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Vodka of the Year Goes to Hangar 1 Buddha's Hand Citron

Photo for: Vodka of the Year Goes to Hangar 1 Buddha's Hand Citron

13/08/2021 Hangar 1 Buddha's Hand Citron got the top score in all vodka brands submitted at the 2021 USA Spirits Ratings.

At Hangar 1, the California way isn't just their motto, it's their way of life. It's distilled into everything we represent and everything we do, from how we make Straight vodka to the innovations in our Distiller’s Exclusive spirits. The California way defines Hanger, and their take on spirits. California is the home of Hanger 1 and their terroir, and they will continue to draw upon it for endless inspiration, ingredients, and innovation.

Hangar 1 Buddha's Hand Citron - Vodka of the Year

Here’s what judges had to say on tasting notes:

“Bright citrus notes on the nose.  Amazing sweet lemon flavor coats the palate and carries through to a long lingering finish.  Would be lovely over ice and lends itself beautifully to be made into a cocktail.” Kimberly Morini.

“Bright citrus nose. Sweet, perfumed citrus palate”, Megan Quinlan.

“Lots of beautiful sweet citrus!!!” - Russell Sheldon.

Here’s what Hangar 1 says about its product:

Buddha’s hand citron isn’t just a funny-looking lemon; it’s the ancient relative of the modern lemon. Like all great lineages, its flavors and aromas run so much deeper – notes of jasmine, basil, and apricot all mingle. Its acid bite is milder than a standard lemon, allowing these secondary flavors to take center stage, and dance ballet on your palate. The purified lemon extracts in other vodkas give you a single note. Our Buddha’s Hand plays the whole symphony.

NOSE: Lemon peel, grapefruit, citrus pith, lemon balm, with a hint of ginger. 

TASTE: Big, sweet, and juicy at the front with jasmine, basil, and apricot notes, then dissipates quickly into light ginger, lemon, grassy finish.

More than 49 countries participated in the 2021 competition making it the most diverse competition so far for USA Spirits Ratings.  The top countries to enter were the United States, France, Mexico, United Kingdom, and the top categories were Whiskey, Tequila, Gin, Vodka, and Rum.

Here are the highlights:

Spirit of the year: Barr Hill Gin, United States

Distillery of the year: Caledonia Spirits, United States

Best Spirit by Quality: Barr Hill Gin, United States

Best Spirit by Value: Emperor Heritage Rum, Mauritius

Best Spirit by Package: The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, United Kingdom

Vodka of the year: Hangar 1 Buddha's Hand Citron, United States

Rum of the year: Puerto Angel Anejo, Mexico

Tequila of the year: Teremana Tequila Reposado, Mexico

Gin of the year: Barr Hill Gin, United States

Whiskey of the year: Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey - US-53, United States

Absinthe of the year: La Fée Parisienne Absinthe Supérieurem, France

Cognac of the year: COGNAC MAXIME TRIJOL XO GRANDE CHAMPAGNE, France

Brandy of the year: Brandy Sainte Louise, France

Liqueur of the year: Muyu Vetiver Gris, Netherlands

View full results here.

Tamir Ben-Shalom (left) and Paul Barcelo (Right)

Tamir Ben-Shalom (left) and Paul Barcelo (Right), trade buyers and judges judging 2021 in-person USA Spirits Ratings in San Francisco this July.

The USA Spirits Ratings looks to recognize, reward, and help promote spirits brands that have successfully been created to identify with and target a specific spirits drinker. For any spirits brand to earn its place on a retailer’s shelf or a restaurant’s spirits list -  and then vitally stay there - they need to be marketable and consumer-driven and not just produced in the general hope it can find enough people willing to sell and buy it.

Jeff Feist, BevMo’s national spirits buyer judging at the 2021 USA Spirits Ratings

Jeff Feist, BevMo’s national spirits buyer judging at the 2021 USA Spirits Ratings.

That is why the USA Spirits Ratings are different. It singles out and shines the spotlight on those spirits brands that consumers really want to buy and have a clear market value for trade buyers.

A Competition that judges spirits in three key areas:

- Their quality

- Their value for money

- What they look like

To be an award winner you will need to have top-quality spirits that offer both the trade and the consumer great value for money, and you will need to look good and truly stand out on the shelf and on the back bar.

Judging criteria 

To win a USA Spirits Ratings award you will need to score highly in all three areas of our judging criteria. That is why the USA spirits Ratings will be decided based on the following judging formula: Q (Quality Score) + Value Score (V) + Package Score (P) = USA Spirits Ratings Score.

Quality Score: will be marked out of 100 

Value Score: will be marked out of 100 

Package Score: will be marked out of 100 

A separate weighted score will be given for each of the three parts of the judging process (Quality gets twice the weight). 

Gold: to receive a Gold medal you need to score 90 or over. 

Silver: you need to score between 80-89. 

Bronze: you need to score between 70-79. 

The USA Spirits Ratings was assessed and judged by a leading panel of top-level spirits buyers with current direct commercial buying responsibility.

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