Raw vanilla? Really?

I get a regular email flyer from a company called Internet Wines (they sell “spirits” as well). I’ve never bought anything from them because, once you add shipping costs, their bargains are no longer bargains. But I like learning about what they sell, and I’m tickled by their “tasting notes.”

Mind you, I don’t deny that their tasting notes are meaningful to sophisticates and connoisseurs, but I’m neither a sophisticate (in this area) nor a connoisseur. I get fun from just letting my imagination play over the comparisons they provide.  Here’s an example:

Forester 1

AROMA
Devil’s food, clove and oak spice with an undercurrent of raw vanilla

TASTE
Buttery leather is quickly dominated by a bold flash of pepper, cinnamon bark and sharp citrus

FINISH
Intense spice and eucalyptus which fade into orange cream and caramel

Remember!  I’m not mocking sophisticates who write about or recognize this stuff. I’m admitting my own unsophisticated ignorance. I’ll laugh at them, understanding that they’ll be fully justified in laughing at me in return. Just a game. Everyone has fun, and no one’s feelings get hurt. 

  • “Oak spice”? I don’t know what that means. I’ve lived my entire life in close proximity to oaks of all varieties. Chopped up, healthy oaks provide a wonderful aroma/flavor to animal flesh that’s been smoked or grilled over an open fire. Diseased oaks, oozing their vital hearts from open wounds, smell disgusting. Haven’t a clue how any of that relates to “oak spice.”
  • “Raw vanilla”? Wiki says that “Several methods exist in the market for curing vanilla; nevertheless, all of them consist of four basic steps: killing, sweating, slow-drying, and conditioning of the bean.” The Wiki article says nothing about the taste of pre-cured vanilla, and I don’t really care enough to pursue the research.
  • “Buttery leather”? What’s the taste of “buttery leather”? Of “non-buttery leather”?
  • “Cinnamon bark”? Admitting my naiveté, I looked it up. It just means “cinnamon.” All cinnamon derives from the bark of one or another tree or shrub.
  • “Intense spice”? What spice? “Eucalyptus”? I’ll inquire of the next koala I encounter what that’s like. None of the humans in my unsophisticated circle are familiar with the taste of eucalyptus bark or leaves.

Balvenie 10

Right now I’m going to fetch a wee dram of Balvenie 14, a Christmas gift from our daughter, then hit the sack.

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