An excellent Amaro that breaks new ground in both its flavor profile and appeal, without straying too far from its family tree.
Notes: Well, I thought, didn’t Dale know better than go even further down the rabbit hole of spirits production after all these years? Isn’t he too old and wise enough not to get entangled in more spirits husbandry?
Apparently not! And much to our benefit, if not his too, given all the heartbreak and headaches anything like that entails!
DeGroff New World Amaro and its sister creation DeGroff Bitter Aperitivo, both made by Dale Degroff A.K.A. King Cocktail, The Grand Old Man of Cocktails, etc., etc., and prodigious author of many classic cocktail books, I could go on for a few paragraphs… And Ted Breaux is a younger legend in his own right, having revived Absinthe both formulaically and legally, and someone who has revived a number of spirits, potions, and rituals.
Both of them are working with Clear Creek Distillery of Hood River Oregon, one of the older artisanal distilleries around in the United States with a host of award-winning spirits of their own to produce this Amaro and the Aperitivo, Mr Degroff also has a very interesting Aromatic Pimento Bitter
This amaro is a new world variation on a ancient style of spirit, Essentially a aromatized, fortified wine type spirit that is an herbal base with a fair amount of fruit (as opposed to a fernet which is a mostly herbal, darker and with much less fruit)
Appearance: Dark as used motor oil, translucent brown black.Leaves a medium oily coat on the glass when swirling and retreats quickly with legs back into the glass
First Impression: Aromatic and earthy Herbs with wafts of fruit- lemon, bitter orange peel, grapefruit and currants (?)
Taste: Bit of a dark flavor bomb !Slightly thick, somewhat oily entry, with a decided flavor punch to it .Rooty, dark herbs, mildly bitter offset and balanced by a host of darker fruit, grapes and berries followed by lighter aromatic herbs, a dark rollercoaster ride of flavor. Lingering jammy finish with a long fade. Nicely done.
Drinks: Extensive cocktail recipe list on the DeGroff Spirits website. All of the ones I tried ( read all of them) were excellent and bring refreshing spins on the classics. Also as a note to bartenders/mixologists – this is a new ingredient and flavor palette to play with so you will be breaking at least some new ground with any cocktail you create with this Amaro- an increasingly difficult task to achieve anymore ! So go to it !
Bottle: Interesting sort of mid century modern and Italianate use of colors and aesthetic Square bottom to round upper decanter weighted bottom to round shoulders., Decent neck grip and easy to open with tight synthetic cork to keep contents from oxidizing.Distinctive and easy to spot on a commercial or home bar.
Other: As a side bar, the term “New World” to designate a new form, class or expression of spirits started in the early 2000’s.It was coined in reaction to the rather sudden explosion of non Juniper dominant gins that craft distillers ( primarily but not exclusively in America) were producing.It sprang from an (amicable) argument between David Wondrich and I over the naming or characterization of these spirits. We knocked around “Western” and “American” but David protested that original”American” Gin was in fact much like Dutch or Genever style- to which I stated , yes , of course but you and I and maybe 6 other people know or care about that fact” me thinking it was a bit pedantic at that point. We seemed to settle on my idea which was “Old World ” Meaning European and English Gins ( Genever,Jenever, Plymouth, London Dry, etc., etc., ) and “New World ” ( the new crop of non Juniper dominant and mostly American Gins) much like the division of wildlife such as monkeys – similar but different.
Final Thoughts: A nicely done Amaro in the new world style. A refreshing break from the Old World Amaro yet quite excellent on it own, balancing itself between the two worlds. Only reservation/observation is the price – compared to a number of other Amaros out there it is at the higher end of the price range, but far more versatile and higher quality than a lot of the mass produced stuff. Worth the splurge (MIGHT cost you 50 cents or maybe $1 more a drink but definitely worth it !)
Website : DeGroff Spirits.com