Aged: No age statement
Product of: Trinidad and Tobago
See more Angostura-style aromatic bitters
The most famous and most used brand of herbal bitters in the world. First created in 1824 by Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, a German doctor, to treat stomach disorders and indigestion a military hospital in the town of Angostura, Venezuela.
Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert (1796-1870) was a German doctor who sought adventure and, it would seem, liked a battle. He tended troops in the Napoleonic Wars, including the Battle of Waterloo, and during the independence wars in Venezuela. It was here he choose to settle after being appointed Surgeon-General of a military hospital in the town of Angostura.
Siegert's fellow settlers suffered chronic stomach complaints, partly due to the forced change in diet. So in 1820 the good doctor began experimenting with gentian root and other aromatic herbs. In 1824 he created the now famous bitters, which he originally called Amargo Aromatico and used to treat stomach disorders and indigestion.
Siegert soon changed the name of his creation to Angostura, after the town where he was working (not, as is often presumed, after Angostura bark, which is not an ingredient). The town (now called Ciudad Bolivar) was in turn named after the native word for narrow, a reference to the nearby Orinoco River, which was reduced to a trickle in summer months. When the doctor died in 1870, production of the bitters was taken over by his sons who, in 1875, due to unrest in Venezuela, moved to Trinidad.
The truth behind Angostura's quirky packaging stems from the laid-back Caribbean attitude. One day a new batch of labels were ordered and a simple mistake led to them being too big for the bottles. The error was spotted in time but everyone thought somebody else would deal with the problem. No one did, so when the crunch came they simply stuck the labels on the bottles intending to fix the next batch. No one ever quite got round to correcting the mistake and the oversized label became a trademark of the brand.
Review and Tasting
Sampled on 04/06/2012
Clear, reddy-brown with brick red tones. (Turns brick-red and cloudy with water.)
Pungent, spiced and herbal aromas with orange zest, cardamom, clove and cinnamon most obvious.
Full-bodied flavour explosion with cardamom flavoured Lebanese coffee, dried fruit particularly orange zest, clove, cinnamon, jasmine and mint. Even diluted there is a cracked black pepper spice but Angostura is not at all 'hot'.
Long cardamom, clove, cinnamon and bitter orange zest finish.