Laurent Cazottes Wild Quince Liqueur 375ml (Previously $60)
Laurent Cazottes is considered the king of artisan distillation in France when it comes to eau de vie and liqueurs. Every part of the production process is focused on quality. His fruits are grown biodynamically, they're all hand-picked, they only use the finest parts of the fruit, and their products maintain more freshness and purity than perhaps any other producer in the business. For this reason they are not inexpensive. They are proudly displayed on the menus of the finest restaurants in France and have become almost mythical in their status. When our pal Nicolas Palazzi decided to be the American importer for Cazottes, he was in a bit of a pickle. On one hand he had the chance to represent one of his true heroes for artisan spirits. On the other hand, the Cazottes products are nearly triple the price of their American counterparts. Always up for a challenge, Nicolas decided to make it his duty to spread the word. We tasted with him. We instantly became believers along side him. The Wild Quince liqueur is an odd duck, but its one that grows on you with each sip. Never having tasted anything near to its flavor, the spice and character of the fruit becomes more clear as you sip, until you almost can't believe how pure it is. Whether that's worth the price of admission will eventually be up to the consumer, but there's no arguing that these spirits are in a class to themselves.