Smooth, easy, ‘swabe’: What makes a drink smooth?

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In search of “tamang swabe” after a long day of shoots and tapings, Ian Veneracion unwinds with GSM Primera Light Brandy. Illustration by MIA TOGLE

Manila, Philippines (CNN Philippines Life) — In a 2015 Wall Street Journal article titled “What do wine lovers mean by ‘smooth’?”, Lettie Teague writes: “What’s the most common word oenophiles use — and misuse — to describe a wine? The answer might surprise you. According to several retailers, it’s ‘smooth.’”

One of the retailers interviewed for the article says that “smooth” is “the 1,000,000% single-most misused term of all time.” Another jokingly suggests that what customers mean by smoothness is “so smooth they didn’t know what they were drinking.”

But Teague disagrees. She writes, “‘Smooth’ may be a wildly subjective adjective … but it doesn’t have to describe one lacking in complexity, richness and depth.” And when Teague was writing about wine, she might as well have been talking about brandy.

“The only times I really hear brandy referenced, it's the most generic, cliché image of a stuffy old white man in a smoking jacket with a snifter by a fireplace drinking some unpronounceable French brandy,” Chad Robinson, a brandy enthusiast and brand ambassador for Catoctin Creek, a Virginia distillery which produces a range of brandies, told Eater in 2015. While brandy can definitely be enjoyed that way, that’s not where brandy ends and begins.

Brandy is a spirit that been distilled from wine, or another fermented fruit juice. “It can be aged, as is required for Cognacs, or it can be unaged,” Eater continues, “and it can come from anywhere in the world.”

GSM Primera Light Brandy Recent products like GSM Primera Light Brandy are proving you no longer have to sacrifice the smoothness of a drink for price. Illustration by MIA TOGLE  

What do we talk about when we talk about a smooth drink? In the simplest, crudest terms, drinkers of hard liquor often refer to the word “smooth” when talking about a drink that goes down easy, the kind that doesn’t make you cough or make you feel like you’re inhaling fumes. While it’s potent, warm, and hits all the spots you expect when drinking hard liquor, you can still taste the flavor. And like the best wines, you still get the depth of taste.

Some drinkers pin this on price — the more expensive the drink, the easier it goes down; the more affordable, the more likely to “burn” as it goes down. But as recent products like GSM Primera Light Brandy are proving, you no longer have to sacrifice the smoothness of a drink for price.

Primera Light Brandy is a unique brandy liqueur made from fine imported ingredients and exquisitely blended with Solera Gran Reserva Brandy concentrate from Spain. A product of Ginebra San Miguel Inc., the breakthrough Premium Smooth Blend process gives Primera Light Brandy a distinct, flavorful aroma, well-balanced character, and a depth of taste — which they playfully describe as “tamang swabe, swabeng tama.

GSM Primera Light Brandy recently tapped the actor Ian Veneracion as its brand ambassador. “After a ‘tamang swabe’ day of shooting or taping, I just want to relax and drink something smooth,” he says. “So when I’m with friends we usually just open a bottle of Primera Light Brandy… [which] is smoother than other brands, and I love how it tastes.”

The Primera Light Brandy was recently recognized for its high quality and taste by the Monde Selection International Quality Institute, the distinguished worldwide authority of quality in the food and beverages industry.