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Central City Peeled Orange Liqueur

Review: Central City Peeled Orange Liqueur   81/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published January 17, 2019

Central City Brewers & Distillers began as a Brewpub in 2003 at Central City in Surrey BC. The original home of their first brewery can still be found at the original Central City Pub. Today, their main brewery and distillery operations are just down the hill from that original location in a state of the art, 65,000 square foot brewing facility.

Their Peeled Orange Liqueur is produced from malted barley which has been is aged for three years in American oak. The malt spirit is infused with orange peels, and may be served on the rocks or enjoyed as a orange liqueur in your favourite cocktail.

Central City Peeled Orange Liqueur is bottled at 44.7% alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle 4/5

The Peeled Orange Liqueur is sold in the stubby long necked bottle shown to the left. It has a heavy glass base for stability and the long neck helps us pour the spirit without spilling.

The label looks a little busy, and I am disappointed that I see no information about the 3 year old malt spirit which serves as the base alcohol for the spirit. Most orange liqueurs are constructed from neutral spirit, and the added character of a mature malt spirit should not be ignored.

In the Glass  8.5/10

The spirit as a rich bronze colour in the glass and the heightened sweetness causes a stubborn crest to form when I swirl the glencairn. Leglets form, but they refuse to drop back down to the spirit below.

When the glass is brought to the nose one notices immediately that this in not your normal orange liqueur. Notes of grain spice and hints of oak accompany the zesty orange scents that have risen into the air. Think of sticky sweet orange marmalade melded with Speyside whisky and that is close to what I am sensing in the breezes.

In The Mouth 48/60

The spirit is at the same time lightly bitter with orange zest and quite sugary sweet. The sweetness is welcome as the liqueur is rich with orange peel zest which would overwhelm the palate if not for the sweet foil. As I sip, I wonder if the orange peel flavour is a touch overdone. It seems to gain momentum as I taste it and my fear is that the zest will overwhelm a cocktail.

So the only thing to do was to mix a drink with the spirit to find out. My fears were realized when I used the spirit with some whisky to make a modified Old Fashioned. The result was and orange peel infused cocktail that was not enjoyable. Of course this first failed experiment was probably due to my inexperience with the liqueur. On my second attempt I added only a fraction of the liqueur (about 1/2 teaspoon) and the result was much better.  I found adding about 1/2 to 1/3 of what I would normally add if I was using Triple Sec was about right for me.

I also found the spirit enjoyable on its own over ice. A small sip allowing the liqueur to melt on my tongue actually tasted pretty good. The key here is very small sips.

In The Throat  12.5/15

The liqueur is full bodied and sweet featuring flavours of bitter orange peel zest and sweet marmalade in a lingering finish.

Afterburn 8/10

I found that sipping on Central City Brewing’s Orange Peel Zest was preferred to using it in my cocktail recipes as the orange peel zest quickly overpowers your cocktails. However, with a bit of practice the orange liqueur worked out well in the cocktail realm as well.

You may read some of my other reviews of  Spiced and Flavoured Spirits (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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