Monday, June 15, 2009

Tastes like What?

I was reading an article in the The Atlantic by Wayne Curtis titled "Cocktails of the Past"

The article spoke about how some of the mixers that were once used in drinks of the past, like The Doctor or the Diki Diki were, until recently no longer available or very hard to get . He reports that a company seeking and importing these hard to get mixers, liquors and in some cases contracting with companies to make some of these rare spirits.

It was all quite interesting until he started to tell us how these things taste and that's where he lost me.

When he described a liquor as being pine flavored, I couldn't really picture it but I was at least left with some idea of what it might taste like. Having never drank the floor cleaner Pine Sol or tasted pine scented air freshener , I am pretty sure I would stay away from that one.

It was when he got to Batavia Arrack that he lost me completely. I mean I finished the article but the description of a liquor that is "pleasantly musty" kinda leaves me wondering. How is musty, pleasant?? He went on to further describe it as "Aromatic with a roguish sensibility," err ah what? I'm thinking why doesn't he just come out and say it's a cross between a peach an watermelon or kumquat?

Aromatic with a roguish sensibility? You might as well say it has a fragrance with a mischievous refinement for all that tells me what it tastes like!!


Kath Lockett said...

...and those kinds of ridiculously poncy descriptions are no longer just for wine or spirits either; they've spread to the innocent worlds of coffee and chocolate.

dawtch said...

Just goes to show it is absolutely impossible to use words to impart a taste....

TerminallyUniq said...

I agree, it's impossible to describe a taste with words, sorta like what you told me about "timid white" in another conversation! However, maybe the pine would "mix" well with another taste and become something delicious...Isn't that what you chefs are all about ... well, doing?

Robert said...

It's the ubiquitous "tastes like chicken" syndrome. Well, some things really do taste like chicken... such as alligator.

As far as "pleasantly musty" goes, I think that fresh mushrooms could be described as tasting pleasantly musty. But then you could say that just means "slightly moldy."