Quintessence: Bursting with orangey goodness

Now we’re getting serious. This one is for those who like their drinks rare and expertly crafted, with all of its components singing in perfect harmony. It’s called Quintessence and it’s the limited-edition, premium liqueur from Grand Marnier…

Starting life as grapes from the prestigious Grand and Petite Champagne regions of Cognac is always a recipe for a quality spirit or liqueur. Age said grapes for 25 to 125 years and blend together with twice-distilled bigaradia essence and you’ve got something truly exceptional. That’s Quintessence. We tried it in the kind of sumptuous setting that befits its taste and status – at a gorgeous dinner at Mark’s Club in Mayfair.

The aroma is like walking in a garden filled with sundrenched oranges. The taste? Think that bitter-sweet tang you get from an artisan marmalade and imagine it laced with the finest, most elegant cognac. And that’s just the beginning of the journey – the rest of it takes you from light florals, almond and vanilla through to mellow, moreish caramel.

Such a fine specimen deserves gorgeous packaging and we’re glad to say, Grand Marnier have come up trumps in the wrapping department. The bottle is a joy to look at: clear, shapely and sophisticated. Each one is individually numbered and only 2,000 will ever be produced. Hence the price: £500. Not cheap but a snip for the serious collector. Enjoy it neat and if you want to add to that flavour (not that you need to), simply rub a little orange zest around the rim of the glass before bringing it up to your lips.

Available from Speciality Drinks and The Whisky Exchange.

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