Reviews written by Green Baron

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Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     May 03, 2013
Last updated: May 06, 2013
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.5
Aroma 
 
4.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.5
Finish 
 
3.5
Overall 
 
4.0

I Can Dig It

-Color-
Before Water:
Looks quite like vintage fuille morte golden brown with the tiniest bit of green tint. Often a sign of bitterness and/or overcoloring in a modern verte such as this, but I find it rather fetching.

After Water:
The louche brings out a thick green-tinged custard color. Fortunately after tasting, the color proved not to be a sign of an overwhelmingly bad process. Though it's likely related to the vegetal notes that might not be welcomed by every absintheur.

-Louche-
Nice oil trails that bunch up at the bottom and eventually go opaque. A line is formed, not right on top of the louching opaque portion, but rather in the middle of the clear portion- pretty cool! The encroaching fog is thick yet disciplined and takes awhile to finally engulf the last of the clear band. Final louche is thick but not excessively so.

-Aroma-
Rich brandy-like candied fruit with vegetal, coriander, and herbal notes.

-Flavor and Mouthfeel-
A fruity sweetness born from a marriage of the grape base and anise is very nice, along with some nice spicy, citric and herbal flavors. The vegetal notes are just enough to be interesting and there is a well balanced minty wormwood briskness beneath the candy overtones. I think I can detect star anise which makes the otherwise full, round mouthfeel excessively prickly.

-Finish-
The prickly feel from the star anise regrettably mars what would otherwise be non-cloyingly sweet and interestingly herbaceous finish.

-Overall-
This absinthe is pretty good, and I appreciate that it stands out somewhat from your average verte. At the same time, it might not be for everyone. Heavy grape base and cognac lovers I think will especially dig it. Were it not for the star anise factor, I’d prefer this over its Devoille sister, La Coquette.

Notes: 3.5:1, iced brouille, no sugar.

Reviewed by Green Baron     April 30, 2013
Last updated: May 03, 2013
Overall rating 
 
2.1
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
2.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
1.5
Finish 
 
1.5
Overall 
 
1.5

Senator you’re no Pernod Fils!

-Color-
Though I know it’s artificially colored, this is one of the best artificial colors I’ve seen; the mid-peridot could pass for some of the more vivid naturally colored vertes; the latest range of offerings from Emile Pernot comes to mind. Retains its natural look after water; I’d give most artificial colors a 1 or 2, but this one manages a 3.

-Louche-
Louche starts out nice, but then is over a bit too quickly, as one would expect from a product with a high amount of star anise oil. Louched opacity on the thick side, but not any worse than some well made green anise based brands.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Black jelly bean and alcohol heat.

After Water: Strong black jelly bean aroma with a little weird woody medicinal nuance. Nothing downright offensive so I guess it gets a 2.

-Flavor and Mouthfeel-
Oh dear. Sickly sweet light licorice flavor with some minor spice and weird plastic notes. I was expecting an all-out star anise saturation a la Grande Absente but the sickly and weird flavors make this a bit worse. Blunt bitterness and maybe a little mint from the wormwood. While I’ve tasted a few good vertes with the same bitterness power, quality A.a. when properly handled will have a much greater range than this; in addition, the wormwood flavor that IS here does not sync with the rest of the notes. Not much body to speak of one way or another.

-Finish-
Blunt, dry bitterness from the A. a. with a bit of spice. The receding flavors are a relief rather than a savory send off.

-Overall-
As discussed many times before on the serious absinthe forums, it’s a real pity that this beverage carries the Pernod Absinthe name. While it technically qualifies as real absinthe by historical measures (the lowest possible grade of absinthe and cheapest production methods), it has very little to do with the gold standard of all absinthe, pre-ban Pernod Fils. It’s unfortunate, though predictable, to see the Pernod-Ricard megacorporation attempt to link their product to Pernod’s glory days. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know the real thing (1910 Palazzo cache, 1910 Winnetka cache, 1914 Holland “very green” cache, Tarragona c.1940-50 and c. 1950-1960) and Senator you’re no Pernod Fils!

Notes: 3.5:1, no sugar. Got a little better as the glass warmed up, but I ended up sinking the remainder of the glass. Not trying to be a snob, but honestly I found this drink to be unpleasant.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     April 30, 2013
Last updated: May 03, 2013
Overall rating 
 
3.9
Appearance 
 
4.5
Louche 
 
3.5
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
3.5
Overall 
 
3.5

2012 Sample: Pleasant Surprise

-Color-
Before Water:
Very attractive and natural medium gem green.

After Water:
Louched glass presents a nice light green-olive color.

-Louche-
Good action, maybe on the quick side initially but the clear line stayed awhile. Final louche is on the thicker side.

-Aroma-
Before Water:
Pleasantly strong herbaceous and flowery citrus aroma. The punch of herbal notes reminds me a little of Helfrich Verte.

After Water:
More of the same with a little cinnamon and perhaps menthol.

-Flavor and Mouthfeel-
Very enjoyable and well balanced flavor, again with herbaceous and citric notes being in the forefront with a serving of sweetness. There is a bit of cinnamon spice and perhaps a little star anise- but not enough to annoy me as it usually does. Mouthfeel is neither thick nor thin, I’d it’s about right until the finish.

-Finish-
The citrus and wormwood bitterness are the primaries in the finish with the pinch of cinnamon becoming a bit spicier. The tongue numbing is a bit excessive and just slightly annoying, but thankfully the star anise seems to have been used sparingly.

-Overall-
Having heard that the Montmartre had declined in quality in recent years, I was very pleasantly surprised by this sample (ABSINTHEXPLORE sample from Absinthes.com). The only detractor was the star anise, but unless you can’t stand badiane in any amount, I don’t think it’ll spoil the drink for too many folks. If what I tasted is what’s in the full bottles currently available for purchase, I’d say it’s worth having in your absinthe stash.

Notes: 3.5:1, iced brouille.

Vintage Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     April 14, 2013
Last updated: April 19, 2013
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
5.0

The REAL Berger

-Color Before Water-
Beautiful copperish-golden-brown fueille morte.

There were some significant particles of sediment in my sample. However, it’s one of the last samples from a century old bottle, and this does not represent the actual quality of C.F. Berger production or necessarily other vintage samples that may still be out there. I decided to treat the particulate as an anomaly that doesn’t affect the actual score. So there!

-Louche-
(outside on a beautiful sunny day at the end of summer)
The iced brouille louche was perfectly paced and not explosively fast as I’ve seen with a few other pre-ban samples. A slowly growing, diffuse amber fog grew from the bottom, bringing with it some delicate greens as it engulfed the copper-gold transparency. Though the louche was more wispy and did not have super defined multi layers like some vintage Pernod Fils samples, it did form lovely swirling, cascading jellies that glowed and rippled crimson and orange in the sun. The remainder of the clear band disappeared and the louched glass presented perfect glowing absinthe opacity.

-Color After Water-
In the shade, the louched glass was creamy gold and amber with the hints of green brought out during the louche. In the sunshine it took on more vibrant peachy orange color.

-Aroma-
Before water, smoothly herbal green anise and fennel with earthy butterscotch hints.

After water, blooming floral notes that were neither faded, nor fresh and springy, but rather perfectly pitched, harmonious and refined. I’ve seen mention of the Berger baby powder; “flower powder” seems like the right phrase to me. With each inhale a stately kaleidoscope of wonderful flower aromas that were somehow both new and familiar to me. These were backed by sumptuous smooth butterscotch fullness.

-Flavor and Mouthfeel-
Leads with the same sweet floral scintillations of the aroma. The flower powder could be felt through the nose and around the teeth. This became augmented by the full, smooth butterscotch going leathery. Then towards the lower range, rich and warm, with a big spicy, earthy, musky, woody, pronounced wormwood bitterness on the bottom end. Though not as luxurious and tongue coating as Pernod Fils 1910, the mouthfeel was super smooth sailing on golden milk seas; it was a perfect medium for the huge range of flavors.

-Finish-
Absolutely incredible, the most memorable finish I’ve had in any absinthe, the aftermath of each sip a flavor revere. Endless singing, shifting waves of notes in the reverberating sustain. It just kept going and going. My stalwart companions and I had set the tasting up as a side by side with Jade VS and had other excellent absinthes on the table. However, we didn’t drink very much more of anything once the Berger got started, for fear of destroying the divine finish. After the glass was done, we only interrupted the still-lingering sensations because we had some Duval-Dubied 1895 and Pernod Fils 1914 to take care of.

-Overall-
Like every sample of vintage pre-ban I’ve had so far, the Berger was a revelation of complexity, contrast, and balance that I didn’t imagine could exist. I’ve been lucky enough to taste several vintages/cache samples of Pernod Fils, so it was extremely cool to try a different Grande Marque from the Belle Epoque. And like pre-ban Pernod Fils, it was so good, it’s impossible to truly convey in words. I will be shocked if I ever taste a beverage whose excellence and wonder supersedes that of this amazing ancient absinthe.

-Notes-

Iced brouille drip at 3.5:1, no sugar.

------------------------

-Attack of the Clones-

*Prototype Berger clones*

I’ve had a couple of well-regarded green Berger clone prototypes that were very tasty and impressively floral, with nice bases that could have conceivably transformed into something like the vintage Berger, but I don’t think they were really any closer than the Jade VS (see below).

And then there were bitter brown Canadian and Polish prototypes that were intended to be Berger reconstructions, as well as simulate a century of ageing. Though the bitterness of the Polish clones became infamous, the pronounced bitterness of the aged wormwood in the Berger provided a bit of validity/perspective to the overall concept. The second generation of the Polish Berger was more tolerable in terms of woody/rooty bitter, provided good vintage-y caramel/butterscotch aromas, and the underlying distillate showed promise. However, the bitterness was still an obfuscating blunt fart compared to the glorious, harmonious basso profundo of the real thing.

*Side by side with Jade VS 2005 (Verte Suisse label), Jade VS 2012 (VS1898 label), plus L’Ancienne*

I made sure to have some Jade VS (the only commercial absinthe explicitly intended as a C.F. Berger clone) available for the Berger tasting, but thanks to a generous friend, we were also able to have some seven-year-old VS. Comparing the VS 2012 with the VS 2005 was interesting- impressively consistent, but as one might expect, the 2005 was nicely fuller, smoother and rounder.

Comparing these two with the C.F. Berger was a different story however. While Jade VS is my favorite Jade and one of my all around favorite COs, the Berger was so much more florally complex at the high end, rich and bitter on the low end, that it quite eclipsed the Jades. Of course, the Berger had a century of ageing on the Jades, so such direct comparisons are not so simple. This raised for us the much pondered question- “Was pre-ban just that amazingly good on the day it was bottled or is extreme ageing the primary factor?”.

L’Ancienne (2011) had immediately preceded the Jades and Berger, and we agreed that the characteristics of butterscotch/old leather were very close to those notes that we tasted in the Berger. Something else I did notice though- the grape base of the L’Ancienne that seems to provide those vintage flavors also tastes like it could be an older version of the grape base of the Jades. If one tries the Jade VS, then L’Ancienne as the next ageing step, then imagine what a 3rd time step might be like with a big musky woody wormwood presence and super-floral notes, one might be able to get an approximate idea of the Real Berger.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     August 31, 2012
Last updated: August 31, 2012
Overall rating 
 
3.2
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
3.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.0
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
3.5

Kitschy Rouge Appeal

-Color-
Before Water: Vivid red with orange highlights. I actually find it quite attractive and technically it’s natural since it comes from cochineal bugs. But of course proper, traditional coloration is the product of a secondary infusion of herbs and flowers after distillation, so I’m thinking the most this gets is a 3.

After Water: Pinkish peachy orange.

-Louche-
I was entertained by the novel color, seeing an orange fog develop and rise up to overtake the clear red. End result is fairly quick and rather thick, as to be expected by a star anise-enabled louche.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Powerful black jelly bean/star anise essence, subtropical fruit, alcohol heat…and, well, maybe just a hint of fresh grilled steak. No really.

After Water:
More of the almost-tropical fruit which is pretty close to- or maybe partly generated by- “juicyfruit” wormwood aromatics. The black jelly bean aroma is still present but is now thankfully secondary to the fruit.


-Flavor and Mouthfeel-
The almost-tropical fruity/wormwood, aroma is well represented in the flavor and is very enjoyable. Again can’t tell if the fruity is solely from the wormwood but I can also identify some good wormwood dusky/herbal nuance in the mid-low ranges. However, the black jellybean star anise co-dominates and contributes to a thick, tongue numbing mouthfeel ; if they used green anise (unlikely) it was wasted. Mid palate, a dose of spicyness followed by more savory wormwood bitter begin to kick in and are welcome allies to the good flavors vs. the star anise saturation.

-Finish-
The refreshing spice and wormwood briskness continue into the finish along with a fair amount of tongue tingling and a bit of star anise cloying.

-Overall-
I have to confess I find kitschy appeal with the Serpis 65. Its worst aspect is the aforementioned black jellybean flavor, which at times makes me not so eager to finish the glass. I’ve found that a few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters tends to help smooth it out and add a little nuance. Maybe not an everyday absinthe for me but the tropical-fruity-floral makes it a good one for hot weather or if I’m just in a cheesy Serpis kinda mood.

Notes: Multiple tastings averaging 3.5:1 ratio, no sugar.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     August 09, 2012
Last updated: May 02, 2013
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Gentle Brut

-Color-
Before Water: Clear

After Water: Attractive blanche white with blue highlights.

-Louche-
Good action but a little quicker than I expected given the high ABV, but overall action is good. Ended a bit on the thicker side- not being able to detect excessive star anise or tails increases my respect for this.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Fragrant citrus, fresh earth. Rather nice for an unlouched 80% extrait.

After Water: Floral citrus side by side with a smooth earthy aroma that could be described as rain in the desert. Reminds me of the “fresh dirt” smell of Matter’s Blanche Traditionelle (also a “brut”).

-Flavor/Mouthfeel-
I get the trinity of anise fennel and wormwood but they seem to help form an umbrella of candied lemonish citrus mid palate that also contributes to a juicy mouthfeel. Towards the finish the well balanced trinity comes out from the umbrella and some spicy nuances kick in.

-Finish-
The spice and wormwood carry through the finish with refreshing mid-high notes while the candied citrus and earthy notes reverberate softly in the background.

-Overall-
I quite enjoyed this Eichelberger blanche. It’s been awhile since I had the 68 Limitee verte, but I think I like this even more (though it’s quite possible this is the same distillate for Eich vertes before coloration and proofing). While the flavors are familiar, I got none of the cloying waxy finish I remember from the Limitee verte.

Notes: Approx 5:1 ratio due to high alcohol content, sample aged 8 months. No sugar was used, but I think this absinthe would be particularly well suited for it. I might have to get a full bottle and see for myself.

Retired Brands
Reviewed by Green Baron     July 30, 2012
Last updated: August 09, 2012
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.0
Finish 
 
2.5
Overall 
 
3.0

What's in a name?

-Color-
Before Water: Clear as a blanche should be.

After Water: Thin louche that’s more translucent than opaque. Reminds me of pre-2008sih Emile Pernot offerings.

-Louche-
Entertaining slow action but ultimately thin.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Concentrated aroma of floral fruity grande wormwood.

After Water: Less concentrated aroma of floral fruity wormwood. This is definitely some good wormwood that has enough going on to make me forget about anise and fennel or any other herbs, which are all hiding safely out of range.

-Flavor and Mouthfeel-
The flavor is that of floral fruity wormwood. There are also notes of floral fruity wormwood followed by floral fruity wormwood nuances. And I think some minty-ness as well. The body is pretty thin; seems like there’s just enough of the anethole section here to barely out hold it together and provide a louche, and that’s it.

-Finish-
Gosh that A.a. is nice but at this point the finish has become kinda cloying. A touch more minty tone makes it tolerable however. For me it seemed to fade out quickly instead of sing.

-Overall-
Well ya can’t accuse Wormwood Blanche of false advertising! It’s definitely a one trick pony, but nonetheless a pretty pony with wormwood flowers in it’s hair. If it wasn't a rare one-off product I’d recommend it as standard palate education for the great expression of distilled Pontarlier A. absinthium.

Notes: 3.5:1 water to absinthe, no sugar. 3.5 seemed like it was getting close to over watering for this one.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     July 30, 2012
Last updated: August 20, 2012
Overall rating 
 
2.9
Appearance 
 
2.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
2.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.5
Finish 
 
2.0
Overall 
 
3.0

Is it a Vanche or Blerte?

-Color-
Before Water: Clear with a slight yellowish tint. If I didn’t already know it’s because of the intentionally unorthodox light coloring step, it’s possible I’d score it lower out of fear.


After Water: Slightly off-white, good opalescence

-Louche-
Good trails and timely louche action.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Nice floral wormwood fragrance.

After Water: Looses the intensity of the pre-louche aroma, much fainter than before. Gets a 2.5 not for unpleasantness, but for barely being there.

-Flavor-
Enjoyed the flavor more than I remember when I first tried it a while back; the floral notes in the aroma transfer nicely to the flavor, with the backing anise and fennel working well. Kinda like a blanche with half an attitude or maybe like a subdued verte.

-Finish-
As the other flavors trail off, acrid bitterness from the A.A. in the coloring step gradually takes over and leaves the acceptable range of enjoyable flavors for the duration.

-Overall-
This sample was given to me at least two years ago; another middling absinthe that aging seems to have worked well for. Though no matter how many people try to pull it off, using grande wormwood in the secondary maceration seems like a fool’s errand (some might call it a blunder). Unfortunate that it was discontinued but seeing how it tasted when first released, it’s not surprising folks didn’t stick around until the bitter end.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     July 30, 2012
Last updated: July 30, 2012
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.5
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
3.5

Not-so-boring La Bleue

-Color-
Before Water: Nice and clear

After Water: Good opalescence- not too thick, not too thin.

-Louche-
Builds up at a nice and even pace, I like that it doesn’t louche as quickly as some blanches and ends in good form.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Woodsy, pleasant wormwood aromatics that are neither showy or punchy, but solidly in the mid-floral range.

After Water: The pleasant wormwood is the first thing to notice, and again it’s not intense or jaw dropping, but it’s a very nice example of A.A. goodness. The sweetness of the anise and fennel are well dialed-in and compliment the floral overtones. A hint of the pre-louche woodsy-ness has been retained and is now a slight dank note that’s almost funk, but it’s more a neutral character trait than a negative element.

-Flavor-
Nice and smooth, sweet but not too cloying; the good quality, well-balanced wormwood keeps it away from boring blanche territory.

-Finish-
Decent finish with all the flavors trailing off in good order.

-Overall-
Pretty nice representative Swiss blanche style, less boring than many. Another sample that took me around 8 months to review, at the time of opening this was definitely a bland-ish drink. Aging wins again.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     July 30, 2012
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.5
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
3.5

Fresh pale verte

-Color-
(Before Water) Very pale green, no sediment.

-Louche-
Good trail and fog action. Louched color is still very pale green, decent opacity, a little on the thick side.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Alcohol heat, woodsy, with sweet and floral notes riding along.

After Water: Very pleasant fresh, sweet, and herbaceous aroma.

-Flavor-
Like the aroma, the flavor is fresh, sweet, and herbaceous. Tasty wormwood dominates but does not overwhelm the anise and fennel. There’s also some spicy flavors, however, other nuances one might expect in a verte aren’t really in evidence. I don’t know if the light color influenced my expectations or if a light hand was indeed used in the secondary infusion. A bit of alcohol heat even past 3:1.

-Finish-
Decent finish, not super long lasting but not unbalanced.

-Overall-
I found Opaline to be a well made verte. My sample was 8 months old by the time I finished it off for reviewing. My initial impression back then was that it was a little on the bland side; it has matured well.

Retired Brands
Reviewed by Green Baron     September 28, 2011
Last updated: August 09, 2012
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
5.0

Schweetly Herbaceous

-Color-
Before Water: Pale amber.

After Water: Creamy straw with light green tint.

-Louche-
The impressive louche was repeatable with different methods (slow pour vs. brouilleur); nice bouncing tendrils and well defined, rolling fog bank.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Aroma is VERY floral with alcohol heat.

After Water: L'Art has one my favorite absinthe aromas of all time. Wonderfully, sweetly floral wormwood that's smoother than it is brisk; fruity; full, yet clean and refreshing.

-Flavor-
The great things in the aroma are reflected well in the flavor. Sweetly floral wormwood upfront with fruity herbaceousness and softly creamy support from anise and/or fennel section, followed by some mintyness as we move to the finish. I can't tell for sure but I suspect a subtle grape base contributes the great flavor profile. I'm amazed at how sweet and full this tastes without being cloying in the least.

-Finish-
Here we start to get a bit more brisk zing from the wormwood as the sweetness fades cleanly with a pinch of alcohol heat and perhaps a specter of spice.

-Overall-
Could be a 4 or a 5; It's at least as good as the best COs that I've tried and is only eclipsed by some pre-ban I've sampled. Some folks may look for more complexity, contrast or depth, but for me the uniquely refreshing flavor really transports me; it's almost like some kind of anti-candy. Too bad it's no longer for sale, but I'm grateful for the chance to try it.

Retired Brands
Reviewed by Green Baron     March 09, 2010
Last updated: July 30, 2012
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Tasty Oddity

-Color-
Before Water: Crystal clear.

After Water: Opalescent white with copper and blue highlights; nice oil slicks on the surface.

-Louche-
Good paced action; a well defined cloud bank builds up with yet another distinct clear layer of jellies, then a clear unjellied top layer.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Intriguing, alpine, floral, and herbal.

After Water: The intrigue is still there, strongly reminiscent of tarragon but with less pungence and more briskness. Clear anise/fennel underpinning with citrus/coriander suggestions in the background. Odd but good.

-Flavor-
As with the aroma, an interesting herbaceous flavor that I initially found very tarragonish, but not in a bad way. Upon further taste exploration, I believe this may be due in large part to good wormwood commingling with a powerful expression of very high quality chamomile. Anise and fennel are the foundation, but are in no way shy, and I believe add a bit of nice fruitiness to go along with everything else. This was a super tough choice between a 4 or a 5, one of those times I wish I could give a 4.5.

-Finish-
Adequately round/full bodied at the start, then turns into crisp and palate cleansing by mid sip. Nice minty finish, but I wish the zing lasted just a bit longer.

-Overall-
Another very unique absinthe from Helfrich. I can see that its quirky, distinct flavor might not be for everyone. But if you're feeling adventurous and can get a hold of one the dwindling bottles, I think you'll find it's a terrific blanche and a refreshing deviation if you need a la bleue break. Conjures pseudo-memories of kicking back in a wooden lounger outside a lodge on a sunny but cold alpine morning.

Notes: 3:1 iced brouille, no sugar.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     March 09, 2010
Last updated: March 11, 2010
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

At last, a quality genuine Czech absinthe (v.3)

-Color-
Before Water: Clear vivid and natural amber-olive-green. The sample I had was a bit young, which contributed to the brightness, but I’d bet this will settle into a nice amber or peridot.

After Water: Thickish but good and opaque; light olive.

-Louche-
Great fog bank and bouncing tendrils, good pace.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Mild anethole along with sharp star anise, herbaceous and earthy.

After Water: A distinctly fragrant and dryly floral wormwood, citrus; anise and fennel are mild but subtly juicy in the back. Star anise is still one of the most prominent scents, and though I know not much of it was used, I feel it comes across as just a bit too cloying and distracting.

-Flavor-
Enjoyably mild spice, citrus and minty notes up front. The tasty A.a. from the aroma is very prominent and contributes the same dry floral character, along with a strong but well balanced savory bitter. The anise and fennel provide a backbone role, but are nice and full. It’s interesting, but I did not perceive the star anise in the actual flavor, only the aroma.

-Finish-
A dry, slowly receding wormwood zang carries us through. Perhaps slightly too much numbing though.

-Overall-
I found this absinthe overall to be very enjoyable and would recommend it. The big wormwood character is similar to Pontarlier, but is different enough to distinguish itself and is obviously very high quality (if I’m not mistaken, it’s the same stuff used to make L’Italienne). The one thing that actively detracted from this absinthe was the star anise in the nose. However, it did not hurt the flavor, which I found to be one of the better, more expressive wormwood forward profiles I’ve had recently.

Since it was young at the time of tasting, I wonder if the cloying from the badiane aroma will dissipate with time, and how long that might take. I recently had some PF Taragona 1950, and though the presence of star anise was about as obvious, it somehow wasn’t bothersome in the least.

Notes: 3-4:1 ratios tasted; with and without sugar.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     May 17, 2009
Last updated: May 17, 2009
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Down Home Swiss Goodness

-Color-
Before Water: Perfectly crystal clear

After Water: A little on the thick side, but not too much so. Slight blue glow around the edges with deeper copper highlights.

-Louche-
Definitely on the quick side in general, but typical for a blanche. Swirling thick trails with nice blue and copper highlights push this from a 3 to a 4.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Deep woodsy aroma, almost dank, but not over the line into funky.

After Water: Mild fruity and citrus notes up front. The minty wormwood is more prominent here than in most la bleues. On the backside of this is a dusky sharpness that just might be tails- or it could be an herbaceous component from the wormwood that is mixing unusually with the background herbs. It’s not really unpleasant, just not sparkly clean, so instead of assigning a negative connotation, I’m calling it a “down-home Swiss” feel.

-Flavor-
Well balanced anise flavor, the minty wormwood is here, with citrus, chamomile and perhaps some other herbs humming faintly in the background.

The body has decent thickness, but it’s not as rich as Clandestine, for example. However, there is a nice juicy feel that I’ve seen others attribute to the fruity fennel.

-Finish-
The juicy mouthfeel gives way to light citrus and a softly bitter-fresh wormwood. Staying power is not bad, but it would need more depth and sustain to push it to a “5” rating.

-Overall-
A very solid Swiss blanche with a handmade character. The juicy, citrus, and wormwood balance sets it above the average la bleue. If you enjoy Clandestine and are looking for another quality la bleue to experience or add to your collection, I definitely recommend this.

Notes: 3:1 drip, no sugar. Lot No. 2043175 Ab T

Reviewed by Green Baron     May 16, 2009
Last updated: February 13, 2013
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
5.0

Wonderful Waters

-Color-
Before Water: Vibrant, clear- nearly forest- green. I believe this is due to the young age of this absinthe, and in 3 weeks I have already seen it move just so slightly towards peridot. I'll need to see it around the 6 month mark to really be able to score it properly (I know of some excellent absinthes that were vibrant green right after coloration, but are now closer to pale amber simply because they have been aged).

After Water: Very nice medium lime; natural and attractive. Thicker than some, but has good depth.

-Louche-
Thick, impressive trails that seem to bounce into fluffy knots and then form little jelly layers. Cloud grows at about the perfect rate, is well defined and reaches into the clear top section when disturbed by water drops.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Clean alcohol heat, prominent citrus, and a deep herbal tone that's due especially to the wormwood and fennel.

After Water: Sweet floral and citrus up front. Backing herbaceous notes that are cohesive, but I think I can pick out the grand and petite wormwoods and maybe a little powdery hyssop.

-Flavor-
Sweet anise and fennel are first up, then act as a foundation to let smooth citrus, minty bitter wormwood, finely balanced herb melange and spicy notes come through. I agree with the assessment that one should roll it around a bit more than usual before swallowing to get the most out of the tasty wormwood and other herbs. It wouldn't be surprising if the flavor opens up more as the absinthe matures.

Very nice mouthfeel- smooth and full, with a mild, yet spicy tingle.

-Finish-
The finish is has good staying power, with the grand wormwood coming out even more for a savory bitter send off.

-Overall-
This is a great absinthe that I do not hesitate to recommend. Slightly bolder (I get more grand wormwood, and less petite, comparatively) and creamier than its sibling, Meadow of Love. The soft citrus notes and almost juicy mouthfeel distinguish it, yet it pays tribute to the classic Pontarlier style. Another entry for my top 10.

Notes: Louched 3:1 and 3.5:1, no sugar. Batch 09-3 Bottle 29

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Reviewed by Green Baron     May 16, 2009
Last updated: May 29, 2009
Overall rating 
 
4.8
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
5.0

Magnifique Pacifique!

-Color-
Before Water: Pale, amber with just a hint of green. Perhaps on the side of too pale, but still vibrant. Most doses are perfectly clear, but some do have tiny specks of particulate.

After Water: The green comes out a bit more in a light lime straw hue. To me this is a perfect balance between opaque and translucent- truly opalescent, has a way of glowing with whatever light is in the room.

-Louche-
Trails are not thick, but finely detailed, forming mini layers of clear jellies. A slow forming, but well defined fog-bank displays a nice bit of bounce and grows at a perfect measured pace. With good light, I can actually see the louche action roiling away UNDERNEATH the fog at the bottom of the glass. From start to finish, the louche is on the delicate side- but in a complex and pleasing way.

-Aroma-
Before Water: A brisk sweetness with earthy, vaguely cinnamon notes.

After Water: The alpine briskness is here, but there are also fruity herbal notes and a big background of powdery floral sweetness that I believe comes from the hyssop. It’s clean, refreshing and rich all at the same time.

-Flavor-
Not knowing what Pacifique or what the Montpelier style tasted like before this release, I was expecting a wormwood bomb. However I was also surprised by the initially powerful and strident, yet paradoxically transparent anethole section of the trio.

With only a short period of breathing, the supporting herbal hymns and baby powder hyssop come forth. It is amazing how well balanced the ingredients are, yet I am constantly getting glints of nuances from each of the flavors. This is also one of the freshest, most “alpine” tasting absinthes I’ve had.

Not the creamiest mouthfeel, but very smooth and refined, it has more of a satin character. Seamlessly transitions into the softly dry finish.

-Finish-
The wonderful lingering finish caries the alpine and floral notes for a long time. Here the excellent wormwood blend is showcased not only as minty on the high end with a savory bitterness in the back, but also a tasty herbaceous quality right before the bitter kicks in.

-Overall-
A learned colleague of mine described this absinthe as elegant. I could not agree more- alpine elegance in a glass. With the possible exception of pre-ban vintage, it doesn’t getter better than this folks.

Notes: Various ratios from 3:1 to 4:1. Multiple glasses louched with fountain and brouille drips, as well as poors via sports bottle, carafe and pitcher; no sugar.

Reviewed by Green Baron     May 16, 2009
Last updated: May 18, 2009
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
5.0

Sweet Bloom

-Color-
Before Water: Vibrant light peridot. Very green, but I know this absinthe is a little young, so I hesitate to give it full points before I can see it aged a few more months.

After Water: Pleasing lime green, the final louche is a little on thick side, but with good depth and highlights.

-Louche-
Thick, layering trails that move of their own accord when the pour is paused. A nice swirling, yet very well defined fog bank forms at a good pace and slowly infiltrates the clear top layer, bouncing with every drop of water.

-Aroma-
Before Water: A bit of alcohol sharpness, sweet floral perfume, lightly herbaceous.

After Water: As water is added, the perfume issues forth. Not the most “room filling”, but definitely enticing from a couple feet away. The perfume I picked up neat develops into refreshing floral notes in the high range and at the bottom range is a nice herbaceous petite wormwood (pontica).

-Flavor-
Floral sweetness, soft anise, refined spice, and hints of citrus, with the pontica again contributing to a really great herbal flavor. Refined but deliciously bitter grand wormwood completes the excellent balance, and continues with us through the finish.

The mouthfeel is not as thick and creamy as found in the Pontarlier and other absinthe styles, but falls more into a nice, smooth satin (similar to the mouthfeel of Pacifique) with mild tongue numbing.

-Finish-
The delightful finish echoes the flavor and lets the tasty wormwood come through. It lingers in a way that is not “crisp” like in some absinthes, but is perfectly clean with an understated smooth dryness.

-Overall-
This is a wonderful, flowery (this is the 4th time I’ve mentioned a floral characteristic for good reason), feminine absinthe. This gal is soft, clean and wonderfully balanced, but she has plenty of flavor power. I think this absinthe can be equally appreciated by newcomers (possibly even the anise adverse) and experienced absintheurs. I happily welcome this fine example of liquid art into my top 10 favorites.

Notes: Tasted at aprox 3.5:1 and 4:1 with fountain drip and pitcher pour respectively, no sugar. Batch# 09-2, Bottle 10.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     May 08, 2009
Last updated: May 16, 2009
Overall rating 
 
2.1
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
1.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
2.0
Finish 
 
2.0
Overall 
 
1.0

Below Average

-Color-
Before Water: A nice yellow-green. Maybe too yellow, and ½ a degree too neon bright, but it might be natural (I am pretending that I don't know that FD&C artificial coloring is used). Basically correct and even attractive.

After Water: Natural looking light greenish-yellow. Opalescence and depth could be better however.

-Louche-
Decent trails, entertaining, slowly forming cloud layer.

-Aroma-
Before water: Smells unfortunately like rubbing alcohol.

After water: Licorice and maybe star anise or green anise, whatever it is, it’s kind of flat. Along with this is a very unappetizing alcohol scent that smells to me almost like mint-accented rubbing alcohol. I ended up sinking the first glass. I had another glass from my large sample bottle a few months later, and this was more subdued- but still slightly off-putting.

-Flavor-
A bit o’ the ol’ black jelly bean taste here. Very simple. I’m not really sure if there's any green anise at all, probably just star anise essential oil. I think I might taste a little fennel and some basic wormwood as it moves toward the finish. Overall, it’s much flatter and one dimensional than I’d like it to be, as well as the significant minus of being pre-sweetened (as we know authentic absinthe is not). The funny thing is, it’s actually a bit better after a few months of aging, which is likely due in part to the producer not having aged it themselves.

-Finish-
Not harsh in any way, moderate tongue numbing, not much body or creaminess. The first glass kinda grossed me out, but after breathing the second glass actually had some acceptable wormwood and anethole notes. There is also some unpleasant cloying from pre-added sugar.

-Overall-
There are definitely worse products that are further removed from what absinthe actually is. But this is really NOT authentic absinthe, since it’s pre-sweetened and gets major negatives for taking all the producer shortcuts (star anise, oil mix, artificial color). When all is said and done, it’s a cheep imitation that mimics the real absinthe, but costs just as much.

The drink itself is a 2/5, but I dropped the Overall score to a 1 for the myriad unforgivable inaccuracies represented in the packaging and other marketing for this product. No reason at all to give these people my money. How unfortunate that many will try this and believe it's among the best the absinthe world has to offer.

Notes: 3:1 with medium fountain drip, no sugar.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     May 05, 2009
Last updated: May 29, 2009
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Grape Base In My Face!

-Color-
Before Water: Perfectly clear and refractory.

After Water: On the thick side, but pleasantly so, with appropriate opalescence.

-Louche-
With a 1/sec fountain drip, takes a little while for cloud formation to begin (good, because most blanches I’ve had louche quickly), evolving into a bluish fog with cool bouncing swirls.

-Aroma-
Before water: Quit a vivid grape alcohol reminiscent of Arrack, but with slightly more sweet and less vinegar.

After water: The intense grape alcohol aroma has turned into an intense grape candy or soda tone. There are alpine herbs here to, but they are pretty unified under the heavy grape blanket.

-Flavor-
The candy grape indicated by the aroma is here in its full potency with the sweetness leading into the start of the anise, and in turn a ball of powerful herbs. The trinity is here and there are auxiliary herbs that add to the whole, but due to the big base, I find them hard to resolve individually (until the wormwood finish anyway). Don’t get me wrong though, the herbs are spicy and intense (even verging on sharp and kitschy before my bottle had a long while to rest).

-Finish-
A zingy finish is helped along by the wormwood with a good sustain from the powerful taste.

-Overall-
8 months ago, I didn’t like this nearly as much as I do now. The grape base and united herbal punch were overpowering almost to the point of being harsh (making the aroma just a bit stinky as well), but then lost what I wanted to open up on the addition of water beyond around 4:1 or so. Now that time has passed, there's still big grapes and concentrated herbs, but mellowed and opened up a bit for a very tasty experience. I’m averaging the scores from when it was first opened to when I was taking notes on the final glasses after 8 months of aging. I think around 5 or 6 months is when it turned from “good but over the top” to “very tasty”.

Notes: Multiple tastings from 3:1 to 4:1, fountain drip.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     May 05, 2009
Last updated: May 08, 2009
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Spanish Treat

-Color-
Before Water: A pretty shade of lime yellow-green. I also think of it as “lime peridot”. A little more towards the straw/amber range than the photos I’ve seen online though.

After Water: Good glowy light lime peridot.

-Louche-
Good trails, but a little quick to form a cloud up to the clear top layer (more stratification and showy roiling would have been nice). The line does have good staying power and puts on a little show before it goes away.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Grape and mint with earthy, herby undertones.

After Water: The grape and mint overtones stay at the forefront, then lead right into sweet herbal pontica and a subdued earthiness. Not totally room filling, but does have some range, and I find it quite pleasant.

-Flavor-
A very tasty- if pronounced- grape in front, leading right into strong mint, with anise, vanilla, lemon citrus, pontica, and slight grassy notes developing mid palate. At one point when these meet, the product website’s description of “candied plum” notes is quite accurate. Though flavorful, this is definitely a lighter absinthe than most vertes, and I find myself downing a glass a bit quicker than I usually do.

-Finish-
The mouthfeel is on the thinner side of creamy, but it’s a nice, smooth satin. Brisk mint and wormwood in the finish move things along and keep the sweet flavors from the grape and anise away from cloying territory.

-Overall-
This absinthe definitely has its own personality. It took several days after opening for the mint and dry grassiness to stop dominating and let other flavors to come forth and find a balance (sugar helped a bit during this phase). I’m a sucker for a nice grape base, and I think they did very well there. I agree with folks that refer to this as a light desert or summer absinthe. Some may never like the idiosyncrasies even after breathing, but I’m quite fond of this Spanish treat.

Notes: Louched 3:1, fountain drip. Sugar was used in the first week after opening, afterwards I went with no sugar as usual.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     May 03, 2009
Last updated: May 03, 2009
Overall rating 
 
4.6
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
5.0

Crystal Clean

-Color-
Before Water: Crystal clear. Pretty refractions.

After Water: Good opalescence, catches the light well, has good glow with mostly grey, slight copper-bronze highlights, and hints of blue.

-Louche-
Nice trails and jellies. Quick compared to vertes of course, but a good pace for a blanche. Nice rolling fog bank and tendrils reach into the clear portion on top. Good show.

-Aroma-
Before Water: A lush, inviting concentrated herbal aroma of the main trinity. I don’t usually find the neat aroma for absinthe to be this pleasant.

After Water: It actually loses a little of the lushness, but the notes are retained and become more delicate and floral.

-Flavor-
While many vertes may be bolder, the herbs in Clandestine give it a very nice richness and depth. The anise leads of course; the wormwood is delicate, but definitely registers in the soft floral ranges, floating above the light sweetness of the fennel. Subtle supporting herbal notes that might be hyssop, chamomile, and even coriander round out the overall flavor. The quality of the ingredients is apparent, and there’s a really nice crispy clean feel to the whole thing.

-Finish-
The nice creamy body smoothly transforms into a dryer wormwood finish with just a hint of alcohol heat. Almost palate cleansing.

-Overall-
Excellent la bleue, easily one of the best that’s commercially available. I wish a little more of the lush herb power from the neat aroma stuck around after water, but that certainly doesn’t take away from the full crystal clean flavor. The immaculate character is what pushes the Flavor and Overall areas to a 5 for me.

Notes: Louched 3:1, fountain drip, no sugar. Both EU and US bottles tasted separately.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     September 08, 2008
Last updated: May 07, 2009
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Unique blanche

-Color-
Before water: clear, with a very minor beige tint. I was expecting worse from older pictures. The tint that I experience is very subtle, but it’s present so I can’t give it a 5 like most other blanches get by default.

After water: a good, thick blanche/glowing white with subtle blue and gold-brown highlights.

-Louche-
Very nice thick blue-gray trails with classic instant “invisi-layer” towards the top. Could be a little bit more interesting weather patterns in the clouds, but it layers nicely and is fun to watch.

-Aroma-
Before water, a very interesting wormwood aroma, other herbs, what might be grape alcohol base. After water, an almost Sharpie-marker-like, yet floral scent from the A.a.; fennel, and anise.

-Flavor-
Very floral wormwood, reminiscent of the really tasty Pontarlier stuff in Emile Pernot beverages- yet, it’s more smooth and light here, rather than the more herby-earthy character I get from EP absinthes. Behind the A.a. is the anise and fennel, seemingly in equal measure, with some other minor herbal notes in the distant background.

-Finish-
Nice, smooth finish, but I wish it had a notch or two more of staying power.

-Overall-
Very tasty. However, when I first opened the bottle, I had little experience with A.a. forward absinthes, and the “black magic marker” note was more chemical than herbal tasting to me. I wasn’t a fan. However, as the weeks went by, it really opened up and I was able to appreciate its unique and floral character. This is definitely NOT a La Bleu style blanche. I think that this, along with a few Pernot absinthes, have really helped inform my palate where wormwood is concerned.

Notes: No bottle date. Bottle opened Feb 2008, tasted Feb through Sept 2008. Louched 3:1 with medium fountain drip, no sugar.

Retired Brands
Reviewed by Green Baron     August 11, 2008
Last updated: July 30, 2012
Overall rating 
 
4.4
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Totally herbaceous!

-Color-
Before Water: Extremely clear, almost refractive dark peridot/olive. Natural and beautiful. A touch darker than many quality vertes, but still one of the most gorgeous unlouched colors I've yet seen.

Color After Water: very attractive milky olive.

-Louche-
Nice cascading trails, some orange and blue highlights that appear in the louche when backed by strong light. Not much layering or cloud roiling action however. Full louche at about 1.5:1.

-Aroma-
Before Water: Floral, vegetal and herbal notes, backed by lemony citrus.

After Water: More the same notes that presented themselves neat open up; the floral notes and fresh green herbs, lemon. Wish I could detect the A.A. a little more in the melange.

-Flavor-
Big, spicy, herbaceous tones upfront with what I can only describe as green fruit and lemon flavors and a grassy, bold pontica. This is followed by big, assertive, bitter wormwood in the back and in the finish. I was not expecting the amazing green-powered herbs that were a bit more herby and fruity than “alpine” to me. It manages to be 'pungent' in the best sense of the word, and is distinctive from the 15 modern COs I've tried thus far.

-Finish-
A decent, creamy body is present, but it is not obvious due to the spicy herbal notes that crackle on the palate and lend themselves to a crisp, flavorful -though bitter- finish.

-Overall-
Did I mention how herbaceous and green tasting it is? It does have a citrus/sweet vs. bitter contrast, and it's possible that it COULD be more balanced. But that might ruin the wonderful, bold herbal complexity. It may not appeal to everyone, but it's definitely a favorite of mine.

Notes: Bottle Date 30 March 2008. Bottle opened June 2008, tasted Aug 2008. Louched 3:1 with fountain drip with small amount of sugar as well as sans sugar.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     August 10, 2008
Last updated: May 07, 2009
Overall rating 
 
4.1
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Let it breathe!

-Color-
Before Water: Very clear and VERY green. It’s nice and attractive, but it’s hue may lead one to believe that it might be artificial, so I felt that a 5 couldn't be awarded.

Color After Water: a nice thick, translucent, milky green.

-Louche-
Beautiful water trails, great layering, with clouds forming, bouncing and swirling. Not too quick, not too slow. The clear green line at the top of the louche disappeared for me at about 2:1.

-Aroma-
Before water, anise and citrus with an interesting bitter edge. After water, complex tones are detectable, with anise, citrus, and floral notes that contrast with a bitter wormwood and almost iodine-like scent.

-Flavor-
A very bold and complex flavor- Sweet anise and citrus are the most obvious leading flavors, accompanied by the spicy and floral notes hinted at in the aroma. This is followed by a very powerful and contrasting bitterness.

-Finish-
Pleasantly substantial body with a spicy/bitter bite and a clean, lingering finish. When the bottle was first opened, I found the contrasting flavors to be unbalanced and a bit too much to be truly enjoyable. It took between three weeks to two months for this absinthe to really to really settle down. Once it smoothed out, I was able to really get into the complexity- particularly in the crisp, long lasting and constantly evolving finish.

-Overall-
This absinthe has taught me above all others about how breathing can be beneficial, and in this case, I’d say very important. Some may find the contrasts to be unpleasant, and I would probably hesitate to recommend this as first choice for someone brand new to absinthe. But given some time to mellow, I really enjoy this one for its intensity and flavor. I remember reading someone describing Duplais Verte as “Wagnerian”, which is a great term for this drink!

Notes: Louched 3:1 with medium fountain drip, no sugar (when first opened, sugar helped round out the rough edges, but after breathing, there is already enough sweetness to render sugar undesirable for me).

Bottle Date Aug 2007. Bottle opened February 2008, tasted Aug 2008.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Green Baron     April 18, 2008
Last updated: August 10, 2008
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Quite a rose!

Notes: Maitresse Rouge bottle # 76/400; opened 4-11-2008, tasted 4-12-2008. Prepared with ½ sugar cube and fountain drip. I also tried it with one full sugar cube, as the literature suggests sugar is beneficial, but I found this to be too sweet and the cloying aftertaste from the sugar distracting.



Color:

Before water- In the bottle, a very attractive and natural looking red with a just a tint of orange. The orange becomes much more pronounced when poured into the glass and viewed from an overhead angle.

After water- A delicate and attractive shade of peach pink. The body does not have the sought after strawberry milk thickness I was hoping for, and is on the translucent side of opaque. I did not score it lower, though, because of the beautiful opalescent ruby glints that shine through when backed by a strong light source (such as sunlight). The action and resulting thin final louche is reminiscent of the only other Emile Pernot absinthe I’ve tried so far, the Roquette 1797.



Louche: Nice trails forming and bouncing in a jelly layer dance as a good absinthe should. The louche cloud itself is very slow to appear, however, and until about 1:1.5 when the cloud starts to appear on the bottom, it leaves one worrying if it will actually form. The action itself is great, and the suspense is part of what I enjoy about it! However, as mentioned previously, the end result is not very thick.



Aroma: Before water, I get a dark grain/woodiness with a fruity scent that was a little off-putting due to the “berries-gone-south” tinge. Fortunately, the aroma opens up very nicely after water. I’m getting a much more pleasant red fruit scent commingling with green anise, nice wormwood, and a pleasant background of other herbal notes.



Flavor: In the front, a delicate (just like the pink tint) floral red fruit that makes me think of someone dashing raspberry flavored water drops into the glass. I perceived that this was balanced nicely with green anise, and some very tasty wormwood (which may have contributed to the floral character of the red fruit- once again, it seems very balanced so I can’t really tell).



Finish and Mouthfeel/Body: Not unpleasant or biting in any way, but it’s pretty darn thin. On the plus side, I detect just a little body with a mild tongue numbing. But I really wanted it to be the strawberry milk texture that I was fantasizing about! The finish is refreshing with a good lingering bitterness…I think the fruit tones in the aftertaste might not be to everyone’s liking, though I found it enjoyable.



Overall Impression:

This is the first rouge absinthe I’ve tried (I have now tasted 11 absinthes total, all modern COs), so I can’t compare it to others of this type. Judged by its own merits, though, I found it unique and quite enjoyable. I’m still waiting for that strawberry milk body that I’ve heard about, but I think that facet is one that could be improved, rather than one that actively detracts from the overall experience.



I detect little of the acrid hibiscus-like tones or clashing flavors that I’ve seen mentioned regarding the previous Un Emile Rouge incarnation.



I would not hesitate recommend this absinthe to anyone wanting to try something a bit different, or whose curiosity is piqued by the beautiful vintage Oxygeene Absinthe Rosinette poster. I am very glad that I picked up a bottle.

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