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Triple Sec (Meaghers)

Review: Triple Sec (Meaghers)    80.5 pts/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka) Arctic Wolf
Published on May 18,  2013

Meaghers has been producing traditional liqueurs in Canada (in a variety of flavours) since 1873. In fact they were the first domestic distiller to produce a full line of flavoured liqueurs. In 1978, Corby purchased Meaghers Distillery Limited of Montreal absorbing the Meaghers brands into the Corby portfolio. Their Triple Sec (formerly called Grand Curacao), is a traditional orange flavoured liqueur bottled at 35 % alcohol by volume. It is widely available in Canada and has some distribution in the US.

In the Bottle 3/5

When I look at my bottle of Meaghers Triple Sec, I find myself wishing that Corby would do something to differentiate this product from the competition. Rather than seeking to differentiate however; they seem intent on blending in, as the square brown bottle which houses their liqueur has a more than a passing resemblance to another well-known orange liqueur (Cointreau).

They also seem to want to deflect the consumer’s attention away from the fact that this product is from Meagher’s as that brand name is not readily apparent on the main label. (It is on the neck ringer below the cap, and it appears in small letters upon what looks like a thumb sized sticker attached to the label.) I think the fact that I had to look for it, makes my point. A cynic might speculate that Corby is trying to confuse the customer, rather than helping him or her  make a reasoned choice.

All in all, the rather generic Triple Sec label and bottle are quite disappointing. Corby is a big company, and they can do better than this.

In the Glass  8/10

Putting aside a rather weak bottle presentation; when I pour the Triple Sec into my glass, the aroma from the liqueur is quite nice. The orange notes, although readily recognizable, are tainted just a little by a light earthiness. I do not sense any clear differentiation between the sweet orange notes and the more bitter orange peel which is evident in other orange liqueurs. Instead, the sweet and the bitter orange seem to be melded together carrying that light earthiness. I believe this is more a matter of preference rather than any indication of a flaw; but perhaps this melded orange aroma lacks identity.

The only real drawback apparent in the breezes a light astringency which pushes through the sweet orange aroma as the glass sits. This is almost certainly reflection of a young spirit which serves as the base for the liqueur.

In the Mouth 49/60

The flavour is sweeter than the aroma implied; but the melding of the bitter orange into the sweet orange is still readily apparent. The light earthiness and mild astringency which I noticed on the nose, now seems to imply a somewhat ‘artificial quality’ winding through the flavour of the liqueur. I found that sipping was not preferred, and instead I set out to make a couple cocktails (beginning with a Margarita) to see how the spirit works in the mixed drink format.

I followed my traditional Margarita recipe (using Jose Cuervo Especial Plata), and the resulting cocktail was light and refreshing with no trace of implied artificial flavour. In fact, the flavour of the mixed drink was thoroughly enjoyable.

Next, I mixed a gin recipe of mine (Lady of the Empire) and again, the cocktail was refreshing and enjoyable. Although the this Triple Sec does not appeal to me as a sipper, it appears that for mixing cocktails, the orange liqueur is very good.

In the Throat 12.5/15

When sipped neat, the finish is sweet and cloying with a bit of an astringent aftertaste. In cocktails however, I noticed absolutely nothing which would give me pause. Cocktails made with Meaghers Triple Sec are tasty and refreshing, with just the right amount of orange flavour pushing through the ending.

The Afterburn 8/10

I have mixed feelings about Meaghers Triple Sec. The product seems to have no identity of its own. The flavour and aroma are unremarkable, seemingly without character. Yet, when I mix a cocktail with this particular Triple Sec, I am always happy with the result. That unremarkable character ensures that this orange liqueur will not upset the apple cart so to speak pushing unwanted elements into the mixed drink. If you want to mix a clean refreshing cocktail, it turns out Meagher’s Triple Sec is a good choice. I guess that is why my bottle is almost empty.

If you wish to have some comparison reviews of other Orange liqueurs you may click here.

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A Nice Recipe:

Here is a nice recipe which works very well with Scotch whisky.

Soft Touch
(an Arctic Wolf Recipe)

1 oz  Scotch Whisky
1/2 oz  London Dry Gin
1/2 oz  Triple Sec (Meaghers)

ice
Soda

Stir with ice until chilled,
Complete with Soda
Garnish with a lime slice

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

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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)

 
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