Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tempus Fugit - Bitters and Liqueurs

Tempus Fugit Gran Classico Bitter...$35.99
28% (56 proof)
A bitter apéritif liqueur created following the "Italian Bitter of Turin" recipe dating from the 1860s. It was originally produced in Turin, Italy under the name Torino Gran Classico; the recipe had been purchased in 1925 by the small Swiss distillery E. Luginbühl and a version has been produced for mostly local consumption ever since. Gran Classico was developed by reverting back to the original recipe; it is made from a maceration of a mixture of 25 aromatic herbs and roots including wormwood, gentian, bitter orange peel, rhubarb, and hyssop. The maceration also creates a naturally attractive, golden-amber color, and no additional coloring is added. Gran Classico Bitter stands alone on ice or with seltzer water, but has amazing range as a modifier for many recipes and spirits. It has offered the cocktailian culture a more complex, non-red alternative Bitter ingredient for the world-famous 'Negroni'.

Tasting notes: Natural golden-amber color. Aroma presents a multi-faceted bitter-sweetness of orange peel, gentian root and wormwood mingled with rhubarb and vanilla. The viscosity immediately highlights the sweet rhubarb, then the bitter gentian root and orange peel blend with wormwood, vanilla and resiny notes. Deep, layered and lingering finish that balances and alternates between the sweet and bitter.

Paul Pacult's review: Tawny color, with lots of floating debris. Aroma comes out swinging in grand herbal/root style, with special focus on rhubarb; aeration stimulates more of the orange peel and yet there is an alluring rooty/gentian bittersweetness that's immensely appealing. Entry is all about the rhubarb upfront, then in midpalet the gentian dominates before the orange peel comes rushing back in the finish as well as a piny/resiny quality that makes the aftertaste smashingly delicious. Campari drinkers take note: the ultimate expression of Bitter.

Awards: The Spirit Journal's 130 Best Spirits in the World 2010
The Spirit Journal's 13 Best Five Star Liqueurs and Absinthes for 2010 : Top Bitter (only one chosen)
The Spirit Journal June 2010 : Five Stars - Highest Recommendation

Tempus Fugit Fernet del Frate Angelico....$59.99
44% (88 Proof)
Although categorized under Italian Amari (Bitters), Fernet is its own bitter category and is most often listed under Elixir/Elisir in Italian liquor manuals, when not simply called 'Fernet'.
The extremely bitter (amarissimo is an apt description) concoction has conflicting data as to its origins and a recent Tempus Fugit discovery of an original Italian invoice and recipe attributed Fernet to a monk named Frate Angelico Fernet, who may have also been responsible for the origin of many herbal tonics and elixirs. Fernet is an historical French surname from the Burgundy region - pronounced 'Fair-Nay' - and it underwent many spelling transformations.
    Fernet del Frate Angelico is truly a step back in time and a major step up in quality from anything available on the modern market. It is made in micro-batches by hand at the Matter Distillery in Switzerland following an original, hand-written recipe, purchased by the distillery's original owner in 1930 from a long-closed Italian distillery.
This amazing liqueur can be sipped on its own, but shines in skilfully-made cocktails, especially the Employees Only 'Fernando' and the Toronto. It is a fantastic, multifaceted substitute for cocktail bitters. Tempting to take straight as a shot, stop to savor and enjoy its complexity, and Fernet del Frate Angelico will instantly become your go-to sipper for the first and the last drink of the night.
Tasting notes:
Deep colored, almost black from the extensive recipe herb-bill, with golden reflections from the expensive addition of fine saffron; there is no additional coloring added. The saffron aromas mix with lightly mentholated and medicinal notes. The bitterness is immediately detected on the first sip, but evolves with light mint, menthol flavors that are surprisingly balanced and a subtle sweetness carries the finish on for a long while, as the bitterness becomes surprisingly engaging.

Tempus Fugit Spirits Crème de Cacao....$31.99
24% (48 Proof)
Tempus Fugit Spirits Crème de Cacao is based on a 19th century recipe, cross-referenced in English and French. As terroir is important for all plant materials, and the original source of cacao for the best quality of Crème de Cacao was cacao from Venezuela and the best source of vanilla was from Mexico, it was important to us that we specifically sourced these two ingredients to reproduce the best quality of Crème de Cacao. The raw cacao is distilled and the distillate is then macerated with additional cacao and crushed whole vanilla bean. The process not only gives a depth of character, but also naturally colors the Crème de Cacao a medium brown. The term Crème was applied to these styles of spirits due to the creamy mouth-feel caused by the addition of a high concentration of sugar, in our case we use cane sugar. The finish on our Crème de Cacao is quite aromatic and round with intense, dusty-pure cacao flavors and light wisps of vanilla.

Tasting notes:
"Unctuous, syrupy thick, light molasses brown color. Off the charts sweetness and beaniness, with unequal amounts of cocao (two-thirds) and vanilla (one-third) fragrances in the opening whiffs; the powdered cocoa comes to the forefront in the second inhalations, lusciously so. Amazingly cocoa-like and buttery at entry; midpalate is spot-on dark chocolate-like, but neither bitter nor semisweet; it's just flat-out sweet. The suggestions are to either throw in a splash of soda water for a digestif or utilize this gummy liqueur in cocktails that call for crème de cacao. The best I've tasted, period."
- F. Paul Pacult - The Spirit Journal
December 2011 5 Stars- Highest Recommendation

Tempus Fugit Spirits Crème de Menthe Glaciale...$31.99

28% (56 Proof)
Tempus Fugit Spirits Crème de Menthe is fully distilled from botanicals and is quite unique in its genre. In crossed-referencing manuals in three languages, we discovered that a true historic crème de menthe is quite a complex spirit and cannot be made correctly with just mint alone. After finding a few recipes that remained faithful in these different languages, we assembled the plants and conducted numerous test distillations. The botanicals are macerated and then fully distilled and the finished distillate is reduced with spring water and cane sugar, similar to the Crème de Cacao. While fully distilling botanicals for the Crème de Menthe is costly and the heart of the distillation is quite small in yield, it produces the best results and the most authentic product. Aromatically the mint is bright and dominant, but is balanced and supported by more deeper, savory notes, owing to the unique recipe of many botanicals, which are not just mints alone. It is silky in the mouth, crisp, yet complex, something that definitely cannot be said for today's industrialized crème de menthes.

Tasting notes: "Oyster shell/egg white appearance; clean and pure. The peppermint core aroma is absolutely dead-on and is incredibly fresh and herbaceous. Entry flavor is sweet and viscous to the touch but the minty flavor is genuine and intensely splendid; midpalate is long, luxurious and startlingly minty. This should be the only crème de menthe that astute bartenders who care about their craft will want. Excellent all the way."
- F. Paul Pacult's The Spirit Journal
December 2011 5 Stars- Highest Recommendation

Tempus Fugit Spirits Liqueur de Violettes....$31.99
22% (44 proof)
This unique and rare liqueur is based on a mid-19th century French recipe and is made only in micro-batches by Swiss distiller Oliver Matter for Tempus Fugit Spirits. The protocol uses the finest French violets, traditionally hand-harvested in the sunny and historic Côte d'Azur, along the Mediterranean Sea, amongst the myriad of precious flowers cultivated in the region for the world's finest perfumes. This elegant elixir has a lower sugar content than the heavier 'crème'-style violet cordials, which more intensely highlights its delicate floral aromatics.
Tempus Fugit Spirits Liqueur de Violettes is your ideal ingredient for both historic and modern cocktails, especially the Aviation, drizzled into a flute of champagne or simply chilled on rocks and sipped on its own.

Tasting notes:
Deep fuchsia-pink with purple reflections. Intense floral nose with a powdery tinge. Sweet but not sticky, intense violet flavor and aroma, balanced finish and length.

No comments: