Arthur Nägele was introduced to spirits at an early age by his father in his own distillery, and has been greatly involved in the industry ever since. Following his education in hospitality management, he was invited to become a member of the Wädenswil Sensory Evaluation Group in Switzerland, where he trained as a spirits judge. Nägele now works as an independent spirits educator and consultant, and is a founding member of the Spirituosenakademie, which provides training for the wine and spirits industries.
What new trends are you seeing this year?
We’re seeing a rise in Irish whiskey. Rum is still very high, and gin hasn’t lost its momentum yet so we’ve got three very strong spirit categories at the moment.
What are you looking for when you’re judging spirits?
For a Gold medal winning spirit, first of all you look at the product having no faults obviously. Then you look at it being typical for its category, and how balanced and expressive it is. All of that leads to a Gold or Gold Outstanding medal.
How can awards from the IWSC help producers?
There are lots of awards around the world, but I think the oldest and most mature one is the IWSC. People look at it as a defined quality path. A medal from the IWSC is like winning an Oscar - it sets you apart from the rest.