Unlike some of my past girlfriends, NOT dark, bitter nor expensive, just sweet and fun. Like the current one.
Notes: This is one of a number of excellent products from Bendistillery. They filter their vodka (which is also the base for their gin) 10 times through charcoal and lava rock, then age it slightly in oak. They blend the vodka, hazelnut espresso beans, and a little brown cane sugar to make this specialty.
Appearance: Muddy at first – of course they tell you to shake the bottle so you stir up the coffee grounds! Body is heavier than water but not excessively so. Some formation of legs on the glass but not a lot – this is a good sign in vodka (as oppossed to some other spirits) as this shows that glycerine is not used to thicken it or reduce off tastes and aromas (as caramel is used in some whisky). The center of the glass does show settling of coffee in the center of the glass, a ppearance is slightly flat compared to other similar products. However, being the purist that I am, I prefer it this way. It shows me that there is real coffee in their product and they haven’t used a bunch of chemical enhancers and thickeners to make it look more uniform and pretty to the uninformed.
First Impression: A strong aroma of hazelnuts, quite aromatic and then the whiff of coffee afterwards – no smell of the usual adulterants that you find in other coffee flavored drinks. Also, there is a lack of off-notes or that rubbing alcohol smell you get from a bad or sloppy distillation. Well done!
Taste: Hazelnut aromatics, oily mouthfeel followed by a smooth sweet coffee taste. A slight spike of alcohol as it goes down the throat, with a lingering taste of coffee in thhe mouth, very much like the end of a well sweetened cup of java.
Drinks: Works extrememly well in the drinks they have developed for it and also for a Toasted Almond (you can skip the Amaretto too, another bonus). Superior substitute for some coffee flavored liquors if you want (or at least don’t mind) the hazelnut component, reverse holds true if you are looking for a Frangelica substitute.
Final Thoughts: An Interesting new coffee flavored spirit. Well made – refreshingly natural without a lot of the additives that usually make me avoid liqueurs like the plague. Unlike some of my past girlfriends, NOT dark, bitter nor expensive, just sweet and fun.
Bottle: Tastefully understated frosted bottle with modern southwestern art-style label. I am not sure if the frosted bottle works as well with this spirit as the others but it does carry over as a identifying trademark bottle for all their products which helps finding them. Not to mention, it simplifies the bottling line, I’m sure.
Straightforward design, fast loading but lots of information. Well laid out, no annoying flash presentation or intros. Just solid design and well thought out content. Nice drinks recipes section. Good information on distributors and internet links, if all else fails.