Rules of the HunDeszt National Pálinka and European Distillate Competition


The Pálinka and Distillate Competition is organised by the Union of the Hungarian Alcohol Industry (hereinafter referred to as the Organiser). The aim of the event is to provide a comparison of pálinkas and distillates, to contribute to the development of a quality standard, and to promote awareness among consumers and producers.




1. Participation in the competition is permitted for pálinka and 100% fruit-based distillates (hereinafter referred to as “samples”) that comply with the standards specified in their country of origin. Categorisation of samples is performed in accordance with the rules stated below.


2. Entries may be submitted by individuals, distilleries, distributors (with the consent of the producer) and individuals who take their fruit to a distillery for distillation.


3. Participants must declare the total quantity of pálinka or distillate available.


4. In order to participate in the competition, applicants must pay the application fee for each sample, as specified by the Organiser in the invitation for competition.


5. Samples supplied must be labelled with the following information:


-         name and address of participant (and the name and address of the distillery if required)

-         type of pálinka or distillate (e.g. apple, pear, plum, apricot, and ágyaspálinká – pálinka containing whole fruit)

-         ripeness of fruit when picked

-         alcohol content

-         exact, verifiable quantity of pálinka available


6. As specified on the application form, applicants must supply the Organiser with three bottles (at least one litre in total) to the address given. Only samples for which the registration fee has been paid are eligible to compete.


7. Analysis is performed on each sample, stating the following data:


-         percentage alcohol content by volume

-         methyl alcohol content in g/hl a.a.

-         in case of fruit with a pit, hydrogen cyanide content in g/hl a.a.

-         copper content in mg/dm³ a.a. (on the basis of random sampling)

-         added sugar content in g/hl a.a., with the exception of ágyaspálinka


The Organiser reserves the right to analyse the alcohol content for added sugar on the basis of random samples.


The results of analysis of the samples must comply with relevant guidelines for food and beverages. Any sample not in accordance with these specifications may be disqualified automatically.




8. Organisation of competition:


Organiser: Union of the Hungarian Alcohol Industry


Event Coordinator: Managing Director of the Organiser


Head of the Preparation Committee: An individual appointed by the Organiser


         Members: The organiser responsible and the Head of the Preparatory Committee


Director responsible for coordinating competition: An individual appointed by the Organiser


         Senior Committee: Three renowned jury members – relevant judging expertise            and experience on the basis of industry recognition


            Tasting Committees: Three-member juries selected on the basis of preliminary training


            Rapid Tasting Judges


            Technical Secretariat


Judges are appointed by the Event Coordinator with the Head of the Preparatory Committee.

9. Following analysis of the samples, the Preparatory Committee examines the samples and determines whether the data displayed on the bottles matches the information entered on the application form. Any incidental errors are corrected, and samples not in accordance with these rules are excluded. The Preparatory Committee then classifies the distillates (fruit type and variety, ripeness and a separate category for ágyaspálinka), as specified by these rules and according to the information given on the application form, before numbering the samples in preparation for tasting. If necessary, the Committee can determine these characteristics itself.


10. The Chairman of the Preparation Committee:


- checks that preparations for tasting are satisfactory, and that samples are in the correct order


- checks the temperature and anonymity of the samples, supervises the satisfactory quality of the service


- supervises the work of the technical team: informs members of the team of samples arriving for tasting, their order and the distribution of evaluation forms, as well as checking the points calculated by the technical team


11. The Managing Director of Hun-Deszt is responsible for ensuring the pálinka competition is carried out in accordance with the rules, but can only directly influence processes related to judging and review, or initiate involvement of the senior committee, through the Chairman of the Preparation Committee.


12. Evaluation of the different categories of pálinka is performed by juries. Each jury comprises three recognized tasting experts. One jury cannot contain more than one person from a single  firm. The number of jury members always depends on the number of samples participating in the competition. If necessary, tasting can be spread over two days.


13. The Tasting Committees are selected by the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee and the Event Coordinator. (All tasters must participate in three or four training sessions, after which their judging skills are evaluated by the Preparatory Committee.) All tasting performed by the Tasting Committees is supervised by the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee and the Event Coordinator, who reserve the right to suspend or review them.


14. A Senior Committee comprising three Tasting Committee members appointed to settle disputes. The Senior Committee's decision, made on the basis of requests made by the juries and Preparatory Committee, is final.


The chairman of the competition and the senior committee appoint the members of the various juries. Members of the senior committee, as well as their employees and family members, cannot enter the contest.


15. The Event Coordinator can order a re-tasting if:

- the majority of the committee requests it

- if there is a significant deviation in the points awarded by jury members

- an unusual taste is detected, or there is suspicion of an error

- in circumstances where the evaluation of the sample is effected by unsatisfactory categorisation


16. Duties of the Tasting Committee are as follows:

            The evaluate distillates on the basis of the 20-point system (4 x 5), providing written explanations

            - the aim is to reach a consensus on the basis of individual evaluations

            - if no consensus is reached, assessment of the sample passes to the Senior Committee


17. Anonymity of samples must be maintained throughout tasting:


Each jury must work separately, in silence and with lighting and ventilation that do not alter the colour and character of samples. Only those participating in the tasting process are permitted in the tasting rooms. If possible, tasting rooms should be at room temperature (approx. 20°C). Smoking is forbidden and tasting must be performed in complete silence

- bottles must be opened and samples distributed out of view of jury members

-the code number of each jury member must be placed on the table covered by a white tablecloth

-tasting glasses are provided by the Organiser and should have a volume of 120 ml and a glass cover

-jury members are provided with bread, apples and water to neutralize tastes. Intervals will be held during the evaluation process for other food and drinks to be served.


Samples are evaluated in an order determined by the Senior Committee.


Evaluation sequences must always begin with products with more neutral tastes and smells, and be followed by more intensive tastes and smells, then ripened and ágyas products.


-at the beginning of the tasting of each sequence, a trial tasting is held by the committees, during which they can discuss the points given by the members, in order to ensure quasi-balanced evaluation points.

-members of the committee work in complete silence, without giving any indication of their evaluations

-before tasting each sample, jury members of the committee receive evaluation and summary forms containing technical data of the sample to be tasted

-the technical team collects the evaluation and assessment forms and passes them on to the Senior Committee

-jury members cannot possess copies of the evaluation forms

-members of the committee cannot obtain knowledge of the points given for each sample or the prize-winners before the results are announced

-the relevant juries must be informed of the result of cases handed over to the senior committee for lack of decision


III. Evaluation forms


18. Evaluation of samples is performed on a form comprising of 20 points, as follows:


-technical processing (fruit content, distillation and other errors)

-fruit character (considering characteristics of individual varieties)

-cleanness of taste



Each characteristic is rated out of 5, in whole numbers, and these ratings must be justified in writing.


IV. Awarding of prizes


19. HunDeszt issues National Pálinka and European Distillate Competition certificates and awards the following medals:


  1. Gold medal (18-20 points)
  2. Silver medal (16-17 points)
  3. Bronze medal (15 points)



20. Of samples winning gold medals in each categories with at least 10 samples from 3 applicants, the CHAMPION prize is awarded after re-tasting by all Senior Committee members.


If at least ten gold medal samples from a minimum of three applicants remain, a CHAMPION prize can be awarded after re-tasting by all Senior Committee members.


Commercial distilleries entering samples in at least five different categories are eligible for the BEST COMMERCIAL DISTILLERY prize on the basis of the average score of their best three samples, if one of these products is a gold medallist.


Independent fruit growers that enter samples in at least two categories, are eligible for the BEST INDEPENDENT GROWER prize on the basis of the average score of their best two products, if one of these products is a gold medal winner.


Independent distillers that enter samples in at least two categories, are eligible for the BEST INDEPENDENT DISTILLER prize on the basis of the average score of their best two products, if one of these products is a gold medal winner.


Distinguished media representatives will award a SPECIAL MEDIA AWARD by selecting a pálinkas from the gold winning entrants.


21. The Organiser reserves the right to check – requesting participation of at least three members of the original jury – that the distillate commercially available is of the same quality as the sample awarded a prize in the competition, even after the competition has closed. If a third party appeals, they are obliged to pay the cost of the examination to the Organiser, prior to examination. In case of difference between the pálinka on sale and the sample kept for examination purposes for a maximum of six months, the Organiser is obliged to announce the breach of the rules, the cost of which is borne by the entrant. The prize is revoked, and the entrant is disqualified from the following year’s competition. The entrant must also pay the cost of the examination.


22. The Organizer allows the use of the title CHAMPION in retailing pálinka that has acquired this title, up to the maximum quantity given on the application form.


23. Applicants accept without reservation the decision of the respective juries and the of the Senior Committee.


24. The Organiser must archive all documentation relating to the competition for at least two years after to the competition has closed. The Organiser must send the jury results to participants. These are confidential and intended as information to improve quality