Butter Tasting
January, 2005 - Joanne
Butters listed in the order we tasted them. Each butter was tasted double blind - 3 times (cold from fridge, room temperature and melted with Dungeness Crab).

Jack's comments: Personally, I don't think the resulting rankings mean much, statistically, as we didn't have enough tasters. All of the butters were excellent, even the Pamplie. What's really to be learned here is that you should try a bunch of different butters; you'll find one or two that you like significantly more than the others. Butter is also a very challenging food to taste-test; butter-covered taste buds hinder the tasting.

The tasters comments:

Unsalted Butters
A. Clover Unsalted
Really Good. Yum. Long Finish. Dense. Really Creamy. Nutty. Enhances crab (makes sweeter). Lighter flavor. Regular butter taste. Tastes better room temperature.
Bland. Slightly sour aftertaste. Almost no flavor. Slight grit.
B. Lurpak – Unsalted
Deeper fatty taste. Good. Lighter, creamy. Good. Pleasant mild flavor. Good texture. Okay Texture.Good flavor/texture.
Still Ho-hum. A little plain. Slightly sour. A little bland. Slightly gray. Too greasy. Tastes slightly salted. Not distinctive.
C. Atalanta
Creamy. Very good room temperature. Nice. Good. Round buttery flavor, almost floral. Good dairy flavor. Good for butter on bread.
Slightly bland. Bland, bland, bland. Unassuming. Benign. Plain. Not much flavor. Slightly greasy. Slightly sour taste.
D. Beurremont 83% Beurre Grand Cru, Unsalted
Rich, pungent buttery taste. Very good. Creamy. Most mouth coating. Slightly lemony? Smooth.Good flavor. Slight dairy flavor. Smooth. Good flavor/texture.
Oily. Rustic. Cheesy. Lard like texture. Not as good melted – blander. Bread overwhelmed flavor.
E. Straus Family European Style Unsalted
Buttery flavor.Good. Slightly sweet. Light. Mild. Pleasant. Smooth. Sweet.
Oily. Heavy. Pungent aftertaste. Doesn’t stand up well to sourdough. Weaker than “D”. Not much flavor. Hard texture.
F. Organic Pastures Raw Milk Butter
Excellent flavor. Pleasant aftertaste. Creamy. Subtle. Very dairy.
Yuck! Pungent and cheesy. Oily. Really cheesy. Watery. Slightly sour. Terrible with crab. Yuck! Cheese-like taste.

Salted Butter
G. Pamplie
Good. Good texture.
Yuck! Salty, cheesy, heavy. Enh. Salty! Sour undertones. Icky. Very salty-overwhelms flavor. Pale. Salty, greasy. Slight grit. Salt is all you taste. Quite salty.
H. Isigny Ste. Mère – Fleur de Sel
Good, Buttery. Sweet and salty. Not too salty. Good salt level. Pleasant aftertaste. Very good melted. Creamy.
Salty. Dark. Greasy. Melted – very sweet and salty and not great with crab. Just okay. Sour tasting. Too salty. Salty.
I. Lurpak Salted
Good. Medium saltiness. Tasty. Slightly meaty. Interesting with crab. Not as salty. Good texture.
Heavy oily flavor, coats tongue. Need a towel to degrease tongue. Too salty on finish (melted). Very mild flavor. Flavorless. Salty.
J. Vermont Butter & Cheese Company Cultured Butter, Lightly Salted
Very good, milder flavor which doesn’t overwhelm. Different. More pure? Very good with crab. Creamy. Slightly creamy. Creamy and not too salty. Creamy.
Oily when melted. Slightly sour. Not that pleasant. Poor flavor. Lard-like. Slightly gritty. Cracker overwhelms taste.
K. Smith Creamery Roll Butter, Salted
Really good! Salt well integrated. Real buttery flavor. Good salt level. Good.
Cheesy, funky overpowering. Pungent aftertaste that lingers. Yuk. Oily when melted. Melted- really salty and slightly sour. Salty and slight grit. Chemical aftertaste. Sour aftertaste.
L. Double Devon Cream Butter, Slightly Salted
Appealing. Raw? Pure. Salt not noticeable. Good flavor and right level of salt.
Cheesy undertones overwhelm butter flavor. Not good. Oily. Cheesy. Raw flavor. Gritty and not much flavor. Tastes like cheese.
M. Kerry Gold Butter
Very good. Rich, buttery but not oily. What butter should taste like. Melted –saltier but still good. Didn’t dislike. Really, really creamy and smooth. Pleasant aftertaste. Salt level OK. Creamy. Ok. Very creamy. Good taste.
Almost too oily. Salty aftertaste. Greasy. Very mild. Slight grit.
N. Clover Salted
Rich! Strong butter flavor. Interesting – Yum! Very creamy. Good taste.
Oily and heavy. Too, too salty. Sooo salty – ick! Ick. Slight fridge burn. Really salty. Vinegary. Salty and unpleasant. Chemical, greasy and salty. Ugh!

The Results!


Lurpak Unsalted 14
Atalanta 13
Beurremont 11
Organic Pastures Raw Milk Butter 10
Clover Unsalted 9
Straus Family Euro Unsalted 7
Kerry Gold 14
Vermont Butter & Cheese Co 12
Isigny Ste Mere Fleur de Sel 6
Smith Creamery Roll 6
Lurpak Slightly Salted 5
Double Devon Cream 5
Clover Salted 4
Pamplie 0

Each of the nine tasters ranked their 3 favorites for each category; they received 3, 2, and 1 points, respectively.

Availability: Clover and Straus Family are probably available only in parts of Northern California. The rest are distributed nationally - most can be found at Whole Foods and/or Gourmet Food stores. Kerry Gold is probably the easiest to find, as it's carried by Trader Joe's (at a low price, too).

Butter Tasting

Bread as Foil

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