Eaux de Vie “Water of Life” Master Class with Philippe & Nathalie Traber

We were delighted to welcome our great friends Philippe and his wife Nathalie Traber for an evening of tasting the fantastic French spirit, Eau-de-vie, from the brilliant producer Mette. For those of you who are not fully aware of what Eau-de-vie is, it is translated into English as ‘the water of life’. By using only the purest of fruit (the producer is so fanatical about the quality of their ingredients that some are grown as far away as Madagascar!) for their distillation, the brandy is so pure and flavourful that it is becoming internationally recognised and are enjoyed all around Europe.

Founded in 1985 by Philippe’s godfather J-P Mette, J-P taught Philippe everything about distilling; from sourcing the finest ingredients to distilling the pure spirit. Philippe, along with his wife Nathalie, bought the estate in 1998. After the ingredients are distilled, through experience and a little bit of trial and error, the fruits are left to macerate from anywhere between 5 days and 6 weeks (it all depends on the sugar levels in the fruits). They now produce around 100 different flavours, and tonight we were lucky enough to sample a small selection of their range. What became apparent as the evening went on was the level of commitment by Philippe when creating his eaux-de-vie, and it’s a quality that has to be admired!

We tasted seven different bottles that Philippe had bought with him from France, all of which (and many more) are available to buy through Amathus Drinks.

***********************************************

Mette Master Class
Mette Master Class

Eau-de-vie Poire Williams

The pears are picked in the Rhone valley and then sorted at the distillery so that only the purest and finest pears are used. Left for six years to age, the spirit has a pure and elegant note of pears but with a creamy backdrop on the palette. The length of flavour is sublime and like a good book, leaves you wanting more.

Eau-de-vie de Vieille Mirabelle

Aged for 12 years using the finest apricots. Floral notes on the nose then divulged into rich and intense apricots on the palette that then finishes with a soft and creamy flavour. Why not try using this in a Mirabelle martini?

Eau-de-vie Framboise Sauvage

The wild raspberries are sourced from France and Romania and aged for 6 years. The instant notes of raspberries arise from the glass, but deliver an almost dried plum like flavour in the mouth that develops in a spicy finish.

Eau-de-vie Marc de Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives 1990

Agds for a whopping 22 years and sourced using Mette’s own grapes. The flavour is like a fireball, a big whack of white peach and flowers that then slowly peters out into a sweet and delectable finish.

Eau-de-vie d’Alisier

Sourced from the forest of Vosges, it is ages from 8 years. A rich and slightly sweet taste of marzipan then develops into a rich flavour of almonds.

Spiritueux de Cacao

Using the finest cacao that is sourced all the way from Madagascar! A spicy flavour that oozes dark chocolate and cacao in the glass.

Spiritueux de Gingembre

The ginger is grown in China and Thailand and is left to macerate for 8 weeks. An engulfing flavour of ginger but with a hint of lemongrass in the finish. A perfect digestive after a large meal or why not try flambéing over prawns?

***********************************************

Amathus Soho

113-117 Wardour Street
London
W1F 0UN

Advertisements

The Delights of Scandinavia by Amathus Soho

Scandinavian Spirits on Tasting

“Water of life” – every country has one; whether it is the French Eau-du-Vie, the Scottish whisky or the Scandinavian Aquavit. Wait, what exactly is aquavit I hear you ask? Aquavit is produced from a high strength spirit, from a range of base materials including grain or potato, and macerated (that’s a technical word for added ingredients infused with the base spirit) with caraway, cardamom, star anise and fennel along with other ingredients. The spirit is then left for a period of time to develop, is watered down to strength, and then bottled and enjoyed!

Facile PunschOur hosts for tonight were: the producer from Facile & Co bringing a punsch made from Jamaican rum; our very own David Adamick from our Business Development team; and Jonas from Scandinavian Kitchen, beautifully pairing our samples with their culinary delights.

Facile Punsch is made from rum, Batavia arrack and blended with citrus peel and other secret ingredients. It has a golden amber appearance with an intensive nose of apricot, coffee and chocolate and works wonderfully well with Scandinavian Kitchen’s homemade orange and chocolate brownies. Delish! This great liquor can be a substitute for rum in a number of cocktails.

The evening then proceeded onto a flight of five Aquavits, which David proceeded to take us through in great detail, starting off with the most traditional style first. The Aalborg Taffel is a clear spirit that has strong nose of caraway that delivers on the palette a clean, crisp finish with warming flavours. This aquavit is best served ice cold and we enjoyed it with canapés of herring in a curry sauce, that was simply charming.

Salmon BitesThe next aquavit on show was the Aalborg Jubilaeums. The Jubilaeums was created to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the distillery; this aquavit has seen some sherry cask aging that provides a light mahogany colour. With citrus hints and dill on the nose, Jubilaeums opens up into a rounded mouthfeel with hints of orange peel. With this we enjoyed small bread rounds with smoked salmon that matched the aquavit beautifully.

Next up was the OP Anderson aquavit. Like Jubilaeums, it also has seen some aging in sherry casks but is paler in colour. Again notes of dill and caraway, yet it is a little sweeter and has a crisper acidity that matches spicy food beautifully. With this was a cured beef and small taste of horseradish sauce.

Scandinavian Master ClassThe penultimate aquavit was the Linie, with its wonderful history. For those of you who don’t know – Linie was traditionally maturated in cask in ships that were sent to Australia and back and is thus named due to its crossing the equator, or “line”, twice during this process. To this day Linie is aged using this exact same method! The gentle rocking of the boat coupled with the changes in temperature creates a spicy, clean and crisp taste that develops into flavours of vanilla and aniseed.

Finally, our last aquavit was the Aalborg Nordguld. It is made using real amber (fossilised tree resin) and then matured in sherry casks, and has a silky smooth mouth feel that develops into flavours of vanilla, cumin and dill with a fiery finish. A true delight of the aquavit world, traditionally served at lunch to keep the cold at bay.

Aquavit opens your eyes to a taste of Scandinavian cuisine, so the next time you’re in the Soho area – pop in and try some!

By Amathus Soho
Hammer House, 113-117 Wardour Street, London W1F 0UN
Tel: 0207 287 5769

The Sights and Smells of the Mette Range by Michael Isted

At the beginning of July we hosted some exciting Mette Distiller master classes, showcasing some of their exquisite eaux de vie and liqueurs from the range of over 70 products that they produce. One of our guests, and close friend of Nathalie and Phillippe Traber, Michael Isted, has written some fantastic reviews of the products, guiding you through the sites and tastes of the afternoon!

************************************************************************************************************

BASILIC
Intriguing sweet vegetal notes lead into buttered honey spice on the nose. Wonderful aromatics of caramelized herbs are punctuated with hints of crème caramel and toffee. The initial sweetness gives way to freshly picked basil leaves and leads to beautiful cracked black pepper spice. The finish leaves long spicy hues of fresh basil and delicious sweet aromatic spices on the palate.

LAVENDER
On the nose heavenly notes of youthful freshly grown lavender lead into beautiful fragrant notes of creamy lemon zest. These fragrant, warm and comforting aromas transport you to the heart of a lavender field early in the morning on a bright, early summers day. On the palate this eau de vie explodes with sensual floral notes that bloom, revealing more mature or even dried lavender and hints of sweet spice. Taking the drinker through the stages of lavender maturation suddenly we are transported to the same lavender field but in the late afternoon at the end of summer. This spirit beautifully captures the true essence and the real heart & soul of lavender.

ALISIER RESERVE
Rather unexpected but incredible notes of stone fruit and sweet almond on the nose it’s almost impossible to believe that it is not a stone fruit. Hints of Marasca cherries and apricot sensually waltz on the senses intriguing the palate with its elegance and beauty. Unbelievable depth of aromatics this spirit is so fascinating. Utterly in awe of this the drinker is magically hypnotized with the way the spirit weaves its way across the palate asking questions that perhaps cannot be answered. Breath taking and beautiful balance of ripe stone fruit combine with delicious floral hints of violet and iris. The finish is long and elegant, peppered with beautiful sweet spice and fragrant flowers, am I in Heaven?

PAIN D EPICE
On the nose warm, embracing notes of freshly baked ginger bread lead into exotic spices. Wonderful harmony of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, balanced to perfection. Sweet cardamom leads on the palate before a crackle of sizzling ginger and cinnamon is revealed, transporting the drinker into the Souks of Morocco at dusk, open sacks of freshly ground spice tantalizing the palate long into the night. The finish lingers long filling the mouth with tingling aromatic spice and leaving the palate demanding more.

WILLIAMS LIQUEUR
Lovely subtle but unmistakeable aromatics of ripe Williams pear linger on the nose like walking through an orchard on a late summers day. As soon as you taste this liqueur the palate is overwhelmed like the sensation of taking that first bite from a beautifully ripe pear, bursting with flavour in the mouth. Juicy and utterly delicious, like the perfectly sun ripened pear. Cracking balance of ripe fruit and sweetness, not too sweet though like many liqueurs this translates the true essence of the Williams pear. This liqueur leaves the palate yearning for more like biting into that perfectly ripe pear; it holds the flavour incredibly well offering great length and depth especially for a liqueur.

By Michael Isted