Distiller: David Campari-Milano SPA
Retail Price: $26.99
Go back, way back and you'll find that spirits were treated as medicine. They were the cure for what ails ya'. It didn't matter what was wrong with you, a couple of doses of fillintheblank would be sure to set you straight. The real trick was finding out which was best. That of course meant finding the most beautiful or unusual looking one. So, if you "medicine" was deep purple and your competition was muddy brown, it didn't really matter what the two tasted like side by side. This was a great example of fairly primitive marketing.
Having said this, Campari was not medicine. It came around in the 1860's, long after mankind had started drinking their "medicine" recreationally. The clever part is its color. The Europeans, particulary the Italians lover their bitters. The Germans have Jagermeister, the French have Amer and the Italians have phone directory of them. For the most part they are after dinner spirits. It's believed that after a large rich meal, the herbs in a bitter will ease the stomach and aide in digestion. I can't think of another example of Italian bitters or any bitters for that matter, that are deep and rich in color. In fact most look like motor oil, dense and dark. So here comes Campari, with his crimson bitter. Red was a sought after color at the time. Dyes for paints and clothing of this color weren't that easy to come by. So the Camparis put out this beatiful spirit and Italy goes nuts.
Color: crimson red, clear
Nose: Candied apple, orange(candied orange peel), aspirin, grapefruit peel, cough medicine, gentian
Palate: sweet, viscous, long bitter finsh, slight lemon
Color: Redish-orange very clear
Nose: Industrial cleaner/degreaser, cough syrup
Palate: cough syrup, decent acidity/citrus, bitterness that sticks to top/back of palate, very long finish
Color: lt. red to red, some sediment, medium oilyness
Nose: botanical, floral
Palate: sweet immediately, then bitter, medicinal. Viscous oily on tongue. Bitterness stays on back of throat.