Bully Boy Distillers first entered the amaro game in 2018 with the release of what was simply called Bully Boy Amaro. In November 2020 the Boston-based distiller introduced its companion, a second amaro in the rabarbaro sub-category.
Rabarbaro’s defining characteristic is its use of bitter rhubarb root, and Bully Boy’s iteration is no exception. The spirit also features black cardamom, marjoram, chamomile, clove, yarrow, and bitter orange.
Dark and fruity blackberries are most prominent on its nose, followed by undercurrents of cardamom spice and a touch of smoke. It’s soft on the palate with a lush, velvety texture.
Flavor-wise, it begins bitter with juicy, wild blackberries that are checked by dry cardamom at the center. The middle also sees pleasing notes of lemon balm and chamomile tea, which provide some soothing, digestive-friendly notes before we slip into the back and see a revival of blackberry, now sweeter and jammier but still laced with a touch of bitterness. The herbal qualities that have mostly lingered underneath the palate throughout the whole experience are now unearthed as herbaceous, bitter vegetable root, providing that bitter pop a proper amaro needs without burying the jammy sweetness of blackberry.
Like Bully Boy’s first venture entry into amaro-making, the Rabarbaro feels like the sort of gateway drug that might convince amaro skeptics to take the leap. Its velvety texture and darkly fruity sweetness can gently usher the amaro-weary into the category, and yet its herbaceous, spicy, and bitter elements provide enough punch to please veterans. Most importantly, all those qualities will soothe the stomach after too much pasta.
— 30% ABV