The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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Page 87 of 100

august 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  87 So when Paul Amin found himself with the lucky trouble of an overabundance of black Perigord truffles, it should come as no surprise that he instantly thought the combination of truffles and vodka might just be crazy enough to work: "I had planted 10,000 truffle trees and was given a lot of truffles as a thank you, and I didn't have anything to do with them. I tried them with rice, eggs, cooked all kinds of things with them, but I still had so many! I thought, what can I do? In a moment of madness, I chopped the truffles up and left it soaking in a vodka bottle," he recalls, "and then I completely forgot about it. A few weeks later, I found it. It had turned completely black, and I thought, 'Oh my god! Can I drink this?' I tasted it, and it was delicious. I did a lot of research, discovered that no one had made a truffle vodka before, and so I thought, why not? I threw caution to the wind, and Black Moth Vodka went into production nine years ago." Launching stateside this fall, Black Moth vodka is earthy and umami-driven, with an authentic truffle taste—nothing like the artificial truffle scents and flavors we see in synthetic-based truffle products. "If you've ever had truffle butter or oil, you get the enormous, heavy smell of truffles that lingers, and you're still tasting it three hours later," says Amin. "That enormous flavor is what the consumer assumes is truffle, but that's not what a truffle is. This vodka, like real truffles, has a little bit of earthiness, and is more subtle than the synthetic stuff. It's an authentic, delicate, but distinctly beautiful aroma and flavor that is a 100 percent genuine expression of truffles." But the truffle flavor is not so pronounced as to limit its versatility and mixability in the glass and on the palate. "This is a vodka that needs to be treated as a vodka," Amin explains. "It is not so powerful with truffle that it is overpowering. I wanted it to be something you'd have more than one of; you won't have one drink and still be tasting truffles three hours later." Beginning with a 40% ABV wheat vodka, Amin then adds macerated truffles and allows the spirit to infuse until it goes completely black. "The spirit soaks all of the color and flavor out of the truffle," he says. The resulting spirit is then filtered three times to remove the black color, and distilled five times, resulting in a pure, clean truffle taste. "No corners have been cut in the making of this product," says Amin. "We only use Grade A Perigord truffles, and the finest spirit made in England. If it could be better, I would make it better." Amin's commitment to excellence, combined with the super- premium ingredients he sources, has put Black Moth in a vodka class of its own. "Just because you filter a vodka though a million dollars' worth of diamonds doesn't make it taste better. But Black Moth is the real deal; there's nothing fake about it." With such a distinct and unique flavor as its backbone, Black Moth plays beautifully in savory cocktails like Bloody Marys and spirit-forward cocktails like Martinis, but the possibilities are endless for today's bartender to explore. "Black Moth actu- ally acts quite like a gin, because you get the truffles coming through like juniper would in a gin—particularly with tonic," Amin says. "But there's nothing like it on the rocks." With Black Moth flying into U.S. markets in coming months, we'll be keeping an eye out for craft cocktails that will finally get truffles off the plate, into the glass and taking flight. "This vodka, like real truffles, has a little bit of earthiness, and is more subtle than the synthetic stuff. It's an authentic, delicate, but distinctly beautiful aroma and flavor." Black Moth at MO Bar in Mandarin Oriental, Miami.

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