The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 106 of 128

106 / the tasting panel / march 2014 Not surprisingly, sessionability is a significant factor in developing new and innovative spirits and liqueurs. A flavor erring in one extreme or the other is the so-called kiss of death. "When we approached developing Benchmark Flavors, our fundamental goal was to achieve a balance that allowed our whiskey taste profile to stand strong while delivering an interesting and delicious flavor component," says Kevin Richards, Sazerac Marketing Director. "It really is all about balance. We tasted lots of samples before we landed on the Peach and Brown Sugar profiles that we ourselves really liked and therefore felt consumers would as well." Most people make a judgment regarding the flavor of a beverage within moments of first tasting it. In essence, the fate of a brand could be decided within moments of launching. How does a company best ensure that its product has the flavor it takes to win over the consumers' collective palate in that moment of truth? Anthony Pullen, Educational and Brand Development Manager for Lucas Bols, thinks succeeding at that moment is all about creating a balanced overall experience. "Flavor is based on people's experiences. We've all heard the saying that something tastes like chicken. Our brains are hard-wired to relate the chemical reaction happening on our tongue to a past experience. Color and aroma play a huge role in this, and if you want to recreate a flavor that matches something that already exists, all of these factors have to be considered and matched." Mark Montgomery, CEO of Fishbowl Spirits, makers of Blue Chair Bay Rum, believes there are other contributors to winning the moment of truth. "There's the visual and tactile experience of the bottle to consider—how it looks and how it feels in the hand. Then there are non-tangible cues that create value in the mind of the consumer. After that it's all about the liquid. How enticing are the aromas when the cork is pulled? How does the liquid look when it's poured? And then, yes, the consumers' first impressions of the flavor set the tone for re-consumption." "At the end of the day, no matter how much you spend on marketing or package innovation, it's all about the quality of a product's flavor," says Zev Norotsky, Director of Marketing for recently introduced SMOKE Liqueur. Mother Murphy's As is the case with so many things existing in nature, replicating true-to-fruit flavor in a distilled spirit is exceptionally challenging. There are numerous factors that must mesh flawlessly for the process to be deemed a success. Make a mishap and the spirit will develop objectionable off-flavors. When distillers large and small just can't seem to capture the natural essence they are looking for, they turn to Mother Murphy's Laboratories for help. Established in 1946 in Greensboro, North Carolina, Mother Murphy's has grown into one of the country's preeminent flavor companies and is closely aligned with the booming micro-distilling industry. It has at present over 10,000 flavor formulas, including many options for TTB, and continues to create more based on the demands of the market. "In 1997, there were 14 registered distilleries in the United States, and now there are over 400. Most of these new spirit companies want to create products that involve flavors," says Al Murphy, Mother Murphy's VP of Sales, Alcohol Division. "The Millennial generation is weary of the old tired labels and want new spirit brands to identify with. Our flavors help achieve just that." Murphy predicts increased innovation in the alcohol industry over the next five years. "Big companies will continue to innovate to maintain their market share, while new, smaller companies innovate to lay claim to their slice of the market." G'Vine Floraison Gin de France Few spirit brands have had a more profound impact on their respective categories than has G'Vine Floraison Gin de France. Talk about flavor innovation, there is simply no other gin that tastes like G'Vine, and yet it is undoubtedly a gin in character and personality. G'Vine Floraison is crafted on a base of column-distilled Ugni Blanc grape neutral spirits. A portion of these spirits is re-distilled in a traditional pot still with a botanical mix that includes, in part, juniper berries, ginger root, licorice and green cardamom. At the same time, handpicked grape vine flowers are macerated into the remaining neutral spirits. The final steps involve carefully blending the distillates together and passing them through the pot still so the various flavors become fully integrated. The hardest part of creating this stylish and delight- fully nuanced gin involved discovering the best way to utilize the ephemeral vine flowers, which blossom for only a few days in June before turning into grape berries. "These highly aromatic flowers are our unique botanical," says Audrey Fort, Eurowinegate Portfolio Director at Domaine Select Wine Estates, which markets G'Vine. "The challenge was to preserve the character of what defines a spirit as a gin, while letting the very delicate floral notes of the vine flowers express themselves sufficiently, but not excessively." A quick sniff, sip and swallow of G'Vine Floraison will confirm just how successful they were achieving this essential balance. Spirits enthusiasts around the globe are glad they did. A chemist in the Mother Murphy's laboratory.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - March 2014