I was lucky enough to meet the very personable Curt Goldman who is a partner of Cadre Noir, an importer of artisanal French liqueurs, crèmes and spirits. I emailed Curt and he promptly came out to the Maryland Club to promote his products. I’m glad he did. I was very pleased with the La Distillerie Combier product line, which is the oldest working distillery in France’s Loire Valley. The Combier website tells the story that began nearly 175 years ago at 48 Rue Beaurepaire in the picturesque village of Saumur, 200 miles southwest of Paris in the heart of France’s historic Loire Valley. Jean-Baptiste Combier and his wife shared the dream of inventing something new, a flavor that was truly an original.
I was happy to taste 3 of Combier’s main products:
- Combier Liqueur d’Orange: A Triple Sec
- Combier Rouge: A Cherry Liqueur
- Combier Royal: An Herbal Orange Cognac Liqueur
I also got an exclusive tasting of brand new Combier products:
- Crème de Pamplemousse: A Grapefruit Liqueur
- Crème de Peche de Vigne: A Peach Liqueur
- Crème de Mure: A Blackberry Liqueur
- Crème de Cassis: A Black Currant Liqueur
- Crème de Fruits Rouges: A Mixed Berry Liqueur
These five products haven’t hit the shelves yet, but we’ll be able to pick up bottles soon enough. Curt’s also going to be importing 3 other liqueurs that were exceptional. I’m not at liberty to speak of these though. But mark my words, these liqueurs will excite cocktail enthusiast and bring a big impact to the market. I was very impressed. Combier is a brand to watch. Keep an eye out for each product because these liqueurs are exceptional and have a great price point. Although for this article, I’ll be focusing on Combier’s 3 flagship liqueurs.
Combier Liqueur d’Orange
In 2009 La Distillerie Combier, the original creator of the world’s first triple sec (1834), announced that its flagship orange liqueur, Combier Liqueur d’Orange, would be available for the first time in the U.S. This is the product that put La Distillerie Combier on the map. This award-winning triple orange liqueur is made exclusively from 100% fresh, hand-selected orange peels from the West Indies, sugar beets from the fields of Normandy and the family’s secret ingredients from the Loire Valley. With a history dating 41 years prior to Cointreau and an unmistakable fresh orange flavor that won’t break the bank, I say we have a winner. In order to obtain perfect harmony and clarity in every sip, Combier uses a triple-distillation process, hence the word “triple– sec”. The ingredients are three times distilled in the same century-old copper stills that were first used by the Combier family. The warmth and age of the stills add depth, while the triple-distillation process ensures that only the purest and most aromatic flavors make it into each bottle; hence, its crystal clear color. Located 200 miles southwest of Paris in the heart of France’s historic Loire Valley, Combier’s artisanal-crafted triple orange liqueur is produced, packaged, and shipped from the same location since the 19th century, keeping the brand true to tradition, authenticity and quality. Around $35 a bottle (750 ml). Comparable to Cointreau.
Light and fruity with hints of pepper and licorice, Combier Rouge is comprised of a blend of guignes and Morello cherries for their aroma and spiciness and black cherries for their deep color. The result is a gentle and sweet cherry-flavored liqueur with a rich ruby appearance. Made entirely with 100% natural ingredients, Rouge contains no artificial sugar and is sweetened from the fruits themselves. The original composition for Rouge was first conceived in 1632 by the Reverend Mother Gautron of the Benedictine Abbey of Samur, and became so popular that it delighted the court of King Louis XIV. True to tradition, it is still produced much like it was nearly 400 years ago. Around $25 a bottle (750 ml). Comparable to Cherry Heering.
Royal Combier is a unique blend of triple sec, cognac and the famous French hygienic Elixir de Combier (which includes ingredients such as aloe, nutmeg, myrrh, cardamom, cinnamon and saffron). The final result is an exotic and complex blend that received a gold medal at the highly acclaimed Metz’s International Eaux-de-Vie competition. Think Grand Marnier married with Yellow Chartreuse. Combier Royal’s rich composition is prepared in Combier’s historic inner chambers surrounded by the age and warmth of century old copper stills used by the original Combier family and created by Gustave Eiffel. The recipe is derived by the triple-distillation process that originated in 1834, whereby the ingredients are three times distilled in the 19th century copper vats. The copper and age of the stills add depth, while the triple-distillation process ensures that Combier produces only the most pure and aromatic liqueur. Around $35 a bottle (750 ml).