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19th May, 2014 by Becky Paskin An abundance of medals were awarded at this year’s Asian Spirits Masters, proving the strength and quality of the spirits available on the Asian market.

Although imported spirits accounted for less than 2% of the total spirits market in Asia in 2012, their footprint in the region is growing fast. Recent statistics released by IWSR show imported spirits volumes rose by 5.6% during the year, with value up 9.8%.

It’s no wonder then that international brands are striving to establish a presence in the market where consumer appetite for western goods is clearly building. While many have secured comfy spots on back bars and liquor store shelves as recognised and much-loved staples, others need a little lift when it comes to standing out from the crowd.

That’s where The Asian Spirits Masters comes in, which by recognising the finest spirits available for sale in the region, provides brands with an additional point of difference by way of a Silver, Gold or Master medal to display proudly on their label.

There was a much wider presence from the Scotch category, with a variety of styles entered into the Single Malt category, but with a poor showing for the Blends. Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers picked up the only medals in the latter, with a Gold medal going to 100 Pipers, and the first Master of the competition going to Chivas Regal 18 Year Old, for its “full, round and mouth-filling texture”, and “complex, Sherry notes”.

The lack of Blended entries was lamented by the judges. “We were disappointed to see very few entrants here, which is perhaps indicative of the Asian market’s increasing passion for single malts over blends,” Lyhs noted.

If ever there was a journey through the variety of spirits available in Asia, be they domestic or international brands, The Asian Spirits Masters 2014 certainly provided it. The 35 medals awarded this year is testament to the fact that the quality of spirits available by both leading and smaller brands is unremittingly strong.

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