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bolognium

New Formula Campari

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There used to be a sweet Campari, to go along with the bitter Campari we all know and love. Perhaps this is the bianco?

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...

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.

Peru appears to be the largest world producer of carmine followed by Mexico and the Canary Islands.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochineal

I couldn't find anything on the web regarding shortages. If anything, it looks like production was increased in the last 20 years as the natural dye enjoyed a resurgence in popularity as a natural dye.

I bought some Campari (new formula) a month ago and was disappointed with the flavor in a Campari and soda. I *thought* maybe I was being unduly influenced by having read this thread. I ran across an unopened bottle of carmine-containing Campari last week and bought it and I am surprised by the difference in color between the natural and artifically colored versions..

The new stuff is much less deeply red colored. I'm going to try a side by side taste on the rocks soon. The color difference alone is quite disappointing.

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I found two bottles of 'old' Campari at a dusty liquor store in rural Michigan last week.

Picked them up, natch, but I am slightly worried by the fact that they were sitting next to a window in direct sunlight, possibly for years.

Any opinions on how the exposure to sunlight might affect the taste?

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open one, taste it. Report back.

Jmahl

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Hi,

I opened both, at 40 degrees, and had my wife pour equal amounts into brandy snifters, not soda or ice, while I donned a dishtowel-blindfold.

The first had a more assertive nose, the second was more subdued. I liked the first/

The first had that familiar bitterness immediately in the mouth. The second was a bit subtle with bitterness slowly developing in the mouth.

The first ended with a grassiness and lingering bitter taste. The second was more mineral, rounder with little bitterness at the finish.

My wife, a supertaster, echoed my comments.

I concluded that the first seemed to have more of the bitterness that we love in Campari. Nevertheless, I preferred the body and rounder flavor of the second.

The answer will appear on the second page.

Tim

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Page 2,

The second was the original. The first was the new formula.

I'm off to buy those last two bottles in the morning.

Tim

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Most of the bottles I run across in my neck of Texas are still old formula. Even Spec's in Austin is stocking liter bottles of old formula (off-Mopac).

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open one, taste it.  Report back.

...problem is that I don't have any more bottles (that haven't been in the sun) to compare it with.

I am not sure my taste memory from last time I drank old Campari, straight up, can be relied upon to make an accurate comparison with the sun-soaked bottles.

But this has made me curious about how exposure to sunlight can affect our beloved beverages.

Has anyone done any studies or research on this?

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Found some more 'old' stuff, this time REAL old, and right in the middle of downtown Chicago.

They had at least seven bottles of the stuff, and the old guy at the store said they'd been there 'forever'.

The labels are different.

Anyone know when the label change happened?

Trying to figure out exactly how old these are...

Below is the 'old' Campari that I got in Michigan in August (left), and the 'REAL old' Campari scored yesterday:

campari.jpg

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Found some more 'old' stuff, this time REAL old, and right in the middle of downtown Chicago.

They had at least seven bottles of the stuff, and the old guy at the store said they'd been there 'forever'.

The labels are different.

Anyone know when the label change happened?

Trying to figure out exactly how old these are...

Below is the 'old' Campari that I got in Michigan in August (left), and the 'REAL old' Campari scored yesterday:

campari.jpg

I've been snatching up old formula Campari bottles as I find them and squirrelling them away. I also found and bought one "OLDER" bottle with the Italy label around the shoulder and the apertivo style label. When I started enjoying Camapri they had already made the switch to the bottle labeled Bitter and without the "Italy" label around the shoulder. Wouldn't mind knowing when they made that change. Gives me a way to ball park the age of the older bottle.


Edited by Susie Q (log)

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FYI, Here's an article from Newsday (that I first saw quoted in the current issue of The Week) about new labeling regulations for products using cochineal beetles:

After a decade of pressure from a consumer advocacy group, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will require the food industry to disclose that a dye sourced from a pulverized insect must be identified as either "carmine" or "cochineal."

Starting in two years, food and cosmetics manufacturers will have to disclose the bug-based food additives on their labels. The FDA created the new rule because people who've consumed products that range from yogurt to fruit drinks to candy have developed severe allergic reactions, some of which have been potentially fatal.

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Finding this older thread I have perhaps found the answer to why my last bottle of Campari seemed a bit lacking. I'm now spending a lot of time in Paris and would be happy to bring back a bottle of "real" Campari, but I can't tell from the labels whether or not the local version is beetle-based. In the Monoprix/Casino/etc. the label only refers to vegetable coloring (if I'm remembering right), and the bottles at the duty free have NO indication of ingredients at all. If the "new formula" was created for import into the US under new FDA requirements it should be possible to find the old style outside of the US -- or not? Anyone have insight into this?

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To the best of my knowledge, there is no Campari made anywhere that includes carmine anymore.

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I buy my Campari here on the "Border" from the duty free shop.  The formula is at 28.5% Alc./Vol. with no notation of coloration. The date/manufacture code is "LS/QC29" The bottom of the front label is marked, "Duty Free Market."  Is this the "real" stuff?

Good drinking,

Jmahl

in follow-up to my prior post - I just purchased a new bottle of Campari at the duty free. No change from the prior post except the price. Now up to $18 for a liter.

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Nardini, famous for its grappa, makes a Campari-style bitter:

http://www.nardinigrappa.com/index.php?c=3&pid=8

The company shows a sensitivity to vegetarians by noting on its website, "The red colourant in Bitter is Ponceau 4R, not cochineal, making it suitable for both vegan and kosher diets."

Ponceau 4R is a synthetic colorant and, according to Wikipedia, an allergen to some and a possible carcinogen:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponceau_4R

(I don't mention the possible ill effects of Ponceau 4R to turn people off to Nardini Bitter, but rather as additional information to those interested in the whole carmine/synthetic color conversation.)

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