In the spirits industry, there are a number of iconic brands which are universally recognized and well regarded. Angostura is one of those brands, and their bitters have become the de-facto standard in most cocktail bars in the world. While Angostura bitters may be Angostura’s flagship product, Angostura is also a major producer of rum, with products on the market under their own brand, Angostura Rum, as well as private labeled brands including The Kraken, Zaya Rum, and the new Rumson’s Rum.
Over the past few years, Angostura has sat back and witnessed solid growth in the amaro space, especially Fernet Branca. They’ve also seen craft bartenders doing shots of their Angostura bitters. Angostura put two and two together and came up with a product that marries their competency in the bitters space with their aptitude in distilling: Amaro Di Angostura.
Packaged in a bottle that harkens to Angostora’s iconic bitters bottle, including the signature yellow plastic cap (minus the oversized label), Amaro Di Angostura is unmistakably a descendent of the Angostura bitter line.
Amaro Di Angostura (35% ABV, $24.99) – dark amber brown in color, Amaro di Angostura is almost identical in color to Angostura bitters, perhaps a half shade lighter. The nose is also unmistakably Angostura, leading with nutmeg and cardamom. Behind these initial spices is solid dry bitter orange peel, licorice, black pepper, and cinnamon bark. The nose of Amaro di Angostura is very rooty, reminiscent of a handcrafted root or birch beer.
On the palate, Amaro di Angostura starts fairly sweet, with flame toasted creme brûlée, caramel, and granulated sugar. As a liqueur there is added sugar to the mix, and it clearly shows up in the entry. The core spice and bitterness of this amaro really doesn’t arrive until the midpalate where the cardamom and nutmeg from the nose present clearly along with licorice and cinnamon. Towards the end of the midpalate, the spice level increases, which helps balance out some of the strong sweetness from the entry. It’s here, at the end of the midpalate with a touch of heat, where this amaro most reflects the bitters which inspired it. The finish for Amaro di Angostura is very long, and carries forward much of the nice spice established in the midpalate.
Angostura has done a solid job of bringing everything we like about their iconic bitters into an amaro. Unfortunately, the amaro errs a littler too much on the side of being too sweet. The level of alcohol and the spice in the midpalate help balance things somewhat, but a bump in bitterness and a step down in sugar would have elevated this good amaro into something truly great.
Amaro di Angostura was clearly designed to use in cocktails as it’s a tad too sweet on its own. As you’d expect, it pairs with Angostura’s bitters impeccably, and a few dashes gives this amaro the punch it really needs to stand out.
In the end, Angostura has done an admirable job bringing their bitters’ flavor profile into the amaro space, and while Amaro di Angostura is no “Fernet Killer”, it does add another interesting color to the palate of craft bartenders. 82 Points