After what happened with the Cocchi Americano, I’m not sure I should bring this up.
However, in the spirit of “share and share alike”…
As it turns out, the Lillet company does still make a product which may be more similar to Kina Lillet than to modern Lillet Blanc. However, it is made only in small vintage dated lots and mostly stays in France.
Corti Brothers, a Sacramento importer of Gourmet wine and food, have managed to lay their hands on a small amount of what they describe as, “Kina Lillet is what Jean de Lillet was called before WWI. The ’04 Jean de Lillet that we exclusively have is sweeter than what Kina Lillet was. Kina Lillet no longer exists.”
In the Corti Brothers newsletter description of the product they also go into further detail.
Réserve Jean de Lillet, always vintage dated, is produced from appellation controlée wines which, depending on the vintage, quality, and pricing, come from Entre-Deux-Mers, Graves, Première Côtes de Bordeaux and even from Sauternes. Peels of sweet and bitter oranges from Spain, Morocco, Haiti, Mexico and South America as well as other secret fruits, eight more, are cold macerated in brandy for four to six months, then blended with the wines and then further aged. For Jean de Lillet, aging is done in oak barriques, a third new and two thirds second use. Aging Jean de Lillet produces remarkable results, but you must do it. The bottling we offer is from the 2004 vintage, which has to be called “LOT 2004.” If you can keep your hands off it, it will age well for years.
Interesting that they mention “other fruits” but no other spices or herbs than the cinchona.
A couple bottles arrived on my doorstep over the weekend and I am looking forward to trying it later this week. At which point, I will report back about how it compares to modern Lillet Blanc and Cocchi Americano.
By the bye, Corti Brothers are currently out of stock on Cocchi Aperitivo Americano, but usually stock it and hope to have it available again soon.