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bolognium

New Formula Campari

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I asked a gentleman I know at Skyy Spirits about the change.

He talked to his "Campari guy" who acknowledges the change from Carmine to an artificial colorant and that they switched to the clearer bottle in 2006, which makes the Campari look a bit brighter on the shelf. The Campari guy maintains, "However, there is no change in taste and no change in color either," of the contents of the bottle.

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I find that very hard to believe..the mouthfeel IS different..to me it feels more "oily" (??) and at the same time the taste feels more "watery"..it doesn`t have the same full deep Campari taste it used to have.

Its like it has been dilluted and i also lack some of the citrus taste.

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side question: have the unique bottles of Campari Soda ever made it to North American stores?

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Does anyone have a friend with access to a GC-MS (gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer)?


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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Does anyone have a friend with access to a GC-MS (gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer)?

Has anyone tried contacting the company?

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Does anyone have a friend with access to a GC-MS (gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer)?

Well, my brother is the CFO of a pharmaceutical company, and a Campari drinker. Now I just need to convince him that this is a good use of company resources.

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I also noticed that the old Campari has a longer finish..with this new one it finishes rather quick..or do i imagine a vain thing here?

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What I am suggesting is that if there truly is a notable difference between bottles of "natural carmine" Campari and botles of "artificial coloring" Campari sourced in America, and if that difference holds up in blind tasting, it's entirely possible (and indeed I assume this is the case) that a bottle of "old formula" Campari which was imported in 2000 and spent eight years sitting in a warehouse, basement and in the sun on the liquor store's shelves, has undergone certain changes.  Therefore what differences may exist would not be attributable to the change in coloring agent or larger change in formula, but rather due to the effects of age.  There is simply no telling how old a bottle of "old formula" Campari might be, especially depending on where it was bought.  Considering that I am aware of liquor stores in Manhattan that still have bottles of Malacca Gin on the shelves, it doesn't strike me as unlikely that a bottle of "old Campari" purchased in Providence might have been bottled 8-10 years ago.

Living about 15 minutes north of Tijuana, I do not fail to return to San Diego with duty-free bottles whenever I cross back into the US, whether that's 4 in the afternoon or 4 in the morning. I also make my traveling buddies carry back their legal limit, too, to make sure not a precious drop of liquor is left behind. The Havanas I smoke in situ.

Not only are full liters of Cointreau about $20 (yeah, you could say I've got a supply), but full liters of Campari run $14-16. The bottle sitting next to me is labeled "Duty Free Market" and comes in at 28.5 abv. It also indicates that it "contains natural carmine." I don't go through it as fast at the Cointreau, but I'm headed back Friday, so will snag another bottle and possibly compare to the acarmine version we're seeing these days.

As for a bottle's contents changing over time, I did have a Negroni a few weeks ago in Burbank that used a 1930's Campari. Tasty, yes, but with a noticeable lack of bite that I notice with modern Campari.

I also had a pink gin that same afternoon with Malacca gin, one of my old favorites that I'm always trying to cadge, so unless that line about Malacca still being on the shelves in Manhattan is just a line, we might have a swap to arrange.

~Matt

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As for a bottle's contents changing over time, I did have a Negroni a few weeks ago in Burbank that used a 1930's Campari. Tasty, yes, but with a noticeable lack of bite that I notice with modern Campari.

This is interesting to me, and suggests to me that age may indeed be a determining factor in this puzzle.

I also had a pink gin that same afternoon with Malacca gin, one of my old favorites that I'm always trying to cadge, so unless that line about Malacca still being on the shelves in Manhattan is just a line, we might have a swap to arrange.

If you've got a decent supply of something defunkt you'd like to trade, I might be pursuaded to exchange bottles. :smile:

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Does anyone have a friend with access to a GC-MS (gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer)?

I'm not sure how useful this would be without a good understanding of how the original formula changes with time. The GC/MS will certainly show differences, but I'm not sure we can pin them down to "freshness" vs. "recipe". I don't have any experience with analyzing that type of results myself: do you?

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I sent an e-mail to the company last night detailing the discussion here. We'll see what they say. I'm betting on a generic reply, but we will see...

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I just checked your blog and what you have written, you hit the nail! I had my first Campari when i was 15..and after that one i have been hooked all my life so this really matters to me, seriously. I look forward to see what they will reply if they reply.

I hope you don`t mind if i quote you here: I think this is a major concern that is likely to become more pressing as the acquisition of spirits continues worldwide.

To prevent the degradation of the quality of our favorite spirits, it is important some steps be undertook. First, sharing perceptions of changes in spirits with other enthusiasts on sites like eGullet is important because it will attract attention to possible recipe alterations that might have gone unnoticed otherwise.

This is REALLY important.

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In an interesting twist, I stopped at the liquor store for something non-Campari related, but thought I would check out which version is currently being sold in Akron, OH.

Three interesting things:

1) Made with Carmine

2) Has the word Bitters on the label instead of Aperitivo

3) Importers are Skyy

I checked the alcohol percentage and it was 48 proof.

There were three bottles left on the shelf.


Edited by tino27 (log)

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Does anyone have a friend with access to a GC-MS (gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer)?

Well, my brother is the CFO of a pharmaceutical company, and a Campari drinker. Now I just need to convince him that this is a good use of company resources.

Sent my brother an email, and got a frantic call back (after he'd just checked his own bottle and been to the Bevmo down the street from his house to check their labels).

Long story short - tomorrow I'm sending him a couple of mini bottles of the bug juice formula, and he said that he'd "put the boys in the lab on this."

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Does anyone have a friend with access to a GC-MS (gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer)?

I actually run these (as well as a lot of other analytical instruments) for a living.

No problem to dilute up some new vs. old and see what the mass spec says.

Edit: Only problem is that the only bottle I have was bought about three months ago.


Edited by MikeInSacto (log)

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No reply from Campari today. I am going to give them a few more days and then send them a link to this thread; maybe they will see the conversation and feel compelled to contribute something by responding to my e-mails. As Tiare pointed out, this issue concerns me not only because it might be screwing up one of my favorite spirits, but more importantly, the way that the changes appear to have been conducted demonstrate how more companies might attempt to alter recipes without informing the public. If this continues, the subtle threat to our favorite cocktails and spirits grows more concerning. Ok, I think that was a tad too dramatic...but seriously this sucks.

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Wow, I am glad it's not "just me". i cant wait to hear the results from the lab. would Campari&Co care to comment? >ahem<

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No reply from Campari today.  I am going to give them a few more days and then send them a link to this thread; maybe they will see the conversation and feel compelled to contribute something by responding to my e-mails.  As Tiare pointed out, this issue concerns me not only because it might be screwing up one of my favorite spirits, but more importantly, the way that the changes appear to have been conducted demonstrate how more companies might attempt to alter recipes without informing the public.  If this continues, the subtle threat to our favorite cocktails and spirits grows more concerning.  Ok, I think that was a tad too dramatic...but seriously this sucks.

Robert, I wouldn't be so quick to impute nefarious practices to Campari just yet. First of all, Gruppo Campari doesn't "owe" responses to random emails from bloggers and internet forum participants (which, for all intents and purposes, describes almost all of us). Second, although the differences in taste seem quite clear, it is far from conclusive that Campari changed its formula.

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Does anyone have a friend with access to a GC-MS (gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer)?

Well, my brother is the CFO of a pharmaceutical company, and a Campari drinker. Now I just need to convince him that this is a good use of company resources.

Sent my brother an email, and got a frantic call back (after he'd just checked his own bottle and been to the Bevmo down the street from his house to check their labels).

Long story short - tomorrow I'm sending him a couple of mini bottles of the bug juice formula, and he said that he'd "put the boys in the lab on this."

I'm glad Science is finally getting its priorities in order.

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I find that very hard to believe..the mouthfeel IS different..to me it feels more "oily" (??) and at the same time the taste feels more "watery"..it doesn`t have the same full deep Campari taste it used to have.

Its like it has been dilluted and i also lack some of the citrus taste.

The gentleman I talked to at Skyy Spirits is a Luxury brand specialist for Skyy and represents Camapari in the San Francisco area. His "Camapari guy" has a convincingly Italian name.

Failing more information, I will note he the "Campari guy" did not say that the recipe has not ever changed, (frankly, I'd be surprised, given variation in quality and potency of botanicals, if it didn't change regularly,) just that he felt it tastes and looks the same.

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So all of us then, who feels that it has a different taste..is it just imagination?

Is it possible that the taste in my old bottle has changed over time compared to the new..because they do taste different.

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No reply from Campari today.  I am going to give them a few more days and then send them a link to this thread; maybe they will see the conversation and feel compelled to contribute something by responding to my e-mails.  As Tiare pointed out, this issue concerns me not only because it might be screwing up one of my favorite spirits, but more importantly, the way that the changes appear to have been conducted demonstrate how more companies might attempt to alter recipes without informing the public.  If this continues, the subtle threat to our favorite cocktails and spirits grows more concerning.  Ok, I think that was a tad too dramatic...but seriously this sucks.

Robert, I wouldn't be so quick to impute nefarious practices to Campari just yet. First of all, Gruppo Campari doesn't "owe" responses to random emails from bloggers and internet forum participants (which, for all intents and purposes, describes almost all of us). Second, although the differences in taste seem quite clear, it is far from conclusive that Campari changed its formula.

Just to clarify, I am not saying that Campari has really done anything wrong here. I think that if I were interested in the well-being of Gruppo Campari more than the taste of the Italian aperitif, I would likely find myself making similar decisions. If anything, it is a shame that more people don't appreciate Campari resulting in a situation where change would be accepted by the public and become a viable option for the company. So, I don't think they have done anything wrong by any means, but I do think the uncertainty associated with possible changes is disturbing for those of us who enjoy spirits and cocktails because we never know when changes do take place, and may remain uniformed thereafter. Again, this isn't a wrongful act, but it is concerning from my point of view, and I think that a few actions could (even if they are minimal impacts) help us to avoid these types of situations to some degree or educate one another.

I also don't think that Campari "owes" it to anyone to respond; I was just hoping, like I said, that they would feel "compelled" to do so if they read the thread and received a few e-mails. I just thought that instead of supposing about changes, I would see if they would respond if I put some effort into it. I hope I didn't come off all anti-Campari previously on here. I was kind of just trying to describe why the situation concerns me personally and the e-mail I was hoping would shine some light on the situation.

I did receive an e-mail from Campari today, but it doesn't say much -

"Dear Robert,

Yes as of 2007 Campari now has artificial coloring to give it that bold red color. Carmine is starting to run out so we need to use something else.

Cheers! "

It does, however, introduce another possibility I don't remember if anyone brought up. Is there a short supply of carmine in the world? Maybe this is why a change was necessary. Kind of a short e-mail; I guess they don't think they owe it to anyone either, lol. And, I certainly wouldn't describe this response as very compelled. Oh well, I gave it a shot.

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Yes you sure did, and thanks for your effort!

It really was a short mail........

Well, for my part i want my old bug juice so i`m gonna stock up..reserve a shelf in my bar for old Campari alone..... :wub:


Edited by Tiare (log)

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so you fiends drank a rare beatle to the point of extinction and the good campari people, with their spirit of conservation, finally cut you off...

now you've drank your aged supplies down to nothing and you don't like the taste of it right out the tap... i hope a lesson was learned...

if any of you people wrecklessly exhaust the world supply of mature green chartreuse there will be hell to pay...

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Hm....Green Chartreuse....maybe not a bad idea....maybe it can be paired with Campari? :biggrin:

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