Liqueur- Averna Sambuca alla Liquirizia
Fratelli Averna,Venezia Italy
Averna Sambuca alla Liquirizia
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates L.L.C., New York, New York
PROOF: 84 (42%)
TYPE: Liqueur, Herbal, Star Anise, Licorice
PRICE: $28.99 750ML
Note: There are a few different types of sambuca out there. The first is "Sambuca Agrumi" a mix of Star Anise and Citrus, second is "Stellato" a 100% star anise variety, and the third is "Liquiriza" which is a star anise and licorice mix.
Fratelli Averna dates back to 1868, and is much more well known here for their Amaro Bitters, than their sambuca, which is a recent import.
This was good news to me as I have a Pavlovian response to bad sambuca in the form of projectile vomiting.This is probably due in part on the adventure I embarked on in Boston with my administrative assistant (and personal Mephistophiles) during a conference in Boston. By 8 p.m., he was so drunk from sambuca he lost all control of his bladder while laughing too hard - he found this too was uproariously funny. . .this was merely the beginning of the evening with 9 hours to go. Needless to say my heart (and stomach) was filled with loathing for cheap sambuca ever since.
However, Avena is not this type of sambuca. Made from licorice root and star anise it thankfully smells and tastes quite a bit different.
First Impression: A interesting mix of star anise and licorice - a more restrained and harmonious smell than most sambuca I've sampled.
Appearance: Clear as a bell clarity and wheat straw gold in color. On swirling, leaves la thick coating on the glass, then develops some legs.
Taste: Thick almost resinous, oily entry, paradoxically sweet with a lmost immediate dryness, with the licorice/minty tingling and coating of the tongue from the aniseed. Nicely oily and viscous with some fire from the higher than usual proof add to a intriguing mix of flavors.
Drinks: Work well in the usual drinks calling for sambuca, could also be used as a pastis substitute also. Louches (turns opalescent) well with water. Also a very nice digestive.
NOTE: If you are going to do the con mosche (literally "with flies"), where you use three coffee beans (representing Health, Wealth and Happiness) and set the drink alight, use a shot glass or a Pyrex glass (like a Bodum Glass) and don't let it burn too long- the glass could shatter or heat up and burn you, plus burned coffee beans tastes like the worst burned coffee you have ever had.
Also put the flame out before you drink! Do no be persuaded to do a Gas Chamber (where it is poured into your mouth and set fire by a friend-extingushed by closing your mouth) because if you screw up you could set yourself or bystanders on fire. If you are drunk enough to try this trick you are drunk enough to screw it up - badly.
Bottle: Cylindrical glass bottle with rounded shoulders and screw cap closure.Interesting graphics.
Final Thoughts: A very nice sambuca, a interesting variation that is not so sugary sweet, with some complexity. Rrecommended as an alternative to the syrup others call Sambuca.
Other : This spirit is part of remarkable portfolio of the Domiane Select Classic and Vintage Artisanal Spirits Collection along with the following spirits we have already reviewed Averna Sambuca , Averna Limoni ,Castarède Selection Armagnac, Castarède VSOP Armagnac, Deaths Door Vodka , Deaths Door Gin, G Vine Floraison , G'Vine Nouaison , Rhum J.M Blanc , Rhum J.M. Gold , Rhum J.M VSOP , Rhum J.M. Vieux , Stranahan Colorado Whiskey, Suprema Grappa along with others we have not yet reviewed but hope to in the future, given the quality of what we have already reviewed.
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