April 3, 2011

Viva Vanilla!

We were recently gifted a bottle of Navan, a new vanilla cognac from the folks at Grand Marnier. 

The name comes from Navana, a small village on the north-eastern coast of Madagascar, one of the island's most renowned vanilla-producing regions. It is a 40% alc/vol liqueur, an ideal balance between the complexity of cognac and the smoothness of natural vanilla.

As Darcy O'Neil writes on his blog Art of Drink, "Navan is a deep amber/golden colour with a strong, sweet, vanilla scent which is almost candy like. The liqueur is viscous and is almost syrupy and clings to the walls of the glass. The impression when taking the first sip sweetness followed by pure vanilla. This is quickly followed with a pleasant touch of alcohol, which balances the sweetness, to round it out. There is a warm, spicy finish from the cognac. The vanilla sweetness is still present, but extremely well balanced with the cognac. The best part is the gentle warming sensation the cognac provides in the back of your throat and stomach". 

It's an old joke in my family to make fun of the fact that I am wasted at places like Baskin Robbins because I always order vanilla, my favourite flavour of ice cream. So, not surprisingly, I have really enjoyed this liqueur.

I recommend Navan as an alternative to sherry, port, ice wines, or other digestives that can sometimes be too sweet or heavy. Navan is very smooth and the vanilla  is a lovely complement to cognac.

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