Absolut Elyx - Taste of Perfection
Luxury vodka label Absolut Elyx recently ran a series of sensorial tasting workshops to help consumers appreciate vodka better and to dispel the myth that the spirit is tasteless and odourless.Taste of Perfection - The Absolut Elyx Sensory Tasting
The brainchild of Per Hermansson, Director of Sensory Strategy and Master Blender from The Absolut Company, Taste of Perfection sessions are designed to take consumers on a sensory journey during a blind taste test. I find blind taste tests fascinating. When products are stripped bare of their labels, the expectations and preconceived notions fall away leaving only the hard truth that hits the palate. Laid out before us was a placemat cum tasting notes sheet. There were five unlabelled glasses of vodka and five bottles of distillates bearing a label each (neutral, grainy, bready, fruity and solvents).Kamil Foltan Image reproduced courtesy of Pernod Ricard Singapore
Our guide for the evening was Kamil Foltan, a renowned bartender from The Powder Room. The Powder Room is an intimate cocktail lounge located on the mezzanine floor of The Black Swan, a restaurant within an Art Deco building with finishes to match. He gave us a quick introduction and told us to describe what we really thought of the drinks.Did you know that one nostril is more sensitive than the other? Image reproduced courtesy of Pernod Ricard Singapore
The session commenced with a series of experiments. We sniffed a bottle containing the fragrance of an unidentified essential oil - one nostril at a time. We were told to describe the fragrance notes. I thought it seemed citrusy. The essential oil was later revealed to be Bergamot. Next, we had to taste an unidentified powder in a vial whilst wearing a nose clip. The sweet powder was later revealed to be cinnamon when we took off our nose clips and could breath again.Ruminating over the flavour of each glass of vodka
After hammering home the point that taste is dependant on smell, as anyone who suffers from bad sinuses or flu can attest to, we sniffed little jars of distillates and gave our interpretation of the fragrances contained within each bottle. We were told that the bottles of distillates may not have been arranged in the same order as the glasses of vodka. Our noses would have to determine if any of the distillate qualities were present in the aroma of each glass of vodka. What an intriguing challenge! We began tasting vodka and describing the aroma, flavour, texture and finish for each glass. There are no right or wrong answers, only your personal experience of each glass of vodka. When we were done tasting, we were told to state which glass was our favourite. My favourite was glass number two because I loved its silky texture, gentle finish and neutral aroma.Miniature of the 1929 copper still used to distill Absolut Elyx vodka
The vodka contained in the second glass turned out to be Absolut Elyx! Kamil's explanation about the distillation processes and the ingredients used to produce vodka began to make more sense to me. Absolut Elyx's Taste of Perfection session gave me a deeper appreciation for an oft-misunderstood spirit that poor students like myself got inebriated on. I left the workshop realizing that like well-made Whiskies or Tequila, well-made vodkas can possess subtle flavour notes with a smooth, pleasant finish. Thanks, Kamil, for the guidance.
If Absolut Elyx runs any future workshops, I highly recommend joining them for a sensorial experience that may shift your perception of vodka.
************************************************************The Powder Room (The Black Swan) 19 Cecil Street, Singapore 049704 Phone: +65 8181 3305 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Operating Hours: Lunch: Monday t0 Friday 11.30 am - 2.30 pm Dinner: Monday to Saturday 5 pm - 10.30 pm Supper: Wednesday & Thursday 10.30 pm - 1 am Friday & Saturday 10.30 pm - 2 am Closed on Sundays * Valet Parking is available after 6 pm PS: Thank you, Pernod Ricard Singapore, The Black Swan and Phish Communications, for the kind hospitality during the Absolut Elyx Sensory Tasting.