Joseph Cartron orange liqueurs

March 29th, 2008

The Great Oh Gosh! Orange Liqueur Showdown

Joseph Cartron started his family liqueur business in 1882, in the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges in the famous Burgundy region of France. Since then four generations of Cartrons have kept the family business running, with Xavier Cartron, Joseph’s great-great-nephew, the current company president. Like many of the French liqueur houses covered previously, they produce a large range of fruit liqueurs and eaux de vie, plus a small selection of aged fruit brandies. For details on how the comparison was performed, check the notes on the showdown.

Joseph Cartron Curaçao Orange

40% ABV

Joseph Cartron Curaçao Orange liqueur

Joseph Cartron Curaçao Orange has a straw yellow colouring, which according the the ingredient list comes at least partly from artifical caramel colouring. It has a light bitter-orange smell, and a definite heat which has a mild warming effect. The strongest fragrance on the nose though is an alcohol smell similar to vodka.

In the mouth there is an initial burst of sweet orange, followed by some bitter hints and a little heat. This heat intensifies as time goes on, and is joined by a mild rock candy taste. The taste was actually a lot better than I had expected given the disappointing nose, and while this is less suitable for sipping than many of the orange Curaçaos tried the robust nature and interesting flavours suggest it may work nicely in a cocktail.

Joseph Cartron Curaçao Triple Sec

40% ABV

Joseph Cartron Curaçao Triple Sec liqueur

Joseph Cartron Curaçao Triple Sec has a definite thickness to it in the glass. It has a mild but bright bitter-orange nose, and a definite suggestion of the alcoholic base. The initial taste mirrors the nose, with a mild orange flavour and a light but prolonged burn. A slight orange bitterness also comes out towards the end, followed by a mild sugar taste.

Comparing my notes for the two Joseph Cartron offerings I noticed a lot of similarities, so decided to go back and compare them side-by-side. While the Orange Curaçao is perhaps a touch sweeter, they are remarkably similar which makes me wonder if the only difference between the two is the use of caramel colouring in the Orange Curaçao. Joseph Cartron’s website also groups all the orange liqueurs together with the same tasting notes, further backing this possibility.

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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Posted in Orange Liqueur Showdown, Reviews

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2 responses to “Joseph Cartron orange liqueurs”

  1. Gabriel Gabriel says:

    Holy crap, Jay. Well doneand I don’t know I’d ever have it in me try go through so many of a single type of liqueur in such detail. What was your timespan on this adventure?

    And, I’d be curious if you’ve tried the Harelquin Orange Liqueur and, if so, what your thoughts were on it. I keep thinking of picking up a bottle and shying off. From my understanding it’s very close to the Grand Marnier-style.

    For myself, if someone wants a sweeter Margarita in my house (usually using Cointreau) I reach for the Gran Gala, not the Grand Marnier. It’s less expensive and has more character in my opinion as well.

    Man, I’m awed by your depth in this post, fantastic.

  2. Jay Jay says:

    Thanks Gabriel! It all just got a bit out of hand really – I started with an aim of ten liqueurs but kept finding new ones to add. I did the main tasting in one evening – yeah – but I also want to try most of them out in cocktails though I will doing that at a more relaxed pace starting this weekend probably.

    Unfortunately Harelquin is one of those liqueurs that I came across in research but just isn’t available in the UK. I did manage to get hold of some (Gran Gala and Triplum spring to mind, but there are a few others I think) through the helpfulness of their distributors or via the internet, but some just couldn’t be located. I will perhaps have to hold a Showdown Redux after I’ve been to the States this summer.

    I agree Gran Gala has plenty of character, it’s definitely one of the most interesting orange liqueurs around. You should definitely try one of the rum based liqueurs – if you think Gran Gala has character, wait till you try those!

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