The International Sugarcane Spirits Awards is proud to announce the full list of winners for its inaugural year. Following a month of tastings from 40 international, expert judges, a total of 16 gold medals have been awarded in categories spanning every kind of sugarcane spirit—from rums and cachaças to clairins and aguardientes—with an additional nine prizes going to the top spirits from each region (Africa, Asia, Caribbeans, Europe, Indian Ocean, North America, Central America, South America, Oceania & Pacific).
More than 280 sugarcane spirits from 43 countries were entered into the first-ever ISS Awards, across a range of categories showcasing both the dynamics and the diversity of the industry. These categories include white, aged and vintage variations of fresh pure cane juice rum, molasses and mixed rums, and Cachaça, as well as sweetened rum, craft rum and more.
Based on an idea originated by Rhum Fest Paris and RumFest London, the ISS Awards were devised last year to become a worldwide competition for all sugarcane spirits; a category which has previously lacked an extensive award contest. Whereas existing, local competitions often present barriers to smaller brands and categories because of logistics and specificities, the ISS Awards have been designed to allow each and every sugarcane spirit brand in the world to enter, big or small. All entries are treated with equal care and consideration and are evaluated on a global scale.
Designed to be entirely objective, the ISS Awards employ an extensive panel of 40 expert judges from around the world, who each blind-taste up to 70 spirits entered into the competition. These prominent figures, known for their tasting expertise and their involvement in developing the sugarcane spirits industry, are given an entire month to test the spirits in their own homes. This allows them to give an in-depth, comprehensive review that touches on texture, features, and potential defects, as well as nose, palate and final aromas.