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Review Detail

Absinthe Substitutes
Spirit of New Orleans
(Updated: April 18, 2010)
Overall rating 
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
Although Herbsaint Original does not purport to be absinthe, but instead is acknowledged as an absinthe substitute, I nevertheless treated it as I would any true absinthe and prepared a traditional "drip" at a 3:1 water to spirit ratio.

To begin with, the Herbsaint pours a dull olive green, with brown overtones. It appears natural enough, but it is not pretty and the color seems wrong, even for a substitute product. The louche does form, but it is extremely thin and tends to fade even as one consumes a glass. The overall effect is a (barely) translucent yellow jade. Both color and louche are well below average.

The aroma is the Herbsaint's best feature. Before water and after, I found it fresh, herbal, and a little spicy. There are hints of mint, and overall it is very pleasant. Although I could not give it a '5' in part due to the lack of wormwood, I nevertheless awarded a '4' in this category.

The taste is acceptable, although perhaps a little too candy-like. I believe anise is the dominant herb. There is little or no bitterness, and I cannot imagine taking Herbsaint with sugar. The finish is wholly unremarkable, though not unpleasant.

Overall, I'll give this a '3' if only for historical interest. I think in future I'll use it in cocktails, as the traditional absinthe drip does not seem to work well for this spirit.
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