The Plum, I suppose

Empirical is a flavor company founded by Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen in 2017. Empirical applies culinary and scientific innovations in flavor to spirits and beyond following the empirical method: knowledge is gained from experiences, our senses and a desire to explore the world around us.

The Plum, I suppose - brandy dandy

The Plum, I suppose

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Welcome to Refshaleøen



The thought process was to re-create the overall flavor of a plum, without using any fruit. The name is inspired by a poem by Robert Frost, in which he states things may appear one way but are in fact never as black and white as they may seem.



The use of the plum kernels was inspired by a dessert from Rosio Sanchez. Lars’ favorite dessert to date. The marigold flower came after 18 months of banging our heads against the wall to find the perfect counter balance to the bitter almond flavor of the kernels.



Empirical was founded in 2017 by Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen in a 10m² kitchen in Copenhagen’s meatpacking district. Together they embarked on a journey to expand their ideas around flavor and share them with people across the world.



Empirical combines techniques and traditions from different cultures. They’ve sought out the perfect koji in Japan and foraged for açaí in the Brazilian jungle. They bring everything back to their distillery in Copenhagen where their motley crew of chefs, brewers, waiters and scientists vacuum distills them into spirits that capture the fondest memories and inspire new ones. Empirical takes a flavor first approach, which means their spirits upend conventional categories.

Fermentation and Vacuum Distillation

They make their own spirit base rather than buying factory-made ethanol: if you want to make something delicious in the end, you need to build flavor from the beginning. To do so, they brew a wort combining house-made barley koji and pilsner malt, which they ferment with a strain of Belgian Saison Yeast carefully selected from White Labs. Lars and Mark allow these things to ferment slowly to produce layered flavors before distilling them a first time to obtain their base spirit. They vacuum distill their spirits which means that they can distill at temperatures between 5 and 30 degrees celsius. This lets them hold onto all the flavors of the botanicals, grains and yeast.

Deconstruct the Ingredient

Empirical macerates their botanicals separately in their own low wine. In the case of “The Plum, I Suppose”, plum kernels and marigold flowers. The two maceration blends are then distilled again resulting in several cuts of a clear spirit with flavor from the ingredients. Throughout the distillation run on a 500 liters still, they take on average 100 cuts. In doing so, they stretch flavor out before cutting it into segments that they can taste individually. Each cut captures a different aspect of whatever they are distilling, allowing them to deconstruct the ingredient, explore nuances as they develop, and splice them back together to construct an ideal profile. They also make a kombucha with the leftover marigold flowers, which they use as blending agent, instead of water. Allowing them to lower the ABV while bringing and extra layer of flavor.

Tasting Notes

The kernel inside plum stones is the foundation of this spirit. Rather than tasting of stone fruit, the kernel lends a marzipan, bitter almond flavor. Distilled marigold kombucha brings another side of floral and tannic notes reminiscent of plum skins; the combination is sort of the suggestion of plum: the top notes are misleading as there is not fruit in this spirit at all. A perception of sweetness with a refreshing finish.

Tasting Notes: Sweet, marzipan, floral, bright.


The Plum, I Suppose & Citrus Soda

5 cl The Plum, I Suppose
15 cl Citrus Soda
1 pc. Lemon zest

Pour the spirit in a glass over ice.Top up with white grapefruit soda and mix.Garnish with lemon zest.

Plum Paloma

4 cl The Plum, I Suppose
2 cl Mezcal
5 cl Three Cents Pink Grapefruit Soda
1 pc. Lime Zest

Pour spirits over ice, add soda and stir. Microplane lime zest as garnish


4.5 cl The Plum, I Suppose
2.5 cl Dry Vermouth
1 cl Water
1 Dash Regans Orange Bitters No.6

Combine all ingredients.Leave it in the freezer for an hour.Pour in your favorite martini glass.