The Whisky Exchange
Product of: Netherlands
Flavoured with Chinotto, Cinchona, Oak Moss (a species of lichen), Curaçao orange and Cacao. Simone Caporale designed Chinotto Nero to be enjoyed long in a highball with tonic.
One of a trio of "modern liqueurs" launched in February 2019 named Muyu, all three created by internationally renowned bartenders Alex Kratena, Monica Berg and Simone Caporale in partnership with De Kuyper Royal Distillers.
Muyu is named after the word for 'seed' in Quechan languages and the trio were inspired to create Muyu after a research trip to the Amazon in 2016. The brand is intended to promote biodiversity through responsible sourcing with a share of profits from each bottle also being donated to NGOs working in the region.
Monica, Simone and Alex each designed one of the three Muyu liqueurs – Jasmine Verte, Chinotto Nero and Vetiver Gris respectively.
Each of the three liqueurs is based on the eponymous ingredient of each liqueur with secondary ingredients harmoniously wrapped around each note to create a unique and complex liquid. Several different techniques are employed to extract aromatic substances from plants, flowers and fruits, including enfleurage, steam distillation, C02 extraction, and resinoïds. These extraction processes are carried out in Grasse, a French town nicknamed the perfume capital of the world, and by De Kuyper in Schiedam, a Dutch city known for its historic distilleries. The extracts are then blended with alcohol, sugar, acids and water to create the final liqueur.
The liqueurs are presented in striking black bottles shaped to resemble old medicine bottles with artwork inspired by Muyu's connection to the Amazon, including digital re-imaginings of traditional patterns used in body painting by indigenous communities in the region, references to global flora and fauna, and the colours of the rainforest itself. The designs aim is to "capture the contrast of strength and fragility in the natural world."
Review and Tasting
Sampled on 19/02/2019
Clear, pale golden yellow. Thick and glass-coating.
Fragrant and complex chocolate orange.
Zesty Mandarin and Naval orange with delicate floral notes, praline chocolate and cola cubes.
Zesty floral orange finish with lingering acidity.
The label proclaims Simone's liqueur as being "Citrusy, opulent, zesty, lush and mystical." It is citrus-led but with complex floral and chocolaty notes. Served as highball with tonic water, as envisaged by Simone, results in a very aromatic, surprisingly floral drink with cacao. However, Chinotto Nero is only 24% alc./vol. so this highball lacks strength. Hence, in an ice-filled 8oz Collins glass, I suggest 45ml Chinotto Nero, 15ml vodka and 75ml tonic. The vodka adds oomph but also brings out attractive Guylian-like chocolate praline notes from the Muyu Chinotto Nero. While perhaps not the most practical from a pouring perspective, the packaging, which has a mystical oriental feel, is gorgeous.