Since it's been about two months since I started my homemade vanilla extract, I thought it high time to see how my product is doing.
By color - Nice and dark. By smell, upon first opening the bottle - Ahhh... Vanilla!!!
I though I'd give a try at comparing a bit of my vanilla extract with the my store bought version.
I grabbed a graduated medicine dropper, and put .5 mil of each extract into two small glass cups. I sniffed, I looked, I tasted. I brought the cups to Jude, and asked him to compare them.
I smelled them. I couldn't tell much difference. I thought the store extract smelled slightly sweeter. Jude though mine was slightly sweeter. Maybe we're both confused.
I tasted mine. I thought - yuck! Tastes like alcohol! Then I tasted the store extract. Same thing! Apparently I've never tasted vanilla extract before? Why I should be shocked that something that is 40% alcohol tastes that way is beyond me... Anyway, the point being, they tasted relatively similar. Mine was the slightest bit weaker in vanilla flavor, I thought.
I swirled them around a bit, looking at the samples in different lights. I think the store extract was just a bit darker than my homemade extract.
My conclusion? After 8 weeks, it is totally a usable vanilla extract. I think that another few months will really improve the flavor. Since I initially made the extract with the intent to let it sit for 4-6 months before use, finding that it appears to be a good product at 2 months is great!
I highly recommend giving a go at making your own vanilla extract. It's cheaper than store bought, and I think that in a few months it well taste better than store bought, too (as opposed to tasting the same as right now). If this much vanilla extract is a bit much for you, consider splitting a bottle with some one - share costs, or share some as a gift.