I picked up this pricey Trinidadian sipper because I had a gift card to a local bottle shop. I’d been hoping for a Diplomatico or a Zacapa but this one was the best one on the shelf for the amount I had to spend.
Unfortunately it turned out not to be worth the price (technically zero, but you know what I mean). The initial nose featured the alarmingly bitter off-notes of blackstrap molasses with none of the clean spicy sweetness. The first sip was spirity, anisey and medicinal, like a cough syrup. Further sipping did not improve matters: an unusual herbal sagelike note popped up and would not go away, even with the addition of an ice cube. Pepper, potting soil, and road tar further blighted the profile. It remained spirity in the aftertaste, rather odd considering it was only 40% ABV.
It turned out to be an excellent ingredient in rum old-fashioneds, where the bitters and citrus disguised some of the regrettable flavors, and the lack of sweetness was a feature rather than a bug. I will certainly be using up the rest of my bottle as a rather expensive cocktail ingredient.
I wish I’d enjoyed Angostura 1824 more than I did. It’s an elegant-looking beverage with a wonderful pedigree, and I have tasted and enjoyed their splendid Number One superluxe variant. But this one is not, in my opinion, worthy of its premium price tag.
If you choose not to take my word for it, try Angostura at your local well-stocked spirit bar before plunking down AU$103 for it at First Choice. American buyers can order from Astor Wine and Spirits, or visit their excellent New York shop.