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National Pálinka Excellence Program


The National Pálinka Excellence Program launch by the Ministry of Agriculture was held for the seventh time in 2020. During the Program, the pálinkas were selected from the colorful collection of the pálinka houses, which thanks to their high quality, deservedly represent the sector. The Program underwent significant changes last year, reflecting on the favorable feedbacks, the organization of the Program was independent this year as well. The main aim of the Program is to raise the cultured consumption of quality Pálinka and Grape marc pálinka -which have a geographical indication, to highlight its importance in the gastronomy and to promote it both to national and international consumers.

The minimum and maximum required number of entries and the mandatory subcategories (quince, Williams pear, sour cherry, apricot, plum, grape) again this year ensured that we could present a representative selection to the general public.

The new direction caused by last year’s changes is also confirmed by the fact that even in this difficult year, which was hit by a pandemic, many commercial distilleries measured their pálinkas, thus making themselves and our Program recognized and professionally successful.

The Program was implemented again this year under the leadership of the Professional Chair invited by the Minister of Agriculture, under the direction of the Food Economics and Quality Policy Department and in close cooperation with the National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH).


The process of the assessment


The submitted samples went through a detailed analytical check by the NÉBIH, the sensory assessment has been done according to the traditions by the highlyqualified, independent Pálinka Judging Committee. In order to ensure complete consensus, the Pálinka Judges tasted through a process of blind tasting all the samples anonymously and selected the ones, which they determined for Pálinka of Excellence or TOP Pálinka of Excellence. Even if only one person thought that one of the samples are destined to be a TOP Pálinka of Excellence, all the other judges had to re-taste it and the final award has been given based on a majority vote.


The Pálinkas, selected to be part of the Excellences, have been described by the Pálinka Judges in groups of 2-3 people, which can be read in this book by the Dear Reader.


Pálinka of Excellence

The product is free from any faults whether separation or technology based on organoleptic properties, shares clean scent and supports the aroma and flavour notes according to the method of production. The Pálinkas, awarded this merit, are made by perfect mashing and distilling technology, well-adjusted alcohol degree, beside the date of the harvest – which
determines the quality of the fruit – has been selected properly. They share more than just fruitiness as a quality (e.g.: complexity and structural alances as well) mark. Harmonious pálinkas with good balance and some hallmark, which puts them above the average products.  Pálinkas with good and very good evaluations based on international assessments. We recommend these pálinkas to any interested person.



TOP Pálinka of Excellence

The samples, which are beyond the beauty of the Pálinka of Excellence, top-end category, unquestionable quality pálinka. „Once in a lifetime is a must” category. Perfect harmony, expression, complexity and elegance, as well as sharing some sort of character, which the qualified tasters deem as outstanding, memorable. The descriptions of these products are more complex, longer and sometimes even poetic to highlight the difference of the given pálinka. All these pálinkas stand well in international competitions against other similarly excellent products as well, pálinkas with outstanding merit, (20 points) double gold medal and/or champion (trophy) award winning at official competitions.


Pálinka of the Ministry of Agriculture

This title is given to the product selected from TOP Pálinka Excellences of the mandatory subcategories. Only one pálinka received this award, that is a rightful representative of all the Pálinkas, which can highlight the beauty of the Hungarian fruit and the determination of the producers and traditions at the same time in the highest quality.