Arrack or Arrak (a uniform spelling does not really exist here unfortunately) is often named the oldest spirit of the world. To what extent this really corresponds to the truth is controversial. However, it is very well proven that it may be an aspirant for the title of the oldest spirit, considering the fact that already in the 2nd millennium B.C. Arrak was produced in India. Be that as it may, in the present Arrak is undoubtedly a beautiful enrichment of the range of spirits available. (provided test product)*
About the production backgrounds and the different, possible basic raw materials from which Arrak is produced worldwide (and especially about the special variety of the Batavia-Arrak) I have already written an article in the past, which I would like to refer to here for all those who want to learn a little more about the genus.
The Arrak, which I want to examine here today, comes from Germany. This means that it was bottled by a German company in Germany, which in a way makes it a German Arrak. The company behind the bottle is the Palms GmbH from Frankfurt am Main, which – you can already guess from its name – produces an arrak based on palms. In contrast to the Batavia Arrak, the raw material used here is pure palm juice, which is extracted from the young leaves of palm trees. This sugar-rich palm juice ferments to a palm wine and is distilled then several times (a more exact specification I could not find unfortunately). After the distillation, the Arrak is finally left to mature in barrels made of Halmilla wood for three years in a tropical climate. Again, there is no more concrete information about the production region or the country of origin in which the palm plantations cooperating with Palms GmbH are located – they only tell us vaguely that this happens “in the tropics”. However, the manufacturer emphasises that no artificial flavours, colourings or preservatives were used in the production process. After all, the Arrak is bottled with an ABV of 40%.
Aroma: This Arrak is not what I would call a real aroma bomb (the overall impression is too light for that), but there are quite impressive and beautiful aromas in the glass nonetheless. Roasted almonds, cotton candy and a “greenish” association of young woods as well as pear compote and some lemon cream rise up. I can also find a hint of cinnamon. An aroma that I have not yet found in this form before.
Taste: The Palms Arrak is also very interesting here. Sweet lemon cream like in a lemon cake roll, nutmeg, cinnamon, a little white pepper and an herbaceous flavor with wood tones show up. In the meantime, I feel a bit reminded of a young bourbon, but then I reject the thought again.
Finish: spicy-woody, medium long with herbal associations.
When it came to a cocktail, I was inspired by a popular Arrak drink – the Ruby Punch, which is usually mixed with Ceylon Arrack – an Arrak also made from palm juice. This drink is made from Arrack, lemon juice, ruby port, sugar and black Ceylon tea and is a very aromatic and nice drink. But I have changed one ingredient quite decisively: Instead of the Ceylon black tea I opted for Chinese Lapsang Souchong, which bestows a much stronger accent upon the drink with its smoky character and changes the overall picture significantly. However, it harmonizes wonderfully with the very special characteristics of the Palms Arrack and accordingly I am very pleased with the recipe. And here is the recipe for my Lapsang Souchong Ruby Punch.
Recipe “Lapsang Souchong Ruby Punch”:
6 cl Palms Arrak
2 cl lemon juice
2 cl Ruby Port
1.5 cl sugar syrup
6 cl Lapsang Souchong tea (freshly brewed and cooled)
Preparation: Shake all ingredients vigorously in a shaker on ice and strain into a glass filled with fresh ice cubes.
Glass: Tumbler or small long drink glass
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online, for example at Conalco.
*The bottle for this review was provided to me by the Conalco Spirituosen UG. The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.