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Drink Review: Mandarine Napoleon Liqueur

A high-quality Belgian liqueur made with tangerines, Cognac and a secret recipe of botanicals. Said to have been a favourite of the Emperor himself.

Mandarine Napoleon Liqueur Review:

Mandarine Napoleon is a great tasting liqueur. As a former favourite of Napoleon himself, it is pretty easy to see why the liqueur is so good. It has a great balance, and goes down really easily. The branding is also top-notch. The packaging is beautiful, and the style is very fitting. 8.5/10

Mandarine Napoleon, often given as a gift, does not seem to be widely available in the UK.

An Unlikely Choice

I’m not usually one for liqueurs, but the historic provenance of this one, as well as the tangerine flavour, prompted an immediate purchase.

Said to have been the favourite of Napoleon Bonaparte, Mandarine Napoleon is a high quality liqueur that is smooth, with strong tangerine flavour. The small green bottle is very well presented and would make a great addition to any collection.

Mandarine Napoleon Liqueur Review 1:

The packaging is very good. Once you track it down. The liqueur I would go out of my way to buy. 9/10

On the nose, Mandarine Napoleon is fairly subtle. The rosewater does come through, possibly a little too strongly, but as you might expect it smells strongly of tangerine. Overall this is a light, summery, liqueur, best suited to either very good white wine or vodka. 7.5/10

On the palate, Mandarine Napoleon is very full-bodied. It has quite a sweet and sticky taste to it, which must be due to it being made with tangerines, but it is very smooth and goes down well. The wine-like notes come through well here. This is a liqueur that is perfect for drinking on its own, or for stirring into cocktails. It is not your strongest vodka substitute. 9/10

The finish is fairly light, with a very strong tangerine flavour coming through. Despite it being a little overpowering and sweet, it is quite refreshing. 8/10

“In fact, its most common use was for flavouring these gem-like sherbets, and it is this name that is today the only one now used: gavinot or gavinette.

But here’s the thing: it’s not gin. It’s actually a liqueur.

And as any liqueur-lover will tell you, a liqueur is more than just a sweet spirit with loads of flavourings. It is a most precise and exacting thing.

Mandarine Napoleon Liqueur Review 2:

With time, the fruit – in this case, tangerines – sugars and spirits have a deep and profoundly rewarding relationship.

The flavours are no longer forced. There is a natural balance between the botanicals that are added and the fruit that gives this drink its flavour, colour and texture.

Gavinot or gavinette is very definitely the last word in this relationship. It is what’s left behind when you have squeezed every last drop of flavour out of a tangerine.

Having given it so much thought, I was reminded of a drink. A drink that contained a balance of botanicals and fruit. A drink that had been distilled, sold and repackaged from its place of origin to be used elsewhere.

In fact, its most common use was for flavouring these gem-like sherbets, and it is this name that is today the only one now used: gavinot or gavinette.

But here’s the thing: it’s not gin. It’s actually a liqueur.

And as any liqueur-lover will tell you, a liqueur is more than just a sweet spirit with loads of flavourings. It is a most precise and exacting thing.

Mandarine Napoleon Liqueur Review 3:

I’m pretty sure I know what this drink is. It’s a liqueur made with tangerines, Cognac and an ingredient I’ll call ‘botanicals’.

It shouldn’t take long to check. Oh yes, here we are – Cognac, tangerines, botanicals. Lovely. Everything is as it should be.

So I shall enjoy a small taster of this delicious looking liqueur, in its smart little green bottle, after which I shall go on to properly investigate the flavours.

And once I know what has gone into it, I’ll write my head off about this, what is, basically, a fruit liqueur.

Written by Mark Adams

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