Drink Review: Frangelico Liqueur

October 26, 2020
4 mins read

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Legendary Italian hazelnut liqueur made to a recipe dating around 300 years. Named after Father Angelico, a famous hermit monk of the day.

Frangelico Review:

Finally, a review I could defend. Here is my Frangelico review. Soapbox first. Frangelico is an Italian hazelnut liqueur. But it’s not simply a hazelnut liqueur, it’s a “nocino”. Which are hazelnut-flavoured liqueurs, so they’re usually hazelnut and a little something els. Frangelico is one of the best of the best. If you have the chance to visit this tasteful little country, plan a trip to Florence where all manner of artisans’ come together, including this liqueur company, the only one of it’s kind in the world that I know of. Frangelico is air-flown in. It doesn’t travel well. Not for any economic reason, but because it’s flavor vapors need to be kept at a certain, stable temperature to be preserved for decades. It’s as simple as that.

 When chilled, it can be a highly liquefied liqueur, like pâté that’s been poured over bread to keep it from solidifying. When heated, it’s a beautiful leather colored liqueur. If it gets hot enough, it will become a colored almond liqueur that’s not too bad. Texture wise, it’s a very light liqueur that has some almond oil inside that makes it feel like nitroglycerin in the throat. Unless, that is, you’re used to the darker elis w hich has a more distinct almond flavor. I’m not. I can’t identify it any better than I can food coloring. They’ve definitely combined the right ingredients, however, and if you can’t taste it then by all means buy it. Perhaps it’s mostly the almonds, perhaps it’s the hazelnuts, but it’s very pleasing. Unlike many hazelnut liqueurs, it’s not sweet. If you want it sweet then by all means get a hazelnut liqueur that’s sweet. Frangelico is about as soft as a pouch of maple walnuts. I’ve reviewed a lot of liqueurs over time.

 I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed something that was as utterly pleasant to drink for the majority of it’s lifetime as Frangelico. But then I only bought it at a perfume counter. I also used to handle hazelnut liqueurs that were mostly nitroglycerin and a little deranged. It was very strange. I don’t think you would like it as much if you drank it straight from the bottle without any added sugar. The smell is very distinct. It smells like a hazelnut that’s been soaking in aged cognac. I generally find that not all cognac is aged in oak, so I find most cognac to be unbearably cloying. Frangelico is not. Frangelico is like scented less. It’s the “chocolate orange” scented candle my mother liked to burn. It’s not really a citrus, it’s a nutty, coffee-like smell. It’s not a hazelnut smell either. It’s like a light hazelnut smell mixed in with smoke and booze. Chocolate. It’s a bit like chocolate-covered coffee beans or chocolate-covered coffee with an espresso stain. And it’s very nice.

 I would say it’s a medium-full bodied flavor with a medium-eyes.It’s whiskey-like. It’s mellow and smooth with a light sheen on top as if the cognac had just been poured. Like a clear, stiff pond in the woods kind of morning. Pleasant and comforting. But it isn’t just cognac. I would say that the cognac is an integral part of the flavor, just a subtle part like a minor note in an orchestral arrangement. Overall, I’d say that it’s an extremely well balanced liqueur. I have to say that I was a little hesitant about this a few years ago when I saw it on the shelf at a liquor store. I had honestly never heard of it or any other liqueur like it. The liqueur industry is filled with people who try to tell me I’m wrong and I need to try this and that. I won’t. I’ve already tasted some of them that will be on my deathbed. Frangelico is IMO a better than average liqueur. 

I think it’s better than a certain, late-night east-coast liqueur I purchased from this sloshed scholar, whose ranking system is more a reflection of the author’s ignorance of the subject or his adoration of his favorite drink rather than the ability of one brand to make another better. On the bright side, had I brought that liqueur back to the states, I would be none the wiser for my tasteless purchase.

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Frangelico Review:

 This is the first hazelnut liqueur I’ve tasted that I’ve enjoyed. I’m not crazy about it because it’s my favorite flavor. Unlike most hazelnut liqueurs, it’s at a decent price and can be found pretty easily. It might not be a liqueur for a lot of people because it’s not too sweet and it doesn’t diffuse over time. It’s smooth and subdued. it’s one of those things about liqueur that is refined for a reason. It’s very drinkable, and ladies, I’m not talking about the recent trend of “liquor knock-off” that’s for the ladies that are trying to be “dangerous” or “sexy” without the clear comprehension of what’s happening to them or over-stepping the leeway they’ve left for themselves. But a drinkable liqueur is one that you would feel comfortable using as a mixer, to prepare your own beverage. It’s not choco-hattan, but that would probably ruin it. But I don’t know what else to call it.

I think I’ve finally discovered Frangelico. I’m not a fan of hazelnut liqueurs. I prefer them in baked goods because, well, hazelnuts are my favorite nut. And I’m not a fan of whiskey. I prefer them in coffee and sweets. I know that there are a lot of hazelnut liqueurs to choose from. But with a name like Frangelico I have to say that I’ll give it a try. I’ve already been reminded of hazelnuts in various other things that I’ve tasted and not heard of the liqueur. I would have bet that this liqueur had a lot to do with my aversion to whiskey. I would’ve laughed at the idea that I could like a liqueur so bold as Frangelico. I’ve never been a fan of hazelnut liquors. But when I can take a hard line on a liqueur, I will. I’m no spring chicken and I’m not calling my shots by the liquor cabinet of my late mother’s generation.

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