“Amber with salmon pink flashes this delicious dry vermouth is pungent, bitter but fresh – the ultimate saliva-inducing aperitivo designed to awaken the palate for dinner. It’s awash with pink grapefruit,orange peel, aniseed, angostura bitters and earthy sandalwood. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want a tank of this a stone’s throw from my back door – it’s way too dangerously drinkable! 17%” Sarah Ahmed, The Wine Detective
“If that wasn’t enough trouble, Castagna Classic Dry Vermouth Aperitif 2015 is all the above, turned up a few notches, dried off and aged, with a great deal more velvet and satin, darkness and depth. It’s the Bianco’s taller dusky sibling in a tux, hair slicked back to match the black patent dancin’ pumps with the grosgrain bows. Silk socks. That faint reek of cigarillo. Not quite sinister, but the warning lights are all on.
“Here, that marmalade is more along the lines of the inedibly bitter Laraha orange of Curaçao, which took five hundred years to evolve from the introduced Seville orange, who didn’t much like the Caribbean climate. And the golden syrup is replaced by a smidge of treacle. Fortunately, the Laraha zest and rind provide the most complex citrus bouquet, which here seems just very slightly smoked.
“I’m not suggesting that’s what’s in here, but that’s what it’s like. Think Campari jam on toast.
“Beneath which those dark hues lie, glowering, in wait. It quickly makes me feel nicely smoked and lacquered, at least. Toasted. You know that acrid gunpowder smell when dried cumin and fenugreek seeds hit the red-hot cast iron? That’s the sort of dark hues I’m suggesting, in all this honey and fine citrus syrup.” Phillip White – Drinkster