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Review Detail

Traditional Absinthe
Beautiful Belle Amie
(Updated: December 14, 2007)
Overall rating 
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
Belle Amie pours clear, bright gold with a hint of green, a colour I've only seen in absinthe that has been aged for at least a few years. The louche is very slow and theatrical, dancing back and forth. The louched spirit is slightly thin and a bit more green than before adding water.

The aroma reminds me strongly of preban Pernod Fils, but is spicier and not as sweet. The anise is deceptive; it's light in intensity but stands out so strongly in character that it seems more intense than it is. Coriander, pontica, and hyssop, all of excellent quality, mingle in more of a homophonic theme than counterpoint. However, all of it is backed up by a wormwood so gorgeous it's like listening to music where the bassist steals the show.

And boy, does that carry over to the flavour, plus some. The wormwood is fantastic; definitely that same juicy, floral, and simply luscious wormwood that was used in L'Artisanale. Here it's used a tad more sparingly but to no less spectacular effect. Anise is hardly noticeable to me on the palate, and instead fennel and coriander provide most of the accompaniment. I disagree with some of my peers on the colouring herb flavour being too strong or vegetal... but that may just be because I enjoy a prominent pontica profile.

The one area where I think Belle Amie could use adjusting (as opposed to minor tweaking) is the mouth-feel. It could stand to be a good deal creamier. The finish is long and dominated by wormwood. This is one of the dryer absinthes I've had, with a respectable bitterness that lingers pleasantly on the palate. The juxtaposition of the somewhat wild bitterness with the extremely sophisticated flavour is pure joy, not entirely unlike the experience of sipping a very good, well-aged bourbon.

It's wonderful.
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