International Spirits Challenge trophy winners announced

09 October, 2009

Merlet Crème de Cassis has been named the Overall Best Spirit of 2009 by the International Spirits Challenge (ISC).

Ian Wisniewski, spirits writer and chairman of the white spirits judges,said: “Judging the Supreme Champion Spirit is always a challenging job as it means comparing spirits from different categories. I’m looking to see how each delivers the characteristics of its particular category, in conjunction with a sense of individuality, as well as star quality, and Merlet Crème de Cassis delivered exactly what I would expect from a Crème de Cassis, while also having its own personality.”

11 Trophies were presented to the highest scoring gold medallists and William Grant & Sons was awarded Distiller of the Year, Waitrose was named Multiple Spirits Retailer of the Year and The Whisky Exchange won the award for the best Independent Spirits Retailer.

Bacardi’s Corzo Tequila was named the overall winner in the ISC Design and Packaging category. Along with this title it won the award for best New Packaging, whilst Best Established went to The Brand Distillery for U’luvka and Best Repackaged went to Crown Speciality Packaging for the Bruichladdich Distillery Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Waves, Rocks and Peat).

Recently retired Edrington Group master blender, John Ramsay, received the Outstanding Contribution Award at the annual ISC Awards Ceremony, which took place in London’s Marriott Grosvenor Square. Before retiring from the Edrington Group in July this year, Ramsay spent eighteen years overseeing the quality of whiskies such as Highland Park, Macallan and Famous Grouse.

Christian Davis, editor of Drinks International, said: “It was only fitting that we should present this accolade to John Ramsay. Not only is he a very high profile and well regarded personality in the drinks’ industry, he has worked tirelessly throughout his career to produce only the best Scotch whiskies. He is an outstanding ambassador for the whisky industry.”

The ISC is now in its 14th year and currently attracts around 1000 entries from producers across the globe. This prestigious tasting competition was recently taken over by global drinks’ industry title Drinks International. For a complete list of all medallists, visit

See a clip from the evening's entertainment, the fabulous Bar Wizards:

International Spirits Challenge 2009 Awards

International Spirits Challenge Supreme Champion 2009

Distillerie Merlet & Fils

Merlet Crème de Cassis

Outstanding Contribution Award

John Ramsay

ISC Trophy Winners


Borco Sierra Milenario Extra Añejo (41.5% abv)


Martin Miller Tenth Anniversary (54% abv)


Merlet Crème de Cassis (20% abv)


La Martiniquaise Poliakov Premium (38% abv)

Kuchino Russian Premium (40% abv)


St Lucia Admiral Rodney (40% abv)


Distell Van Ryn’s 12 year old (38% abv)

Bache-Gabrielsen Dupuy Cognac Hors D’Age (40% abv)


Whyte & Mackay 30 year old blended whisky (40% abv)

William Grant The Balvenie Portwood 21 year old (40% abv)

Asahi Nikka Whiskies Taketsuru 21 year old (43% abv)

Drinks International Cocktail Challenge Champion 2009

Santa Teresa Claro


International Spirits Challenge 2009 – Design and Packaging Awards


Corzo Tequila

Best Repackaged Design & Packaging

Bruichladdich Distillery - Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Waves, Rocks and Peat)

Supplied by Crown Speciality Packaging

Best Established Design & Packaging

The Brand Distillery - U’luvka Vodka

Overall Design & Packaging Champion 2009


Corzo Tequila

International Spirits Challenge 2009 - Retailer Awards

Independent Spirits Retailer (UK)

The Whisky Exchange

Multiple Spirits Retailer (UK)


International Spirits Retailer

World Duty Free

Excellence in Craftsmanship Award

Destilerias Sierra Unidas (Borco World of Spirits)

Distiller of the Year Award

William Grant & Sons