Nocino Walnut Liqueur

nocinoStone Barn Brandyworks is a Portland gem.  Hidden away in a small semi-industrial area off 20th and SE Powell they are constantly at work cranking out brandy, whiskey and liqueurs of impeccable flavor.

In the late summer they pick immature (green) black walnuts and then soak them in their own rye whiskey.  The end result has aged brandy and spices as well.  Because I’m often there during the summer I always get a chance to see them making it, but because this is barrel aged for about 6 months they don’t release it until around November.  It’s a smaller batch item and is not around all year, so when they run out it’s gone till next November.

This is a 375ml bottle and it runs in the $30 range.  I’ve not been able to find it on Oregon Liquor search so if you don’t drop by their tasting room you might only see it in some of the local bars.  It is strong and so you won’t need to buy a lot to go a long way.

Flavor wise this is a very mixed bag.  Rye has a very spicy scent and pairs wonderfully with the scent of the walnuts.  A kind of sweet and fruity nut scent.  On the tongue the walnut is brief with the rye and brandy playing nicely with oak and the other spices in the mix.

It is dark, almost black from the oxidation of the walnut juice.  With both brandy and rye as the base this drink pairs amazingly well with bourbon or brandy cocktails.  It can be added easily to sidecars, manhattans, negronis or even a simple old fashioned.  It is a pretty traditional Italian digestif and really goes well alone in a small cordial glass.

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