When it comes to Triple Sec (or Triple Dry) orange liqueur, the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room is Cointreau. So pervasive, Cointreau is often called out by brand name in many cocktail recipes, including the famous Cosmopolitan, rather than simply calling for Triple Sec. There’s a good reason for this – Cointreau is an excellent liqueur – but it would be a mistake to start and end any conversation about Triple Sec with just Cointreau.
Combier Liqueur D’Orange bills itself as the original Triple Orange. Created in 1834 in Samur, France, Combier actually pre-dates Cointreau by fifteen years. Being the first of its kind or being the biggest really doesn’t matter once you pour it in the glass. Although they are both sourced from the dried peels of bitter and sweet orange, Combier and Cointreau are distinctly different.
Combier Liqueur D’Orange (80 Proof -$35) is crystal clear in color. The nose is light orange peel with a distinctively sweet undertone. The nose is much lighter than Cointreau. The entry is fairly thick and sweet and it unfolds nicely into a slightly spicy bitter orange with an undercurrent of simple syrup. Combier is sweet without being overly sweet. The bittersweet orange flavors peak in the mid-palate as the mouthfeel changes from thick to much thinner. The finish is pretty long and leaves a nice light orange flavor in the palate combined with some nice cooling. There’s the smallest hint of heat in the finish.
Combier Liqueur D’Orange is a lot more subtle than Cointreau and slightly more complex. There’s a very nice balance here between the bitter orange peel notes and the sweet undertones that carry this spirit forward with just a suggestion of spice to pull it all together. While Combier is designed perfectly to be a supporting player in cocktails, it also is exceptional on its own over ice. It’s also the key ingredient in our Improved Vodka Soda. It’s an excellent product and one which we highly recommend. Highly Recommended
Its important to note at a recent event on Triple Sec we attended, several triple secs were put through a luge test (where you add ice or water) only Cointreau and Combier actually luged, showing that they had enough natural oils to cloud the liquid.