The TAG Global Spirits Awards hasn’t been around all that long. The Las Vegas-based competition was launched in 2022 by a group of industry experts as a way “to celebrate the world’s great and emerging spirits brands and those who create them,” according to a statement on its own website. And the upstart seems to be delivering on that mission, by attracting dozens of big name booze brands to enter the fray. In advance of TAG’s 3rd annual iteration—which takes place this March—let’s take a look at some of its most recent results.
Judges at TAG categorize entrants into one of six tiers of medal: Best In Show, Platinum, Double Gold, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. When it comes to scotch, there is one producer in particular that clearly captivated the palates of these esteemed panelists. We’re talking about The Glenfiddich, the legendary Speyside distillery that helped pioneer the global popularity of single malt back in the early 1960s.
From hundreds of scotch entries received, only three expressions achieved Best In Show status. Two of them were from The Glenfiddich. The first of them was the 21 Year Old Reserve Rum Cask Finish. As the name suggests, this 80-proof single malt spent a portion of its maturation in barrels seasoned with cane spirit. As a result, the liquid pouring into the dram offers pleasing tones of molasses, marzipan and brown sugar—you know, rum-like characteristics. It typically retails on American shelves for just north of $200 a bottle.
The second Glenfiddich bottling to score big at TAG was the 23 Year Old Grand Cru. This elegant expression spends time in what the brand calls “rare French cuvee casks.” In other words, high-end white wine that is intended to evoke the imagery of Champagne without actually saying the name. Brioche and baked apple are the top notes here. Though don’t expect any effervescence, of course. Another 80-proof offering, this one became a part of the permanent portfolio back in 2019. Within two years, it had also nabbed a coveted Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards. But it doesn’t come cheap: it costs nearly twice the amount of its 21-year-old younger sibling.
The final scotch from the trio of Best In Show winners remains something of a dark horse in the US market. Glen Moray 21 Year Old Port Wood Finish is a sensational sipping spirit clocking in at 46.3% ABV. It benefits from a full two years of aging in Portuguese sweet wine casks, which imparts a deep cooper hue, dark chocolate flavors and a full, lush body. Because this dependable Speyside distillery has yet to find mainstream adoration on this side of the pond, you should easily be able to procure this bottle for well under $200. Their loss is your gain.
We’ll report more from TAG 2024 as soon as the results become available later this spring.