Ludlow Food Festival

Damson Tree Vodka - Great Taste Winner 2019

Share this:

Damson Tree Vodka is among the Great Taste winners of 2019. Out of 12,772 products sent in from over 100 different countries, Damson Tree,  Herefordshire was awarded a 2-star Great Taste award, which means judges dubbed it above and beyond delicious for its Damson Vodka. Find out more here.

The  Judges  comments  included  ‘full  of  damson  colour  and  aroma  this  vodka  has  been  well made  and  really  packs  the  very  specific  flavour  of  damson.  The  flavour  itself  is  really  full  of  jammy plums, a gentle sweetness and an almost amaretto syrup like flavour. This is smooth, easy to drink and exactly how one would expect damson vodka to taste.’ Judged  by  over  500  of  the  most  demanding  palates,  belonging  to  food  critics,  chefs,  cooks, restaurateurs, buyers, retailers and producers, as well as a whole host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste  is  widely  acknowledged  as  the  most  respected  food  accreditation  scheme  for  artisan  and speciality food producers. As well as a badge of honour, the unmistakeable black and gold Great Taste label is a signpost to a wonderful tasting product, which has been discovered through hours and hours of blind tasting by hundreds of judges.     

Gemma  Standeven,  Founder  of  Damson  Tree,  explains: ‘as  a  multi-Great  Taste  winner,  winning  five years  in  a  row,  the  Great  Taste  logo  has  added  value  to  my  business  in  terms  of  credibility,  opening doors  to  new  retailers,  and  ultimately  increasing  sales.  We  will  be  celebrating  this  weekend  at  the Ludlow Food Festival, where you can come and have a taste but also buy lots of other delicious artisan food and drink products and meet their producers.'

Recognised  as  a  stamp  of  excellence  among  consumers  and  retailers  alike,  Great Taste  values  taste above  all  else,  with  no  regard  for  branding  and  packaging.  Whether  it  is  vinegar,  granola,  bacon  or cheese  being  judged,  all  products  are  removed  from  their  wrapper,  jar,  box  or  bottle  before  being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award. There were 12,772 entries into Great Taste this year and of those products, 208 have been awarded a 3-star,  1,326  received  a  2-star  and  3,409  were  awarded  a  1-star  accolade.  The  panel  of  judges  this year   included;   cook,   writer   and   champion   of   sustainable   food,   Melissa   Hemsley,   Kenny   Tutt, MasterChef  2018  champion,  author,  Olia  Hercules,  chef  and  food  writer,  Gill  Meller,  Kavi Thakar  from Dishoom, food writer and stylist, Georgina Hayden and author and chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, as well as food buyers  from  Selfridges,  Fortnum  &  Mason,  Sourced  Market  and  Partridges.  These  esteemed  palates have  together  tasted  and  re-judged  the  3-star  winners  to  finally  agree  on  the  Golden  Fork  Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2019 Supreme Champion.

Established in 1994, it encourages and mentors artisan food producers, offering a unique benchmarking and product evaluation   service   leading   to   an   independent   accreditation   that   enables   small   food   and   drink businesses to compete against supermarket premium own label brands.Since  1994  over  146,000  products  have  been  assessed. This  year  12,772  products  were  blind  tasted by  panels  of  specialists:  top  chefs,  food  writers,  influencers,  food  critics,  restaurateurs  and  fine  food retailers.

Great Taste ratings:

  • 3-star: Extraordinarily tasty foods – less than 3% of products are awarded a 3-star each year – don’tleave the shop without buying it!
  • 2-star: Above and beyond delicious – less than 10% of entries will achieve this rating
  • 1-star: A food that delivers fantastic flavour.Approximately 25% of entries will achieve this rating each year.

What are Great Taste judges looking for? They’re  looking  for  great  texture  and  appearance.  They  judge  the  quality  of  ingredients  and  how  well the maker has put the food or drink together. But above all, they are looking for truly great taste.

How do they work? Each team of three to four judges blind tastes around 25 products per session, discussing each product as  a  coordinating  food  writer  transcribes  their  comments  directly  onto  the  Great  Taste  website,  which producers access after judging is completed. Over the years, numerous food businesses, start-ups and well-established producers have been advised how to modify their foods and have subsequently gone on  to  achieve  Great  Taste  stars. Any  product  that  is  deemed  worthy  of  a  1-,  2-  or  3-star  Great  Taste award is moved around multiple judging tables by a team of arbitrators before the final award is given.If judges feel that a product needs some adjustment, and is therefore not likely to receive an award, the food   or   drink   gets   a   second   chance   on   a   referral   table,   where   another   team blind tastes and deliberates. For a Great Taste 3-star award, the vast majority in the room - which can be as many as 30-40 experts - must agree that the food or drink delivers that indescribable ‘wow’ factor.

What should consumers look for? The  logo.  The  Great  Taste  symbol  is  their  guarantee  a  product  has  been  through  a  rigorous  and independent judging process. It’s not about smart packaging or clever marketing – it’s all about taste.