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Review Detail

Traditional Absinthe
Elegantly bitter
(Updated: August 11, 2009)
Overall rating 
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
NOTE: I was provided with a 1 oz blind sample of the 2008 2nd edition courtesy of bksmithey, and reviewed it as I would any other absinthe. However, my review was based entirely on a single glass rather than the three or more I normally have before posting my comments, so please keep that in mind.

COLOR: First of all, the unlouched color of this vert was gold, with the barest trace of green without quite making it to "light olive". After the louche, it was quite a pale yellow, again with the barest hint of green. [I have since been told that it was “quite green” when it was new, but turned to this color after a few months.]

AROMA: The aroma was pleasant and light, but not particularly complex. Anise and/or fennel was at the forefront (I'm still learning to differentiate these, but it seemed to be fairly fennel-heavy), although a strong streak of wormwood formed the backbone of the scent. There was a noticeable tinge of something that I couldn’t put my finger on (bksmithey compared it to baby powder, which is not far off) and thought perhaps it originated from the vial or packaging of the sample, so I didn’t mention it at first. I have since confirmed that it is from the absinthe itself. The aroma is not unpleasant (and is all but gone after loucheing) but it is odd.

LOUCHE: In spite of the experiences others have reported, I have to say that the louche was nicely active for me, with oily trails developing into a nice quilt of cirrus cloud-like formations. It didn’t last very long, but it was enjoyable. I do use very cold water by default, though, so that might be why I had better than average results.

FLAVOR: Once I tasted it, the wormwood came to the front and the anise/fennel took a backseat. The bitterness had a pleasant bite which was strong, but the fine quality of the wormwood used made it an enjoyable sip (and edged this from a 3 to a 4). Overall, the flavor came across as a bit simplistic, but elegantly done. I found that it could be pushed to 4.5:1 and still be good, but started getting noticeably weak at 5:1. Those with a bitter tooth would likely rate this one very highly.

FINISH: The mouthfeel was not thin, though not particularly creamy, but there was just the right amount of tongue-numbing. For such a high ABV (72%), the distiller did a fine job balancing everything.

OVERALL: While it might be near the upper limits of what I would find pleasantly bitter even after sweetening, I enjoyed this and would not refuse another glass.
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