The Brill Pálinkaház distillery from Tolna County in central Hungary won the annual National Pálinka Contest with a spirit made of Jázmin grapes. Pálinka is a traditional clear or opaque fruit brandy that is considered the national spirit of Hungary.
The results were deemed important enough to be announced in the Parliament building today; the National Pálinka Committee gave out 62 gold, 107 silver, and 91 bronze medals, along with five special awards.
Bolyhos Ágyas plum pálinka was named the best pálinka with a distribution of more than 10,000 bottles, and 1 Csepp Pálinka won the title for the most successful pálinka distillery. Brill Pálinkaház was named the second most successful, with Zimek Pálinka Manifaktúra coming third.
All told, 309 spirits from 48 distilleries were entered for judging by a panel of 25 experts. Brill’s winning Jázmin grape pálinka, was praised by László Mihályi, president of the National Pálinka Committee.
“Its elegance is enchanting from the first moment, grabbing the consumer’s interest… It invokes memories of a flowery meadow in the spring and a ripe cluster of grapes. It completely fills the mouth, a harmonic, long-lingering and really complex product,” he commented.
“The Jázmin grape is a product of the Pécs Research Institute; we started looking at it in 2016, in an experimental fashion,” said Edit Krizl, co-owner of Brill Pálinkaház. “As distillers from Tolna, a wine region, it is our duty to present the richest possible selection of the best grape-based spirits, therefore we could not ignore this grape variety.”
The committee also handed out lifetime achievement awards to distillers who have contributed to the emergence of the pálinka industry. This year, Erzsébet Prekop of Prekop Pálinkafőzde, László Bolyhos of Bolyhos Pálinka, and Zoltán Békési of Békési Pálinkafőzde all received the award.