Review: Latvijas Balzams Riga Black Balsam

black balsam Review: Latvijas Balzams Riga Black BalsamBitter spirits week (month? there’s no end in sight, really…) continues here at Drinkhacker with an obscurity: Riga Black Balsam, a Latvian liqueur made by Latvijas Balzams.

“Black” is an understatement. Black Balsam pours with the opacity and color of dark coffee, and it isn’t out of line to suggest there are similarities in the taste department, too.

Flavored with 24 ingredients, including various herbs and fruits and aged in oak barrels, this is a complicated spirit with few good analogues. Intensely bitter, it is woody and sharp, offering flavors of stout beer, coal, smoky peat, and root beer. The bitterness is huge — though not quite at Cynar level — and combined with the heavy amount of alcohol (at 90 proof it’s much more powerful than most bitter spirits), its power is remarkable.

That said, Black Balsam lacks a certain finesse that should ultimately make a spirit like this refreshing. It’s got so much power, and probably too much booze, too, that it doesn’t exactly complete a meal, it eradicates it.

Note: This bottle was purchased in Latvia. Bottles may differ by region.

B  / $21 / balzams.lv

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4 Responses to Review: Latvijas Balzams Riga Black Balsam

  1. Its funny how it became an epitome of something awful with my friends. I get at least a bottle of it every year and I just bring it to random social gatherings. I tried drinking it in every way possible, adding it to coffee, drinks, drinking it straight. It just seems to spoil everything it mixes with.

  2. Jouko from Finland

    This is actually my favorite spirit. I guess it usually takes more than one try to get used to it. :D

  3. Don`t expect that RBB would be something that you know..It is a unique product and probably people who look for sweet products or something different would never understand it.
    It is strong herbal bitter – 45%, and it is also healthy because it has 24 natural ingredients inside. What can be better in rainy and cold day – you warm up black currant juice, add some slices of lemon and orange and a little bit RBB..it will warm you up like nothing else :) natural ingredients will help against catching cold and become ill..It is perfect! :)

  4. My old man just brought a bottle back from overseas. I loved it. Everyone has different tastes.

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