To inaugurate a series of posts about Bar Convent Berlin 2018, let’s start with the best and rarest tasting that took place on that sunny Wednesday 10 of October 2018. I’m talking about the BAIJIU tasting hosted by Jürgen Deibel, Paul Mathew and Derek Sandhaus. I can already hear you: WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT BAIJIU? Let’s answer that question!



– Do you know what Baijiu means?
– Can you name three Baijiu brands?
– Did you ever drink Baijiua ?
– Do you know if there are categories within Baijiu?
– Could you describe the taste of a tipycal Baijiu?
– Do people even drink Baijiu? If you answered NO to any of those questions, then you missed THE tasting!

This tasting was important, because if you do not live in China, and moreover do not read Chinese, it is almost impossible to be able to taste that category.
Thanks to people like Derek Sandhaus or Paul Mathew, yes, there are now places in Europe where Baijiu is carried, so it becomes possible to try it.
But still, good Baijiu is expensive, and it is not an alcohl you sip like you sip a whisky, plus, when you finally get a glass, you never get to experiment the diversity of the category. Whereas that tasting drove us through the many categories and styles, as well as the history!
It was unique and generous.   More is coming about Biajiu in general in Spiritsfully (in November, so please hold on) but for the moment, some tasting notes of a super amateur (and European palate). Picture       Ming River is the brand Derek Sandhaus works with. I really liked how he discussed that spirit the same way he discussed any other brands. Ming River is made for the international market and has an easy approach. It is very much aromatic with a long finish, full of umami. Picture       Jiang Xiao Bai S100 Baijiu has an interesting marketing strategy consisting of versatile bottles, see below. Every little bottle come with one cover. It is not very aromatic and the finish is not very much mastered. It kind of disappears in the mouth with guilt and no style. Not my favorite yet. Picture       Picture       Taizi is another Baijiu created outside of China, this time, in New Zealand. It is quite aromatic for a light aroma style and high in abv. It is specially made for the Taiwanese Market.
Picture       Like I just said, it was quite a generous tasting, that started with a cocktail by Mr Mathew himself. You know Spiritsfully though, pure alcohol is favored… Picture       Vinn is the Baijiu we started with. It is made in Oregon by a family of a Vietnamese background. It is gently aromatic and reminds more of a ripe fruity grappa. Picture       HKB is another Baijiu made for the international market (we’ve been taken care of). It is very aromatic with a long finish and taste from over ripe pineapple to earthy vegetables. Picture       Fenjiu has a very recognizable bottle (like a white drop with black and blue writing) and was very mild and soft type of Baijiu. Apparently, it is the one you can find in airports, if you see the bottle, grab it without hesitation and try it at home. You can’t get wrong.

I really appreciated how generous and diverse the tasting was, easy the information flow, lively the speakers. For anyone wanting to discover this category, follow those guys, specially Derek and Paul !

One last thing: I was quite surprised they kept apologizing about the taste. It is true it is an acquired taste, and rather surprising at first for a western palate. But isn’t alcohol surprising at first for anyone ?
So think ripe pineapple and grappa and go and try !