Review Detail

4.2 13 0.5
"Berthe" Of The Cool
(Updated: June 18, 2012)
Overall rating
OK, for the second time, I've decided to post reviews of two sibling absinthes, completed the same day, tasting each side by side. This review and the review of the Perroquet, dated the same, are intended as a pair. There have been many commentaries on these two recent E. Pernot vertes, so here's my "compare and contrast" impressions. Everyone seems to have their favorite. I wish I could be that decisive.

Unlouched, beautiful crystal clear peridot with impressive golden reflections. Clarity and brightness are top-notch. Jewell-like, brilliant. Louched, significant retention of the green. With low light, a slightly bluish jade green. Under very good light, highlights of yellows, golds, whitish blue at the edges and a very pretty orange glow fading to cantaloupe at the bottom. A bit more intensity to all the final colors than Perroquet, since a proper dilution here calls for less H2O than its sibling.

This is opalescence, a nice kaleidoscope of classic louche tones. Great sheen, "glassy" looking. The "weight" and translucence are right at the limits (upper and lower, respectively). Any more, and I would consider this too opaque. For what it's worth, nice action while forming, while it lasts, which is not long due to 56% abv. The show is over at just slightly above 1:1.

Unlouched, evident high quality everything... grape base, wormwood and other herbs. Anise is in the background. Louched, well, much the same, with the expansions that water brings. Pontarlier wormwood, in spades, balanced by anise and an earthy fennel just slightly behind. Quite piquant. Subtle pepper (mostly white pepper), camphor, and volatility give it an assertive edge. With a little push in the dilution department (above 3.5:1), the more subtle herbs and florals show themselves. No evidence of alcohol heat, neat or louched.

Like the nose, gobs of top-notch wormwood. Anise and fennel are actually plentiful, but the wormwood is so commanding that you might miss them at first. Alternating hints of both white and black pepper. Mouthfeel is amazingly clean and velvety, considering how action-packed this is. As with the nose, the more delicate and subtle herbals and florals reveal themselves at higher dilutions. Focus (as if this needs it!) is provided by a slight trailing mintiness.

So long it needs another time zone! Seriously... linear, spicy, tingly, minty, and fresh. That awesome Pontarlier wormwood lingers and lingers. A slight "pull" and drying countered by some aspect that prompts salivation, making the finish just juicy. All in all, a vigorous massage for the palate.

Well, try as I might to resist the hype, I've caved. It's pretty hard to ignore an effort of this level. Assertive and masculine. Stunningly good. A real statement. Absolutely one of the best I've experienced. Profound. Feel free to try different dilutions with this. There has been significant talk on the forums about drinking this at a ratio of 2.5:1 with a little sugar. My favorite dilutions are still 3.5:1 - 4:1. I just find more subtle details and complexities at this level. E. Pernot, of late, has been right in the pocket with their new offerings. This, and its sibling Perroquet, are new to the "must try" list.

Done with a 1 ounce dose, diluted 2.5:1, 3:1, 3.5:1, 4:1 and no sugar.

La Berthe De Joux, 9/11/10, 9/12/10, 9/26/10, 10/15/10, 10/30/10, 10/31/10.
All evaluations had consistent notes.

Some comparisons of Perroquet and La Berthe De Joux

Perroquet is classic peridot.
LBdJ is classic peridot.

Perroquet is all the expected louche tones in the zone.
LbdJ louche is slightly more bluish, slightly more "glassy" looking.

Perroquet is very highly complex.
LBdJ is highly complex.

Perroquet is classic, refined, detailed.
LBdJ pushes limits without going over the top.

Perroquet if you like Bentleys, Vuitton, and Harry Winston.
LBdJ if you like Hummers, Prada, and Chris Aire.

Perroquet for the "pinky out" crowd.
LBdJ for those who have hair on their chest (or those who want some!).

Perroquet - "Polly want a Cracker?"
LBdJ - "Polly want some Crack?"

So... I can't tell you all what a process crafting these two reviews has been. These reviews probably represent the sacrifice of 80% of a bottle of LBdJ, and 65% of a bottle of Perroquet. Recently, in a WS thread, there was some talk about how others impressions of beverages set one up for expectations of what to perceive. I'm as susceptible as anyone, of course. As such, I have parsed these offerings more, and compared more thoroughly to other top-notch absinthes than any other reviews I have written (including tasting short doses of my top 4 or 5 rated absinthes immediately after writing these to serve as a double-check). And I can say that any rating of "4" that either received, was so close to a "5" that I could have knocked it over the line with my heel (the same is probably true with "4" ratings for other top absinthes I've reviewed). Both are stunningly good, both are worthy of any serious absintheur's attention.
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