Ancho Reyes was our liqueur of the year in 2014. But given the range of chile peppers out there, it was only a matter of time before a follow-up came out. The obvious line extension: Pivot from red ancho chiles to green poblanos and release Ancho Reyes Verde Poblano Liqueur.
This is perhaps a more obvious shift than you might think, as the ancho chile is merely a dried poblano, so with this liqueur really we’re just skipping a step. Here the poblanos are merely roasted, giving the liqueur a different foundation.
The bottle is bright green but the spirit itself is a light greenish-brown hue, much less striking than, say, the psychedelically-colored Midori, but still green enough to make a bit of a statement in the glass.
On the nose, it really does come across like straight up poblano pepper, lightly charred and pungent with the unmistakeable aroma of a plate of cheese-loaded chile rellenos. (Chiles relleno? What do I know?)
It’s got some sweetness on the palate to help cut the intensely vegetal note driven by the poblano, but that sugar is quickly tempered by some orangey citrus notes and a reprise of that increasingly intense poblano chile character. The finish is spicy but not overwhelmingly hot, though the peppery spiciness lingers on the tongue for the better part of a minute.
While the original Ancho Reyes works well on its own, Ancho Verde isn’t so lucky, and it really needs the right cocktail to shine, as the green chile character quickly overwhelms the palate without context. I know the right vehicle for this unique product is out there — though to be honest, I’m still looking for it.
B+ / $30 [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]