Thu 19 Nov 2009
We never drink liqueurs. They’re too sweet, thick and cloying. Oh, there are ancient bottles of Grand Marnier and B & B in the back of the liquor cabinet, bought because we needed two tablespoons in a dessert of some kind and then forgotten, but if we’re going to sip something after dinner, we want it to be port with cheeses or a tipple of single malt scotch or something bracing like Amaro Nonino.
I was at a trade tasting a couple of days ago, however, and was offered a decent portion of Belle de Brillet liqueur, the blend of Williams pears and cognac from the venerable Maison Brillet, a family-owned cognac producer since 1850.
Smooth as silk and mildly honeyed in sweetness, Belle de Brillet offers the essence of pears. (Twenty pounds of pears go into each 750 milliliter bottle.) Think first of a fresh pear, juicy and flavorful; then consider a spiced and macerated pear, roasted with white wine and thyme; then ponder an oven-dried pear, intense and concentrated. Somehow Belle de Brillet manages to capture and balance every nuance of these aspects of a pear’s useful transformations. The cognac base of Belle de Brillet provides subtle touches of toffee and orange rind and distant back-notes of toasted almonds and woody spice. Truly lovely, comforting stuff, so much so that I did what one is not supposed to do at a trade event, where people are seriously working the floor; I held out my glass and said, “Uh, may I have some more, please?” Excellent. About $42.
Imported by A. Hardy USA, Des Plaines, Illinois.
Image from granitbleu.com.