Reviews written by Z for Zendetta
Last updated: February 14, 2008
|Flavor / Mouthfeel||5.0|
Valentine's Day '08
We tried this absinthe on Valentine's Day 2008, and to set the mood lit candles and read from Blackwood's "The Man Whom the Trees Loved."
The color is a perfectly natural-looking light emerald, bright and translucent (5/5). The louche is the most beautiful I have seen, you can really understand why Ted named the company Jade Liqueurs when you hold this absinthe up to candlelight. Its color fades from green in the darkness to yellow-tinged where the light is strongest, and the louching sugar at the bottom of the glass looks like the swirling souls from Fantasia's Night on Bald Mountain (5/5).
I had opened the bottle and recorked it, then let it sit for about a week, and it developed a subtle, mentholish smell, like warm fields after rain. The louche releases the hidden aromas very nicely, yielding an aroma much heavier on the anise and fennel, although the green fairy didn't really "fill up the room" as much as some other brands I have tried, and to really smell it you had to hold the glass up to your nose (4/5).
The taste is finely balanced. There are at least five simultaneous sensations - a subtle anise-fennel sweetness, a distinct and bitter undercurrent of wormwood, something citrusy (perhaps melissa?), something floral (coriander?), and a mouthfeel that I can only describe as crisp and silky (5/5). What really makes this absinthe stand out to me, however, is the finish - there is a crisp bitter dryness in the end that lingers pleasantly, and makes that next sip only partially voluntary (5/5). It all produces a very warm-feeling drunk, when consumed in excess, but for the first time since sampling high-quality absinthe I did not dream.
Having finally tried this absinthe after reading all the rave reviews, it only makes me more eager to go out and try other varieties. After sipping it, the main impression I have is that it is very finely crafted, but it makes me realize that there can be no thing such as a "be all and end all" of absinthes. This is the absinthe to pick if you're looking for something subtle, crisp and delectable, and in that category it scores top marks (5/5). If you're looking for something thick, creamy and more pungently herbal, then you might prefer a different variety.
|Flavor / Mouthfeel||2.0|
A cross between 1890s Absinthe and 1990s Absinth
The color is not natural-looking to me, and I wouldn't be surprised if this absinthe had artificial coloring in it (1/5). The louche was also very thin, and looked fake, for lack of a better word (2/5). Anyone who has had really good absinthe will know what I mean when I say that an absinthe's color and louche should seem herbal, thick, oily and nuanced - these qualities go a long way in setting the mood. This one was more like a vodka painted green that turned slightly chalkier when water was added.
The spirit is obviously grain, not grape-based, which makes this absinthe taste harsher and makes it more of a cheap knock-off rather than a recreation of what Van Gogh drank (2/5). The idea of adding eucalyptus is an interesting one, but ought to be tried by a distillery that puts more effort into authenticity. The mint was also far too strong, mint has a strong natural flavor that is too overpowering which is why those 19th century distilleries that used it used only very limited quantities - Pernod Fils had something like one bushel of mint per 10 kg of herbs, I believe.
There was no finish to speak of - literally as soon as I had sipped this drink, all the flavor was gone (1/5).
The only thing that makes me rate this absinthe 2/5 overall is the bottle, which has a very interesting design. Tourment Vert is the missing link between 19th-century absinthe and the "absinth" of the bars in Prague. It was obviously rushed for release on the recently opened American market, and the whole point of a ratings guide is to help people avoid wasting upwards of $60 on something that isn't even authentic. For people who are stuck with a U.S. brand, I would strongly recommend trying Lucid or St. George instead.
|Flavor / Mouthfeel||2.0|
Not worth your money
This absinthe was produced by the Pernot distillery in Pontarlier, before they switched owners and started producing more interesting elixirs such as the Roquette 1797 and the Doubs Mystique.
The color was a completely natural-looking green, but neither bright nor nuanced (3/5). The louche was there, and natural, but it was disappointing - a little thin, and not particularly interesting to watch (2/5). If blindfolded, I would have correctly identified the aroma as that of authentic absinthe, but a little anise-heavy (not really revealing the other herbs) and unfortunately, the green fairy doesn't really fill the room after the louche (2/5). The flavor is also authentic, but a little too sweet, not really nuanced, and overall pretty 'thin' - this is the kind of absinthe that you really can't enjoy if you've had better varieties (2/5). The finish, too, was lacking - nothing unpleasant, but the flavors, what few there were, just didn't really linger (2/5). Overall, this is an unremarkable absinthe that isn't worth your money. The effects of it felt just like getting drunk off a regular spirit, there was none of that pleasant lucidity I associate with good absinthe.
For beginners, I would recommend starting with the Verte de Fougerolles instead, because it does a better job of showcasing what a good absinthe should be, without really knocking your socks off.
Last updated: February 10, 2008
|Flavor / Mouthfeel||4.0|
A perfect place to start...
The color is a completely natural, herbal green, but lacks brightness and nuance (3/5). After the louche, it develops into an opaque yellowish-green gradient, growing much more nuanced, but the louche process itself is not particularly smoky/swirly or interesting (4/5). The aromas really fill the room - a good quality about this absinthe - but are heavy on the anise (4/5). Flavor follows the aroma - strong, herbal, grape-based spirit with a pleasant wormwood undertaste, this is definitely authentic 19th-century style absinthe, but too heavy on the anise to really do justice to the other herbs (4/5). There were no unpleasant surprises in the finish, but the flavors did not really linger long enough for my taste (3/5). Overall, a finely crafted absinthe, one of the best on the market when it came out, but does not really stand out in any category. Secondary effects (lucid drunkenness/vivid dreams) were definitely present. Recommended strongly for beginners - you don't want to start with the best stuff right away. At 50 euros, the only quality absinthe that is as much of a bargain is Belle Amie.