Tasting Persedo’s “Polished” Spirits
Persedo isn’t a spirit brand you can go out and buy. Rather, it’s a technology, known in full as Persedo Polishing Technology, which spirits producers can use to improve their finished product — the proverbial Philosopher’s Stone that can take rotgut and turn it into top shelf hooch.
The proprietary system is not an accelerated aging system but rather one which the company describes as polishing, because it “removes harsh impurities and unwanted congeners from any class of spirit in minutes.” You can see the machine — “developed by a team of chemists led by a three-time NASA Inventor of the Year award winner” — in the photo above. You can read all about the technical details on Persedo’s website, though how it works is never really described.
If you want to experience it yourself, the system is currently being installed at to-be-named Texas distillery, so soon you’ll be able to see how it works in the real world. Meanwhile, we received some samples from Persedo, one vodka and one whiskey — both in “control” and polished form — to see how well it all works.
Let’s dig in.
Vodka Control – This is a surprisingly doughy vodka, with some astringency on the nose. The palate is quite a bit better, medicinal but not overwhelming with hospital notes and not particularly harsh.
Vodka Polished – Cleaner, more neutral nose, and far less of a medicinal note on the palate. This barely tastes like vodka at all, only hinting at the alcohol within but showing some clear sweetness on the finish. If stripping the “burn” out of the spirit is your angle, Persedo has done the job here… though it has clearly robbed the vodka of some of its character.
Now let’s check out the whiskey, which presents as a young bourbon (though it could be a blend of some kind).
Whiskey Control – Again, this doesn’t strike me as particularly awful, with the barrel char, caramel corn, and peanut aromas you might expect in something like a Jim Beam White Label. Much the same on the palate. Definitely drinkable, though there’s nothing noteworthy about it.
Whiskey Polished – Like the vodka, the nose has definitely been stripped down to a more neutral state. While I don’t think the Control was “harsh,” it did have a brash youthfulness to it. Here the char and peanut are dialed way back on the nose, though the palate sees less of a change. Again, it comes across as clearly sweeter and shows less of an influence of the alcohol and a milder barrel char element.
Bottom line: I’m not sure either of the polished spirits are demonstrably “better” than their control versions, and arguably the control vodka has more going on, making it more interesting. That said, Persedo is effective at tempering the impact of alcohol and certain controversial flavors in the finished product (without lowering the final proof). Interesting, at least.