The winners of an international spirits competition held in London recently prove that age is just a number, that the popularity of gin shows no sign of waning, and Asian spirits deserve their own category.

Results of the 48th International Wine and Spirit Competition’s Annual Spirits Tasting this week debunked the myth that older is better in the whisky category, with a range of No Age Statement whiskies getting top nods.

As its name suggests, No Age Statement (NSA) whiskies denote whiskies without an age on the bottle, focusing instead on the art of the blend rather than the prestige tied up in age.

One of the best examples is The Dalmore Valour Single Highland Malt, described as rich and chocolatey, with warm orange and cinnamon aromas.

To reflect the fact that baijiu, a Chinese spirit made from fermented grain sorghum, is the most widely consumed spirit in the world, this year’s awards created a new Baijiu trophy. One of the big winners in this category was the Yushan Taiwan Kaoliang Liquor, which judges described as having soft lavender and pine needles on the nose, followed by a delicate palate of baked bamboo and Chinese pickle.

To acknowledge the popularity of Mezcal, the tequila category now shares the headline with its artisan counterpart, Mezcal.

The top prize this year went to the Corte Vetusto Mezcal Espadin, hand-crafted by fourth-generation master mezcalero, Juan Carlos Gonzalez Diaz.

The other big story out of the awards this year came from the gin sector, with 400 entries from 35 countries submitted this year — a 571 per cent increase compared to 2013.

Professor Ampleforth’s Bathtub Navy Strength Gin took the Contemporary Gin Trophy 2017, for its orange peel and cinnamon-laced botanical punch.

For a full list of winners visit https://iwsc.net/result/search/2017.