By Matt Goldstein
An exceptional and subtle liqueur, Navan Natural Vanilla Liqueur is produced in France by Grand Marnier. Using the same Cognacs as in Gran Marnier, Navan is made with 100% natural vanilla beans, hand picked from the Vanilla Coast of Madagascar. Navan actually stands for natural vanilla. Navan has a light vanilla scent. It has a sweet, vanilla ice cream flavor with a thick aftertaste. Slightly medicinal with a light burn, Navan is a brilliant drink. Navan can be served straight in a Cognac glass or on ice. However, our favorite way to drink Navan is to take ½ part Navan and mix it with 1 part Cognac and serve straight.
From the Navan website: Natural Vanilla comes from the vanilla orchid, one of 35,000 orchid varieties that grow in certain areas of the globe primarily among the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, the leading producer of natural vanilla. Orchids do not make the vanilla bean naturally; the human touch (or a bird) has to pollinate the flower, starting the 21 month -2 year process of this rare and unique spice. Each orchid blossoms only one day a year, for several hours.
Once the yellow-white flowers begin to bloom, they slowly mature into slender beans or pods. The fruits, which resemble big green beans must remain on the vine for nine months in order to completely develop their signature aroma. However, when the beans are harvested, they have neither flavor nor fragrance. They develop these distinctive properties during the long curing process.
The result of this meticulous journey from the orchid to the cured bean is Natural Vanilla, the 2nd most expensive and rare spice in the world.