Reviews written by coasterguy
|Flavor / Mouthfeel||4.0|
Challenging but worth the effort
I picked this up on vacation based on the fact that it was one I hadn't tried and because the label showed it won an award. I got it home and enjoyed the look of the bottle and the slightly dark color, but the aroma was almost medicinal, heavy on the alcohol. With an ABV of 74%, I supposed that wasn't much of a surprise. It had a fast but decent louche, but the aroma didn't come forth much.
Full disclosure: I usually drink without sugar and about a 4:1 ratio for an ABV this high. That "without sugar" part would haunt me. The first sip nearly knocked me down.
The only way I can describe it is imagine taking several large grapefruit and carefully removing all the white pith from the fruit. Discard the fruit and soak the pith in alcohol until it dissolves. It was the most bitter, vile absinthe I'd ever tried, and that's saying something! I only got to my third sip. The next day, I tried it with sugar. No better. One last try with TWO sugar cubes and a little extra water. Still, it was bitter beyond any sort of reason with a slight grapefruitish citrus note and not much else. At least I managed to choke down the glass, where the first two had simply gone down the drain.
I was surprised, then, when I went for a nice glass of absinthe after work, to find myself reaching for Abyss again. Two sugars, a little extra water, and a steely-eyed determination to not gag on it. Not only did I manage to get the glass down, but I poured myself another. What is this obsession with the hard-to-drink elixir?
Flash forward a week. Each night, I've tried to find a magic ratio of sugar and water to make this stuff palatable. Each night I fail. Each night, I find that there is simply nothing that can be done to make it any less bitter, any less challenging, any more like the complex subtleties of the green fairy that I enjoy so much.
...but I also found that in spite of all that, I have grown to love this stuff. It was a long, difficult road to travel in the process, but I can honestly say that once this bottle is empty, I'll be replacing it with another. It is, I am almost ashamed to say, one of my top four favorite brands (the others include La Clandestine, Vieux Carre, St George, to give you an idea of my taste). It's certainly not for everyone, and definitely not for anyone who's new to absinthe. It's very, very hard to love this one, but once you acquire a taste for it, a glass at the end of a long day is reward, indeed.
|Flavor / Mouthfeel||5.0|
One word, three letters: WOW
OK, so I'm forced to include things like the louche (which was a bit fast and a bit heavy) and aroma (which is fine, but thin) into my review's "Overall" score, which is the only reason I didn't give it a five-star overall ranking.
The bottom line for me, though, is the taste - and while this one has some oddities that push the envelope a bit on what an absinthe should taste like, the trinity is there like it should be. On top of that is a riot of flavors, layer upon layer of complexity that changes dramatically with different dilution ratios and the inclusion or non-inclusion of sugar. If you try it and don't like it, change the ratio and the sugar content, then try it again. I'll bet you find a combination that knocks your socks off. I've found several... but the best for me is diluted about 4:1 with sugar.
The color is a bit too amber, the louche is too fast, the aroma not quite strong enough. But it's the taste of this one combined with a killer finish that dances on the tongue that keeps me coming back to it time after time. This is one that will always be in my cabinet, for sure.
|Flavor / Mouthfeel||3.0|
Appearance: Absolutely beautiful in the glass. Just the faintest emerald hue amidst crystalline clarity.
Louche: Thin trails lead to a thick fog that keeps a nice separation between the louche and the top layer. This holds until 1.5:1 or so, then it's completely foggy with a hint of green.
Aroma: This is the downfall for me on this one. It's slightly spicy, but overly medicinal until the dilution is at least 4:1. Only then does the aroma balance out a bit.
Flavor: Slightly thin in feel, there are some interesting flavors happening in the background. A tad bitter (in a good way), a little spicy and fruity, works best if you let it sit in your mouth and warm a bit before swallowing. Nothing really stands out as a "wow" but there's not much to complain about, either.
Finish: Very dry with a lingering bitterness (again, in a good way).
Overall: Not a bad effort at all, but nothing that really stands out as superior over other brands.
|Flavor / Mouthfeel||5.0|
It's a keeper
Appearance: absolutely clear, almost invisible
Louche: Beautiful, but it's over pretty quickly. Pearly white with a few blue overtones.
Aroma: No-nonsense, unadorned absinthe goodness. Nothing stands out, but that's not a complaint. Everything harmonizes into a nice bouquet.
Flavor: Wow. I'm partial to vertes, but if all the blanches were this good, I wouldn't be so biased. Rock-solid blend of the trinity, slightly bitter (but not too much), seductively spicy (but not overpowering), and a hint of numbing that just begs for another sip.
Finish: Slightly dry, slightly bitter, a hint of anise, a dose of pepper... long after the last sip.
Overall: This will absolutely be my go-to brand when I want to introduce someone to absinthe. It's not edgy, it's not unusual, it's not trying to be anything other than a really, REALLY good absinthe, and it hits the mark almost perfectly. I'll definitely have this on hand all the time.
|Flavor / Mouthfeel||2.5|
A fine drink, but a substandard absinthe
Appearance: bright and clear, no sediment
Louche: spectacular trails and a heavy, thick fog that rolls and tosses in the glass. Very nice, if a bit thick.
Aroma: unusual, to say the least. It had a familiar smell that took me awhile to place, but I eventually remembered a product we had as children that came in a toothpaste-like tube. We would squeeze out a blob of it on the end of a red plastic straw, then blow through the straw to make rubbery bubbles. This absinthe smelled almost exactly like that stuff. Not unpleasant, but not what I'd think absinthe should smell like.
Flavor: some menthol, some spiciness, a hint of honey, the tiniest hints of the trinity, a touch of mint. It's interesting and refreshing, but it's a long way from absinthe. In fact, I'd suggest this brand to friends who claim they don't like absinthe because of the anise flavor. This one has very little of it.
Finish: nothing spectacular, but nothing wrong with it, either
Overall: I went right down the middle with a three because while it's quite tasty and I do enjoy drinking it, it's so far removed from what I like about absinthe that if I'm in the mood for absinthe, this one won't even come to mind.
|Flavor / Mouthfeel||3.5|
Solid and interesting
Appearance: Clear, jewel-like green with a hint of yellow
Louche: Dramatic trails lead to a rolling fog very quickly. Completely louched by 2:1. Greenish-yellow tint, thick.
Aroma: Spicy sandalwood notes with an earthy base. Very pleasant, but tended to stay in the glass rather than fill the room. Still aromatic at 3:1, much less so at 4:1
Flavor: Wormwood bitterness right up front followed by spicy, more complex flavors. Nicely balanced after the initial sip. The first sip always seems to be more bitter than the ones that follow.
Finish: Dry and spicy with some numbing. Lasts quite awhile.
Overall: This is one of the few brands I prefer sugared. I also find it best at around 4:1, which eliminates the alcohol burn still present at 3:1. It's a good go-to absinthe when you want something interesting, but not too gimmicky.