While straight-up Combier is a clear, pure-orange liqueur, the “Royal” version adds a spin. The boozemasters at Combier start with the top-notch triple sec, then add cognac and (their words) “arguably the most famous of all French hygienic liqueurs in the 19th century, Elixir de Combier (which includes ingredients such as aloe, nutmeg, myrrh, cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron).”
Myrrh? You’re soaking in it, folks!
The result is this light-gold liqueur meant to compete with the intricacy of Grand Marnier and its ilk, which also use cognac as a base. Created in 1834, it’s quite a different animal than Marnier — or regular Combier (which is bizarrely more expensive than this version), for that matter. The herbs (must be the aloe…) are incredibly strong, giving Royal Combier an incredibly fragrant character that demolishes the orange character of the spirit. The mouthfeel is quite oily, reminding me quite a bit of Strega.
I will enjoy playing with this liqueur in margaritas and other orange-inflected cocktails, but I found Royal Combier a bit too much on its own.
A hefty 76 proof.
B+ / $37 / combierusa.com
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