Often, when tasting amari, you’ll be presented with strong flavors that are reminiscent of smells or tastes you’ve encountered before, but you may have a difficult time identifying them. If you taste amari on occasion (I find that too frequent tasting spoils my connoisseur’s tongue) you’ll find flavors that seem to be common to many amari. And still, you may be stymied by their identity.
There are some flavors that are very pronounced in certain amari and I will try and identify the ones I’ve detected.
Amaro Averna: angelica root, juniper, gentian root, caramel, burnt caramel, bitterness: 5/10
Amaro Cio Ciaro: gentian root, angelica root, pine, sage, bitterness :2/10
Amaro Meletti: gentian root, vanilla, orange peel, rose water, saffron, bitterness :5/10
Amaro Montenegro: gentian root, juniper, saffron, bergamot, bitterness :3/10
Amaro Nonino Quintessentia: gentian root, vanilla, juniper, clove, orange peel, bitterness: 4/10
Campari: cinchona, orange peel, bitterness: 7/10
Cynar: gentian root, orange peel, what-I-don’t-taste: artichoke, bitterness: 6/10
Try this experiment – taste Cynar and Campari side by side… you’ll find that they are very nearly identical in flavor, with Cynar having a slightly more mellow bitterness. In fact, I sometimes use Cynar in a Negroni instead of Campari – it’s a slightly mellower Negroni, and doesn’t have that exotic red color.
Fernet Branca: gentian root, cinchona, peppermint (strong), slight anise, bitterness: 5/10 (more minty than bitter)
Rammazzotti: angelica root, anise, horehound root, orange peel, vanilla, bitterness: 2/10
And because I think this belongs here as well…
Underberg (German Kräuterlikör): gentian root, anise and more anise!, sage, peppermint bitterness: 7/10
…stay tuned for more…