Updated: Jan 21, 2021
1960s Strega - 42.5%
Context: Despite with a recipe dating back 100 years before this bottling (1860s) and its distinctive packaging (witch motif), Strega hasn't managed a strong foothold stateside. Even the vintage bottles collect dust at euro-auctions. I suppose a sweet/savory liqueur can often be tricky in cocktails. I mean, isn't that what Chartreuse is for? Do we really need another option? Back to the witches, (they're dancing around a tree on the wonderfully raucous label below), the origin story claims the recipe was a reward for the rescue of a witch trapped beneath a tree branch.
Strega is known for its bright yellow hue - a nod to the dominant saffron notes. I've found pre-1980s bottles are almost clear in color. Don't know if it's bottle conditioning or production changes, but the lighter ones drink a little more herbal and spice driven, less candied than the brighter versions.
Nose: Lemon. Saffron. Cardamom. Bright and dessert driven.
Flavors: It's viscous. Truthfully, too viscous. But the flavors are interesting enough that I'm very forgiving here. Saffron. Eucalyptus. Juniper. Brown Sugar. Black Tea.
Palate Structure: Too syrupy up front, but as it opens up the spice and herbal notes are just fantastic. Adding a little splash of soda water to the pour doesn't hurt.
Alcohol Integration: Heat's in check. However the booze is a little buried by the sugar here..
You’d Dig This If You Like:
Score: 7 (Highly Recommend) This should be too syrupy up front to get a 7. However - the nose, back of the palate, and finish - completely open the pour up, delivering complexity and harmony with a truly unique profile.
10- Reevaluate My 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 - Wish I Was Drinking Something Else
2 - Nothing Nice To Say
1 - Drain Pour