Take Five: Kummel

Gilka Kaiser-Kummel


38% alc./vol.
Producer: J. A Gilka, Berlin, Germany

Appearance: Crystal clear.
Aroma: Punchy, estery nose with caraway seed and cracked black pepper.
Taste: Clean, earthy peppery palate with caraway and icing sugar.
Aftertaste: Fades rapidly with lingering caraway and gentle peppery notes.
diffordsguide rating: 3.5/5

Berliner Kummel||
32% alc./vol.
Producer: Schilkin, Berlin, Germany

A caraway and cumin-flavoured semi sweet liqueur from Schilkin, a company whose distilling history stretches back to the beginning of the 20th century when the Schilkin family were given the Russian court's approval in recognition of the vodkas they were producing.

Appearance: Crystal clear.
Aroma: Clean caraway and cumin with rye aromas and faint cucumber flesh.
Taste: Just enough sugar to balance and enhance the cumin spice. Rye bready flavours and faint cucumber skin add depth to this complex liqueur.
Aftertaste: Clean, a continuation of the palate with fading caraway.
diffordsguide rating: 4/5

Kummel Wolfschmidt||
39% alc./vol.
Producer: Wolfschmidt & Co, Edinburgh

A Dutch made Kummel. The Wolfschmidt name dates back to a distillery at Riga, Latvia which supplied 'ochishchenoje stolovoje vino' (rectified table wine, vodka) to Russian tsars Nikolaj I and Alexander III. Wolfschmidt vodka was introduced into the US in 1847 where the name is now owned by Jim Inc.

Appearance: Clear, very pale straw
Aroma: Clean and pungent, caraway, aniseed and mint with faint note of citrus.
Taste: Syrupy, full-flavoured and fiery with pronounced fresh caraway, laced with aniseed, citrus and fresh peppermint.
Aftertaste: Long, caraway, aniseed, and peppermint with lingering icing sugar-sweetness.
diffordsguide rating: 4.5/5

Doppelt Kummel Extra||
38% alc./vol.
Producer: Distillerie Combier, Saumur, France

Combier first released a form of this product in the 1850's but it was discontinued. They re-released it according to the original recipe with twice the amount, doppelt meaning double, of botanical bill. It is a combination of 3 seeds, caraway, cumin and fennel.

Appearance: Crystal clear.
Aroma: Cumin dominates with leathery caraway and more subdued aniseed fennel.
Taste: Aniseed and caraway refreshing bite with cumin taking more of a back seat. Superbly complex.
Aftertaste: Long lingering aniseed, fennel and spice.
diffordsguide rating: 5+/5

Mentzendorff||
38% alc./vol.
Producer: Distillerie Combier, Saumur, France

This digestif liqueur is made by macerating caraway seeds for 12 hours overnight in a pot still charged with neutral alcohol and water. Distillation starts in the morning and lasts for seven hours. The distillate is mixed with water and sugar before filtering and bottling.

Appearance: Crystal clear.
Aroma: Less pronounced caraway but with old fashioned liquorice, teak oil and spearmint.
Taste: Syrupy mouthfeel quickly taken over by powerful cumin spice, turmeric, cinnamon and a peppery clove tingle.
Aftertaste: Fades with lingering caraway and emerging chalkiness.
diffordsguide rating: 4.5/5

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