The 2024 winners of Dan Murphy’s Decoded Spirits Awards have been announced, with this year’s awards featuring more detailed tasting notes to ease consumers’ purchasing journeys.

The winners were selected by a panel of 13 judges during a two day tasting event, where judges blind tasted more than 450 products across 19 categories. Among the categories are three agave categories, Australian and international gin, non-alcoholic spirits substitutes, and Australian, North American, single malt Scotch, and blended Scotch whiskies.

Dan Murphy’s Head of Spirits Sarah Hall spoke to the quality of Australian spirits displayed across the awards.

“These awards really recognise the high-quality spirits on the market but also pay homage to the incredible workmanship of Australian producers. We are incredibly lucky to have some of the best producers in the industry right at our doorstep. Australian producers demonstrate not only a high level of skill and tenacity but also creativity relying on natural products from our diverse landscape.

“From sourcing ingredients like botanicals unique only to Australia to sourcing high quality Australian barley, all of these elements really demonstrate that Australian producers deserve to be on the world stage,” she said.

Several state-based trends emerged in the list of finalists and winners. South Australia and Victoria were tied for the highest number of winners and finalists, with seven in each state. South Australia was also recognised as a hotspot for quality gin, with Kangaroo Island Spirits Wild Gin winning the Australian Gin, and two finalists hailing from South Australia.

Unsurprisingly, Queensland dominated the rum category, with two local producers among the finalists, and Tasmania was well represented in the Australian whisky category with three finalists.

Hall explained that the awards celebrate excellence as well as providing a guide for consumers, especially for millennial and Gen Z consumers who may be new to the category.

“We wanted to break the mould and in the context of streamlining the process for people to enjoy quality spirits and provide another level of guidance for those especially who may be unfamiliar with the world of spirits,” she said.

“We know in terms of the younger demographic, with changing macroeconomic conditions many are looking to elevate their at-home experiences. The millennial and Gen Z cohort want to explore new and sweeter tasting drinks and want to be able to use their creativity to create insta-worthy cocktails. These are the people we know who will really gravitate towards this kind of initiative – high-quality spirits that are unpretentious and accessible, regardless if you have the knowledge of a professional bartender or not.”

The winners are:

Agave – Anejo
Winner – Solento Organic Anejo Tequila 750ml
Tasting notes: Notes of rich caramel, brown sugar, banana and cinnamon with an oaky finish.
Other finalists:
Prospero Anejo Tequila 700ml
Kimo Sabe Anejo Mezcal 750mL
Patrón Anejo Tequila 700mL
Don Julio 1942 Anejo Tequila 750mL

Agave – Blanco
– Casamigos Blanco Tequila 700mL
Tasting notes: Very good blanco Tequila. Very floral nose with well balanced tropical, fruity sweetness, along with vegetal and honey notes.
Other finalists:
Sierra Antiguo Plata 700mL
Kah Tequila Blanco 700mL
Olmecca Altos Plata 1L
Patron El Cielo Blanco Tequila 700mL

Agave – Reposado
– Don Julio Reposado Tequila 750mL
Tasting notes: Overall a very good Tequila. Complex, vegetative, earthy and mature, with notes of vanilla and caramel on the nose.
Other finalists:
Sierra Gold Tequila 700mL
1800 Reposado Tequila 700mL
Olmeca Altos Reposado Tequlia 1L
Patrón Reposado Tequila 700mL

Apéritifs, Digestifs & Liqueurs
– Dubonnet 700mL
Tasting Notes: Scored well across the judging panel, rich and herbal with balanced attributes.
Other finalists:
Luxardo Aperitivo 700mL
Byrrh Grand Quinquina Aperitif 750mL
Baileys Irish Cream 700mL
Baileys Espresso Creme Liqueur 700mL

Brandy / Cognac / Armagnac
– Hennessy VSOP Cognac 700mL
Tasting Notes: Flavours of apricots, fig, and a hint of marmalade, finishes smooth and long. Simply put, done very well.
Other finalists:
St Agnes XO 15 Year Old Brandy 700mL (From South Australia)
Monnet VSOP Cognac 700mL
Hennessy XO Cognac 700mL
St Agnes XO Grand Reserve 40 Year Old 700mL (From South Australia)

Gin – Australian
– Kangaroo Island Spirits Wild Gin 700mL (From South Australia)
Tasting Notes: Well rated across the judging panel. A classic style with notes of peppermint and lime, super sessionable and lends itself to all occasions.
Other finalists:
Manly Spirits Co. Australian Dry Gin 700mL (From New South Wales)
Naught Overproof Gin 700mL (From Victoria)
Adelaide Hills Distillery 78 Degrees Small Batch Gin 700mL (From South Australia)
23rd Street Distillery Signature Gin 700mL (From South Australia)

Gin – Coloured & Sloe
– MG Orange Blossom Gin 700mL
Tasting Notes: Smooth with pleasant fruit flavour. Really good all round
Other finalists:
Tanqueray Flor De Sevilla Gin 700mL
Gordon’s Pink Gin 700mL
Ink Gin Sloe & Berry Gin 700mL (From New South Wales)
Naught Sangiovese Gin 700mL (From Victoria)

Gin – International
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin 700mL
Tasting Notes: Good mouthfeel to this Gin; complex, well balanced with good spice notes well integrated.
Other finalists:
Hendricks Lunar Gin 700mL
The Botanist Islay Dry Gin 700mL
Tanqueray No. Ten Batch Distilled Gin 700mL
Mars Wa Bi Japanese Gin 700mL

Non Alcoholic (Spirits Substitute)
Abstinence Blood Orange Aperitif Non Alcoholic Spirit 750mL
Tasting Notes: A runaway winner in the category, good balance with flavours of citrus and orange.
Other finalists:
Gordons 0% 700mL
Banks Botanicals 700mL (From Victoria)
Doc Sensibles UnWhisky 500mL
Doc Sensibles Zero Alcohol UnTriple Sec 500ml

Pre Batched Cocktails
Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock & Rye Whisky Can 100mL
Tasting notes: Flavours of stewed navel orange, sweet honeycomb and satisfying spice. All well rounded with nice heat and warmth. Great to enjoy whilst watching a footy game
Other finalists:
Batch & Bottle Monkey Shoulder Old Fashioned 500mL
Brookies Byron Negroni 700mL (From New South Wales)
Avero Negroni Cocktail 700mL (From Victoria)
Prohibition Negroni 500mL (From South Australia)

Zacapa Centenario 23 Solera Gran Reserva Rum 700mL
Tasting notes: Balanced and smooth Rum, rich flavours but with an easy going style / texture.
Other finalists:
Beenleigh Handcrafted Double Cask Rum 700mL (From Queensland)
Husk Rare Blend 700mL (From New South Wales)
Mt. Uncle Distillery Iridium Gold Rum 700mL (From Queensland)
Ron Obispo Rum 700mL
Rum – Spiced
RATU Spiced Rum 5 Year Old 700mL
Tasting notes: Rich and flavoursome with notes of toffee apple, stonefruit, apricot, peach,
confectionary, biscuit and nougat.
Other finalists:
Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold 700mL
Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum 700mL
Bumbu Rum 700mL
Rockstar Spirits Passionfruit Grenade Navy Strength Spiced Rum 500mL

Scotch – Blended Whisky
Chivas Regal XV 15 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky 700mL
Tasting notes: This Whisky offers notes of orchard fruits, dark caramel, toffee and cedar-y spice, with long notes of creme brulee and toasted sugar on the finish.
Other finalists:
The Naked Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky 700mL
Shackleton Blended Malt Whisky 700mL
Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve Blended Scotch Whisky 700mL
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky 700mL

Scotch – Single Malt Whisky
The Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky 700mL
Tasting notes: A plethora of flavours; candied fruit, candied nut, corinth raisin, fig, chocolate and Christmas pudding spice, love it!
Other finalists:
Ledaig 10 Year Old Scotch Whisky 700mL
The Balvenie 12 Year Old DoubleWood Scotch Whisky 700mL
Glenmorangie Signet Scotch Whisky 700mL
Aberlour 12 Year Old Double Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky 700mL

Vodka – Australian
Tread Softly Vodka 700mL (From Victoria)
Tasting notes: Well balanced Vodka; delicate, consistent and bright with a good finish.
Other finalists:
Aether Vodka 700mL (From Victoria)
Manly Spirits Grape and Grain Vodka 700mL (From New South Wales)
78 Degrees Australian Vodka 700mL (From South Australia)
Old Young’s Pavlova Vodka 700mL (From Western Australia)

Vodka – International
Belvedere Vodka 700mL
Tasting notes: This Vodka offered a fruity, herbaceous and floral nose, complemented with a complex and heavy mouthfeel with light oily texture, lingering sweetness, and notes of citrus and lime. All perfectly balanced with alcohol well integrated and no burn.
Other finalists:
Stolichnaya Cucumber Vodka 700mL
Cîroc Vodka 750mL
Chopin Potato Vodka 700mL
Crystal Head Aurora Vodka 700mL

Whisk(e)y – Australian
Morris Rutherglen Signature Single Malt Australian Whisky 700mL (From Victoria)
Tasting notes: Dark fruit notes and flavours to this Whisky, with savoury notes and a long finish.
Other finalists:
Corowa Distillery Bosque Verde Single Malt Whisky 500mL (From New South Wales)
Lark Rebellion Single Malt Australian Whisky 500mL (From Tasmania)
Lark Tasmanian Peated Single Malt Australian Whisky 500mL (From Tasmania)
Overeem Port Cask Matured Single Malt Australian Whisky 700mL (From Tasmania)

Whisk(e)y – North American
Redemption Bourbon Whiskey 750mL
Tasting notes: Orange, ginger, and zest on the nose, wth nutty notes of almond, cashew and a creamy palate comparable to 2022 Winner in the Category. Vanilla, spice and everything nice!
Other finalists:
Angel’s Envy Bourbon
Maker’s Mark 46 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky 700mL
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey 700mL
Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey 750mL

Whisk(e)y – World
Yamazaki 12 Year Old Whisky 700mL
Tasting notes: An outstanding Whisky; great balance of spicy oak, candied fruit, orange, florals, toffee with a solid backbone and finishing with spiciness. Simply “mmmm” (sic!).
Other finalists:
Pearse Lyons Founders Choice 12 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey 700mL
Redbreast 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey 700mL
Mars Iwai Tradition Blended Japanese Whisky 750mL
Jameson Black Barrel Blended Irish Whiskey 700mL

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