Today marks the first ever Saturday Spirits post at What’s Worth Drinking. In future posts I’d like to do comparative tastings of everyone’s favorites (whiskey, tequilas, that kind of thing) but today I wanted to start off with something really unique.
The world of liqueur seems to be ever evolving. There is nearly no limit to what you can find in the liqueur aisle of a well stocked liquor store. Flavors run the gamut of flowers, coffee, obscure fruits and spices, bakery items, and even, as we’re about to find out, the beloved, healthful, green tea plant.
Zen is a liqueur that has everything going for it. A cool chic sounding mono-syllabic name, a sleek packaging design, a murky green color, and a flavor that separates it from anything else you might find on the shelf. It almost seems too trendy to be any good, like one of the countless liqueurs on the market that throw some vodka and fruit juice in a brightly colored bottle and put a monster ad campaign behind it. But this beauty has the substance to back it all up. Produced using green tea leaves grown in Kyoto, Japan, Zen only uses premium ingredients and sources them from the most reputable sources possible. In addition to tea, this sweet liqueur also uses herbs and a blend of other natural flavoring agents. Because it is only 20% alcohol by volume, Zen drinks easily on its own lightly chilled, over ice, or mixed into a variety of cocktails. This is truly something new and different, and to best appreciate its uniqueness, I’d recommend drinking it all on its own.
Exciting, deeply complex aromas of dark green tea and wet leaves show immediately on the nose. A little more investigation reveals a faintly floral note, something deliciously dark and savory, and perhaps just a hint of smokiness. This liqueur’s appearnece in the glass, with its dark, murky green color, mirrors what you find on the nose, a complex, difficult to pin down, but very exciting melange of aromas.
The palate is initially sweet, dense and complex. This liqueur drinks like a solar eclipse. It’s incredibly dark, dense, and complexly earthy with wet leaves and definite green tea flavors, but it is balanced by just an edging ring of light, sweet, and nearly honeyed floral, almost tropical fruit-like flavors. This is an incredibly unique experience, showing delicious flavors of expertly tended green tea and fine craftsmanship in spirit making. A liqueur in almost perfect balance, Zen lives up to its name.
Worth Trying. 91 points.