Updated: Nov 20
1970s Cynar - 16.5%
Context: With amaro, it's not uncommon for brands to boast histories dating back hundreds of years. That makes Cynar, born in the late-40s, a relative baby. The brand picked up steam quickly in the '60s through a popular ad campaign featuring actor, Ernesto Calindri. The tagline was, "Against the strain of modern life," and proved successful enough to establish Cynar as the standard bearer for carciofo (amari derived from artichokes). Production remained relatively unchanged, at least until Campari picked up the brand in 1995. In 2015, a higher proof offering, Cynar 70, was released.
Current Cynar, along with Zucca Rabarbaro, are two of my favorite contemporary amari.
Nose: Caramel, musty wood, and brandied cherries. Some really rich oak in there too. Less of a fruit syrupy vibe than the contemporary versions. Most everything bright has faded away. Some dusty bourbon notes in here. Oxidized caramel and that musty, rich oak. Grade A stuff.
Flavor: All sorts of 1970s vintage armagnac. Caramel, nuts, oak. Surprisingly bright fruit now. Malted milk balls. Roasted coffee into the finish. The bitterness is soft, providing depth and length rather than anything overly astringent.
Palate Structure: The body can feel a little light on this one. But the richness and length on the palate make up for it.
Alcohol Integration: Could use a little boozier boost to add some weight to the palate.
You’d Dig This If You Like:
Armagnac 40+ year (sub-90 proof)
Score: 9 (Stash Two) With something like Fernet Branca or Campari, I need to be in the right space for a glass. Not so with this vintage Cynar profile. I could drink this all day, every day, and nose it even longer. I enjoy the contemporary quite a bit too: it's brighter, more complex. But the dusty/aged notes in the '70s bottling tell a compelling story.
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