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By Michael Hepworth

Maison Lillet recently launched its Jean de Lillet 2010 Reserve at a trendy invitation only at the ACE HOTEL in downtown Los Angeles and RICH JOURNEY was there to check it out.  Brand ambassador Claire Needham was on hand-mixing up the cocktails as a band were playing Hot Club De Paris music- Django Reinhart style to the fifty or so guests in attendance at the rooftop bar.

Lillet is a French liqueur that is produced in Podensac, France, and the history of the company dates back to 182 when it was formed by wine merchants Paul and Raymond Lillet in Podensac, which is stuck right in the middle of Bordeaux wine country. The secret ingredients have remained unchanged since

the beginning, and I am sure that the number of people who know can probably be counted on one hand. The Lillet cellarmaster is one of those fortunate few who is responsible in ensuring that Lillet retains its iconic status as the quintessential Aperitif of Bordeaux.

A premium reserve is one which blends a single vintage Sauternes that is only produced in the best Bordeaux wine years such as 1967, 1975 and 1982.  The wine is then blended with orange liqueur which is crafted from Sweet orange peels imported from Spain and bitter oranges from Haiti. It is then cold macerated  in 48% neutral alcohol plus an addition of the ‘secret’ Ingredient’ which are a blend of fruit liqueurs produced in the Lillet distillery. The final touch I the adding of a small amount of quinine specially brought over from Peru.

Next up for the liquid is a twelve month period of aging in French oak barrels, a third of the being brand new. The year of 2009 was considered to be a great year for the Sauternes, and the 2010 was just as good allowing a special balance, great acidity and lively fresh aromas.  The 2010 Reserve can be enjoyed immediately, but is even better if you can hold on to it for up to fifteen years.  It is a very sweet drink with hints of apricot and exotic fruits with an oaky flavor. It is also quite dry and elegant.

For more information about this classy French import and cocktail recipes go to their website at www.lillet.com.



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