Don’t call it a liqueur, because it isn’t: Luxardo Antico is a new type of aperitif, essentially a vermouth made from cherry juice. Per the company:
Luxardo Antico is Luxardo’s own interpretation of a vermouth. When Luxardo marasca cherries are harvested at the beginning of every summer, part of the juice is separated and left to mature until natural fermentation occurs. When a certain alcohol by volume is reached neutral alcohol is added to the juice to avoid further fermentation and it is then allowed to age in oak vats. When the product is ready various herbs and spices are added and left to infuse. When ready, the product is filtered and bottled at 16.5% ABV.
On the nose, it smells a lot like a traditional sweet vermouth, heavy with bittering herbs and oxidized fruit notes. Refreshing and inviting aromatically, it opens the door to a palate that is downright bursting with cherries. If I hadn’t smelled it first, I would have sworn this was a fairly typical (if low-alcohol) cherry liqueur, offering a mix of sweet and sour elements backed by lively secondary notes of milk chocolate, dried flowers, and bitter gentian notes keeping things grounded. I enjoyed the “cherry negroni” made with Antico instead of standard vermouth, though admittedly it did become very cherry-forward out of the gate. Pro tip: Dial back the vermouth in the recipe to half a portion if you’re going that direction with this.
B+ / $25 / luxardo.it [BUY IT NOW FROM THE WHISKY EXCHANGE]