Xanté Company, Sweden
Importer: Kindred Spirits of North America, Miami, Florida
PROOF: 76 (38%)
TYPE: Liqueur, Cognac base
PRICE: $40.00 750 ML
Note: This is liqueur is made from a blend of 4 year-old cognacs aged in limousin oak, belgian pears and so it does not use bulk ethanol, artificial colorants, corn syrup,and chemical flavors like some (O. K., most) of its competitors to produce some god awful sweetened pear abortion that bears more resemblance to canned pears in syrup from your grade school cafeteria days.
Because of the maturation process they were able to keep the sugar content down to 17 % also - which is low for a lot of liqueurs. More importantly the sugar is completely derived from the pears themselves - no additional sugar added - and the color is completely from the cognac - no caramel coloring to both color the spirit and dumb down the taste and mask imperfections - about as natural as one can get with a liqueur.
More concentrated in flavor than the above, with a strong fruity taste.
Used extensively as an aperitif or just a nice drink to have after (or before- depending) a hard day when mixed with Champagne.
Also is wonderful on the rocks or mixed with mineral water. Makes for a wonderful ingredient in a cocktail when seeking sweetness, and fruit or floral elements without resorting to a insipid liqueur in some unnatural fluorescent color.
Appearance: Bright harvest yellow gold color. Not overly thick-bodied like many liqueuers and pristine in appearance. On swirling, leaves a oily even coat on the glass with long legs developing.
First Impression: Aromas of extremely ripe pears, including the skin oils, with a underlyment of cognac and oak.Traces of cinnamon and vanilla peek around the edges.
Taste: Nicely rich taste, mouthfeel, and body witout being over-the-top. Pears, cinnamon and vanilla notes with a slight oak pepperiness and drying at the end - slight nip at the end of cognac and a lingering finish.Reminds me of one of my favorite foods, Thai or Vietnamese preserved banannas (honey preserved/covered bannanas but not as sweet).
Drinks: Still very much in development, IMHO (in my humble opinion). This is a new liqueur so there aren't a lot of drinks out there - which actually is a plus- you can create your own and not find it a books from the 1920's later. Think of a cognac based or poire williams recipe. Other possibilties are substitute out Xanté for sweet vermouth or triple sec in some drinks. Also check out my recipe section for the Stockholm Syndrome Martini - just substitute the Xanté for the Lingonberry Syrup and water.
Bottle: Tall clear glass with a minimalist but elegant labels and graphics - heavy decanter base lends a nice balance also. Bottle is similar in design to some of the newer cognac and brandy packages and gives your back bar a modern and classy look. Nice packaging and product makes for a worthy gift to give or receive.
Cigars: Goes nicely with a Rocky Patel vintage 1992 or Ashton.
Other: Sugar is about half the normal amount of a liqueur - which is a positive in our minds. Also it is much higher proof (76) so you are not paying a lot for something watered down like many liqueurs which tend to be much lower proof. In short less sugar and more cognac - hard to argue with.
Final Thoughts: One of the more interesting liqueurs I have come across in a while. A interesting addition to a Cocktailians' armamentarium, and worthy of some cocktail experimentation.
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).
Somewhat minimal information and drinks section also a news links that sometimes do not work , and a restricted access manual of some sort.
Not particularly informative but nice layout and amusing theme and photos to it.