Bols Blue (Curacao)
Review: Bols Blue (Curacao) 81.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on October 10, 2010
Lucas Bols advertises itself as the oldest distillation company active in the world today. With an origin that traces itself back to 1575. After 435 years, the company has grown to become one of the leading global concerns in the spirits industry. Bols has a presence in over 110 countries selling liqueurs, vodka, gin, and genever. The wide range of liqueurs is particularly impressive. With 36 naturally flavoured liqueurs, the company can boast the widest range of liqueur flavours in the world.
I have met and talked with Peter Van’t Zelfde and learned that all of the Bols Liqueurs are made from natural flavours. These flavours have been extracted and/or distilled from natural base ingredients like fresh fruits and spices. Thus Bols Blue is flavoured using only real fruit flavours extracted from the ripe fruit. BOLS Blue is the original Blue Curaçao. It always has been and still is, the world’s best-selling blue curaçao. The Liqueur is bottled at 24 % alcohol by Volume.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
The Bols bottle design has undergone a change recently. The bottle shape is softer and more ergonomic that before. In fact it was specifically designed for bartenders to make their job easier. The orange band under the cap allows instant recognition of the flavour of the spirit; the ribs in the glass under the orange band give the bottle better grip; the glass itself is lightweight; and even the bottom shape of the bottle matches a cocktail shaker. The bottle is designed to look good, to feel good in a bartenders hands, and to allow quick easy pouring of your favourite cocktails. Bols did a good job…. except for the screw cap. I guess you could say that I am on a mission to rid the world of these annoying toppers. The screw cap on the bottle which I was given, is already beginning to show signs of wear. Soon I will have to replace the topper arrangement with a fitted cork.
In the Glass 9/10
The Bols Blue is all about appearance, and it is no wonder that the spirit scores highly here. A stunning blue colour coupled with a wonderful aroma of fresh oranges. I am told that Bols distills the flavours for Bols Blue from three different orange types, sweet red oranges, bitter Curacao oranges, and Kinnow Mandarins. The result is a wonderfully broad orange aroma with a decidedly sweet smell. I sense an underlying herbal nature as well which seems to add to the richness.
In the Mouth 48/60
Bols Blue is syrupy sweet on the tongue and an abundance of sugar is evident in the mouth feel. Perhaps it is a little too sweet as it has the taste and the consistency in the mouth of an orange syrup. The taste can quickly become sharp and cloying. But I remind myself that this is a liqueur, and the sweet taste profile is meant for mixing in cocktails not to be sipped neat in my glencairn glass.
So I mixed a few cocktails to see what would happen. The first thing I noticed was that in the cocktails that I mixed (The Reserved Gentleman, The Traveler, The Whiskey Fizz, and The Cosmopolitan), the amount of sugar syrup which I would normally add had to be severely curtailed. Bols Blue carries enough sugar on its own to sweeten the drinks. In the Cosmopolitan I had to add extra lime juice to unsweeten the drink. But I also found that the orange flavour came through much stronger in these cocktails than with traditional Triple Sec or Cointreau. I liked the added orange far more than I disliked the extra sweetness.
In the Throat 12/15
While I was making my cocktails, I noticed that the drinks I mixed carried a strong orange flavour well into the finish. It was a fuller more developed flavour that I seemed to enjoy more than I expected. However the sweetness of the Bols Blue had its drawback. If I was not very careful of my proportions, the finish on the cocktails could become cloying easily.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
I have enjoyed the Bols Blue, and it has definitely found a place on my cocktail shelf. It carries more flavour than other Orange Liqueurs I have used like Triple Sec and Cointreau, but it also carries far more sweetness. In cocktails which call for sugar to be added the Bols Blue will work just fine, as long as the sugar is reduced, but in cocktails which call for an orange liqueur and no extra sugar, using Bols Blue might be a mistake.
If you wish to have some comparison reviews of other Orange liqueurs you may click here.
I already mentioned in the review four drink recipes which I tried with the Bols Blue. Here are two more recipes which I recommend. The first one is the recipe I was served when I attended a Bols event t the Devlin Lounge in Edmonton. This is where I was introduced to the Bols Blue Liqueur, (I should note I received a sample bottle of the Bols Blue for this review as well as a cool set of Bols highball glasses)
15 ml Bols Blue
45 ml Bols Vodka
30ml fresh lemon juice
15 ml rich sugar syrup (optional)
Lemon Lime Soda
Mix the first four ingredients over ice
Top with lemon lime soda.
Serve in a drinks tumbler with an optional lemon or lime garnish!
And a fancy straw is always a nice touch!
20 ml Bols Blue
50 ml London Dry Gin (I suggest Empire Gin)
30 ml fresh lemon Juice
4 large cubes of ice
Lemon/lime soda (7-up or Sprite)
Fill a long Collins glass with ice
Add the first three ingredients
Fill with Lemon Lime soda (Sprite or 7 -up)
Serve with a long straw
An optional garnish would be a slice of lemon or lime!
*(My recipe is very similar to Electric Lemonade. But I use gin rather than Vodka which completely changes the character of the cocktail. Omitting the added sugar makes the cocktail (IMO) a much more enjoyable experience as well.)
My Reviews contain a rating or score out of 100, and these scores can be interpreted using the following scale:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)