A group of students at the National University of Singapore have created the world’s first wine made from the divisive durian fruit.
The divisive durian fruit has been turned into a wine by Singapore PhD students
Created by PhD students Christine Lee and Fransisca Taniasuri, the fruit wine is made from 100% durian, known as the “king of fruits” in Southeast Asia.
The spiky fruit divides opinion due to its intense aroma, which has been described by its critics as smelling like rotting fish, stale vomit, unwashed socks and raw sewage.
The power and persistence of its odour has led the fruit to be banned on public transport and in a number of hotels in Southeast Asia.
The pair also created a papaya wine as part of the three-year research project.
Both wines underwent a traditional fermentation process at a mild temperature and without the use of sulphur dioxide in order to minimise chemical treatment.
According to its creators, the lower fermentation temperature has imbued the durian wine with a “rich creamy colour” and a “buttery” taste.
“The wine tastes nothing like durian”, Lee assured.
Lee and Taniasuri hope the papaya wine will be well received by tropical wine lovers, and are looking to bring both wines to the market.
“There’s no papaya wine available in Asia, so this is the wow factor. It’s fruity and sweet with tropical aromas,” said Lee.
Due to durian’s high sulphur content, it can be dangerous to eat the fruit at the same time as drinking alcohol as the sulphur impairs the work of aldehyde dehydrogenase, an enyzyme that plays a vital role in breaking down alcohol.
There have been incidents of people reportedly dying after consuming durian and alcohol together.
Dr Liu Shao Quan, a professor at NUS, said that the wine was safe as the fermentation process dramatically reduced the fruit’s sulphur levels.
“After fermentation, the sulphur compounds are reduced significantly to trace levels, therefore there should not be any safety issues,” he said.
Taniasuri, Liu and Lee pose with the durian and papaya wines. Credit: Joyce Fang