Review: 1940s Fernet-Branca
Updated: Jan 4, 2022
1940s Fernet-Branca - 49%
Fernet-Branca (current) - 39%
When it comes to amari, I'm not as big a fernet fan as most. While I've had fun exploring vintage fernet from various producers (Branca, Stock, Coop's Vecchio, Barbero, Bonomelli), the only vintage fernet I've been compelled to grab a few back-ups are 1960s/1970s Stock which leans very dry compared to contemporary Branca with top-notch complexity and structure. This 1940s Branca will be the oldest I've tried.
Notes: The 40s version delivers none of the cola or sweeter depth up front that the current does. It is bone dry and mothball driven (plenty of old dusty notes - including the impression of actual dust). Side-by-side, the contemporary seems less mentholated and leans toward fresher mint and mint chocolate (which hasn't been my experience drinking it solo). There's more complexity with the current as well even layering in some licorice. The vintage does deliver some nice dark chocolate and butterscotch-hard-candy notes on the periphery, but plays mostly lean, long, and dry - aided, no doubt, by the elevated ABV.
The 1940s is a really interesting pour, but fairly unforgiving. There is complexity, but the balance is out of whack. It would play better as a sub for a non-potable bitter in a cocktail (ratio-wise) than a stand alone sipper. Next to the vintage, I had a greater appreciation for the current.
1940s: 5 (Acceptable) It's a fun piece of history that has it's place, but you won't be reaching for this on the regular.
Current: 6 (Above Average) This is the benchmark for contemporary fernet with good reason.
10 - Reevaluate The Budget
9 - Stash Two (If Able)
8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)
7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers
6 - Solid - Above Average
5 - Acceptable For The Situation
4 - Not Vocally Complaining
3 - Anything Else To Drink?
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour