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National Pálinkas of Excellence Program

2018

The Hungarian Pálinkas of Excellence Book is now in its fifth year of publication and a lot has happened during this time.
This year was a milestone in many aspects. It was the first time, that the best pálinkas, the Pálinkas of Excellence got introduced to a wider audience in cooperation with the Agrármarketing Centrum and the National Palinka council at the International Wine and Spirit Fair, at the ProWein in Düsseldorf. Beside the master classes and the tasting zone, even pálinka cocktail creations had been presented to the public. Close work has started with the General Consulate of Düsseldorf in pálinka promotions and there are further emerging possibilities.

We believe, that the excellent Hungarian pálinkas have to be shown to the world!
The online website in Hungarian and English language – www.palinka.gov.hu – has been launched and the Pálinka of Excellence can be accessed through social media as well.
This year two new pálinka distilleries have been added to the ‘family’ of Pálinkas of Excellence, and we hope that in the future more and more distillery will use this opportunity to submit their samples, helping us
as well to bring the wonderful pálinkas a bit closer to the world. Better guidance for consumers is also supported by lot numbers this year.

The selection system has not changed compared to last year’s evaluation, only those pálinkas got to the independent pálinka jury, which received on the base assessment (the National Pálinka and Grape marc Pálinka Competition) at least 16 points out of the 20.

The selection of the Pálinkas of Excellence has been done by an independent panel of experts, the Pálinka Judging Committee, the samples were evaluated anonymously (in blind tasting) and a consensus decision was made in the selection of the Pálinka Excellency by each group.

Those samples, which one group deemed worthy to be called TOP Pálinka Excellency, have been tasted on the second day by all judges and the majority’s vote determined their result.

All pálinkas, which got TOP Pálinka Excellency and Pálinka Excellency, have been described in form of a tasting note, which helps to guide the consumer
through the fantastic fruits.

2017

The National Pálinka of Excellence Program initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2014. The Program has become an important task for the Deputy State Secretariat of Geographical Indication as well.

For this year’s competition 43 commercial distilleries submitted in total 382 pálinkas and pomace pálinkas, giving a serious task to the organizers and judges, which they all accomplished very well.

In the book of the Hungarian Pálinkas of Excellence, pálinkas were selected purely based on their quality. The assessment system is established on standardized criteria, formed in 2014, and the consumers’ taste.

The judgement, assessment was done by the ten members of the Pálinka Judging Committee, all of them are great experts in their field and independent from the distilleries. Only those samples were assessed by them, which got at least 16 points out of the 20 at the base judgment, at the National Pálinka and Pomace Pálinka Competition. The pálinka judges evaluated each and every sample anonymously (in a blind tasting), yet the final consensus was made as a group, giving a complete assessment about the product, highlighting the small differences. Comparing to the previous years the difference lies in replacing the five star (******) category to TOP Pálinka of Excellence. The difference within the samples in the category is the more extensive, detailed assessment, description.

Some distilleries, due to their outstanding work, have several award-winning samples within one main category, however according to the competition rules, it is only allowed to highlight 2-2 products within one main category, in order to provide an easier customer orientation.
This year overall 161 pálinkas have become part of the Excellencies, from which 115 got awarded the title of Pálinka Excellency, while 46 got awarded TOP Pálinka Excellency, from which 130 samples are highlighted in this book.


Pálinka of Excellence

Free of any fault, clean scent, showing aromas and flavours according to their method of production. Samples are to be found in this category, which shared excellent mashing and distillation, as well as had a perfect date of harvest – quality of fruit – and well-selected level of alcohol. Beside the fruitiness they also have additional values (such as complexity, structural proportion). The harmony and the balance are good, and one of their characters elevate them from the average samples. Based on international assessment (distillates)/pálinkas with good and very good evaluation.

TOP Pálinka of Excellence

The samples, which are beyond the beauty of the Pálinka of Excellence, top-end category, unquestionable quality pálinka. „Once in a lifetime is a must” category. Perfect harmony, expression, complexity and elegance, as well as sharing some sort of character, which the qualified tasters deem as outstanding, memorable. The descriptions of these products are more complex, longer and sometimes even poetic to highlight the difference of the given pálinka. All these pálinkas stand well in international competitions against other similarly excellent products as well, pálinkas with outstanding merit, (20 points) double gold medal and/or champion (trophy) award winning at official competitions.