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|Spirits Type||Chinese Spirits|
92 points, “Cereal, walnut, roasted peanut and savoury impressions on the nose, sweetness with grains and some tomato leaf, basil, citrus and roasted pineapple on the palate with a long finish with Szechuan peppercorns.” – International Wine & Spirit Competition 2020
Spirits Business ranked Gujinggong as the world’s fifth most valuable spirits brand in 2021, keeping the likes of Jack Daniel’s, Hennessy, Smirnoff, Bacardi and Johnny Walker out of the top five. That alone should earn it a space in a discerning drinker’s collection.
Guijinggongjiu, meaning ‘old well tribute liquor’, has a history dating back over 1,800 years. It’s made just outside Bozhou, Anhui province, which is the city that “the oldest distilling method existing in the world” originated from, according to Guinness World Records. So, this is a bottle with provenance unlike any other.
Wrapped with a dragon, this sleek bottle is filled with a Baijiu crafted in the much-loved ‘strong-aroma’ style and aged in ceramic pots for 20 years. It was created using sorghum, rice, wheat, glutinous rice and corn, and water from the old well system that has been used for thousands of years. Gujinggong Chiew Ancient 20 Year Old is a super-smooth Baijiu with notes of dried pineapple, sweet spices, cacao, aniseed, toasted nuts, granola, green leaves, lemon sorbet and tickly Sichuan peppercorns on the finish. It’s remarkably complex and we find it impossible not to revel in its rich history while sipping it neat.
Baijiu has been China’s national drink for more than five millennia and is the most-consumed hard liquor on the planet (18 billion litres are made each year). Although the West has been slow on the uptake, that’s all about to change. Sales of this fascinating spirit are exploding around the world. And it’s worth noting that Baijiu is as important a part of Chinese heritage as silk, tea, ceramics, martial arts and calligraphy, all of which have become very popular on these shores.