The other week I went out to lunch with Scott Goldman of Cadre Noir, the importers of Combier liqueurs. Goldman discovered Combier while he was a professional hockey player in France. (Yes, you read the correctly.) The distillery makes many different liqueurs under it's own name, along with other products including Lucid absinthe. So these products aren't new, just new to the US market.
Lately Combier has been doing a big push with their L'Originale triple sec. This one has a sugar beet spirit base, and seems to taste just fine. Orange liqueurs are all in the use- I'd use it. Bartenders will likely try it and make their decision based on price.
Combier is a distillery founded nearly 175 years ago in France.The triple sec Goldman says was originaly a filling for chocolates but proved so popular they spun it off into its own drink. It's also an ingredient in Pimm's, according to Goldman. (It is said a Pimm's approximation can be made with triple sec, sweet vermouth, and gin.)
I was most interested in the other Combier products on the market. The Royal Combier is more like Grand Marnier or Cointreau Noir in that it adds cognac to the equation, and in this case, Delamain cognac. Also added to this product is an "elixir" of about 20 spices like aloe, nutmeg, cinnamon, and saffron. Goldman says Royal Combier is "softer than Grand Marnier, with a Yellow Chartreuse-like finish." They're likely to promote this one for sipping on its own, but as with GrandMa and Cointreau Noir I'd still mix with it.
The third product they've brought to market in the US in a cherry liqueur they're calling Roi Rene Rouge. It's got a nice bright cherry flavor akin to cherry pie filling. This one tastes lighter and less woody than Cherry Heering, and I'm excited to see how it acts in cocktails. Goldman suggests it mixed with Coke and I'm unlikely to try it like that, but I wonder how the Blood and Sand and Remember the Maine will taste with this stuff. We shall see.