The folks at Boardroom Spirits may not know the meaning of “alphabetical order” all that well (their eau de vie style spirits were released in the following order: B, then C, and then A, P and P. Last time I checked, A comes before B and C. And what the hell happened to D, E, F,G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, and O???), but after a couple of brief conversations with owners Marat Mamedov, Vlad Mamedov, and Zsuzsa Palotas, as well as sales manager Robert Burke (he was our bartender for the night) during their launch of A (made from Red Delicious Apples), P (made with Bartlett Pears), and P (made with Anjou Pears) Eau De Vie-Style Brandies at Kensington Quarters in the Olde Kensington section of Philadelphia, they made it abundantly clear that they know their way around the distilling process.
A couple of days after the launch, Marat, Vlad, and Zsuzsa were kind enough to participate in a brief Q & A that happened via email where we talked a bit more about A, P and P, and also about their future plans for Boardwalk Spirits, but before we get to that, let’s talk a bit more about all of the goings on during the Kensington Quarters event…
“Esteemed Members of the Media” (and Yours Truly!) were greeted with a small taste of the A, P, and P eau de vies.
This spirit sampling session provided plenty of time for mingling and conversation while we waited for the tardy ( yet still “Highly Esteemed”!) ones to arrive so that we could take our assigned seats for the cocktail and food pairing part of the evening.
At around 6:45, the following food and cocktail pairings made their way to our tables…
And here’s what some of the food and cocktails that we were treated to looked like…
And we even listened as our hosts answered all of our questions. Because that’s what “Esteemed Members of the Media” are SUPPOSED to do, i.e. ask many many questions.
Marat Mamedov of Boardroom Spirits
And if all that weren’t enough, we even had a Celebrity Chef in our midst. Robert Irvine of Restaurant: Impossible was the Celebrity Chef of which I speak, and he just happens to be an investor in Boardroom Spirits (you’ll find out more about his role during the Q & A).
I guess it’s true that The Ladies LOVE a guy that knows his way around a kitchen. Especially when that guy just happens to have a cool English accent and the physique of a Navy SEAL!
And if all THAT weren’t enough, as we were leaving the restaurant, we were gifted with a bottle of A that looked exactly like THIS…
Boardroom Spirits A Eau De Vie-style Brandy. Funky pourer not included.
The A, P, and P launch event which was supposed to end at 8PM, but ran well past 9PM, was good fun! Three plus hours of unique spirits, deliciously crafted cocktails, a wide variety of food, and interesting conversation (I was seated next to journalists from The Philadelphia Inquirer and BillyPenn.com, and the general contractor that is working on the expansion of Boardroom Spirits) was a great way to spend a Tuesday night.
In a future post, Limpd and I will share our thoughts on the A spirit that I was gifted at the end of its product lunch (and maybe even try it in a couple of cocktail creations!). In the meantime, here’s that Q&A with Marat, Vlad and Zsuzsa that I mentioned at the beginning of this post…
Question #1 – How did you settle on Red Delicious Apples, Bartlett Pears, and Anjou Pears for your A & P eaux de vies? How many different apple and pear varieties did you try before settling on these three?
Red Delicious was a natural fit after running several tests with the help of our partners at Frecon Farms in their orchards. It had the right sugar content, harvest timelines aligned with our production schedule, and it has a beautiful balance of flavor and aroma. We have tried our fair share of various unaged pear brandies throughout Central and Eastern Europe – Germany, Austria, Hungary, and more. We have noticed that each of these brandies were bursting with flavor – but the flavors were noticeably different based on the region where the fruit grew and the product was distilled. When it finally came time to make our own brandy using American-grown pear, we wanted to offer more than one option. This experiment did not disappoint! While the Bartlett pear (known as Williams Pear throughout the world) gave us the bold, fresh, crisp sensation, the D’Anjou showed a nice contrast with subtle, warm, sweet, and juicy consistency.
Question #2 – When we spoke during the Kensington Quarter event, you mentioned that you will be producing a different eau de vie for each letter of the alphabet. I spoke with our dear friend The Alemonger after the event and he asked if daikon radish was in the running for your D eau de vie. His thinking: a 100% natural spirit to use in Asian inspired cocktails (small batch Craft Sake Cocktails perhaps?). Thoughts?
Some letters of the alphabet will be more challenging than others. We already have a few fruits and vegetables lined up for our next releases and they are not strictly tied to coming up with new letters. For example – Apricot and Celeriac (or celery root) – which will force us to get even more creative with the labeling (Ac, Cr). Working with the radish family may be a great idea, though likely challenging due to their very low sugar content and high fiber content. We will need to try it and see how it works! Regardless, please keep the ideas coming. There is a wonderful variety of under-utilized and niche fruits and vegetables that we would love to highlight. We have our work cut out for us for the next several years.
Question #3 – B was bottled at 45% ABV. C at 46% ABV. A and both P eaux de vies are bottled at 40% ABV. Can you explain the difference in bottling strength?
Eau de vies need to strike a right balance of taste and aroma to do the raw ingredient justice. Depending on the raw material it was distilled from, different ABVs may work better. Higher ABVs generally allow us to keep more of the aroma (more concentrated) whereas lower ABVs may create an easier to consume product and the flavors are more pronounced on the palate, at the expense of the aromas.
Question #4 – First Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and now Las Vegas thanks to your partnership with Chef Robert Irvine. Besides featuring your spirits in craft cocktails at his Public House restaurant in Las Vegas, what other role will Chef Irvine play at Boardroom Spirits?
Chef Irvine’s and our product philosophies are fully aligned: know what you eat/drink, be an educated consumer, there is no room for shortcuts when it comes to creating exceptional products, and the list goes on. Chef Irvine’s involvement with our brand will help our message reach a wider audience and allow us to continue to raise the bar in the distilled spirits industry in terms of transparency, consumer education, and expanding the drinking experiences we can enjoy.
Question #5 – Regular readers are well aware that we like a wide variety of drinks which range from Craft Beer to Whisky to hand crafted Cocktails and everywhere in between. Given your passion for innovation and experimentation with all sorts of ingredients when developing a new spirit, we suspect that your tastes are as diverse as ours. When you’re not working on a new spirit and have time to unwind, what’s your beverage of choice?
- Zsuzsa: Sicilian or Hungarian White Wine (or any other bone-dry white wine from volcanic, mineral rich soil).
- Marat & Vlad: Double IPAs, Farmhouse Ales, and various Brandies and Amaros.