How well do you know your palate? Do you favor sweet, savory, bitter, salty or sour? Until you put yourself to the test it’s hard to actually know where your preferences lie, especially when it comes to vodka.
Jacob Sweetapple, Brand Ambassador for Absolut Vodka, led a group of individuals who either work in the industry or are simply curious, through an Absolut Vodka master class.
To begin the sensory experience we were given an Absolut Cocktail created by Jacob as we settled in and enjoyed a couple of amuse bouche. We then were told the story of how the vodka originated in Sweden and how it grew to be the vodka that it is to this day.
During the class we had three opportunities to test our taste buds. The first was to discover whether we favored salty, sour, sweet, bitter or savory. The majority of the group seemed to lean towards the first three finding the last two hard to swallow on their own. The bitter flavour, shown through gentian root, was especially appalling and left a lingering taste in your mouth that was hard to mask.
The second tasting was lemon juice in different levels of the aging process. This was very interesting because the taste of the fresh lemon juice pressed just 45 minutes prior to the class differed greatly from the lemon juice pressed 26 hours before. The oldest was the easiest to swallow as it was less tart and acidic as the freshest. We learned that high acidic fruits that sit at room temperature will show the full flavour of the fruit. The flavour that we know of lemon is not it’s true flavour as not many people have freshly pressed lemon juice.
Moving on to the good stuff, the third tasting was the different flavours of vodka: Citron, Grapevine, Vanilia, Berry Acai, Peppar. They were huge pours for a vodka tasting and hard for me on an empty stomach, but it was fun to mentally concoct different cocktails with each flavour; for example, the Peppar would be great in a Caesar.
Many appeared to be quite knowledgeable on the subject, throwing many questions at Jacob which he answered without faltering. He even turned the table and asked questions back at the audience in the form of a contest for a bottle of Absolut Vodka. “Raise your hands, no shouting out the answer,” he said, as he chuckled and admitted to feeling like a school teacher. Hands shot up in the air within seconds of Jacob finishing the question; apparently people were listening quite intently during the class.
For more pictures from the event check out my Absolut Sensory Experience gallery on Flickr.
After we wrapped up, most of the class indulged some more with a “Checking Out” Cocktail, designed by Jacob, in the Mallard Lounge as we listened to Colin Bullock.
1 1/2 oz Absolut Peach
1/2 oz Germain Elderflower
3/4 oz Sugar Syrup
1 Bar Spoon of Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Dash Orange Bitters
Interesting facts about Absolut:
- Produce 9 million bottles every 3 weeks.
- 12 Natural Flavours, 10 City Editions and One-Offs
- Top flavors by region:
- Sweden – Pears
- Asian Market – Raspberri
- Australia – Vanilia
- North America – Citron/Mandarin
- They believe in the one source concept (total control form seed to bottle): Employ their own farmers, mill their own grains, put through their own rectifiying columns, distill their own spirits, bottle it and ship it.
- They take pride in using only natural oils for their flavored vodka, that is added at the end of the process.
- They have created 4 million bottles of Absolut Unique. If you find two that match (you won’t) they’ll fly you to Sweden.