Reviews written by Brian Robinson

167 results - showing 1 - 25
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Vintage Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     September 02, 2014
Last updated: September 03, 2014
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.5
Overall 
 
5.0

A different recipe from Pernod Fils; just as yummy

This was the second absinthe tasted in a comparison done on 9-2-14. The other was a Pernod Fils c1910. This bottle was made by Edouard Pernod, which had a slightly spicier and thinner recipe. In the attached pics, the PF1910 is on the left, and the Pernod SA on the right.

Appearance - Clear and bright with light green hues along with the normal fuille morte brown. Lighter than the Pernod Fils; more like a tea than a whiskey. Very attractive.

Louche - Much lighter louche than its Pernod Fils counterpart. Hints of green and white swirled with the blonde fuille morte. Opalescent, but not thick. Fully louched around 3:1, which was also the final ratio.

Aroma - along with the anise and wormwood, there is a distinct floral note that isn't present in the PF1910. Really enjoyable. I could sit and sniff this all day.

Flavor/Mouthfeel - No sugar. Thinner texture on the palate which was refreshing, but still very full flavored. Spicy and herbaceous with the anise being toned down a bit compared to the PF1910. A bit more drying with a touch of citrus and white pepper.

Finish - Slight alcoholic heat on the finish at 3:1, but I was hesitant to add any more water. Nice drying finish, with less anise numbing than the PF1910. I had to take off half a point due to the heat, but I'm really picking nits here.

Overall - This was extremely enjoyable. If I had to make a judgement, I'd say that the PF1910 was more like a 'winter absinthe', while the Pernod SA Couvet is more of a refreshing summer absinthe. Really really good.

Reviewed by Brian Robinson     September 02, 2014
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
5.0

What I have come to expect from vintage PF

I tastes this along with a sample of Pernod SA Couvet from c1920 as a comparison.

Appearance - Clear and surprisingly bright for such an old absinthe. A very inviting shade of caramel Fuille Morte. Darker than other vintage PF bottles I've seen, but not in a bad way. Could easily be mistaken for a whiskey based on the color.

Louche - Very thick with substantial layering, even with a fountain drip. Fully louched by about 2:1. I watered up to a ratio of 3:1. A thick, opalescent caramel color.

Aroma - Room filling. Wonderful balance of sweet, confectionery anise and minty fresh wormwood with hints of leather and old books. Mouth watering.

Flavor/Mouthfeel - Luxuriant, thick mouthfeel. Lots of high quality anise with an assertive wormwood. Not bitter or biting, but minty and alpine fresh. Just a slight astringence. It's easy to tell why Pernod was the gold standard while drinking this. It's so perfectly balanced. No sugar needed.

Finish - Lingering finish with slight dryness and hints of leather. It leaves you wanting more and more.

Overall - This is exactly what I would expect to taste from a vintage Pernod Fils. Tremendous balance and silky mouthfeel that makes you want to pour another.

PF louche.jpg
Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     March 16, 2014
Overall rating 
 
3.4
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.0
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
3.5

An Admirable Improvement

Appearance: Although their last iteration was artificially colored, it was not entirely off-putting as a color. This new version seems to keep the same hues, but does so naturally. A bright, clear peridot.

Louche: Almost completely louched by 2:1 - 2.5:1. Well structured with a Goldilocks thickness (not too thick, not too thin). White, yellow and green highlights throughout. The promotional material states you should add 5 to 7 parts water. I think this is unnecessary. 3.5:1 to 4:1 would be perfectly appropriate. Any more and I fear it would become too watery.

Aroma: Nice anise and wormwood, with just a touch of the licorice tone of star anise. The latter being significantly toned down from the previous version, which is a very good thing. There is a slight vegetal undertone, which some have attributed to the nettles. It add a bit of an idiosyncratic quality that will confound some. I don't find it terribly annoying, but it is definitely there.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: The thickness of the previous version has been exchanged for a much more enjoyable silky feeling, which I would say is a cause/effect of the reduced star anise. A nice balance of wormwood and anise. I don't detect the very unique flavor of Pontarlier wormwood, but the wormwood flavor that IS there is enjoyable. That vegetal aroma I mentioned does come through in the flavor too. It adds a unique savoriness that some will like and some won't. I don't mind it.

Finish: Slightly tannic and drying that plays well with the sweetness from the anise. In fact, it's surprisingly sweet. To the point where I was wondering if there might have been some amount of sugar added! But the wormwood does work to cut the sweetness. I'd like to see the finish last a bit longer, but that's me nitpicking.

Overall: There's not much to complain about. This is a much more enjoyable quaff than the previous iteration. Is it the best absinthe out there? No. But it's also a very nice standard. Being as widely available as it is or will be, it can help give novices a nice introduction to the category. It brings the right qualities for an absinthe to be used with success in cocktails, and also stands on its own well enough to be enjoyed via the traditional preparation.

I'm happy to see such a large company putting together a higher quality offering. This could possibly help to spur the entire industry on to increasing the mass market standards, which could also then help drive consumers' appreciation of the smaller market, more artisinal brands.

Faux Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     March 07, 2014
Overall rating 
 
1.3
Appearance 
 
1.0
Louche 
 
1.5
Aroma 
 
1.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
2.0
Finish 
 
1.5
Overall 
 
1.0

Is it the 1990's again?

Appearance: Radioactive green. Definitely artificially colored. Authentic absinthe is naturally colored with herbs.

Aroma: Unlouched, it smells mainly of strong alcohol. Slight aromas of anise. After louche, a little anise, but the wormwood comes forward rather strongly.

Louche: Relatively opaque, but the color looks even more artificial now than before I added water. Almost a radioactive bluish green color. This is not good.

Flavor: Very little anise flavor. Tastes more like essences including star anise and licorice. The wormwood is there, but it also tastes like an extract or oil. This definitely doesn't taste like a distillation of the holy trinity of anise, wormwood and fennel.

Finish: Insipid. Whatever flavor is there isn't derived from a distilled product.

Overall: No offense to the producers, but this shouldn't be marketed as an absinthe. In this era, where the fake Eastern European stuff is finally getting marginalized by the high quality distilled absinthes being produced by artisans, the producers of this product should rethink their strategy.

Faux Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     February 16, 2014
Overall rating 
 
0.7
Appearance 
 
1.0
Louche 
 
0.5
Aroma 
 
1.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
0.5
Finish 
 
0.5
Overall 
 
0.5

Thujone madness!

This sucker advertised itself as having upwards of 250 mg/l of thujone when I got it. Surprisingly, now it's advertising itself as 20mg/l. I highly doubt that their production methods have changed...

Appearance: like green scope

Louche: Nope.

Aroma: Minty fresh. If you're wondering, that's not a good thing.

Flavor: yeah, this is definitely green scope.

Finish: Should I gargle and spit?

Overall: I really don't know what this is. It's the mint version of Zele apparently. And you should avoid it just as much.

Faux Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     February 16, 2014
Overall rating 
 
1.1
Appearance 
 
1.5
Louche 
 
2.0
Aroma 
 
0.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
1.0
Finish 
 
0.5
Overall 
 
1.0

Just wrong

I was gifted a bottle of this for review from the owner of Alandia. He knew the review wouldn't be pretty, but wanted an opinion nonetheless. I appreciate his ability to 'take a punch'.

Appearance: Almost a neon green with a blueish haze. Very similar to many Eastern European faux absinthes.

Louche: Hardly anything to speak of. Very light and still see-through.

Aroma: Medicinal and minty with some anise. Not appealing at all. Lots of harsh alcohol.

Flavor: Same medicinal quality. Mouthwashy and quite bitter at the tail end.

Finish: Acrid. And it lingers. It makes you want to scrape your tongue.

Overall: No. No no no no. NO.

Faux Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     February 16, 2014
Last updated: February 17, 2014
Overall rating 
 
0.5
Appearance 
 
0.5
Louche 
 
0.5
Aroma 
 
0.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
0.5
Finish 
 
0.5
Overall 
 
0.5

Why why why why?

If you're buying this, you don't care about appearance, you aren't planning on louching it, you don't care about the flavor, and you certainly could care less about finish.

You plan to quaff it by the flaming shot.

If you've already bought it, you have either been duped into buying it, or you're an idiot.

If you were gifted the bottle by your overzealous and yet well-meaning friend who just came back from the Czech Republic, re-examine your friendship.

If you're reading this review, good for you, as you just might be able to get out of this situation without making a huge mistake. Now put the bottle back on the shelf and run out of the store as fast as you possibly can. If you're trying to buy it online, lose the web address and run a virus check ASAP.

Reviewed by Brian Robinson     February 16, 2014
Last updated: February 16, 2014
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Appearance 
 
3.5
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
1.0
Finish 
 
0.5
Overall 
 
1.0

Once more: YOU CAN'T MAKE ABSINTHE AT HOME

This 'make your own absinthe' kit arrives in a box packed with hemp straw, containing an empty bottle with a generic absinthe label attached, a funnel, and two vials filled with the typical absinthe herb bill: Angelica Root, Anise Seed, Calamus Root, Coriander, Fennel, Grand Wormwood, Lemon Balm, Lemon Peel, Licorice Root, Roman Wormwood, and Star Anise. They recommend you use Everclear, Gemclear, etc to infuse the herbs based on the instructions provided.

Appearance: When properly filtered during the finishing step, the appearance seems very similar to a naturally colored absinthe. Less of a peridot, and more of a forest green though. Clear, with no visible sediment.

Louche: A bit thin, and quite yellowish green. Not unattractive, but kind of strange.

Aroma: Anise, wormwood and quite vegetal. Hints of fennel and caramel.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: Ack! You're immediately hit with the macerated wormwood flavor. There are other things in the background, especially the Melissa and Lemon peel, and a touch of anise. But there's really no getting around the acridity of macerated wormwood. It really affects the mouthfeel as well. Absinthe should coat the tongue, with a silky feel. Macerated Grande Wormwood instead dries out the tongue with a tannic bitterness, giving you a 'fuzzy' tongue.

Finish: The lemon, melissa, and acrid bitterness stick with you for quite some time.

Overall: I couldn't take more than a few sips. It's just WAY too bitter. I had to sink it. The aspiring producers of this product may have good intentions, but if they do, they are also very misguided, possibly by past experiences with faux absinth from Eastern Europe.

Producing quality verte-style absinthe involves four major steps:
1) Herbal maceration (soaking) in high proof alcohol
2) Distillation of the macerate
3) Maceration of coloring herbs
4) Filtration and bottling/aging

The producers seek to have you skip step two. However, by doing so, you are taking out one of the most crucial steps, as the distillation helps remove many of the bitter compounds that grande wormwood imparts into the base alcohol (absinthins). The removal of these absinthins are what helps create the delicate, silky end product.

In conclusion, I don't know how many more times we have to say it: YOU CANNOT MAKE ABSINTHE AT HOME. At least not legally, since hobby distillation is illegal in the U.S. You cannot simply dump herbs into a base alcohol, let them soak, then filter them out to create absinthe.

I truly wish the producers luck in the future, as they seemed like nice people. But I hope their luck runs out with this specific product. Save your money. Don't contribute to their Kickstarter. Doing so would help propagate the 'do it yourself without distillation' myth.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     December 01, 2013
Overall rating 
 
3.9
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
4.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Single malt absinthe?

Appearance: this looks more like a whiskey than an absinthe. Deep caramel colors with no visible sediment.

Louche: Louches up very nicely with a very thick end product. The only reason I scored it low is because it looks a bit 'muddy'. A completely anticipated situation, since it was aged in oak, but still not terribly attractive. Don't let this drive you away though.

Aroma: All of the normal aromas you'd expect from La Clandestine with the addition of some incredible vanilla and toffee aromas. Unique and intriguing.

Flavor: I tried this first unlouched as Claude-Alaine prescribes, but I found that too numbing. It was good, but I wouldn't be able to have more than a couple of sips before it blew out my tastebuds with the anise. At 1:1 it's still a little warm for me, so I went up to 2:1. At that level, the heat is toned down. This is pretty tasty stuff! The oak lends a lot of sweetness, so don't even think about adding sugar. Lots of toffee notes.

Finish: no tannic astringency that can come from long stays in barrels. This absinthe has picked up a lot of good qualities of cognac or whiskey from the wood, while retaining all of the characteristics of a quality absinthe.

Overall: This won't be for everyone. The melding of whiskey notes with that of absinthe can be strange to some. But I really enjoy it. As a side note, I used this in a couple of cocktails that called for absinthe and it worked amazingly well. A Sazerac becomes even more complex, and a Half Sinner, Half Saint becomes even more enjoyable as a last drink of the evening.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     December 01, 2013
Last updated: December 01, 2013
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
3.5
Aroma 
 
3.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
3.5
Overall 
 
4.0

Genepi puts this one ahead of its peers

Appearance: Clear, bright and natural with no visible sediment.

Louche: This thing gets active VERY quickly. Louche starts building from the very first drops. Fully louched by 1:1. Well formed and deep.

Aroma: The typical aromas that you'll find from many VdT absinthes (nice balance of anise, fennel, and minty wormwood), but with the addition of the alpine crispness of Genepi. It wakes you up and lets you know that this isn't the same VdT La Bleue that you might be accustomed to.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: Anise is turned down a bit compared to many La Bleues, yielding the floor to nice crisp wormwood and the undeniable flavors of medicinal, rooty, alpine Genepi. It still has much of the same character as your typical VdT brand, but the presence of the Genepi definitely sets this apart.

Finish: Minty and floral with the characteristic notes of alpine herbs. Not as numbing as many of its contemporaries.

Overall: Admittedly, I wasn't looking forward to reviewing yet another La Bleue, which tend to all blend together at times. But the Genepi helps to set this apart a bit and create a more interesting and enjoyable absinthe. I'm happy that I decided to take the leap and try this one out.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     December 01, 2013
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
3.5
Overall 
 
4.0

Fennel-tastic

Appearance: An attractive light peridot. No sediment.

Louche: Some people have complained about a lack of louche. I did not have any problems coaxing an opalescent louche with a simple drip from my fountain. It's certainly thinner than some, but not to the point of being an outlier.

Aroma: Sweet and inviting with top notch Spanish anise and prominent fennel that gives it a touch of a vegetal note. Very enticing.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: At 3:1, which is my typical preparation, the mouthfeel is pleasant. Not thick or tongue-coating, but present enough to know you're drinking some quality herbs. Lots of wonderful anise and, as with the aroma, fennel. Wormwood adds a crisp break from all the sweetness.

Finish: A touch hot, but nothing offputting. The flavors linger on the tongue without being obtrusive. No real numbing effect, which is a nice departure from some other brands that kill your tastebuds after a while.

Overall: There is nothing here to complain about. This is a very nice absinthe. An easy drinker that will please any absintheur.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     October 31, 2013
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
3.5
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.5
Overall 
 
4.0

Another tasty US offering

Appearance: Inviting pale peridot; clear with no visible sediment. I'd like to see it a tad bit darker. The color seems more pale when it's in the glass.

Louche: light and inviting. Not as thick as some, but still very well formed and attractive.

Aroma: Wonderful aromas of fennel and anise with hints of alpine roots and herbs. While I don't believe genepi is used, one could be led to believe that it was, as the aroma is very similar.

Flavor: Very powerful flavors that you wouldn't expect, given the light louche. And I mean powerful in a good way. Strong flavors of alpine herbs accompanied by confectioner's sugar. A nice brisk quaff. Like a splash of ice-cold water on your face on a hot day. No real bitterness, but a pleasant dryness. Touches of honeysuckle and lavender.

Finish: Anise plays well with the spearmint and melissa to create a sweet yet dry lingering flavor. It invites you to drink more.

Overall: A very nice offering that will be a great intro into the category for an area that doesn't have a lot of choice on the shelves. Well done.

Reviewed by Brian Robinson     July 30, 2013
Overall rating 
 
4.8
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.5
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
4.5

A wonderful treat

Appearance: A beautiful citrine. No sediment.

Louche: Fully louched by about 1.5:1! It ends up a great amber/peach/pink rose color. Wonderfully opalescent.

Aroma: Lots of top quality anise with butterscotch and baby powder. Lots of wormwoody mintyness as well. Incredibly inviting.

Flavor: So smooth! Just a tad hot at 3:1, but just right at 3.5:1. Great anise flavor complimented by minty wormwood. No real discernible bitterness, but not really sweet either. Great balance.

Finish: Pleasant wormwood and anise linger much longer than I would have anticipated given its rather light profile. Again, very well balanced.

Overall: Fantastic stuff. Light and feminine, balanced and utterly enjoyable. An everyday type of profile that would appeal to any absinthe drinker.

Faux Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     July 30, 2013
Overall rating 
 
1.6
Appearance 
 
0.5
Louche 
 
2.5
Aroma 
 
2.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
1.5
Finish 
 
2.0
Overall 
 
1.5

a charicature of absinthe

Appearance: Neon green. There are also other color options available: none of them any better.

Louche: Crazy thick, but the neon is toned down.

Aroma: all kinds of crazy spices, but dominated by aromas that can only be described as black jelly beans.

Flavor: Acrid, cloying, numbing. Enough is enough.

Finish: More numbing with some spiciness. A bit of white pepper.

Overall: Another sad imitation aimed at uneducated consumers. Sad, really.

Faux Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     July 30, 2013
Overall rating 
 
1.7
Appearance 
 
2.0
Louche 
 
2.5
Aroma 
 
2.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
1.5
Finish 
 
1.0
Overall 
 
1.0

dear lord...

Appearance: totally fake. Not your run of the mill neon green, but still not appealing in any sense of the word.

Louche: Surprisingly thin and flat. I was expecting a much thicker louche based on the apparent levels of anise.

Aroma: I'm not sure how a low proof option like this can put off so much heat, but it sure does. Some anise, lots of licorice. Undertones of mustiness.

Flavor: Woof. Like anise flavored cough syrup. Very thick and cloyingly sweet. No complexity at all.

Finish: Numbness and grass. Just yuck.

Overall: No need to even give this a second thought. It's a low quality, gimmick product. Pass on this and pick up even a mid-level authentic absinthe. You'll be much better served.

Faux Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     July 30, 2013
Overall rating 
 
1.4
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
1.5
Aroma 
 
2.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
0.5
Finish 
 
0.5
Overall 
 
1.0

No. No no no no no.

Appearance, a nice deep green, but a bit hazy from the particulate.

Louche: What's a louche? Barely even gets hazy.

Aroma: Heavy and medicinal. Lots of what seems to be lower quality wormwood. Some heat.

Mouthfeel/Flavor: Ack! Tons of intensely bitter wormwood. Not a good bitterness either. A rancid, horrendously drying bitterness.

Finish: You'll taste that bitterness all night. Not fun.

Overall: Macerated brands like this carry absolutely no resemblance to authentic absinthe. While Kyle Barnsfather might argue that filtration recreates the distillation process, the end result shows that he is not only wrong, but completely out of touch with reality.

Faux Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     July 07, 2013
Overall rating 
 
0.9
Appearance 
 
1.5
Louche 
 
0.5
Aroma 
 
0.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
1.0
Finish 
 
1.5
Overall 
 
0.5

Danger, Danger, Will Robinson

If you see this on the shelves or online, avoid it at all costs.

As the other reviewer below noted, this has absolutely no association with absinthe aside from what's on the label. It's basically like drinking rot-gut flavored vodka. And lightly flavored at that.

You'd do better buying a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 and calling it absinthe.

Blech.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     July 04, 2013
Last updated: July 04, 2013
Overall rating 
 
4.1
Appearance 
 
4.5
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

barrel aging has added some interesting qualities

Color: Barrel aging has taken the vibrant peridot green of the original and toned it down a bit, without creating a full fuille morte effect. Inviting.
Louche: as with the original, a nice build, leading to a well formed, deep louche with hints of yellow and white with touches of brown
Aroma: anise is still prominant with fennel, veronica, and wormwood as supporting players. I still get the tea aromas as well, but this time they are complimented by an underlying sweetness that is reminiscent of mallow flowers.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Mouth coating and still not too thick. The wormwood has definitely been toned down by the barrel aging, an effect I've also noticed when making barrel aged bitters. It smooths it out, leaving the flavors without as much astringency.
Finish: wormwood and anise, but accompanied by a slight tannic dryness brought on by the barrels.
Overall: A very interesting riff on the original. Barrel aging can certainly play a decisive roll in rounding out flavors. Grab bottles (or samples) of both and experience the differences that wood can bring to the experience. I enjoyed it.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     July 04, 2013
Last updated: July 04, 2013
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Appearance 
 
4.5
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.5
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
3.5

Much improved

I was finally able to try the updated version of VdF, which is now called Enigma Verte. For comparison's sake, I have copied my original review below.

Color: A much more vibrant peridot green compared to the previous version
Louche: a nice build, leading to a well formed, deep louche with hints of yellow and white
Aroma: Lots of anise, but this time around, I can pick up fennel, veronica, and alpine wormwood. Hints of green tea as well.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Mouth-coating without being too thick. Anise at the forefront, with a nice wormwood 'cleansing effect'. The numbing effect that was very evident in the previous version has been tamed quite markedly.
Finish: Over-steeped tea (in a good way) and anise morph into a pleasant wormwood dryness. Much more pleasant than the previous version.
Overall: Much improved since 2009. A great mid-range, everyday type absinthe. Enjoyable in the traditional drip preparation, and also in dry cocktails.


Original review of Verte de Fougerolles from 3/4/09:

Color: light green with hints of straw (4)
Louche: using the lady fountain, I got some great layering. Louche was extremely thick: almost too thick.(4)
Aroma: lots of anise with a touch of wormwood behind it. I can't make out much else due to the strength of the anise.(4)
Flavor: First impression is nice, with a well rounded sweetness and bitterness playing out, but at the tail end, it does a 180 and has a bit of acridity.(3)
Finish: There's something that I can't put my finger on, but I don't like it at all. Theres just a bit of lingering bitterness.(1)
Overall: If the issue with the finish were to be corrected, this would be an enjoyable, mid-range absinthe that would probably work really well in an absinthe frappe.(3)
Overall Score: 3.3

Vintage Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     May 02, 2013
Overall rating 
 
4.8
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.5
Finish 
 
4.5
Overall 
 
4.5

A rare treat

Appearance: A wonderful fuille morte. If you didn't know, you would think it was cognac from across the room. No sediment. Jewel-like.

Louche: Quick to louche, being completely formed by 1:1. The final product is opalescent, with tobacco hues interspersed with peach and white. Very pretty.

Aroma: Lots of fine oiled leather and old books, with anise at the forefront, followed by a hint of fennel and the mintiness of the wormwood. Sugary confections throughout the entire experience.

Flavor and mouthfeel: Coats the tongue wonderfully, but isn't as thick as something like Pernod Fils or H. Basinet. Not particularly complex (not surprising based on the age of the recipe), but very well balanced. It's quite refreshing and light, with anise being prominant and vegetal underpinnings from the fennel. The wormwood follows up at the end with a nice, bracing finish. Not overly bitter, but pleasantly astringent.

Finish: Anise lingers, but not as long as some of the other, more anise-heavy vintage brands. The wormwood again asserts itself at the end. It's a bit more astringent than I'd like, but I could see the addition of sugar (as was the norm at the time) rounding out the flavors nicely. Alas, I can't bring myself to adulterate this fine beverage with sugar, so I'll have to leave that as a guess.

Overall: A wonderful treat from one of the oldest Absinthe distilleries ever to exist. A great insight into the beginnings of the absinthe industry.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     December 07, 2012
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Appearance 
 
4.5
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.5
Finish 
 
3.5
Overall 
 
3.5

Interestingly savory

Appearance: very bright and inviting. An attractive peridot green. No visible sediment.

Louche: Attractive and bright. A bit on the thinner side at 3:1, but still correct. Similar to other previous versions of Montpellier style absinthes.

Aroma: Intriguingly savory, with aromas of root vegetables and salted celery, possibly from the cultivar of wormwood used, along with the normal aromas of fennel and anise. Definitely out of the ordinary, but still appealing.

Flavor: spicy white pepper kick with lighter flavors of wormwood and anise. It's not as sweet as a typical absinthe that might be a bit heavier-handed with anise, but that can be a good thing. Due to the lighter anise, the mouthfeel is thinner than average, but still enjoyable.

Finish: white pepper and a bit of wormwood. I'd like the flavors to stick around a bit more, but it's enjoyable nonetheless.

Overall: This is a unique absinthe. It's more on the savory side than many US absinthes. But because of that, it's not as obtrusive as some other brands might be, which lends itself well to an absinthe that you can drink while eating dinner. The flavors won't overwhelm the palate.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     December 07, 2012
Last updated: December 07, 2012
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Appearance 
 
3.5
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.5
Finish 
 
3.5
Overall 
 
3.5

Fruity and straightforward

Appearance: Clear, but more on the olive oil green side, compared to the typical fresh, peridot color. Still attractive, and indicative of a naturally colored absinthe on its way to 'fuille morte'.

Louche: Builds nicely and finishes as a nice opalescent green with hints of yellow and white. Very attractive.

Aroma: Green anise, hyssop and melissa are quite evident on the nose. You can also pick up a bit of star anise, but it isn't obtrusive. Clean and fresh.

Flavor: Quite a bit of coriander, which lends a nice, spicy kick. There are the normal players: anise, a bit of wormwood, but they are nicely balanced with the other herbs. Relatively sweet, even without sugar. I'd like to pick up more wormwood, but it's there. Mouthfeel is creamy and unctuous in a good way.

Finish: A bit of oily coating on the mouth, but not unpleasant. You can definitely pick up the lemon balm and star anise in the finish. Wormwood is more apparent as well.

Overall: A very pleasant absinthe from a producer who clearly wanted to produce an authentic, artisinal brand that would be attractive to bartenders in the UK. I hope more brands like this work to push out the typical artificially colored and distasteful brands that grace the back bars of many UK establishments.

Reviewed by Brian Robinson     September 19, 2012
Last updated: September 19, 2012
Overall rating 
 
2.4
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
1.5
Aroma 
 
2.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
2.5
Finish 
 
2.0
Overall 
 
2.5

So delicate, it's like drinking flavored water

Appearance: Crystal clear and inviting.

Louche: From the very beginning, it looks as if it's trying very hard to louche. You see plenty of trails, but then...nothing really happens. You're left with what looks like a very slightly hazy glass of water. Seems as though it didn't pull enough anethole and fenchone to create a proper louche. I'm assuming that it's due to the production process, since the proper herbs were used.

Aroma: Unlouched, alcohol and a TON of licorice. The licorice subsides a bit as it breathes, but it's tough to make out much more. Post-louche, I'm not picking up much other than a faint hint of licorice and a touch of orange peel. I give it a 2 for being too weak.

Flavor: Refreshing. But only because it's like drinking flavored water. It's so light, that it really is tough to think of it as drinking absinthe. There is a very slight, bitter aftertaste, which I presume is from the wormwood. The rest is made up of a hint of anise and licorice. There is no mouthfeel to speak of. Literally like drinking water.

Finish: Very weak hints of the same flavors. Extremely light.

Overall, there is very little that one could complain about in regard to off-putting flavors or textures. But there's also very little to compliment. While the tastes are clean, crisp, and seem to come from good quality herbs, there is just so little flavor that you begin to think that you're drinking a lightly flavored vodka. It's an interesting experiment, but there's a lot of work to do to bring this up to par with a traditionally flavored absinthe that actually louches. I can't really even say that this would be a good mixer, because it wouldn't bring an appropriate amount of flavor to the intended cocktail.

If you want to try it to taste what cold-distillation might do to absinthe ingredients, go for the sample.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Brian Robinson     September 05, 2012
Overall rating 
 
2.9
Appearance 
 
3.5
Louche 
 
3.5
Aroma 
 
3.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
2.0
Finish 
 
2.0
Overall 
 
2.5

Disappointing

Appearance: Almost more of a forest green compared to a peridot. Not incredibly bright, but still inviting and essentially 'correct'. No visible sediment or haze.

Louche: Green, white and yellow hues. Not really opalescent, but still attractive.

Aroma: Quite sweet and inviting, with lots of anise and just a hint of herbaceousness from the other herbs. Aromatic and enjoyable, but just a little too much star anise.

Flavor: Over the top sweet. Too much candy-like star anise. So much so that it almost ends up tasting artificial. Almost metallic. Especially once it has had time to breathe. Lots of numbing. If the anise was toned down quite a bit, and maybe swapped out for green anise, it would be a much more enjoyable drink. Overall, it's not terrible, but terribly unbalanced.

Finish: The metallic aftertaste is what I'm picking up most on the back end. I find myself scraping my tongue with my front teeth to try to liven up my tongue again after the numbing has set in.

Overall, it's not quite to the level of 'sub-standard', but I wouldn't put it up in the 'acceptable mid-market' absinthe either. I don't think it would turn off anyone who is new to absinthe, but I don't see it being a go-to brand for experienced absintheurs either.

Reviewed by Brian Robinson     May 13, 2012
Last updated: July 30, 2013
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.5
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
3.5
Overall 
 
4.0

An intriguing absinthe and unique profile

Appearance: A deep amber. Almost like a cognac. Very attractive. No sediment, although it must be noted that this was from a decanted sample.

Louche: Fully louched within 1 1/2 measures of water. Fairly thick as well. My only complaint would be the post-louche color, which is almost like muddy water. Many vintage absinthes will see more greens and yellow hues come out, but this doesn't really. Almost as if the amber color came more from barrel aging than the breakdown of the coloring herbs.

Aroma: Pre-louche, you get a lot of caramel, port wine, anise, and cotton candy. It definitely seems very likely that this absinthe was aged or stored in wood for some time before being bottled. Post louche, huge caramel notes. The anise goes to the background while some minty wormwood aromas come forward. But the caramel and vanilla notes are the most apparent. Quite interesting.

Flavor: The wood notes (nutmeg, ginger, vanilla) play on the palate, but do so as a complimentary companion to sweet anise and astringent wormwood. It's tasty, but rather one-dimensional aside from the wood notes I mentioned. Although this was presented to me as a verte, I have a hunch that it might have actually been a barrel aged blanche instead, which would certainly explain some of the appearance, aroma, and flavor idiosyncracies. I'm going out on a limb, but based on the aromas and flavors, if this was indeed aged in barrels, the qualities seem to point to French Oak, which tends to lend flavors of baking spices and vanilla.

Finish: Mostly wormwood and a certain drying effect that could be attributable to the aforementioned theory of barrel aging/storage.

Overall: A very unique absinthe. I'd certainly love to get more of this for further study. Anyone who picks up a sample (or bottle) will not be upset that they spent the money to do so.

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