Front Runners September 2015: Italian Heritage

  • In contrast to Originale, the Riserva is constructed around 4- and 5-year-old Highland and Speyside blended Scotch whiskies, which intensify the bittersweet, honeyed flavors and boost the liqueur’s proof from 56 to 80.

At the beginning of the 17th century, Giovanni Reina, a member of a prominent Italian family from Saronno, acquired a local woman’s recipe for a flavorful almond- and herb-infused liqueur, which today we know as Disaronno Originale. For the first time in 400 years, however, the family-owned liqueur brand has deviated from the centuries-old recipe by creating the limited-edition Disaronno Riserva ($350, disaronno.com).

In contrast to Originale, the Riserva is constructed around 4- and 5-year-old Highland and Speyside blended Scotch whiskies, which intensify the bittersweet, honeyed flavors and boost the liqueur’s proof from 56 to 80. The liquid is then aged from 3 to 6 months in 1938-vintage Marsala wine barrels that are stored in the Reina family’s Cantine Florio cellars in Sicily. The result is a liqueur rich with notes of vanilla-soaked almonds and peppery dried fruit. Only 1,500 bottles have been allocated for sale in the United States.  

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