored a point higher than last year at 95 points, beating out other popular competitors.

Determined by a formula that includes the aggregate scoring of the judging panels, the scoring curve based upon the number of entries, and the overall categorical scoring average, the Chairman’s Trophy is bestowed to the highest scoring entry per category. Finalist status, the products deemed to be in the running for the Chairman’s Trophy, are decided upon by the Judging Chairman based on their favorable results.


At 96 points, not only did the fantastic Fukano 10 beat out other prominent Japanese whiskies, but it earned a spot in the Top 100 Spirits of 2020.  Quite the honor for this humble distillery.  To see the states it’s currently available in, check out our Fukano page on Grapein.

The Matsui Distillery has been making amazing whisky since 1910, and with this Chairman’s Trophy they’ve cemented themselves into the top tier of Japanese Distilleries.  

Tottori is Matsui Distillery’s brand as well, and it is fantastic in cocktails.  Both the Blended and the ex-Bourbon barrel expressions placed in the nineties, scoring 93 and 92 points, respectively.  

Ohishi distillery was founded in 1872, and produces unique rice whisky utilizing water from the Kuma river.  This year two Ohishi favorites brought home medals, with its Islay cask finish at 91 points and the Sherry cask at 90. 


Ultimate Spirits Challenge’s methodology raises the standard for competitive beverage evaluation by instituting more rigorous judging. Each product is reviewed under ideal tasting conditions over a period of time that allows the product to express its best characteristics and evaluated blindly by panels in multi-stage assessments to remove any inherent or individual bias.

Het Anker has a time-honored tradition of producing award-winning Belgian beer.  In 2010, the first distillate for Gouden Carolus left the boilers.  A decade later, this fine Belgian Single Malt has been awarded the honor of being considered a finalist and earning 92 points.  

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