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
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
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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