Destillare is a sub-brand of the increasingly busy Copper & Kings distillery in Louisville. While the primary brand focuses on brandy and gin, Destillare is where C&K is dropping its liqueurs, including this new duo, which feature chocolate and coffee.
Both are aged brandy-based liqueurs, flavored with real ingredients and sweetened not with sugar but with honey — and bottled at a hefty 45% abv. (No cream is used in either recipe.) Let’s give both a try.
Both 90 proof.
Destillare Intense Chocolat Liqueur – Chocolate liqueur, flavored with Caribbean cacao nibs. Much paler in color than expected, translucent and the color of strong tea. It’s big on the nose, with notes of unsweetened baking chocolate, barrel char, and a clear honey note (though this is not particularly “sweet”). On the palate, cocoa pulls back, leaving a brandy base that’s quite evident, and which gives the liqueur a certain booziness. I get a touch of dried pineapple here, more of that honey, and an herbal, dry vermouth note. Overall it’s surprisingly winey, and slightly brash — much like the distillery’s younger brandies. B / $34
Destillare Intense Cafe Liqueur – Infused with Arabica cold brew coffee, vanilla, and cardamom. Slightly darker in hue than Chocolat, with a somewhat muddy complexion. The nose of fresh-ground coffee is effusive here, though again a somewhat wine-driven character (more sweet vermouth than dry) offers a fruity, spicy element. The palate is again rather rustic and alcohol-forward, with the young brandy dominating heavily over the coffee. While overripe fruit lingers significantly on the finish, the cardamom is what’s most noticeable here, and it feels like something of a crutch used to mask some of the boozier elements in the mix. There’s so much great coffee liqueur out there; this one just doesn’t rank. B- / $34