A contemporary interpretation of traditional bitter orange and triple sec liqueurs. In this review, you will discover Fair Kumquat as I cover the following topics:
- Review Formula
- Spirit Overview
- Robe & Appearance
- Nose & Aromas
- Palate & Mouthfeel
- How To Drink Fair Kumquat
- Cocktail Suggestions
- Recommended Pairings
- Overall Experience & Value For Money
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- Distillery: Fair. Drinks
- Expression: Kumquat
- Variety: Triple Sec Kumquat Liqueur
- Region: Cognac, France
- Age: n/a
- Casking: n/a
- Cask Strength: 22% ABV
- Fair Kumquat $23 / 37.5 cl [Buy Now]
- Parent: Fair. Drinks
FAIR is a roughly 10-year-old Anglo-French company, producing an eclectic array of Fair-Trade certified spirits and liqueurs. The Kumquat liqueur is their modern interpretation of the traditional triple sec category, offering a new flavour sensation to drinks enthusiasts, hobby bartenders and world-class mixologists.
Fair Kumquat’s Robe
- Hue: Colourless
- Clarity: Crisp
- Viscosity: Thick
First of all, looking at the appearance, there is not much to be said here. The liquid is crystal clear and not showing any shade of color whatsoever.
The alcohol and the sugar content guarantee quite a bit of viscosity, so the glass is coated evenly with a thick and oily droplet.
Fair Kumquat’s Nose
- Notes: Orange, kumquat, lemon zest
- Nosefeel: Mentholated
Funnily enough, you don’t have to get even close to the glass with your nose, but will already be greeted with a lavishly luscious, fresh, citrus blast. There’s a predominant orange note in the front, with a very dry, almost fusty bitter connotation to it.
Besides it shows ever so slightly ethereal and effervescent qualities, soon accompanied by a green herbaceousness that steers us towards the bitter orange and kumquat category.
To enlargen the citrus portfolio in the olfactory perception, lively lemon peel, lime, Meyer citrus and Buddha’s hand are thrown in for good measure. So overall the nose offers an abundant, complex array of different citrus varieties.
It all doesn’t smell sweet, quite the contrary. Bitter zest, dry herbs and crisp focus are the predominant observations.
The origins of the term triple sec, by the way, are somewhat unclear. Sec, obviously means “dry” in French, other than that, however, there are disputing opinions as to where the name came from.
Fair Kumquat’s Palate & Mouthfeel
- Primary Taste: Mentholated, Sweet-Sour
- Mouthfeel: Cooling
- Opening: Fresh lime, orange marmalade, buddha’s hand
- Heart: Bitter-sweet orange, Meyer lemon, lavender
- Finish: Medium [rose petal, kumquat, crisp lemon zest]
A lively combination of tartness, mellowness, mouth-coating sweetness and a citrusy freshness are the opening sensations on the palate.
Thick and rich orange marmalade with the distinct bitterness of the orange rind of course, somewhat reminds me of English afternoon tea, scones and Earl-Grey tea.
This is especially intriguing, since the bergamot note of that particular type of tea brings us full circle to the overall citrus theme, perfectly embracing the grapefruit, lemon and lime flavours present. Yet again, the whole kaleidoscope of citrus is there.
Fair. Drinks indicate that they use considerably less sugar than other triple secs or other bitter orange liqueurs on the market. In my humble opinion, that’s noticeable with every sip.
Yes, this is still a sweet beverage, it is a liqueur, no arguing about that. But it doesn’t feel as sticky or caramelized which is very inviting and makes you come back for more.
Additionally, the alcohol is perfectly woven in and just elevates the aromas and flavours in a supportive way.
How To Drink Fair Kumquat
If you try it for the first time, pout the Fair Kumquat into your standard nosing glass and try it neat.
Obviously, you could have it on ice as well or top it off with your preferred tonic water. There are quite a few citrus tonics on the market these days, which will make for a perfect long drink with the Kumquat liqueur.
Interestingly, when you smell the spirit on ice, the sweetness is tamed down quite a bit. Contrastingly, the ethereal freshness is encapsulated by a mineral, almost salty sensation that reminds me of a Polomae drink.
To round it all off, finish your preferred way of serving with a zest of orange or some slices of fresh kumquat.
Fair Kumquat Cocktail Suggestions
Despite its soloist qualities and the intriguing aromatic profile when sampled neat, Fair Kumquat is a perfect cocktail ingredient. Thus, we can also suggest the following cocktails with this liqueur:
- White Lady
- Champagne Cocktail
- Kumquat & Tonic
For a more adventurous aroma pairing, use the Fair Kumquat in a twist on a 20th Century Cocktail, where the combination of citrus and chocolate will set your taste buds on fire! Indeed, as you may have gathered by now, it’s a great alternative to triple sec. Therefore, consider using it for one of our preferred triple sec cocktails.
Best Pairings With Fair Kumquat
It might sound like a very obvious no-brainer but a simple and humble wedge or filet of a juice orange will offer a heavenly snack – sometimes simplest things can be the most enlightening.
Crêpes Suzette would be taken to a whole new level through the addition of the Fair Kumquat, as would other desserts with a citrus component.
I very much enjoy a good cigar with this spirit because the sweetness and citrus freshness have lots to offer as pairing elements. In this particular case, I went for a Cuban cigar with some earthiness, nuttiness and mellowness at the same time.
Furthermore, the colour of the ring, as well as a shared French connotation makes the Quai d’Orsay a sublime cigar pairing with this liqueur
Overall Experience & Value For Money
The old 35 cl Fair bottles with their bulky shape are still my favourites, even though the new 70 cl ones look just as crisp and clean. I always have this liqueur in my liquor cabinet and use it almost on a daily basis as part of my standard rotation for cocktails and long drinks.
The price of the Fair Kumquat is around 25 Euros or US-Dollars. So it’s definitely a more premium-priced orange liqueur or triple sec, but very versatile.
This contemporary spirit adds another element to the otherwise old-fashioned liqueur category. You will discover just how exciting your traditional all-time classic cocktails can be when switching the trusted Cointreau for equal measures of the Fair Kumquat.
"A whole world of citrus, encapsulated in a most elegant, complex triple sec liqueur."
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