Combier Distillery: Saumur, FR

  Dear Mabel,

As you know, I do work for Combier.  But to be honest, the reason that I think Combier’s products are so lovely and authentic isn’t because I chose  to represent them; I chose to represent them because they are lovely  and authentic.

That said, I spent 4 days in Saumur, a village in the Loire Valley, steeped in Combier.  The distillery is one of the central features of this charming place, and it definitely benefits from its location amid the traditional Loire farms.

its like a country store for drinkers!

The distiller, Franck Choisne, exudes the rustic sophistication of the classic gentleman farmer.  He’s in tune with the harvest cycle and with the land, and his artisanal stillhouse makes the best use possible of all the incredible French produce.  He’s got all the old school products like cassis, creme de muir, orgeat, creme de violette, and creme de menthe — they’re all done just they way they’re supposed to be.  But the standouts, of course, are the triple sec (Combier Liqueur d’Orange) and elixir based (Combier Royal).

I stayed in a castle not far from the distillery.  Had a few lunches and dinners with Franck and we really got along great.  He’s excited and passionate about what he does, but he also listens– so I asked him about the elephant in the room:  Cointreau.  Coming from the states, Cointreau seems so obviously the competitor for a top-shelf triple sec, and I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to be staring up at that giant.  But Franck simply said, “We are not Cointreau.  We are Combier.  We have been Combier longer than anyone else has been around, and that was and still is our flagship recipe.”

It’s a recipe worth keeping.  Unaltered and made the same way since 1834, Combier Orange has both sweet and bitter pure orange notes, with a clean drying finish.  Absolutely pure and natural, no artificial oils, sweeteners, or color enhancers are ever added.  When you use it in a cocktail, it adds depth and sweetness without the waxy cloying character you can get with other triple secs.

Like I said:  beautiful and authentic.


Published in: on March 26, 2011 at 11:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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