Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How Many Creme de Violettes Do We Need?

At the Winebow tasting in New York last week, I was informed by the men manning the spirits section of the hall that the distributor had added a Creme de Violette to their portfolio.

An item from the large French distillery, Pages (which is part of the Verrenne company), the liqueur is called Page Parfait Amour, which is a category of liqueur unto itself which seems to take many forms, but in this case uses violets from the south of France in its distillate. (It was presented to me as a Creme de Violette.) Add this to the Creme de Violette put out by Haus Alpenz last year, and Creme Yvette, the proprietary brand that will be reintroduced by Robert Cooper this fall, after a 40 year absence on the market, and that's three Creme de Violettes (or purple liqueurs, anyway) to make your Aviation cocktails with.

Page Parfait is one of the many liqueurs that have been bought up in recent years by Jean-Pierre Cointreau. Yes, he's one of those Cointreaus, only he hasn't had anything to do with the famous liqueur that bears his name since his family divested themselves from Remy Cointreau in 1990. But he's kept busy, acquiring a liqueur here, a Champagne there and such.

Verdenne has been around since 1923. It is the third leading French producer of fruit liqueurs and crème liqueurs. In 1997 Védrenne merged with the Pagès Distillery.

I found the Parfait Amour to be less violet-driven than the Alpenz, but not as heavily fruity as the Yvette. It's somewhere in the middle, and light in body. Quite good.

Also on offer at the show (but not available to buy in the U.S.) was the Pages liqueur Verleine Velay Verte, a vibrant, green-tinted herbal liqueur that many compare to Chartreuse, though the flavor is actually quite different.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Robert, there's also the Rothman and Winter Violette, an Austrian product. It's the only one I've found in my market (Minneapolis MN), so alas! that I can't provide a comparison to the others. I would characterize it as moderately sweet, with a "pretty," citrusy, floral nose; and, yes, it does make for a very pleasant Aviation.

Unknown said...

The Pages product is a Parfait Amour. They added the term "Creme de Violette" to be competitive in the US market, but the two products are not and have never been the same. They would never try such a stunt in France. Curious to note that the Pages bottle has the product listed as "Imitation Liqueur" - how bizarre.