Review: St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur

st_elder__hires_btElderflower, the flower that makes that inimitably peachy-lychee-pineapply flavor, has had a huge run lately, largely thanks to the premium liqueur St. Germain. Naturally, competition has followed from indie upstarts, including this liqueur from St. Elder. It’s made not in France but in Massachusetts and bottled not in a Deco masterpiece but in something that looks like it was designed for malt liquor. It’s also almost half the price… so is it worthwhile as a budget alternative to St. G? Read on…

The color is bright gold, as expected, and the nose is loaded with tropicality. It’s particularly heavy on pineapple, with sharper, lychee notes coming along behind. The body is creamier, almost like a pineapple upside-down cake, with caramel notes in the mid-palate. The finish is sharp and vaguely floral, with those tropical notes coming on strong again. It’s quite similar to St. Germain in the end, the most notable difference being the addition of 5% more alcohol to St. Elder, which makes this expression slightly punchier.

Good thing or bad thing? It doesn’t seem to matter much: St. Elder may not be as refined on the outside, but what’s in the bottle is a big winner.

40 proof.

A / $18 / st-elder.com

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3 Responses

  1. Molly Evans March 20, 2014 / 9:49 pm

    I didn’t even know! Been ordering a half a case of St. Germain every couple months for a year now — how nice to hear there’s a good alternative! Thanks for the review!

  2. John May 23, 2017 / 12:14 pm

    St. Elder is an “acceptable” alternative to St. Germain. St. Elder does NOT deliver the same complexity or magnitude of flavor and I believe that’s accurately reflected in the price difference. Where I buy liquor the St. Germain is $36 and St. Elder comes in at $20. I bought the St. Elder for a group who has never had elderflour liqueur and I didn’t want to have to explain the pretentious Germain bottle – I’ll keep buying St. Elder for purposes such as this. If I were getting Germain at $30 I’d be buying it every time.

    Calling St. Elder similar to St. Germain is like saying 1800 is similar to Jose Cuervo. Technically that’s a true statement but in practice the subtlety and complexities make for two different liquors.

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