A couple of years ago, I went with my father to a sophisticated Chinese restaurant and ordered an improbable dish. Shark fin soup. We went there just for that, in the most innocent curiosity. Shark fin soup is a typical Chinese dish, usually served only on very special occasions. Weddings, for example. It was invented in the Song dynasty, and is still seen today by much of the population of China as a symbol of prestige two pounds of fin can cost well over four hundred reais.
But the most curious thing, however, is not the stellar price of the delicacy. But something that, before the experiment, we didn’t know: shark fin has no taste at all. The texture is curious, kind of gelatinous and slippery. But the taste is totally neutral. It is the other ingredients of the dish – chicken broth, seafood and spices – that add flavor to it.
And there was nothing wrong with us. It’s not that our tastebuds were faulty or something. Because there is jurisprudence on this. International chef Gordon Ramsay once made a quote about such a fin “It is really bizarre. Because it has no taste at all. It’s like glass noodles. The soup is delicious. But there could be anything there – chicken, duck, corn “. I have to agree, albeit a little disappointed about the taste of the dish. In a world where everything is ephemeral and we are occupied with empty experiences, eating shark fin broth can be doubly insignificant.
A distillate that has maintained a similar reputation for a long time is vodka. Dave Wondrich once said that “Vodka is the boneless, skinless chicken breast from the cocktail shop – everything has to do with the seasoning“. However, there are vodkas that challenge this concept. Some have very particular flavors, albeit delicate. This is the case, for example, of Haku Vodka, which has just landed in Brazil officially through Beam-Suntory.
The base of Haku Vodka is rice, which is fermented and distilled in stills, creating a kind of low-grain wine. Afterwards, this product is redistilled, both in stills and in distillation columns. Finally, the distillate is collected and filtered on bamboo charcoal, removing the heavier congeners, and making Haku even more delicate. It is a very meticulous process.
Haku Vodka’s production takes place under the same roof as Roku Gin. It is a distillery located in Kaigandori, Osaka, belonging to Suntory – very close to Yamazaki, where the wonderful homonymous sigle malt is produced. The space is also known as the “Suntory Liquor Atelier“
The name “Haku” has an interesting ambiguity. The word can mean either “white” – in reference to rice – or “bright”, a tribute to the ability to create the spirit. In fact, Suntory’s vodka production is not a current phenomenon. The company has been producing the distillate since 1956.
Sensorially, Haku Vodka is very delicate, with extremely well integrated alcohol. It is smoothly sweet, without any pepper. But in the opinion of this Dog – who may be delirious – the interesting thing is its texture. It is not as volatile as it appears. There is a weight, an oiliness, that curiously complements its pepperless smoothness – almost like the shark fin soup!
If you are looking for a vodka to work as a star in your cocktails, like in a Vesper Martini, or even something that will look strangely delicious if drunk pure, Haku Vodka is an excellent choice. Not all experiences need to have no meaning.
SUNTORY HAKU VODKA
Country / Region: Japan – N / A
Age: N / A
Aroma: delicate, sugar, grains.
Flavor: sweet and delicate. There is almost no trace of spices. Relatively oily for a vodka.