We recently got the chance to visit the Luxardo Distillery in Italy (read about our trip here) and sample some of the 198-year-old family business’ award-winning products. Here’s what we thought…
Tasting Notes: Luxardo Distillery
Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
It would be morally wrong to visit Luxardo’s distillery and not taste its soul – Luxardo Maraschino.
A pleasing nose of pine, tree bark, citrus peel, nut and faint kirsch.
Not a cherry bomb, as many would expect. Instead, a bouquet of florals, pine needles, peppermint and woody bark come through. Nuttiness from the cherry pips is also apparent, with cloves, some sour cherry, orange peel and vanilla finishing off the well-bodied and not overly sweet liqueur.
Luxardo Fernet Amaro
Luxardo’s only product made with a complete 45-day maceration. It boasts 15 herbs and spices, including saffron, cinchona bark, liquorice, gentian and cinnamon.
Powerful and aromatic nose full of herbaceous notes, earth and dried spice.
The fullness of the aroma translates beautifully onto the palate and is held together by a weighty presence and stunning bitterness. Sour, even bitter, cherry hits the tongue, followed by rosemary, cassia, tansy, fennel, angelica root, wormwood, quinine and a multiple of other flavours. An incredible complex and soulful ensemble of tastes.
On ice – the perfect digestif.
Luxardo St Antonio
A herbal liqueur named after the patron saint of Padua. Made using a complex recipe of herbs and spices, including angelica, galangal and bitter oranges, it’s green in colour and almost Amaro-like in many ways.
Super herbaceous! Thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram…we could go on for a while.
Delicious. Surprisingly not overpowering with a stunning length and longevity of flavours.
Serve on ice, just like the Amaro.
Luxardo Sour Cherry Gin
Luxardo London Dry Gin has been infused with Marasca cherry juice to create this cheeky number.
Cherry, cinnamon, anise and a sprinkle of herbs.
Bizarre and amazing! Fruit-forwarded without too much sweetness. A typically complex Luxardo botanical mix creates a dramatic palate full of herbs, spice and citric notes. The juniper is present but tempered by the cherry and the finish is long and smooth. All-in-all, if you’re like us and you turn your nose up at flavoured gins, this one is for you. There is nothing artificial, candy-sweet or boring about this gin. It is a grown-up, dynamic spirit that should definitely feature in your drinks’ cabinet.
The world is your cocktail menu! Do with this beauty what you will. We would suggest trying it in a gin-based cocktail that uses Maraschino (perhaps an Aviation for an interesting colour mix), or any other mixed drink or cocktail that strikes your fancy and could do with a bit of extra flavour complexity.
£29.95. Buy it here from Master of Malt
Luxardo Maraschino Cherries
And possibly the most famous and widely used product (at least within the UK bar scene) – the famed Luxardo Maraschino Cherries. These candied cherries are nothing like the bright red, unnervingly saccharine “cherries” that recall questionable childhood desserts. Luxardo’s cherries hold no preservatives, artificial colouring or thickening agents.
Their unique taste comes from the Marasca cherry syrup, which is made from scratch and makes up around 50% of the jar. As thick as molasses, the syrup itself is used in many cocktails and food recipes. Both cherry and syrup are richly fruity and gently nutty with robing sweetness.
Use in any cocktail calling for Maraschino syrup. One of our favourites has got to be the Scotch whisky Rob Roy.