The Whisky Exchange
Aged: No age statement
Product of: Italy
Launched in July 2017, this is a very different product to the Martini Bitter of the 1990s. The more complex and grander named Martini Riserva Speciale Bitter, is inspired by the original 1872 Martini Bitter recipe and the...
botanicals used include Saffron, Angostura and Columba, selected to "deliver a unique richness and complexity to its taste profile through different dimensions of bitterness." The Bitter is also rested in the same Tino cask used to mature Martini Riserva Speciale Vermouth di Torino extracts and shares the vermouth's common botanical, Italian Artemisia.
Unlike numerous other, and the brand leading Italian red bitter aperitif, Martini Riserva Speciale Bitter challenges vegetarians by continuing to deriving its crimson-colour from carmine, derived the Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) beetle, as in the original recipe.
The other commonality with Martini Riserva is that the botanicals used for both the vermouth and Bitters are selected by Master Herbalist, Ivano Tonutti. He is also the herbalist behind Bombay Sapphire gin, so rather wonderfully, it is possible to mix a Tonutti Negroni, made using Bombay Star of Bombay Gin, Martini Riserva Special Bitters and Martini Rubino vermouth, all three ingredients made with botanicals selected by Ivano. With these commonalities, naturally the three products marry wonderfully in such a Negroni.
Review and Tasting
Sampled on 12/01/2018
Clear, crimson red.
Pungent blend of herbs, spices, floral and citrus - cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, rose, coriander, saffron and zesty orange with a faint, and a strangely attractive whiff of grannies' soap.
Assertive bitterness and spice is rounded and softened by subtle sweetness and faint liquorice.
Citrusy and spicy with lingering floral notes.
Despite being spicier (black pepper and cardamom) than other similar red Italian Bitters, when sampled neat, Martini Riserva Speciale has an attractive roundness and creaminess.
The Whisky Exchange
Bottle Size: 700 ml
Closure: Screw / Stelvin cap