Amaro Santoni is new to me, but the recipe dates back to 1961, including 34 ingredients centered around rhubarb and iris — in part a cultural reference to Florence, in part because that’s the taste profile they were going for here.
A light, crimson-orange-hued “dolce-amaro aperitivo” lands somewhere in the DMZ between bitter and sweet and can work on its own (preferably chilled) or as an ingredient in a Spritz or a Garibaldi (amaro and OJ). The nose definitely evokes the former quality — bitter gentian, dried flowers (abetted by the flower-heavy label), and a refreshing menthol note.
Sweetness isn’t in the cards until you take a sip, where a surprising amount of fruit — citrus and stone — can be found. Orange and clove notes soon appear, alongside a clean, white sugar quality. The rhubarb hits next — vegetal but sweet-and-sour in that inimitably rhubarb way — with plenty of bitter gentian and cinchona to really grip the palate. That clove character clings to the finish, which helps counter some of the remaining sweetness, though a reprise of sugar holds on alongside the spice notes for a long, long while.
A- / $32 / amarosantoni.com