- 7 Apr 2017 10:50 AM
"It has taken years of work before we could launch Unicum Riserva, which is the first to appear on the Hungarian super premium herb liqueur market,” said Izabella Zwack during a recent event where this innovative new Zwack brand was introduced.
At this special event presided over by the Zwack family - Izabella and Sandor - Zsolt Zolyomi welcomed guests and shared insights into the 'world of fragrances' in Unicum Riserva.
Unicum Riserva has been available since the beginning of the year in the most prestigious local bars and restaurants, but the new Unicum super premium drink will only be on retail shelves from early summer.
The unique quality of Unicum Riserva is due to the pioneer production process, as it is aged twice in two very different and special casks. It is aged first in the largest and oldest cask in the cellars underneath the distillery in Soroksari street, in the only cask which survived the Second World War, and which is celebrating its eightieth birthday.
Over the decades the wood has acquired a coating of what is called “black honey”, the dominant feature of the Unicum Riserva as this gives the herbal liqueur its basic character and depth. It is for this reason that Unicum Riserva is only made in limited quantities due to the capacity of the cask.
In the second phase the drink is transferred into a Tokaji Aszu cask, supporting the claim "aged twice in two casks" . The aging in the typical Tokaji barrique-style casks gives Unicum Riserva an inimitable Aszu character as the botrytis can also be discerned in the liqueur.
Finally a 2007 vintage of Tokaji Aszu from the Dobogo Winery of Izabella Zwack is blended into Riserva to further enhance this uniquely intriguing sensory effect.
In the Zwack family Sandor is known as a master of herbs and spices and Izabella as a 'master of wines', and so Unicum Riserva also represents the unity of this duo. Once the familiar bittersweet taste of Unicum encounters the sensuous sweetness of Tokaji, Unicum Riserva becomes mellower but at the same time spicy and fruity, with hints of dried apricots and an 'elusively herbal and minty taste'.
"Years ago when we realized the need to develop a premium version of Unicum, we joined forces with Isabella to pool all the knowledge that we have acquired over the years," explained Sándor Zwack.
"The more we talked and became inspired, the more it became clear that we had to approach this uniquely from two sides: on one hand to return to the combined blending of herbs which have been developed over time - so we use the black honey.
On the other hand to introduce an element dear to us, the wine for which Izabella is the master. So that is how we decided on the ageing in Tokaji Aszú casks and adding the Tokaji aszu."