Bottle #37: La Mallorquina Anis Seco

Bottle #37 is a bottle of Anis Seco from La Mallorquina. The name comes from the island of Mallorca, which is where it is made. It’s one of the Spanish Balearic islands in the Mediterranean, and a beautiful place I have been fortunate enough to visit.

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I didn’t have any Anis while I was there. As I’ve previously mentioned, anise is not one of my favorite flavors, at least not in concentrated form. A little bit of absinthe in a cocktail? Yes, please. A glass of straight up licorice liquid? No thank you! But it is wildly popular all over the Mediterranean. You’ve got Ouzo in Greece, Raki in Turkey, Arak in Egypt, Anisette in France. And Anis in Spain, in both sweet and dry varieties. Mine is “seco,” so the dry kind, although it will still taste sweet thanks to the magic of aniseed that I talked about in my episode on Ouzo.

There are a lot of different brands of Anis, and many of them look like my tiny bottle: tall and skinny, with diamond shaped facets on clear glass and a diamond shaped label. This is not a coincidence. The most popular Anis brand in Spain is Anis del Mono, which was established by Vicente Bosch in 1870. It’s perhaps most famous for its label, which features an ape said to have the face of Charles Darwin. But the bottle itself is also a signature element. In 1902, on a trip to Paris, Vicente bought his wife a bottle of perfume that came in a diamond faceted bottle, and took inspiration from the design for his brand. His anis became so popular throughout Spain that other makers began copying the design, like my tiny bottle.

The bottle shape isn’t just nice to look at. It’s also a musical instrument! Playing “the bottle” is a traditional part of Spanish flamenco, especially at Christmas. Families and neighbors gather together to play music and sing carols on Christmas Eve. The star of the show is an improvised drum called the Zambomba, but other kinds of ad-hoc instruments are used too, including anis bottles rubbed with a spoon or a stick.

I wish I could tell you more about La Mallorquina in particular, but I haven’t been able to figure out much. It was distributed by a company called Bartolme Canellas. As best I can tell, they were founded in 1990 and were acquired in 2006, and seem to have disappeared altogether by 2010. So 1990-2006 is all I can really say about dates for this bottle. There’s no English on it, so I’m assuming someone brought it back from Spain.

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Bottle #37: La Mallorquina Anis Seco

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Bottle #37 is a bottle of Anis Seco from La Mallorquina. The name comes from the island of Mallorca, which is where it is made. It’s one of the Spanish Balearic islands in the Mediterranean, and a beautiful place I have been fortunate enough to visit.

I didn’t have any Anis while I was there. As I’ve previously mentioned, anise is not one of my favorite flavors, at least not in concentrated form. A little bit of absinthe in a cocktail? Yes, please. A glass of straight up licorice liquid? No thank you! But it is wildly popular all over the Mediterranean. You’ve got Ouzo in Greece, Raki in Turkey, Arak in Egypt, Anisette in France. And Anis in Spain, in both sweet and dry varieties. Mine is “seco,” so the dry kind, although it will still taste sweet thanks to the magic of aniseed that I talked about in my episode on Ouzo.

There are a lot of different brands of Anis, and many of them look like my tiny bottle: tall and skinny, with diamond shaped facets on clear glass and a diamond shaped label. This is not a coincidence. The most popular Anis brand in Spain is Anis del Mono, which was established by Vicente Bosch in 1870. It’s perhaps most famous for its label, which features an ape said to have the face of Charles Darwin. But the bottle itself is also a signature element. In 1902, on a trip to Paris, Vicente bought his wife a bottle of perfume that came in a diamond faceted bottle, and took inspiration from the design for his brand. His anis became so popular throughout Spain that other makers began copying the design, like my tiny bottle.

The bottle shape isn’t just nice to look at. It’s also a musical instrument! Playing “the bottle” is a traditional part of Spanish flamenco, especially at Christmas. Families and neighbors gather together to play music and sing carols on Christmas Eve. The star of the show is an improvised drum called the Zambomba, but other kinds of ad-hoc instruments are used too, including anis bottles rubbed with a spoon or a stick.

I wish I could tell you more about La Mallorquina in particular, but I haven’t been able to figure out much. It was distributed by a company called Bartolme Canellas. As best I can tell, they were founded in 1990 and were acquired in 2006, and seem to have disappeared altogether by 2010. So 1990-2006 is all I can really say about dates for this bottle. There’s no English on it, so I’m assuming someone brought it back from Spain.

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