As some of you know, in July my wife’s brother married, and in Greece in Paros = Πάρος. Three-line whip for the Wisemans.
Two of my brother-is-law’s friends thought that I should try their family spirit (no seance necessary). A bottle was produced at the wedding reception, and duly sampled, and it was agreed that we should do a tasting. None of them had ever done any such things before.
On Sunday 24th July, we three — Petros Spanos, Stelios Tahiris, and I — sat at the edge of a family gathering in Taverna Flora, Paros, with a splendid view, and tasted some spirits. Table-space (and some of the spirits) being limited, we shared a single set of glasses. The placemats courtesy of Emergency Placemat Services (Wakely Division), for which thanks again.
Most of the liquids were clear, so the photo is of only marginal interest.
I, from the bride’s father, matured in Ηουρια-wood barrels. Nose had lots of alcohol, plums, apricot and pineapple. Palate almost all heat, some sugar. Ignoring the heat, quite soft, but heat too prominent. Petros, correctly, said crème brûlée. Later the nose had roast chestnuts.
JDAW second place; Stelios third place; Petros second place: total of 5 points, for overall second place.
II, Ouzo ‘IZ’, commercial from a small bottle. Clear. Nose of aniseed, but 51-style not Ricard (Pastis is my standard for considering aniseed). Palate again aniseed, and mint, very fresh. With water stronger, smoother, and cleaner. Some sweetness.
III, Ούζο Πλωμαρίου. Visually clear. Nose of aniseed again, and also a dirty farmyard smell. Relative to II, in palate alcohol stronger, aniseed milder, palate shorter.
My new Greek friends explained to me that Ouzo used to be good, then tourists started drinking it, so production was increased by making it out of chemicals. They seemed quite scornful.
IV, Τσίπουρο = Tsipouro from Stelios’ father-in-law. (Is this a general Greek rule: blood relatives never make alcohol, only the in-laws?) In nose alcohol shows less prominently than in the Ouzos — those chemicals, presumably — with lots of spearmint. Palate very very hot, but heat fades leaving spearmint and aniseed.
JDAW third place; Stelios unranked; Petros third place: total of 2 points, for overall third equal.
V, Τσίπουρο = Tsipouro from Stelios’ father-in-law, made without aniseed. Very hot in nose and mouth. Some flowers in nose, but not palate. All heat, and no late palate at all except heat.
VI, Souma (= Σῶμα?), from Petros’s father (disproving earlier hypothesis). Made from wine lees (left-over skins and bits after first fermentation). Reportedly lower alcohol because distilled only once. Also “The secret is to have a second glass, because the first scrapes the throat.” Nose of rotten sirloin steak. Palate had heat, but mid-palate rather than early-palate, and dark plums.
Everybody’s favourite: total of 9 points, for overall first place.
Most of this bottle was saved and brought to the UK. It can make an appearance at one of our tastings.
VII, same as VI but a half year in 5-litre new oak barrels. Light brown — not clear — 25% opaque. Nose of fish, salmon skin in particular. Palate had same, and some sugar.
VIII, Τσίπουρο = Tsipouro from Stelios’ father-in-law. Hot hot hot! The wood showing very strongly nose and palate, in a manner that I didn’t like.
JDAW unranked; Stelios second place; Petros unranked: total of 2 points, for overall third equal.
So all very interesting, and thanks again to Petros and Stelios for bringing eight bottles. London ers will have an opportunity to taste the winner. And apologies to the rest of the party who, instead of a spirit tasting, were compelled to distant-family small-talk.
[Some corrections to the Greek typing might happen.]
Sun 24 July 2016, Taverna Flora, Πάρος, Greek distillations
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Re: Sun 24 July 2016, Taverna Flora, Πάρος, Greek distillations
Interesting write-up, thank you. Number I sounds lovely flavour-wise, though clearly too hot. Rotten steak and plums the winner? Perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised; intriguing.
2 posts • Page 1 of 1