Reviews written by bksmithey

8 results - showing 1 - 8
 
 
Reviewed by bksmithey     August 14, 2009
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Beautiful Pacifique

very cold water drip to 3.5:1 and then additional water to probably 4:1, no sugar

color: beautiful clear green, slightest hint of yellow/gold. Not the deepest color I've seen but by no means pale. Very attractive, natural, and appropriate.

nose (neat): soft and clean, nothing sharp or funky. You wouldn't guess this is 62% alc. it's so pleasant and easy to smell. Nicely herbal, you can find the anise in there and maybe I'm getting a notion of citrus. I'll get into the aroma more after the louche.

louche: not a super thick louche, but use very cold water and take your time and you will be rewarded. Nice swirling, slow building cloudiness with good layering. At 3:1 or so appears fairly thin and more translucent than most, but color is very nice and the glass is attractive. Hints of blue, I'm still trying to get a handle on "opalescence" and this may be it.

aroma: my (in)experience is letting me down here. The aroma is wonderful and inviting. Maybe I picked up some mint and citrus, thought once there was a hint of cut celery, but really, just an extremely pleasant anise and herbal aroma. It's the kind of thing where rather than trying to critically analyze the aroma, you just want to smell it and smile. I'm unable to pick out any individual aromas beyond the familiar anise/fennel.

flavor: wonderful. This is an anise drink, as absinthe should be, but by no means one-dimensional; there's very nice herbal character supporting the anise, and a good balancing wormwood bitterness. Very nice mouthfeel, feels richer than the post-louche appearance led me to believe.

finish: long and well balanced. Mildy pleasant tongue clinging and numbing. Leaves a refreshed feeling in the mouth. Cool, sweet, and clean.

overall: Pacifique is incredible, nothing more needs to be said. To my taste it leans towards the delicate/feminine side, and seems to be an amazing feat of balancing complexity and restraint. This is easily up there in the top tier of absinthes I've tasted.

Reviewed by bksmithey     May 13, 2009
Last updated: May 14, 2009
Overall rating 
 
4.6
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
4.0

I think I have a new favorite

Very cold water drip to about 3.5:1, no sugar

color: clear, perfect green, no hint of olive/brown. Seriously, all I could think while looking at the liquid in the reservoir of my glass is "perfect".

nose (neat): good anise, herbal, lightly spicy. Well balanced, anise a little forward. Very clean, no hint of anything musty/funky/whatever, just herbal and enticing.

louche: beautiful trails, good layering, a typically good louche. Color after water is a gorgeous creamy green, it holds its color very well.

nose: herbal, wormwoody, anise has moved back just a bit which surprises me, anise usually moves more forward with water. It's not a huge room-filler, but it's not hiding in the glass, either. Water is very cold, I suspect aroma will get bigger as it warms. But again, very clean, the absinthe herbs are all coming through beautifully with nothing in their way.

flavor: great creamy mouthfeel, excellent balance of spicy-bitter-anise. I was expecting a little heavier anise after initial nose, but I'm not disappointed, the flavor is fantastic. I have seen comments in the forum describing this absinthe as "dry", and I agree with that, but I was also getting a very nice sweet anise flavor mid-way, which I enjoy. Again I'm thinking "clean", nothing distracting from the herbs. This is one where the "alpine meadow" impression really comes through -- thoughts of herbs, cool, clear water, and crisp, fresh air are all conjured -- springtime in the Rockies, captured in a bottle.

finish: spicy, some light tongue numbing as appropriate, ending with nice bitterness. Finish is very long and all of the flavors hang around, great complexity.

overall: everything about this is a winner. The color is spectacular, both before and after water. The flavor and finish are top notch, and the only thing I could think would have improved the experience is if the aroma had jumped from the glass and wrapped around my head. Now I need to crack open the piggy bank and get a bottle of the Walton Waters ordered ...

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by bksmithey     May 12, 2009
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Belle Amie, 2nd edition

This review is for the Belle Amie 2nd edition 2008. tasted at approx. 3:1, no sugar

color: very natural, nice peridot with hint of olive. maybe just the slightest hint of haze, or perhaps my glass isn't as crystal clear as I'd like.

nose (neat): good anise, but a pretty big hit of a musty aroma was hiding anything else. We'll see how it goes after the louche.

louche: very cold water drip. Very good louche, started with great trails and rolling threads and the high alc. allowed this to continue for some time before the clouding started. Quite surprising, obviously very different behavior from Belle Amie 1. Separated nicely, had a good clear layer on top until at least 2:1. Aroma is opening up some with the water, but not room filling. Finished color is very nice, maybe leaning slightly towards the brown but with nice almost blue-ish highlights at the surface rim. Fairly opaque, but some translucence when looking up through the glass at an angle. Very attractive.

nose: musty smell has mellowed and faded with water, but it's still there and more than I would like. There is more herbal character coming through now, and nicely balancing the anise, with anise still a bit more in the lead, the way I like it. Overall aroma is somewhat muted and restrained. Reduce or eliminate that musty character and bring everything else up a bit and I'd really like this.

flavor: Very nice anise, this is my preferred style. Nice bitter character, and other herbs there as well, but they're all letting the anise shine through nicely. Very good mouthfeel, not too heavy but not thin. There is an interesting flowery flavor that comes and goes, it is not difficult to pick out, it reminds me a bit of the smell of baby powder. That's a new flavor for me, so it seems slightly out of place to me, but it's actually kind of nice and something I wouldn't mind getting used to. DIfficult to decide whether to score 4 or 5 for this, but I think the only thing that would keep me from going a 5 is probably attributable to the aroma, so a 5 for flavor.

finish: anise and spice, and then replaced by mild, pleasant bitterness. The "baby powder" noted earlier makes a short appearance in the finish, quite unusual. Slightly tongue numbing but not heavy. It really had me wanting another sip.

overall: I really enjoyed this one. If that aromatic note that I didn't care for could be toned down a LOT, I'd probably have this up in my top few. Nicely balanced, learning towards the anise which is what I'm finding I prefer. I'll certainly enjoy drinking the rest of the bottle, but it's probably going to be one of those things that I'll always be thinking "if only for that smell ..."

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by bksmithey     September 12, 2008
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

nicely balanced, everyday absinthe

Color: nice clear emerald green, slightly on the pale side. I'm getting so used to seeing olive-hued green absinthes that this one was a bit of a surprise when I poured it. But this is a very nice shade of green, and I think it would be beautiful with just a bit more intensity to give it more of a jewel-like appearance.



Aroma (neat): anise, herbal, and minty. I got a bit of a Wrigley's spearmint gum smell, not unpleasant but seemed a bit out of place. Nice and clean, the herbs stand out and the alcohol stays out of the way.



Louche: a slow, very cold drip resulted in nice trails with cloudiness developing fairly early. Early on the color went to a sort of swampy/froggy green, almost like a glow-in-the-dark slime, but got more pale and more attractive with more water. Stopped at about 3.5 or 4:1, finished color is very attractive, but a bit more thin/translucent than I'd expect at this dilution.



Aroma (after louche): Aroma settles down a bit with the water to anise and herbal/spicy. Looking at other reviews after the fact I wasn't noticing anything that I thought was coriander, I'll be looking for that next time. Overall a very balanced, pleasant aroma.



Flavor: The flavor was quite a surprise, very full and strong, probably could have held up to a bit more water. As expected it is very nicely balanced. Mouthfeel is medium, I got some tongue tingling but not a full mouth coating. Certainly not thin.



Finish: Long, and again balanced with mostly anise and wormwood, lexx complex than expected after the initial aroma and flavor.



Overall, very good. I'm a relative newbie compared to the reviews before mine, so I didn't pick up on some of the specifics that the other reviewers noted, particularly the coriander. Generally, I feel about the Balance the same way I remember the Eichelberger 68 -- clean, very well made, traditional, tasty (I'm tempted to try the Balance and Eich side-by-side in the near future). I'd almost say "easy drinking" if it didn't sound like a negative. For those occasions when you're looking for something assertive or full of character, the Balance probably isn't what you want. But its beauty is in its balance, strength, and roundness, and on most occasions, Duplais Balance will not disappoint.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by bksmithey     August 14, 2008
Overall rating 
 
3.9
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
4.0

unusual, full of surprises

sampled thanks to a generous WWS member



Color: beautiful. Nice, clear, natural green. More saturated green than Trillium, and more saturated than I remember the Eichelberger, but you would not describe this as dark. Gorgeous and enticing.



Aroma (neat): The first thing that hit me was an aroma that seemed musty or earthy, wet dirt. Ainse is htere, and some grassy/herbal character, but the musty aroma is difficult for me to get past. There is a spirity/fruity alcohol component in the aroma, but it is nice. Not nearly as much "heat" as I was expecting from the high alc. content.



Louche: Everybody knows about the louche, my experience was no different. Slow to start, weak trails, and then a general haze develops. This was with a very slow drip of very cold water -- crushed ice and water dripped from a sport bottle. The completed louche is quite translucent with little or none of the milky/minty shades typical of a louched verte. Finished color is still attractive.



Aroma (after louche): The aroma expresses itself nicely during the louche; not "room filling", but it is escaping the glass and is noticeable without getting close to the glass during the louche. Anise and herbal character coming through more but I'm still picking up the musty character.



Flavor: The flavor is quite powerful, a surprise in contrast to the thin appearance of the louched glass. Herbal, on the vegetative side, with good anise and quite strong bitterness. With everything to this point being more extreme (beautiful color, strange aroma, poor louche), the flavor seems quite normal and pleasant.



Finish: Very nice, this is one where I found the anise and wormwood hang around and mingle for a while. So often I find the finish more "sequential", where flavors come and then fade, but this one was very long and complex, with anise, bitter wormwood, and other herbal flavors very nicely integrated.



Overall, quite a surprise and a bit of an enigma to me. Enjoyable to taste and analyze, and in the end I must say I like it, but it's a bit of an oddball. The unusual aroma and poor louche make it something that I'd probably frequently pass over if it were in the liquor cabinet, which is a shame, as the flavor and finish are really very nice.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by bksmithey     August 14, 2008
Overall rating 
 
3.4
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
3.0

tasty, interesting verte

Tasted from a bottle labeled "Batch No. 3". Nice packaging but note that the bottle is tall, it does not fit on the shelf with my more standard-sized liquor bottles.



Color: olive oil, a bit on the dark side but pleasant and natural looking. Tasted previously, there was a floater in the glass, and I noticed a couple of chunks of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. This time it poured clear, and the other bottle I have shows no signs of sediment, so benefit of the doubt here and I'll rate a 3.



Nose (neat): Anise is there, not as upfromt as I've grown accustomed to, but there's enough there to know this is absinthe. Alpine/herbal notes are present, and there's pretty obvious citrus and gin character, leaning towards a spicy cologne/after-shave. I find it all really nice, the only knock is that the gin smell distracts me a bit; I'm trying to focus on this as an absinthe and something in my brain keeps whispering "gin" in my ear.



Louche: Louche is nice, trails develop and then the bottom of the glass begins to cloud. It comes on pretty quick, and I didn't get the beautiful "rolling clouds" that sometimes form, this was pretty smooth clouding from the bottom up, displaying nice separation during a slow louche. I finished at about 4:1 and the final look is a bit dark and opaque, but attractive enough.



Nose (after louche): I usually detect more anise after the louche, and the Sirene follows this trend. Anise is a bit more in the front, nice complex alpine background, a bit spicy/minty (perhaps wormwood is coming through now?). The gin aroma is still there, but it's sitting back a bit more now and I think it seems better balanced than it did when smelled neat.



Flavor: Tastes just as you'd expect after the aroma. Anise, definite citrus, gin/spice, and a pretty good wormwood bitterness to balance it all. Quite big and delicious.



Finish: I found the finish to be pretty simple, dominated by bitterness and tongue-numbing anise. The other flavors seemed to recede pretty quickly, leaving a nicely refreshing bitterness that was unfortunately overwhelmed by clinging anise. I'll rate a 3, but leaning towards a 2. The finish isn't bad, but you're hoping for more when everything before it is so nice.



Overall, I really like Sirene, and I don't regret that I purchased 2 bottles with my initial order. The gin notes take it a bit away from tradition, but I think they're a nice complement to the alpine/forest character. And from reading other reviews, I think it distracts me more than most others.

Reviewed by bksmithey     August 03, 2008
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

beautifully balanced, pleasant verte

Tasted from a sample received in a trade.



Color: light peridot green, very nice, natural. Would have liked just a little more depth in the color, but I'm picking nits here.



Nose (neat): good anise, spice, nicely aromatic. Very herbal as opposed to flowery. Occasional bit of alcohol burn, but not surprising for 68% spirit. Balanced and soft, rather than powerful.



Louche: great swirling trails with ice cold water drip. Good layering, nice finished color, minty green, clear with slight hint of blue at the liquid/air interface.



Nose (after louche): very similar to the pre-louche aroma, maybe leaning a bit more to the anise. Not huge or room filling, but very nice.



Flavor: great balance. Sweet anise, spicy, hint of mint flavor (from the wormwood?); not a strong peppermint, but just enough to give me a feeling of mint, like green mint ice cream. At this point I'm thinking this is what Lucid should have been -- excellent balance, very clean, not too intense for the "uneducated American palate". Good body, I wouldn't go so far as to say "creamy" but I may have overwatered this one a bit at about 4:1. Starting to get some mild clinging to the tongue.



Finish: nicely balanced finish. Some tip-of-the-tongue prickly feeling. Finish starts with anise, moves to a nice complex alpine herbal, and then to the bitterness and tongue-numbing sensation. Very nice. By end of the glass, I'm getting more of the tongue coating and numbing.



Overall, 4's all the way across the board. I really liked this verte, and while I'm still pretty inexperienced, this is probably the best absinthe I've had to date. I've had what I thought were more interesting aromas and finishes, but when taken as a whole, this is the best all-around absinthe in my brief time as an absinthe drinker. This one is getting me seriously thinking about making that first LdF order ...

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by bksmithey     July 28, 2008
Overall rating 
 
2.5
Appearance 
 
2.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
2.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.0
Finish 
 
2.0
Overall 
 
2.0

Trillium, a lightweight verte

These review comments are from the tasting notes I posted in the forum.



Color - Very pale, green leaning slightly to straw/yellow. The pale color made it difficult for me to judge clarity, it looked almost like a slightly cloudy blanche.



Nose (neat) - All I got was anise, with a background of isopropyl alcohol. It wasn't terribly hot or sharp or anything, and I actually like the smell of rubbing alcohol, so it wasn't off-putting to me, but inappropriate for absinthe.



Louche - Very nice trailing and swirling action in the glass. Beautiful layering. The louche action is by far the strong point of this absinthe. The weak color detracts a bit, but this might be the best performing louche I've seen to date. Finished glass had very weak color, almost like a blanche but without the clean, milky white. Finished color much lighter than Lucid. As it was getting late I had poor lighting so difficult to judge opacity, but it didn't appear as thick and heavy as, for example, Kübler. Difficult choice scoring a 3 or 4 for the louche; it should probably be considered "too strong" and scored a 3, but I enjoyed it so much I'm going with the 4.



Nose (post louche) - Very weak. I was surprised how the aroma seemed to just disappear after the louche. Faint anise aroma, and that's it.



Flavor - Anise, and very quickly tongue numbing, attacking the tip of the tongue. Ends with some wormwood bitterness. Balance between anise and wormwood seems good, but the flavors do not seem well integrated; you get the anise first, and then the wormwood quickly takes over. Could be due to the overall light character of the absinthe, the anise character just doesn't have any staying power other than the tongue numbing.



Finish - Very quick, and dominated by the tongue numbing and some lingering bitterness.



In summary, the whole experience can best be described as "weak". Weak color, and weak, simple flavor. There was nothing that I found offensive, but nothing interesting enough to entice me to a second glass. Light color, light flavor.

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