As amari-style liqueurs go, Amerisse is wholly unique. This bitter aperitif starts off with a base of Merlet’s creme de cassis which is combined with bittering elements including gentian, angelica, sagebrush, and rhubarb — plus “other berries and citruses.” The result is Amerisse “Liqueur Amere au Cassis,” a dark purple liqueur that will have you guessing with each turn.
The nose alone is confusion personified: Cassis is pungent, but so are bitter gentian notes, the combination offering elements of chocolate-covered black cherries but also earthy root and tree bark notes — classic amaro bitterness. The palate starts off sweet — fruity, black berries — then slowly slides into bitterness as it embraces the dark side. Currants move to dark chocolate, then licorice, then more of that gentian character. The rhubarb element is heavily evident, offering a slightly sour note that pairs in curious fashion with the bittering notes — and not in a bad way.
While many amari offer a blend of sweet and bitter, here we get a triumvirate of sweet, bitter, and sourness, the experience bouncing around and never quite deciding where to land. While it’s fun and wholly unique, it’s probably not what anyone is expecting when that tray of mints and “chocolates from the kitchen” come around.
B / $30 / merlet.fr