When Tammy first posted this tiny bottle of Deniset-Klainguer Grande Liqueur de Sapins, an Instagram follower (Evan Draper, @diggingmygraves) responded by posting his tiny bottle of Deniset-Klainguer Liqueur de Genepy. So clearly these bottles were friends who needed to meet and Tammy and Evan also became friends who needed to meet and now it is finally time for the grand meeting of the liqueurs. How many shades of green can there possibly be?

Prefer to read than watch? Check out the transcript under the video.

TRANSCRIPT

Teaser

So this one was probably the most complicated bottle that I researched for My Tiny Bottles so far.

After Credits

Tammy: Hello and welcome to My Tiny Bottles, the project where I’m exploring my grandmother’s legacy of miniature liquor bottles, one tiny bottle at a time. I’m your host, Tammy Coxen, and today I have a guest with me. This is Evan Draper.

Evan: Hello

Tammy: And I met Evan online. (acting fake shocked) Invited a stranger that I met on the internet to my house!

Tammy: And I met him when I posted this tiny bottle of Deniset-Klainguer Grand Liqueur de Sapins. And he responded by posting his little bottle of…

Evan: Deniset-Klainguer Liqueur de Genepy

Tammy: So clearly these were friends who needed to meet and we also became friends who needed to meet and now it is finally time for the grand meeting of the liqueurs.

Tammy: So, this one was probably the most complicated bottle that I researched for my tiny bottles so far. It actually required a two-part story, which you can find on mytinybottles.com. But suffice to say, complicated French liqueur made from the buds of pine trees from the Jura region.

Tammy: And it was packaged in these fancy bottles that look like pine, look like trees, and that of course being its most notable characteristic. But I am excited to taste it. As I said in the original video for this one, I actually have a bottle of a modern version of this same liqueur that I found while I was researching it. So we’re going to taste taste those side by side and then we’re also going to do a little tasting on this one (points to Evan’s bottle).

Tammy: So, first question, how the heck do you think we get into this?

Evan: Uh… a knife that we don’t care very much about.

Tammy: That’s true. Actually, first first question, who are you? Why did you have this weird bottle of pine liqueur? Or not pine liqueur. Genepy liqueur.

Evan: So I’m not a professional in the spirits industry. I’m just a collector. You know, I know a lot of people in the spirits industry, my brothers a sommelier. But, I started getting it into alcohol and tasting maybe about 6 years ago.

(Tammy starts opening bottle and Evan gets distracted)

Evan: Oh boy. I think you’re on the right track. That was not what I expected to see under there.

Tammy: It has a cork.

Evan: I think you’re right.

Evan: Mine decidedly looks like a twist off. So the idea that one of these was gonna be educational for the other is also not true.

Tammy: Okay, go on.

Evan: Yeah, so I used to be into tea actually, tea tasting and when I went to graduate school I realized I could not use caffeine recreationally, only functionally, and I switched over to spirits.

Tammy: Nice. Okay, corkscrew? It’s very tiny, I don’t know if a corkscrew is gonna fit in there, but this is definitely cork.

Evan: You think? I was worried it was wood.

Tammy: No, feel it. It’s definitely cork. (showing top to camera) Okay, so there’s, you won’t be able to see this. The zoom in isn’t there, but yeah, this is definitely cork.

Tammy: All right.

Evan: I think the diameter is such that a regular corkscrew is gonna be too big.

Tammy: Well, I guess we will find out.

Tammy: Okay, I’m back. I have a variety of tools. We have the knife we started with. I have a couple different corkscrews. I have some pokey things.

Tammy: All right, I’m gonna try a corkscrew. I think it will just fit. I mean, if we push it down into the bottle, we don’t much care. Oh yeah, it’s very soft.

Evan: Very spongy

Tammy: Very spongy cork.

Evan (as cork crumbles before our eyes): Whoa. Whoa. Coffee filters maybe?

Tammy: Coffee filters for the win. Okay, well, we have gotten in. (cleaning up crumbers from table) Some very soft cork.

Tammy: Okay. The nice thing about being at the bar is I do in fact have a filter handy. (grabs cone strainer)

Tammy: Okay, so we’ve made it in. Any predictions?

Tammy: Have you tasted this one? The modern one?

Evan: Yeah. It’s pretty hot.

Tammy: That’s 55% ABV. This one is probably 35.5% ABV. It says 67 proof but I don’t actually know whose proofs those were, right, if it’s British proofs it might actually have been more (trails off as she pours and bright greenish-blue liquid glugs out onto table)

Tammy: Eep!

Evan: It’s so much brighter green than the modern one.

Tammy: It’s really, really green. Wow!

Evan: It’s looking like a crème de menthe kind of color.

Tammy: Now, to be fair, it does say on it, hold on, it’s an unexpected mass. You think I’d have towels at the bar, but I don’t!

Tammy: Alright, so it does say on the bottle, it says the food color conforms to the statutory requirements of the United Kingdom and that’s actually a thing I used to date it, so it’s like, 1957.

Evan: You used to date statutory requirements?

Tammy (laughing): Yes.

Evan: Oh god, I bet he was so inattentive.

Tammy: He was. Wasn’t a very good lover either, let me tell you.

Evan: Wooden.

Tammy: So this was put into the UK food regulations in 1957 and then removed by 1967 so that’s kind of why I’m dating this to the 1960s.

Tammy: It smells good.

Tammy: I have used the modern version of this as a substitute for Green Chartreuse and it definitely has a lot of that same kind of aroma, that real aromatic. What are you getting?

Evan: Yeah, it’s very, it’s very sharp and almost minty. I think it’s like a really narrow focus of the Green Chartreuse is probably the best way to describe it.

Tammy: Yeah, I was a little scared when I saw the color that it was going to be minty. I mean, there shouldn’t be any mint in this, it’s just supposed to be pine buds, little spruce tips.

Evan: Hopefully there’s some sugar in there too.

Tammy: Okay, yeah, but I mean in terms of the botanicals, like I don’t think it has other botanicals.

Tammy: Smells good. It doesn’t smell kind of off. Sometimes the liqueurs have this kind of dusty smell.

Tammy: Alright, ready? Going in. (takes a sip)

Tammy: It’s sweet.

Evan: It’s a lot more gentle than the 55%. I’m grateful for that.

Evan: I think that, kind of, the minty depth is subtle, but it’s there.

Tammy: Yeah, it’s kind of like… sweet and nondescriptly herbal. It’s almost a little bit minty, not in the flavor, but in the way it’s got a menthol kind of character. Right, it’s got that same kind of cooling.

Evan: We’re so used to that minty flavor reference that it’s tough to take yourself outside that.

Tammy: And the color is definitely not helping there.

Evan: The difficulty with a lot of these like evergreen drinks is that they can be very one note, it’s just the same with mint liqueurs.

Tammy: Yeah and this isn’t obviously piney to me, right? It doesn’t, I mean, I like pine liqueur. Like you’ve brought a bunch of other pine things, you know, this Douglas Fir Brandy, I love the piney-ness of that. Zirbenz – like the piney-ness of that. I mean, if somebody said “what flavor is this” I would not have said pine, bud, fir butter, spruce bud, orwhatever.

Evan: It’s really pleasant though. I mean, I can imagine, you know, coming home from after work and pouring a little bit of this on ice, you know, for people who like gin and tonics or absinthe or pastis… It’s really refreshing.

Tammy: Alright, well, let’s, compare it to its modern buddy. Which as you can already see the color is completely different. So this one was created by not the same distiller. So the distillery that made the old bottle got bought by Emile Pernod and they make Pernod and absinthe and various things. The town where this was made was a very popular absinthe town until absinthe was banned and that’s part of why they sort of expanded into these other liqueurs.

Tammy: So this 55% version is something that they were making and selling to confectioners in the area, right? So bakers and people who were making things, candy, that sort of stuff. And Avery Glasser found this. I don’t know what the whole story is, but through his importing company, Vendetta Spirits brought it to market in the US. Didn’t really take off. There’s a few articles about it, but it didn’t really take off and is hard to find. But when I was researching the older bottle, I found one of these literally a mile away from my house. So I ran over there and got it. I’ve really enjoyed using it kind of, as I said, in the same sorts of places I would use Chartreuse because it is this higher 55% ABV.

Evan: I had to jump through a lot more hoops to get this. I had to manually navigate the Pennsylvania state system to special order it. I mean it was maybe like a month, month and and a half before this thing showed up to my house, and there it is in the shop, at Ball Square.

Tammy (tasting): Well, it’s way piney-er.

Tammy So they say they’ve updated the recipe a little bit. I’m not sure this is meant to be a true representation of what they were doing in the past. Definitely a lot more pine.

Tammy: I’ve definitely found with these older bottles that the volatiles blow off, right? And you lose some of those. Now, how anything would blow off through this I don’t know. Glass inside and paper mâché outside. I don’t know, but…

Tammy: All right, well, let’s turn to your tiny bottle.

Evan: My tiny bottle! This is definitely we’ve got a little pull tab here and I think I see some threads of the screw.

Tammy: Wow. That’s nice. Look at that.

Tammy: We did some thinking before about which about time period this might have come from. I don’t know that Evan’s been as obsessive about as I have, but trying to figure out, well,

(interrupted by cap leaping off the bottle)

Tammy: That was easy.

Evan: Just jumped right off of there. When I bought it, I can’t remember what they quoted the age as, it might have been 70s.

Tammy: That’s my guess. This one has a measurement on it. It’s 3 cL, so a little bit smaller. This is presumably 50 mL, but I actually have no idea because there’s no volume anywhere on it.

Tammy: All right, what color do we think this one’s going to be?

Evan: Oh I think it is just going to be a similar lurid green.

Tammy: I think it’s going to be lurid green as well.

Evan: I sure hope so.

Tammy: Oh, that’s pretty. That’s a nice green. They’ve used better food coloring. It’s definitely like that, it’s like, like an absinthe green. Which in absinthe I think would be fake to get this color, but.

Evan: Where did it go? I can’t smell anything!

Tammy: I don’t smell anything.

Tammy: Here it is. Alcohol coming up. I do think they just need some time to open up.

Tammy: This is not pine bud here, this is Genepy. It’s like an Alpine herbal liqueur. I think of things like Chartreuse and those things is kind of fitting overall into the category of Genepy, but there are some specific definitions.

Tammy (after tasting): Hmm. What do you think? I had a soap note.

Evan: True.

Tammy: Distinct soapiness.

Evan: Kind of like, if you were drinking Crème de Violette straight.

Tammy: Yeah, but if it was soap not flowers.

Evan: More on the plant axis.

Evan: I’m not mad.

Tammy: I can’t say I like it.

Evan: I mean, genepy is one of my favorite spirits. I probably have like four other bottles at home.

Tammy: Wow. I can’t get past the soap.

Evan: I probably wouldn’t buy a fifth of this. But I’m happy to be drinking it.

Tammy: What is making you happy about it?

Evan: Just like those bright fresh flavors.

Tammy: Okay

Evan: I don’t know. I think, it’s a welcome presence in the kind of world of machofied like super oak, high proof things.

Tammy: Sure. It’s definitely not that.  

Tammy: I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. (Evan steals her glass and pours it into his own) It’s all you!

Tammy: Alright, well. That was a load of fun. We might continue to taste pine liqueurs and report back, but we are not going to do that on video.

Tammy: So thank you so much for coming. We’ve been talking about doing this for months. I’m glad we finally made it happen. Any closing thoughts?

Evan: Closing thoughts. That is just the most fun bottle that I’ve ever seen, that anyone’s ever seen. I think there’s definitely, I thing we’ve seen with things like Domaine de Canton, with Italicus. Fun bottles do well, and I think there’s a lot more space to be explored.

Tammy: Yeah, and there’s like a bunch of minis of this available online and you can see why, mini collectors would be very drawn to this tiny little pine tree and it is just so appealing. I am certainly, when I opened it up, it was like an absolutely delightful day, so. Yeah, that was great.

Tammy: All right, well, if you want to learn more about this bottle and all the bottles, you should hit mytinybottles.com. There’s lots of close-up pictures of this where you can see all the great detailing of this fabulous paper mâché shaped bottle. And you can also find me of course on social media at mytinybottles.

Tammy: Evan, if people want to see what you’re drinking, where should they look for you?

Evan: I’m on Instagram at @diggingmygraves. I had a little stint where I was a gravedigger so it was shared burial ground and cocktail content. Sadly, I don’t dig graves anymore, I just drink myself to death.

Tammy (laughing): Well I won’t drink to the death part, but we could drink to something!

Both: Cheers!

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