A very interesting blend of oriental fruits and herbs Obviously has lots of Tiki drink potential.
Notes: Dashfire has possibly one of the largest portfolios of bitters by a modern bitters makers with at least 21 different varieties and counting. They also span an interesting variety that encompass single variety flavors ( Orange, Lemon, Lime,Grapefruit, Star Anise, Sichuan, Bayleaf, Hibiscus, Allspice, Cardamom Cinnamon ,Clove , Lavender ,) and other blended type such as Spiced Apple, Creole, Aromatic, J.Thomas, Brandy Old Fashioned, The Barrel Aged Vintage Orange Bitters, and finally, the Vagabond Series – Mr. Lee, Chai’Walla, and Mole along with Egberts Cocktail Cherries and other delights that may be coming down the road later sometime ….
This is their Mister Lees Ancient Chinese Secret Bitter from the Vagabond Series. Mr Lee Is the name the founder Lee Egbert was called by his Chinese students when he worked there. It was influenced by the foods and spices there.
Appearance: Slightly hazy dark gold reddish brown with slight herbal sedimentation at the bottom of the bottle (which to me is not a fault but an assurance this was made from herbs and not a batch of chemicals from somewhere, and lends a touch of authenticity to a product that was not processed to death)
First Impression: Tamarind and Mandarin oranges and spices a earthy but fruity melange, the tamarind nicely bridging/ground the bitter the addtion of the palm sugar
Taste: Delicious, spiced orange and tamarind, notes of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, a sort of spiced rum character overall, with a slightly Asiatic twist it
Drinks: Whiskey, rum, and pisco drinks all seemed much improved with these bitters. Followed the suggestion under his recipe section the resulting martinez with Mr LeesAncient Chinese Secret Bitters is highly recommended . Would also suggest its use in a gin Lassi
Bottle: Interesting little (1.7 OZ/50 ML ) bottle, a footed , round clear glass, similar to a Chinese Snuff or perfume bottle. Round labels front and back, black sealing wax is used to cover the cap and neck giving it a slightly exotic feel/look along with the parchment colored label stock. Very distinctive and easy to spot
Other: First time I have seen tamarind ( one of my favorite oriental fruits) used. Points for recognizing Palm sugar as a distinct ingredient also.
Final Thoughts: Well made, high quality, and complex. Works well with many different cocktails and as a food flavoring.
Well laid out, fast loading and colorful. Nice descriptions of bitters, photo gallery, where to buy, and a good recipe section with plenty of tips ( including food idea) and a useful if smallish resource guide too. Thoughtful and tastefully done website without a lot of gimmicks.