Nothing equalizes the liquor world like a blind tasting.

After launching the John Barleycorn awards, a bi-annual taste and marketing competition in 2019, our talented tasting panel of industry journalists and authors have sampled scores of spirits without a clue about the brand, and discovered hundreds of exciting products that we are sharing with you every week. Want your products featured? You’ll have to bring home gold in 2021 John Barleycorn Awards. Click HERE to enter.

Five Farms Irish Cream Liqueur

Cork County, Ireland
34 Proof (17% ABV), $35

“Yum!” was the general consensus for this “luscious and fresh tasting” Irish Cream Liqueur that’s made at Five Farms in County Cork, Ireland. Made with Irish whiskey and cream sourced by a network of local farms, this rich, “well balanced” liqueur “tastes decadent and expensive, like fresh cake batter underneath layers of caramel and cream.” For this reason, Five Farms Irish Cream is nothing short of  “dessert in a glass.”

El Encanto Silver Rum

Ybor City, Florida
Vitals: 80 Proof (40% ABV); $25

El Encanto is a “lip-smacking” rum with a “pungent nose and “big citrus and almond flavors” that concludes with a “quick-dry finish and a lingering touch of spice.” The Florida Cane Distiller was launched by partners and ex-hockey buddies Lee Nelson and Patrick O’Brien in 2012. Come to FCD for the rum, or any of an impressive 36 product portfolio, and stay for the hands-on whiskey distilling workshops. Sign up here on their website.

Tiger Gin

Shropshire, England
Vitals: 80 Proof (40% ABV); $42

Tiger launched in 2016 after founder and businessman JJ Lawrence famously won a legal Trademark battle with Heineken over the name’s similarity with Tiger Beer. This “classically-styled and classy gin” will “transcend you to London with a martini,” but for now you’ll have to travel abroad to try some since Tiger’s available in the States, for now. Look for a “rose, coriander and bergamot nose which gives way to a light punch of juniper and a lovely surrounding cast of botanicals” and a “long and cool menthol finish.”

King’s Family Distillery Wheated Bourbon

Sevierville, TN
Vitals: 80 Proof (40% ABV); $55

Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, King’s Family is, like the name implies, a family owned and operated Tennessee distillery, launched in 2018. Out of the gate, Husband-and-wife team Justin and Cara King’s whiskeys are already racking up medals on the competition circuit. This includes this signature bourbon, a wheated recipe boasting “vanilla bean and  fudge on the nose” and  “warm caramel and subtly spicy flavors” on the palate. This “approachable” whiskey ramps down with an impressive “crème Brule and orange zest finale.”

Mi Rancho Añejo 100% Agave Tequila

Jalisco, Mexico
80 Proof (40% ABV); $40

Plump and sweet Los Altos Agave from Tepatitlán Jalisco, Mexico and organically sourced local yeast is distilled and aged up to three years to produce Mi Rancho Añejo, and it’s well worth the effort. Look for a “light gold color with slow legs and a mild nose with notes of wood, vanilla and green pepper.” On the palate the tequila’s “Vanilla and custard flavors” are met with an “balanced tannins and an agave earthiness” that’s capped with a with a “light, cinnamon and nutmeg finish.”

Spirits writers, marketers and designers are among the most influential forces in the spirits industry. Their opinions, ideas and creative talents inform and influence consumer perceptions and buying decisions. The John Barleycorn Society was started by a group of spirits journalists seeking to honor excellence in all facets of the industry. The journalists spent several years creating a comprehensive competition that became the John Barleycorn Awards. An elite team of authoritative and influential spirits journalists was selected to administer the flagship component of the Awards, a blind tasting competition destined to become the preeminent arbitrator of spirits taste, quality and character.