Monte Stambecco is an Italian Alpine distillery named for the Italian word for the ibex goat which roams the mountain terrain nearby. The ibex appears on the label, where he is surely on the prowl for the one product made here, a bittersweet amaro distilled in copper pot stills and infused with Marasca cherries, sweet and bitter citrus peel, and over 30 local Italian mountain herbs and botanicals, including coriander seeds, marjoram, oregano, artemisia, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
The pale orange liqueur features an unusual bottle and an even more unusual flavor that’s unique among amari I’ve tried in recent years. Let’s dive in.
For me, the nose is more almond than cherry (though both are evident), reminding me more of amaretto than maraschino, That makes some sense, as amaretto is largely made not from almonds but apricot pits, a cousin to the cherry pits which surely make their way into this spirit. Bitter root notes are well-integrated into the amaro, along with a moderated and quite sweet cocktail cherry aroma — think jarred supermarket cherries — that lingers in the glass.
The palate is slightly sweeter than expected, again evoking almond and cherry in roughly equal proportions. Here a more sour cherry element emerges, along with evolving notes of licorice, clove, and a reprise of bitter almond on the back end. The overall experience is a bit scattered, but it drinks much better ice cold than at room temperature, which helps to temper some of the more overt expressions of sweetness.