Spirits Judges' Top Picks

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Following our awards announcements, discover our judges top scoring spirits

Throughout judging, each of our experts will individually score every spirit they sample. This means after we’ve announced our results, we can share the spirits our judges rate the highest. Discover the top picks spirits of some members of our expert judging panel….

Guy Hodcroft

Guy is Spirits Buyer for luxury fine wine and spirits merchant Bordeaux Index which he joined in 2021 after four years at Master of Malt. An avid whisky lover as well as a big cricket fan, discover his top picks here.

Discover top picks

Veronika Karlova

Veronika Karlova is a Slovakian vodka expert based in the UK. With an extensive knowledge of the global vodka market, Veronika is the UK Brand Ambassador for Beluga Vodka. Discover her top picks here.

Discover top picks

Billy Abbott

Billy is a writer and educator specialising in whisky and fine spirits. Formerly a computer programmer in the finance industry, in 2011 he swapped code for actual words, rapidly becoming one of most respected voices in whisky. Discover his top picks here.

Discover top picks

Barry McCaughley

Barry has judged with the IWSC for over 10 years and specialises in agave and Asian spirits including Shochu. He has many strings to his bow, including as a Restaurateur, Food & Beverage Development Consultant, business owner and a restaurant and bar start up specialist. Discover his top picks here.

Discover top picks

Anne Jones

Anne has worked in the wine and spirits industry since 2008, when she moved into the buying team at Waitrose. She has covered all categories, and has visited, studied and enjoyed extensively - most recently with focus on rum, gin, alcohol-free and baijiu. Discover her top picks here.

Discover top picks

How our judges taste

Here at the IWSC our judging process is entirely blind. We use the ‘double-blind’ method, which means samples are tasted in pre-poured numbered glasses to ensure our experts never see a bottle.

Each spirit is judged with the whole panel in sync, allowing for group discussions. A medal is awarded based on consensus across the panel, and for any Gold or Gold Outstanding medals awarded, our spirits judging committee member will re-taste these spirits for a final endorsement.

Throughout judging, each of our experts will individually score every spirit they sample. This means after we’ve announced our results, we can share the spirits our judges rate the highest. Discover the Top 8 spirits of some members of our expert judging panel….