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May 19th, 2009

Taounate apparently refers to a locality in the north of Morocco, close to Fes. This Moroccan liqueur (sweetened liquor) fortunately is not very sweet. Instead it has a strong aniseed aroma (it smells like arak), but the combination with the sugar makes it taste more like licorice than like anise. It is not too bad, but the aftertaste slightly has an industrial flavor to it, albeit by far not as dominant as in Tamrirt. It is unclear what the spirit is made of, but the palm trees on the cover might indicate that it is made of dates, similar to the Egyptian arak Meliniotis (qv). The taste also resembles that of arak Meliniotis. The rather cheap (plastic!) bottle is interesting as well: it features a familiar topos (palm trees) in addition to a rather unexpected hand of Fatima (symbol against the evil eye) on the bottleneck. However, the khamsa (as it is more correctly referred to) serves the same purpose in Judaism, and in this case this relation seems to be more likely. 6,5/10.

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May 21st, 2008

Cédratine is, in the terminology of its producer the “Vieille Liqueur de Carthage”. This strong liqueur is made of a certain type of citron, and this is also clear from the smell and the taste. It is rather less sweet than Thibarine, and this lack of sugar also makes it taste more alcoholic. It is also a lot fruitier than Thibarine, which makes Cédratine in general better than the other digestive. 8/10.

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May 21st, 2008

Thibarine is originally made by monks in the Thibar region in Tunisia. Nowadays, the monks have left but wine is still produced on the Domaine de Thibar, as well as this very sweet digestive liqueur, which is similar to Jägermeister. The ingredients are unclear; various sources say it is made of dates but this does not seem to be the case. Some other websites state that it is made of distilled wine, as cognac is made. It is probably made by macerating a number of herbs and plants, and subsequent heavy sweetening. 7.5/10

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February 18th, 2008

Anisette Phénix originally is an Algerian Jewish aperitive now produced in France. It is particularly associated with Jewish pieds-noirs, European colonists with French citizenship in Algeria. At some point in time in the twentieth century production moved from Algeria to France due to the unstable situation in Algeria, especially for Jews. According to the French Wikipedia Algerian anisette is made of star anise, just as French pastis and Italian Sambuca, but unlike the Arabic drinks as arak and zibib which is made of aniseed. According to the bottle it is made by macerating anise grains in a neutral grain spirit and subsequently distilling it. It is very sweet because of the added sugar (it is sweeter than pastis; arak is unsweetened) and it should be diluted with water. This liqueur is a nice drink, but I find it rather unimaginative because of its sweetness. 6/10.

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