If you ask me, there's no other way to end a whirlwind European escapade than by cramming one last unplanned stop via EasyJet onto the tail end of your trip. But, if we're being honest, how could anyone turn down 24 hours in Copenhagen? Long on my radar for a number of reasons, work finally nudged me over the line. The Selection Massale team invited me to tag along and check out exactly what was happening at Empirical Spirits, the flavor-obsessed brainchild of Noma alums Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen, and I didn't say no.
We all met at Charles de Gaulle airport on Thursday afternoon with plenty of time for our evening flight, an experience with which I'm totally unfamiliar. If you’re not pressing your luck, are you really living? But things moved along smoothly and we landed just past 8pm with plenty of time for us to make our reservation at Baest. Denmark was not a place that I thought of for pizza but once you’ve had it alongside a bit of Dard & Ribo and some good Swiss Chasselas, it's hard to complain. The meal was fantastic and the city already felt welcoming beyond expectation. Not even a late night cab ride to the wrong address on the entirely wrong side of town could dampen our initial impression.
The next morning was our tour at the distillery. Empirical is located in what at one point must have been an industrial park but has now been restored as some sort of post-apocalyptic hipster paradise. The entire complex is like an advertisement for the vibrancy of youth. Once inside, you notice nothing but the joy of each person to be working in such an environment. In speaking with people, you could feel their passion for experimentation and how well they were supported in their venture to drive Empirical forward in exploring the concept of flavor. As we were led through each step of their process we stopped to smell and taste every component part and began to decipher how this maddening quest for flavor is truly a worthwhile and noble endeavor.
And the best part? Now we get to share that endeavor with you. Or even spark your desire to go and see it for yourself. Copenhagen and Empirical should be near the top of your future travel plans.
- Eric Moorer