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Tuesday 25 September 2012

Recommendation: 5 Cognac for the Autumn

We at Western Taste loves cognac and all that it has to offer and we thought it would be suitable to present 5 favorite cognacs that we enjoy and loves to consume and bring out on special occasions or just after a hard day of work.

Delamain Vesper XO, Grande Champagne (exclusive)

This Grande Champagne is older than its little brother Pale & Dry XO and has been crafted  in different, more classic style, with a more pronounced amber colour, with bright flashes of pure gold.
The bouquet provides oak, aromas of mushrooms, dry vine shoots and vanilla.
On the palate, the extraordinary full bodied roundness is matched by the remarkable length. The cognac is a full body, matured and refined beverage that is luxurious in every way. Most people calls Delamain cognac the Rolls Royce of cognac and we definitely concur.

Nr Systembolaget: 10658
Cost in Sweden: 899 SEK
Cost in US: Apprx 138 USD
Cost in China: Approx 1300 RMB

Courvoisier Napoleon Fine Champagne (one favorite)

This is the original Napoleon Cognac, by which all others are judged. Created in 1910, to celebrate our relationship with France's first Emperor, Courvoisier Napoleon Fine Champagne is a timeless blend of Grande and Petite Champagne cognacs that have been matured for up to 20 years, giving the congac seductive signature notes of sandalwood, dried apricots and mushroom.

Nr Systembolaget: Not available
Cost in Sweden: Not available
Cost in US: Approx 85 USD
Cost in China: Approx 900 RMB

Frapin Cuvee 1888 Grande Champagne (very rare)

The Frapin family claims sixteenth-century comic author Francois Rabelais, well known both for his prodigious wit and equally prodigious intake of spirits. The author's sense of adventure and his appreciation of a equally prodigious intake of spirits. The Cuvée 1888 provides the finest example of the clan's ability to mix centuries-old craft with the natural abundance of France´s Grande Champagne region. A mixture of several vintages, some predating its 1888 moniker, the Cuvée 1888 presents hints of soft spices and a surprising floral aroma.

Nr Systembolaget: Not available
Cost in Sweden: If imported it would cost approx 38000 SEK (imported by Divine)
Cost in US: 6800 USD
Cost in China: Unknown

Hennessy XO (superb XO cognac)

This cognac is a blend of many crus: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Fin Bois. It is a powerful and rather woody blend, with spicy aromas, complex but remains round. This rich congac brings oak and leather together with slightly sweet notes of flower and fruit. A well balanced work, with a good sense of pepper and rancio. It is also the silver medal winner of 2010 world spirit competition.

Nr Systembolaget: 80157
Cost in Sweden: 1385 SEK
Cost in US: Approx 170 USD
Cost in China: Approx 2000 RMB

Camus VSOP Elegance (great value)

Cognac Camus VSOP Elegance is a blend of eaux-de-vie from different terroirs of the cognac region, the Borderies for example. Many cognac conoisseurs are skeptic against VSOP however I must say that this is a very elegant and balanced VSOP. On the nose it is round, notes of fruits and some almond aromas. On the palate it is fresh, light on wood and rather smooth on the finish.

Nr Systembolaget: 87141
Cost in Sweden: 459 SEK
Cost in US: Approx 45 USD
Cost in China: Approx 450 RMB

Written and recommended by Alexander Yü

Thursday 13 September 2012

Article: Kopi Luwak - Most Exclusive Coffee in the World

Kopi Luwak coffee comes from the Indonesian island of Sumatra, an area well-known for its excellent coffee. All coffee begins as a fragrant and beautiful white flower. The flowers develop into green cherries about the size of a glass marble, inside each cherry two coffee beans sit facing each other. After a few months the cherries ripen to a vivid red and are ready to be harvested, or maybe eaten. Luwaks or Civets are generally nocturnal and steal into the coffee plantation at night to feast on coffee cherries. These little mammals live in the trees and one of their favourite foods is the red, ripe coffee cherry. They eat the cherries, bean and all. While the bean is in the little guy's stomach, it undergoes chemical treatments and fermentations. The bean finishes its journey through the digestive system, and exits. Fruit forms a significant portion of a Luwak's diet so they are very good at selecting the ripest, juiciest cherries. This ability contributes to the final quality of Kopi Luwak. The coffee cherries remain in the digestive tract of the Luwaks for around twenty four hours  and are mixed with various other things the Luwak has eaten. Raw kopi luwak often contains seeds and nuts as well as coffee beans. During the digestive process the flesh of the cherries is removed leaving the seeds (the coffee beans) inside an inner skin, called the pergamino or parchment. The parchment is porous allowing acids in the Luwak's stomach to soak the beans causing the destruction of some of the proteins in the coffee and altering their final taste.

Once the Kopi Luwak has been collected the pieces are, by hand, broken into individual beans, discarding all the unwanted components and reducing the volume of the Kopi Luwak by a considerable amount. The beans remain in the dry, papery parchment which needs to be removed. The beans are then spread out on dark tarpaulin in the sun for a few days to dry the parchment and make it easier to remove. Once the skin/ parchment has dried sufficiently the beans are put into a wooden mortar and pounded with a crusher by hand. The beans themselves are harder than wood and remain unaffected by the treatment while the brittle parchment breaks apart and separates from the beans. The resulting Kopi Luwak beans are hand sorted to remove any beans that appear damaged or unusual, a tedious and time consuming process. After sorting the beans are given a final wash in fresh water, dried for a few days to prevent mould, and stored in hessian sacks.

A batch of raw Kopi Luwak may lose as much as 80% by weight by the time it is ready for roasting. A further 20% of that weight is lost during the roasting process, due to moisture loss, so 10kg of raw Kopi Luwak may produce as little as 1.5kg to 2.0kg of roasted Kopi Luwak beans. Because of the strange method of collecting, there isn't much Kopi Luwak produced in the world. The average total annual production is only around 500 kilos of beans.

The Flavour
The resulting coffee is said to be like no other.  When Western Taste and friends tried the coffee we gathered the following tasting notes:

The nose
Freshly brewed Kopi Luwak has a naturally sweet scent with traces of nuts and chocolate. You can also find hints of hay, tobacco and vanilla. One of our “test subjects” found that the coffee smelled slightly medicinal with hints of faeces.

The Palate
It is definitely a mild coffee but with lots of different taste experiences. You can find some subdued spices that linger and forms a pleasant acidity in the back of your oral cavity. Another one of our “test subjects” compared Kopi Luwak to a mild and very good espresso with a burnt hint.

The Aftertaste
There is almost no aftertaste to talk about. You have a pleasant feeling in your mouth and anything you eat or drink afterwards tastes exceedingly sweet.

Because of the rarity of this coffee, the price is quite outrageous. If you can find a vendor, the current cost for a kilogram of Kopi Luwak is 900 USD or more. Some more adventurous coffee houses are selling it by the cup, but you won't likely find it at your local coffee shop just yet. The coffee isn't so spectacular that it's truly worth that amount of money. You are paying for the experience of enjoying such an unusual and rare delicacy.

Written by Kristian Kull

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Article: The Love for Champagne

French monks were the first to bottle a sparkling form of wine called Champagne, named after the Champagne region of France. 
The method of making -mousse- (another name for bubbles) in a bottle was invented by the efforts of Frere Jean Oudart (1654 – 1742) and Dom Pierre Perignon (1639 – 1715), Benedictine monks and cellarmasters at the respective abbeys of Saint-Pierre aux Monts de Châlons and Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers.

Until medieval times, it was the monks who tended the vines: the wine was blessed and drunk during mass. The wines of
Champagne were given a unique destiny when the paths of geography and history crossed. It was Saint Rémi, bishop of Rheims, whilst living in a villa surrounded by vineyards near to the present town of Epérnay, who baptised Clovis when he converted.

The first King of France was anointed with wine from the
Champagne region one Christmas evening in 496. Several centuries later, the marriage of Jeanne de Navarre, heiress of Champagne, to the heir to the French throne, later Philip the Fair, linked the destiny of the Lords of Champagne to the crown of France. We at Western Taste will present some Champagne recommendations and hope you will enjoy the taste as much as we did. Enjoy and have fun!


Quality: Very High
Price: Quite high, but worth it
One of the last independent and family owned Champagne houses. The quality is very good since they can control the production and not make it as a mass product like Moet Chandon. Bollinger is one of the few Champagne houses that has created strong branding with a sustainable and high standard quality.

Moët & Chandon

Quality: Standard
Price: Price is to high for the quality of Champagne
The most sold Champagne in the world and the strongest marketing program. F1, movies, important award dinners, celebrities and many more branding and marketing activities has been supported by Moët & Chandon. They are also part of the largest luxury brand group in the world with LVMH (Louise Vuitton / Moët / Hennessy) within the group it also includes brands like Johnny Walker, Hennessy Cognac and Dom Perignon Champagne. But the quality of the Champagne is not even close to the others in this article, with the exception of Dom Perignon.

Duval Leroy

Quality: High
Price: Good
Like Bollinger, Duval Leroy is one of the last standing major family owned Champagne houses. They provide high quality with a better value price for the market. Their Champagne is very nice, especially their Lady Rose. Marketing strategies could be stronger but their product quality is very good and worth the price.


Quality: Very High
Price: Very High
This Champagne house is expensive, high in quality and only for the people that can spend the money. It is something that stands out from the crowd. It is something that says quality and high standard all together, it is the Rolls Royce of bubbly wine.

Perrier Jouët

Quality: High
Price: High
Perrier Jouët is mostly famous for its beautiful design and marketing strategy, but is the quality really good? Well the winery is today owned by the huge beverage group Pernod Ricard and is one of the leading brands in Champagne. The quality is very high and the consumers love to drink Perrier Jouët. The price is still a bit expensive however the quality is absolutely amazing.

Written by Alexander Yü

Monday 10 September 2012

Article: Gastronomy like James Bond

Over the years agent 007 have always been associated with luxury, style, women, action and the amazingly superb knowledge within gastronomy. The character James Bond usually is known for Bollinger, Aston Martin and Vodka Martini - shaken not stirred. However over the years it has varied many times on what kind of beverage, automobile or gadgets 007 used. For instance in Goldfinger, Sean Connery drinks Dom Perignon instead of Bollinger and in resent years Daniel Craig has invented a new cocktail for the character; Vesper. Bollinger Champagne is actually not introduced to 007 until 1973 with "Live and Let Die". All in all we can say that James Bond brings style and high interest in food and beverage which we at Western Taste adores in James Bond the most amazing spy character of all times.


Dom Perignon (vintage 2003)
Nr Systembolaget: 7428
Cost in Sweden: 1199 SEK
Cost in China: Apprx 3000 RMB
Cost in US: Apprx 115 USD

Tattinger Comtes de Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs (vintage 2002)
Nr Systembolaget: 77287
Cost in Sweden: 1350 SEK
Cost in China: Apprx 3200 SEK
Cost in US: Apprx 140 USD

Bollinger La Grande Annee (vintage 2002)
Nr Systembolaget: 7579
Cost in Sweden: 849 SEK
Cost in China: Apprx 2500 RMB
Cost in US: 79 USD


Château l`Angélus 2006, Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, France
Nr Systembolaget: 99875
Cost in Sweden: 1495 SEK
Cost in China: Unknown
Cost in US: Apprx 135 USD

Chateau Haut-Brion 1957, Graves, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Price: Very rare and most likely not available anymore

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1955, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Price: Very rare and most likely not available anymore

Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1959, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Price: Very rare and most likely not available anymore

Previous James Bond Films

Dr. No (1962): Dom Pérignon 1955 and Smirnoff vodka.
From Russia With Love (1963): Taittinger Blanc de Blancs.
Goldfinger (1964): Dom Pérignon and mint julep.
Thunderball (1965): Dom Pérignon 1955, vodka, Cinzano martini and Rum Collins.
You Only Live Twice (1967): Vodka and Noilly Prat vermouth.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969): Dom Pérignon 1957, Château Haut-Brion 1957, Hennessy Cognac and Campari.
Diamonds Are Forever (1971): Mouton-Rothschild 1955.
Live And Let Die (1973): Bollinger (for the first time).
The Man With The Golden Gun (1974): Dom Pérignon 1964 and wine from Phuyuck, Thailand.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): Bacardi rum.
Moonraker (1979): Bollinger R.D.
For Your Eyes Only (1981): Dom Pérignon and ouzo.
Octopussy (1983): Bollinger R.D.
Never Say Never Again (1983): (Sean Connery's unofficial film of Thunderball). Absolut vodka.
A View To A Kill (1985): Bollinger 1975, Château Lafite Rothschild 1959 and Stolichnaya vodka.
The Living Daylights (1987): Bollinger R.D.
License To Kill (1989): Bollinger R.D.
GoldenEye (1995): Bollinger Grande Année and vodka.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997): Vodka.
The World Is Not Enough (1999): Bollinger Grande Année.
Die Another Day (2002): Bollinger Grande Année 1961 and 1995.
Casino Royale (2006): Bollinger Grande Année 1990, Château Angélus 1982 and Vesper.
Quantum of Solace (2008): Bollinger Grande Annee and Vesper.

Written by Alexander Yü

The New James Bond Movie: Skyfall

Thursday 6 September 2012

Article: Dress for success

Fashion goes and comes however when it comes to mens fashion there are some basics that never goes out. There are only luxury changes in detail that you need to consider before your purchase. Western Taste has chosen a few recommendations on suits and style that are suitabel in your cigar lounge, wine bar or dining out  on high end restaurants with friends.

Ermenegildo Zegna is an Italian luxury fashion house, specialized in men's clothing. Founded in 1910, it is now managed by the fourth generation of the Zegna family and remains in family ownership. As well as producing suits for its own labels, it manufactures suits for labels such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford. When it comes to mens ware Ermenegildo Zegna is the best.

Massimo Dutti is a company belonging to the Spanish Inditex group (also owner of Zara) dedicated to the manufacturing of clothing. It was created in 1985 and its product range was limited to men's clothing. Massimo Dutti is not on high fashion as the other brands that are presented however it is a very classical clothing line that provides you good quality and amazing design for a fair price.

Giorgio Armani S.P.A. is an international Italian fashion house founded by Giorgio Armani, which designs, manufactures, distributes, and retails haute couture, ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes, watches, jewellery, accessories, eyeware, cosmetics and home interiors. The Armani name has become synonymous with high-fashion, and is a prestigious name in the fashion industry. Armani has always been associated with luxury and superb design in men’s ware and especially its suits. By the end of 2005, estimated sales of the company were around $1.69 billion.

Written by Alexander Yü

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Restaurant Review: Bistro Rigoletto, Sweden

Bistro Rigoletto gives you a classical French cooking with a typical bistro in terms of service and interior design. The restaurant is located on one of Sweden's most busy streets; Kungsgatan, in Stockholm. They have followed the French way of forming a classical theatre bistro next to an old cinema and the interior gives you an classical atmosphere of French art deco. I enjoyed the location and the classical design, however the staff is a bit slow when it comes to order and very fast when it comes to the payment. It is almost as if the staff wanted us to leave as soon as possible for the next customer, which I did not appreciate. When it comes to the food the standard are well executed and nicely seasoned, however my wife ordered a well done steak and received a medium rare. Also, we were a company of 4 and my wife got her steak 15 min after the rest of us which is not acceptable.

The wine list is well made and gives you all the quality selection from France that you need from a bistro style restaurant.
For lunch Bistro Rigoletto gives you plat de jour, which is French for todays special. The food is usually very good however a bit to expensive, especially when they call themselves bistro.

To sum up the review I would say that the food was well seasoned, well made (except for my wife’s steak) and the interior design is perfectly chosen. However the personnel need to be more service minded and trained. They should think of the customer as a long term relationship and not to provide a snobbish image.

Bistro Rigoletto
Kungsgatan 16
Stockholm, Sweden
Tel: 08-502 571 20

Final Grade: 3 out of 5

Written by Alexander Yü