Liqueurs often are treated as the weird stepchild of the drinks world. Pity, for there are many terrific liqueurs that rival the greatest of spirits. By snubbing them, many gourmands and sippers are missing out.
Grand Marnier long has had a reputation for producing a superb liqueur. Now it has shot for the moon—releasing its $800 a bottle Quintessence (80 proof). Why the high price tag? Well, in part it is attention-grabbing. But there also is this:
“Quintessence is made with the most precious cognac from the private reserves of the Marnier-Lapostolle family. GRAND MARNIER® Cellar Master Patrick Raguenaud has carefully selected very rare cognacs coming exclusively from Grande Champagne, the most prestigious growing area of Cognac. He then blended these outstanding eaux-de-vie with very old cognac from the family Paradis, their private cellar.” (Source: GrandMarnier.com)
For kicks, we served this to an unknowing guest of ours. He took one sip and pronounced it “fantastic.” When we mentioned what it was and the price tag, the wind went out of him.
We are quite impressed by Quintessence. Despite being 80 proof, it was gentle in the mouth—it is viscous, and oozes flavors of orange, toffee, and more. A drink as good is this must be consumed alone, in a quiet place, and from a very small glass. This is the only way one might be able to fully appreciate its depth. And after pouring one’s first nip of it, one should lock the bottle up so as to avoid the soon-to-come overwhelming desire to have a second. (Rating *****)
Those looking to purchase a bottle better hurry—only a limited number are available, and they probably will go quickly. These online retailers are selling Quintessence, for now.