Becher (1980s) - 38%
From Wine Enthusiast: Pronounced beck-ur-ohv-kuh, the spirit was invented when businessman and pharmacist Josef Vitus Becher began experimenting with liqueurs. The first product was sold in 1807 as “English Bitter,” a remedy for stomach illnesses [and is made from a secret recipe of about 20 herbs and spices].
In the U.S., Becherovka’s popularity grew following Prohibition, but in the 1940s, the communist government of then-Czechoslovakia limited exports of the spirit and forced Hedda Becher, a descendant of the founder, to disclose the secret recipe to the regime. She later began making a liqueur identical to Becherovka in West Germany and eventually sold it to the bitter-liqueur brand Underberg.
Becherovka was reprivatized in the late 1990s after nearly 60 years of being state-owned. In 2010, Becherovka, now owned by Pernod Ricard, opened a new distillery in Karlovy Vary, where the spirit was created.
The version being reviewed is from the end of the state run Becher production.
Notes: High toned and light on the nose - lemon, cinnamon, ginger. Heavier mouthfeel in relation. More complexity on the palate than the contemporary offers - lemon/ginger candies, white pepper, cinnamon, cocoa bean. The structure is controlled with nice range. Soft, low, medicinal bitterness, bright ginger and cinnamon contribute to a long, complex finish.
Score: 7 (Highly Recommend) Bright. Spicy. Powerful. Great depth and structure. Current definitely reads thin and muted next to it. Only downside is that the ethanol is creeping in from time to time and is not fully integrated with the ingredients.
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