SpiritsHandpicked by IWSC

The best spirits from the IWSC 2023

From an aged bourbon that smells like a cigar box to a Cognac bursting with fine floral aromas, these are the world's best spirits from the IWSC 2023

Words by IWSC Judges

Handpicked by IWSC

If you’re searching for the best spirits for your drinks cabinet, then you’ll be excited to read that the IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) has just named the best spirits of 2023. A total of 23 trophies were awarded for the top whiskies, Tequila, mezcal, vodka, Cognac and more.

From an aged Kentucky bourbon that smells like a cigar box to a Grande Champagne Cognac bursting with fine floral aromas, Joel Harrison has provided his notes on all the spirits trophy winners from the IWSC 2023 below.

The spirits on this list were all awarded with a gold medal from the IWSC 2023 by a roster of experienced judges who tasted each entry blind before scoring each spirit out of 100. To be awarded with a goal medal, spirits had to score 95 points or more. All gold medal winners were subsequently entered into a further blind tasting to decide which bottle should be named the best in show within each category. Scroll down to explore our list of the top spirits of 2023 according to the IWSC.

The 23 top spirits of 2023 according to the IWSC

  • Top Armagnac: La Maison & Velier, Version Française Domaine d’Espérance 17 YO Petit Lot Armagnac
  • Top Asian whiskey: Shibui Whisky Company, 10 YO Pure Malt Whisky
  • Top Baiju: Guizhou Shengshi Mingzhu Wine Co. Shengshimingzhu Shengniang Baijiu
  • Top blended scotch whisky: Chivas Brothers, Royal Salute 62 Gun Salute Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Top bourbon: Heaven Hill Distillery, William Heavenhill 9th Edition 15 YO Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Top Cognac: Ragnaud Sabourin, N° 4 VS Cognac
  • Top contemporary gin: Alembic Inc., Hachiban Gin
  • Top flavoured gin: Aldi, Haysmith’s Rhubarb & Ginger Gin
  • Top fruit spirit: Ziegler Distillery, Forest Raspberry Eau-de-Vie
  • Top grape brandy: Miguel Torres SA 20 Hors d’Age Brandy
  • Top Irish Whiskey: Irish Distillers, Redbreast 27 YO Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
  • Top liqueur: Attraction SA Kentri Premium Honey Liqueur
  • Top London dry gin: Broken Heart Spirits Queenstown Edition Gin
  • Top marc/pommace brandy: Podrum Palic 1896 doo
    Baraba Lozovaca
  • Top mezcal: Maverick International Fósforo Tobalá Mezcal
  • Top rum: Elixir Distillers Black Tot Master Blender’s Reserve Rum 2022
  • Top shochu: Sakagura Ohtemon Aku No Kurobuka AQ Shochu
  • Top single malt scotch 15 YO and under: Loch Lomond Whiskies
    Inchmurrin 12 YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Top single malt scotch 16-25 YO: Tomintoul Distillery 21 YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Top single malt scotch 26 YO and over: Diageo Talisker 30 YO Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Top scotch no age stated: Whyte & Mackay Glenfairn Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Top Tequila: El Tesoro Tequila Blanco Tequila
  • Top vodka: Virtuous Spirits AB Rye Vodka


We operate a regimented, rigorous spirits tasting process. That means that each spirit sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC spirit judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the drinks industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.


Only the best spirits sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, spirits have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver winners must have scored 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.


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