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Review Detail

Traditional Absinthe
Alabama Absinthe!
Overall rating 
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
Straight to Ale is my favourite Alabama craft brewery, and I damn near live on their beers, especially their exceptionally drinkable Stout at the Devil. Many of their labels contain references to NASA and Satan, which are, of course, two of my favourite things (NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is located in Huntsville, where Straight to Ale operates.) Until the other day I didn't know that they also have a distillery, Shelta Cavern Spirits, and that they make a traditional verte absinthe. And it only costs $50 for a 750ml bottle. How's that?

Alabama absinthe! I never thought I'd see the day. So here I am, returning to The Wormwood Society to let you know all about it, while I try not to let my local bias overcome my senses.

The photo on the website shows the absinthe as bright green, but the clear bottle I picked up from the ABC store is feuille morte amber. In the glass it's slightly more yellow, and if you look closely in the light, you can see tiny particles diffusely suspended, nothing like sea monkeys. I wish they'd put it in a tinted bottle to protect the colour. The initial aroma is very anise-forward, with a little bit of earthiness from the fennel. Slightly grassy, and without any detectable wormwood. Reminds me a lot of Herbsaint Original, which is not a bad thing at all.

Adding water, its beauty comes through. The louche is cream-coloured, and seems very thick sitting on my desk in the darkness of my lair, but when I hold it up to the light it's slightly transparent and shot through with red rays. Thinner at the bottom of the glass, a bluish haze and amber reflections play about. The aroma has opened up a little bit. Still anise and fennel forward, but a new element, sort of a buttery quality, has appeared, and I think I'm detecting just a hint of floral wormwood.

Tasting it, suddenly there's the wormwood, and a lot of it, leaning much more toward floral than woody. No pencil shavings here. Medium bitterness to balance a medium sweetness. Bright and new tasting, but not brash. Flavours are already well blended despite its obvious youth, though my palate may just be out of practice. As I sip, it opens up more to reveal some citrus and minty notes. Very refreshing and sunny, perfect for a sprintime afternoon. The mouthfeel is light and sproingy, less tongue coating and more kinetic. The finish is long, and gradually tastes darker and earthier as it goes along. Anise comes back to the front, and after a minute, notes of berries appear before fading. Weird, but nice.

I had high hopes for this absinthe, and it definitely did not disappoint. I would like to get ahold of a bottle that's still green to check it out when it's more fresh. Conversely, I'd like to taste it again after a couple years sitting on my liquor shelf and see how it's changed. For now, it's not the most amazing absinthe I've ever had, nor the most subtle, neither the most complex. But at $50 it gives absinthes twice as expensive a run for their money, and that's saying something. Hail Satan.
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