Italy has a long tradition of making spirits and liqueurs. However, you might not know it as Italy isn’t famed for their spirits or liqueurs. In fact, when you think of Italy and spirits, you probably think of Grappa. But, there is definitely more to Italian spirits than Grappa. One of them is called noisette, which are liqueurs that are made by soaking nuts in alcohol and then distilling part of the infusion again. Similar liqueurs are also made with rose, fruits and other florals.
Frangelico is a noisette. It is made with crushed hazelnuts in Piedmont Italy. Piedmont is in the north-west of Italy and is a region famed for its wine. Like all noisettes, Frangelico starts by soaking crushed nuts, in this case, Tonda Gentile hazelnuts, in alcohol. Part of the infusion is distilled and then vanilla, cacao and other herbs are added to the mixture of the hazelnut infusion and the distillate. This creates an intense hazelnut experience.
Frangelico is named after Fra Angelico, a Piedmontese monk who allegedly made noisette. The unique shape of the bottle is taken from the shape of the habit of a Franciscan friar. Here is our tasting note for Frangelico:
Appearance: clear, bright, pale gold with viscous legs.
Nose: clean, unaged, medium intensity of hazelnuts, vanilla and cacao.
Palate: sweet, medium body, medium plus intensity of hazelnuts, vanilla and cacao. Medium plus length with a sweet, nutty finish.
Rating: Good. This liqueur is great in cocktails.