Liqueur- Royal Combier
Distillerie Combier, Samur, France
Royal Combier Liqueur D'Orange
Distillerie Combier, Samur, France
Importer: Cadre Noir Imports, New York, New York
PROOF: 80 (40%)
TYPE: Liqueur, Orange, Triple Sec
PRICE: $36.99 750 ML
Note: This is one of the newer releases in the U.S from Combier (the oldest being Combier L'Original Liqueur D'Orange) and the newest Combier Rouge / Roi René Rouge. This liqueur is a blend of Combier Original (which is the the original formula of "triple sec"), cognac, and Elixir de Combier ( a medicinal elixer/bitter somewhat similar to Swedish Bitters) It is 100% natural and so it does not use cheap bulk ethanol, artificial colorants, corn syrup,and chemical flavors like some (O.K., most) of its competitors to produce some of those god awful sweetened orange candy syrups that pass as triple sec, especially in this country.
Established in 1834, the Combier distillery is the oldest active distillery in the Loire Valley area. Designed by Gustav Eiffel and using the same antique copper pot stills - which add complexity,nuance and depth to their products - unlike the column still used for most bulk triple sec production. Hand-crafted from select natural ingredients and about as natural as one can get with a liqueur.
Appearance: Bright clear. Not overly thick-bodied like many liqueurs and pristine in appearance - a triple sec that does not resort to a some unnatural fluorescent color. On swirling, leaves a oily even coat on the glass with long legs developing.
First Impression: Intensely orange including the skin oils, you can immediately pick up on the fact that it is a harmonious blend of different oranges and the intensity of real orange oil cannot be mistaken.
Taste: Nicely rich mouthfeel, with a slight nip from the orange oils and a slight tang of bitter mixing with sweet. A couple of other herbs seem to be lingering in the wings intensifying the natural orange and giving it more depth and complexity through rounding out the flavor.
Drinks: Hundreds of them - anything calling for a triple sec, (also a Cointreau, Curacao, or similar) without resorting to a insipid liqueur in some unnatural fluorescent color.
Bottle: Completely different from its French bottle the American version is rectangular black frosted glass with elegant labels and graphics - heavy decanter base lends a nice balance also. Bottle is similar in design to gives your back bar that Bistro look (or in my case maybe the Marseilles dive look). Neck foil/cap is bright gold/orange with silver lettering.
Other: Much higher proof (80) so you are not paying a lot for something watered down like many other triple sec which tend to be much lower proof , taste awful, and lead to more toxic hangovers. As it is higher proof and more intensely flavored (through the use of real ingredients) you will probably have to adjust your drinks recipes and be abe to use somewhat less than you would other triple sec. Also take a look at our Cocktail Math tables on difference between using cheap crap vs. quality ingredients.
Final Thoughts: The original triple sec is still the the best - and about 1/2 the price of most of the competition (Cointreau Noir, Grand Manier, etc.). One of the best out there and beats the competition hands down. If you are serious about your ingredients, and triple sec in particular, you need a bottle of Combier for your bar.
Also good in cooking-sauces, glazes, or on ice cream. Try it in your mineral water for the for a adult alternative to soda (in Sweden this would be called Safft using lingonberry syrup).
American Site: Good information, drinks section,drinks competition and ordering instructions.
French Site: Much more information and products - amusing jazz loop too.