Emile Giffard, a chemist (what is it with those chemists?) in Angers, France, began distilling his Menthe Pastille Crème de Menthe in 1885, and the Giffard distillery is still ran by his descendants to this day. In addition to Emile’s Menthe Pastille which is still available today, they produce a wide range of eaux de vie and liqueurs. Giffard have a number of different orange liqueurs available, including an interestingly named Parfait Triple Sec, but here we look at the Orange Curaçao from their standard range and the triple sec from their “Premium” range. For details on how the comparison was performed, check the notes on the showdown.
Giffard Orange Curaçao
Giffard Orange Curaçao is one of the many orange Curaçaos that use Cognac as an ingredient, albeit just 5% of the overall product, and has a pale yellow-orange colour. The nose has quite a bright orange zest smell, with just the slightest suggestion of Cognac, and while it smells fresh it lacks the intensity many other orange liqueurs offer. It has a very light, watery mouth feel which jars with most of the other orange liqueurs tasted.
The use of Cognac is almost completely forgotten when tasted, with a fairly natural orange flavour fading in to hints of Cognac and vanilla and then a long rock candy finish. Perhaps due to the fairly low alcohol content the liqueur felt a little underpowered, its flavours pleasant but tasting almost watered down. When sipping alone this is perhaps no bad thing, but in a cocktail I fear the subtleness will just get lost behind other alcohol. I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if it were just a little more beefy…
Giffard Premium Curaçao Triple Sec
Giffard Premium Curaçao Triple Sec is part of Giffard’s range of high-end liqueurs, launched in 2006, and is clear and fairly non-viscous in the glass. Its nose is a mild to medium strength orange zest smell, with a notably bitter edge like when you include a lot of rind in a twist. It is very natural, with just a slight suggestion of the alcoholic base.
In the mouth there is a strong mix of sweet and bitter orange flavours, and a notably subtle amount of sugar which makes this relatively dry for a liqueur. The orange bitterness intensifies toward the end, resulting in a powerful finish which has very little burn. The lack of sweetness and the strong, natural-tasting flavours make this a triple sec I am definitely looking forward to trying in a cocktail.
Note: In the interests of full disclosure, the liqueurs included in this comparison are a mixture of bottles I have purchased myself, and samples solicited from their UK distributors.
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