Review: Combier Liqueur d’Orange

The world has no shortage of orange-flavored liqueurs. If generic triple sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier aren’t good enough, you can always delve into a dozen or so orange-infused vodkas on the market.

I’d say there’s room for one more, but La Distillerie Combier has a different claim to make: It owns up to being the world’s first triple sec, first distilled in 1834 in France. Combier has been available in Europe for nearly 175 years, but only now is it finally coming to the States.

It was worth the wait.

Combier is a very pristine and clean orange liqueur. Distilled frwom West Indian orange peel and French sugar beets (as a base), it’s totally clear (unlike, say, Grand Marnier), and the flavor is nothing but pure, sweetened oranges. I put it head to head against my standby orange liqueur, Cointreau, and found them virtually identical: Both are totally clear, 80 proof, powerfully sweet, and unadulterated in their orange-ness. Strain all you want to taste them, but any additional “secret ingredients” go unnoticed in both these spirits.

The bottom line is that Combier and Cointreau are largely interchangeable, though thankfully both are of exceptional quality. The only difference is that Combier is slightly sweeter than Cointreau, which has a tiny bitter tinge in the finish. But you would never notice the difference in a cocktail. (Note that Combier is quite a bit different than Grand Marnier, though — lacking the honeyed, oaky character that comes from that spirit’s cognac base.)

Try them both and see if you find a favorite — they cost about the same, too — and if you can’t, well, buy the one that’s on sale.

A / $40 / combierusa.com

loriginal-combier-orange-liqueur

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4 Responses to Review: Combier Liqueur d’Orange

  1. Lesley Singletary

    Working at a TN wine and spirits store in Midtown Nashville, we are frequented by liquor reps all the time. Most recent, a rep from this company had brought his product in yesterday and it was an amazing orange liqueur. As a bartender, I’ve used almost every orange flavor that’s available in the South, but this, by far, has to be the best. We compared it with the Cointreau, as well as snapping the dried oranges to smell the “zestiness” of the fruit that was used. It is definitely something I will suggest to those looking for a nice, high end, orange liqueur. It makes one of the best Sidecars I have ever had!

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