Review: Amaro Isolabella 18 (1950s)
Amaro Isolabella 18
A northern Italian amaro from Lombardy, Isolabella 18 utilizes cold infusion and (suprise-surpise) a top secret blend of 18 ingredients. Some quick differences noticeable on the labels. The 1950s version leaned into Isolabella 18 as a tonic - "...un sorso di salute" or a sip of health plays up the restorative angle. The proof has gone down by 2% over time. The 50s version also indicates Milan on the label. The current doesn't designate a production location.
Fun aside: The 1964 TV commercial spot, Qualche cosa di piu (Something More), featuring Alberto Lupo, is an interesting watch. These old amaro commercials are always a trip - often over the top with romantic bents.
Amaro Isolabella 18 - 1950s - 32%
Notes: Deep nose - butterscotch, old books, gingerbread, snickerdoodles, ginseng, licorice, dried cranberry and sumac. Palate plays lots of dark notes with spice and ethanol providing a well defined structure. Dark chocolate, licorice, roots, bark, coffee. Long with a little heat and soft bitterness.,
Score: 9 (Stash Two) Medium but punchy style that delivers plenty of layered complexity. Some of the sugar has definitely dropped out. It read a touch spirit-y for some I shared it with, but I absolutely loved the structure.
Amaro Isolabella 18 - 30%
Notes: Marshmallow. Vanilla. Cola. Gentian. Orange peel. Cardamom. More of the same on the palate with gentian, citrus, and cinnamon taking control mid-palate into the finish, creating a lot of backend action.
Score: 7 (Highly Recommend) Proof and base spirit are well supported by the flavor profile and botanical integration. I'm a big fan of this as a sipper or cocktailing ingredient. Instruct traveling friends to tuck a bottle or two in their suitcases. Price point is approachable as well.
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