Judges set to announce nation’s best pálinka

History

Hungary is just one week away from learning the name of the best pálinka (traditional fruit brandy) in the country. Some 48 manufacturers submitted more than 307 entries to the annual National Pálinka Competition. The organizers will announce this year’s winner in Parliament on June 28.

The 25 tasting experts judged drinks made from apricots, plums, and Irsai Olivér grapes, among others. For now, the tasting results are known by two members of the Pálinka National Council (PNT) only.

The tasting of pálinka and törkölypálinka (pomace brandy) took place in Komárom (73 km northwest of Budapest), with both small-scale and industrial distillers participating. 

“We find plenty of gems every year, but only one can bear the title of the country’s best pálinka,” said PNT President László Mihályi. “However, the contest is not only about winning the grand prize, as it is important for pálinka distilleries to get objective professional feedback about their work. The gold, silver and bronze certifications and the textual feedback serve this purpose.”

The judges rated pálinka on five aspects. They judged the character and clarity of taste and aroma separately, as well as how they harmonized with each other. Tasters had to undergo two full-day training sessions before the contest. Apart from the classics, entries featured unique pairings such as black cherry and raspberry, and quince and Penyige plums. 

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