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Spirits Articles

The 2004 Best Spirits
A Quest for Serious Satisfaction in a Glass

Posted: February 11, 2005

By Jerald O'Kennard, jerald@tastings.com

The world of spirits is a fascinating place. It’s a world of hand made, artisanal treasures made for friends, small communities, and maybe a few lucky outsiders; multinational, corporate lab creations with marketing campaigns thoroughly developed before the first drop leaves the still; importers scouring the world in search of the ¥¥¥Next Vodka¥¥¥; and everything in between.

Each year, we have the formidable (some say enviable) task of tasting and reviewing hundreds of spirits from around the world. This task, performed under the auspices of our International Review of Spirits Competition, soon turned into something akin to a quest to find the best spirits in the world (and share them with you.) In 2004, we were pleased to discover and become reacquainted with another bumper crop of liquid gems: the ¥¥¥2004 Best Spirits¥¥¥, from twenty-two product categories of our competition.

This is a list of the winners from each category that was eligible (a category had to have five or more products entered in order to be eligible for consideration) and a link to the reviews. Seek these treasures out and you’ll find that the quest is contagious.

Armagnac Luxury:

Francis Darroze (France) 1973 Domaine de Coquillon Bas Armagnac

Brandy Spanish:

Cardenal Mendoza (Spain) Solera Gran Reserva Brandy de Jerez

Luxury Cognac:

Les Antiquares du Cognac (France) 1936 Vintage Grande Champagne Cognac

XO Cognac:

Les Antiquares du Cognac (France) 1978 Vintage XO Fin Bois

Gin:

Broker’s (England) London Dry Gin

Cream Liqueur:

Castries (St. Lucia) Cream Liqueur

Fruit Liqueur:

Aliz¥¥ (France) Gold Passion Liqueur

Herb/Spice Liqueur:

Irish Mist (Ireland) Liqueur

Mezcal:

Real de Magueyes (Mexico) A¥¥ejo Mezcal

Aged Rum:

Mount Gay (Barbados) Extra Old Rum

Dark Rum:

Amazonas Ocumare (Venezuela) "Aged" Rum

Flavored Rum:

Crystal (St. Lucia) Lime Rum

Blended Scotch:

Chivas Regal (Scotland) 18 Year Old Premium Blended Scotch Whisky

Island Single Malt Scotch:

Highland Park (Scotland) 25 Year Old Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Islay Single Malt Scotch:

Bowmore (Scotland) "Darkest" Islay Single Malt Scotch

Soju:

Muromachi Shuzo (Japan) Honkaku Kome-"Ginka Nuromachi 25" Shochu

Tequila Anejo:

1800 (Mexico) Reserva Antigua A¥¥ejo Tequila

Tequila Reposado:

Oro Azul (Mexico) Reposado Tequila

Tequila Silver:

Casa Noble (Mexico) Blanco Tequila

Flavored Vodka:

Ursus (Holland) Roter Vodka

Vodka:

Jean-Marc XO (France) Vodka

Bourbon Whiskey:

Pappy Van Winkle\'s (KY) 15 Year Old Family Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

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