Best of the Best 2012: Spirits: Grand Marnier Quintessence

  • Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
    Grand Marnier Quintessence Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com

Not since the 1977 launch of the Cent-Cinquantenaire that celebrated Grand Marnier’s 150th anniversary has there been a liqueur from the Marnier Lapostolle family of such depth and thoroughly haunting flavor as the aptly named Grand Marnier Quintessence (www.grand-marnier.com, $800). Created by master blender Patrick Raguenaud, Quintessence is a limited edition of just 2,000 bottles, half of which will be sent to the United States. This resiny, citrus-laden copper-amber liqueur is a blending of 20 Grande Champagne eaux-de-vie, sourced partly from the Marnier Lapostolle Bourg Charente Castle paradise; their ages range from 25 to 100 years, and they include a number of 1906 and 1955 Grande Champagne Cognacs selected for this onetime offering. After blending, these Cognacs are distilled with macerated bitter-orange peels, whose intensity is enhanced by the family’s proprietary "double parfum" distillation. After being aged for one year in small French-oak casks, the 80-proof Quintessence takes on the taste of creamy spiced oranges, exotic fruits, and light oak. The bottle itself, rather than being handpainted like the Cent-Cinquantenaire, is a clean, crisp glass outline similar in shape to the Cordon Rouge bottle, which symbolizes the copper pot stills used in the creation of this magnificent digestif.

From Around the Web...
From cookie-filled gift baskets to stunning jewelry, here are 10 gifts for the lady in your life…
Photo by Andrew Fawcett
These select bars offer the chance to sample some of the world’s rarest and oldest liquors…
Photo by Francesco Tonelli
Vintage bottles of Pimm’s and Campari from 1960 and 1970 are a few of the coveted spirits…
For $125, the Durand corkscrew is meant to extract fragile corks from aged bottles…
Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com
The author of <i>Napa Valley Then & Now</i> recommends her favorite wines that are...
Made from Champagne’s only sanctioned white varietal, this will one-up other New Year’s Champagnes…
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, offers Gurkha Cigars’ His Majesty’s Reserve for about $55 a puff…
No day of the year necessitates a good old-fashioned dose of “hair of the dog” more than January 1…
Photo by Ralph Dinkel
Davidoff’s newest humidor is a sculptural dome lined with African okoumé wood…
Charles Camille Heidsieck recognized that the best way to sell wine was to sell a lifestyle…