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Review Detail

Absinthe Sauvage
Traditional Absinthe
Archival Amazement
(Updated: October 17, 2011)
Overall rating 
 
4.8
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
5.0
I was expecting Sauvage to be very similar to Roquette, but (although similarities exist) this wonderfully bucolic absinthe stands head and shoulders above its archival predecessor in every respect.

The color, neat, is a very vibrant emerald green tinged with yellow, beautifully clear and inviting.

The louche is extremely gradual with a subdued snow globe effect, not turbulent and rife with fog banks, but a delight to watch as it languorously unfolds. The end result is a near-perfect display of almost opaque, but slightly translucent green with bluish and amber highlights.

The nose is redolent of wormwood that has a very unusual aromatic profile. I get hints of mint tea,and nopal cactus. There is also a definite tangerine quality.

These elements are also present in the flavor (the wormwood is huge, extremely floral, and very juicy) but (as with Roquette) there is a decidedly powdery, candied, medicinal quality to this absinthe that is definitely in keeping with the primary purpose it would have served in 1804. I'm also noticing more than a hint of underlying smokiness that reminds me of Laphroaig or Laguvulin, or perhaps a bit more like that found in a modern interpretation of a 16th century Bamberg smoked beer (Hair of the Dog Adam) in the finish, along with a distinct pepperiness that melds perfectly with the citric notes.

While the wormwood definitely takes center stage here, the supporting herbs (including a very fruity fennel) play an important role, and are much more vibrant than they are in, say, that other notable wormwood showcase, Doubs Mystique.

Sauvage is a bit of a paradox in that it is, at once, rustic, and not incredibly complex, and yet also very eccentric and dynamic. All the flavors are beautifully harmonious, and (although I don't generally believe that there is any such thing as an "expert's" absinthe, I would venture to agree with the Michael Meyers assessment that Sauvage is a grownup's drink, and a wondrous one, at that

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