Bordiga Chiot Montamaro, Italy
The Bordiga distillery was founded in 1888 by Pietro Bordiga, a passionate bartender and herbalist, who was living in the northern Italian city of Torino (Turin) at the foot of the Alps. Torino was, and still is home to a thriving cafe and theater culture and is also the birthplace of Vermouth di Torino. Using his knowledge of local botanicals and the extraction of essential oils, Pietro created a recipe for vermouth that is still used today. Bordiga does all their own botanical infusions and each botanical is infused separately. This is an important marker of quality - each botanical benefits from being macerated in alcohol at different degrees and for different lengths of time - and changes depending on the characteristics of each year’s crop. Some herbs are infused fresh and some dry. The resulting infusions are kept in a cellar under the distillery which includes an impressive library of botanical infusions that are used in varying quantities throughout their range of products.
AMARO CHIOT ‘MONTEAMARO’
In the mountains of Piedmont, a ‘chiot’ is an alpine plateau with a hut, a refuge for shepherds or travelers. Bordiga’s Amaro Chiot is an alpine- style amaro; a refuge from the daily routine, excellent by itself after dinner in the traditional way and very good mixed, for example in an Americano. This is a traditional recipe and is thought to have been first produced by Bordiga in the 1930s.
As with all of Bordiga’s infusions, Chiot is made of actual botanicals, many of them foraged wild; after harvest the botanicals are dried at altitude in a dark, ventilated room naturally. They are then infused individually (for ideal extraction) in the distillery in Cuneo, then skillfully combined by the master distiller for a balanced aroma and flavor. In this case all the botanicals except for the genepy are foraged in the mountains that loom to the west of the distillery, on the border of France; the genepy (being a protected plant) is cultivated and hand-picked in the mountains. The Bordiga distillery uses no purchased extracts, no centrifuge or ultrasound to speed up the extraction, no solvents; compared with more commercial examples this entirely natural, traditional amaro shows outstanding depth of flavor and persistence.
Genepy gives an exclusive herbal and floral sensation, yarrow gives the typical herbal taste, gentian a touch of bitterness, and thyme and mint a soft mentholated taste.
On our Arbitrary Bitterness Scale (1 being very sweet and 10 very bitter) Chiot is 5/10.