Berthe de Joux - Reviewed by Experts and Consumers at The Wormwood Society

 
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Simply outstanding.
(Updated: August 06, 2012)
Overall rating
 
4.6
The absinthe pours a bright peridot.Ideal with no debris or haze. The aroma is minty and fruity. Lots of wormwood, with the anise present but subdued.

The louche is quick to build, but ends just slightly thin. Rich, opalescent, pearly jade, textured with gold and blue. After water the aroma is very balanced and rich. Anise has come forward, wormwood has moved back just a bit. Citrus notes, some spice. Very fresh.

It has a full, sweet flavour with wormwood upfront, followed by a big dose of anise and fennel. Very little bitterness. Surprisingly thick and warm mouth-feel for something so summery and refreshing. A bit spicy but not overdone. Purfumey and minty.

Fruity anise dominates the finish, trailing into fennel with wormwood just pulsing underneath. Mouth-watering and infectious.

This is quite a delightful absinthe, among the best available. Having been out of the loop I had no idea what its reputation was when I tasted it, but I'm not surprised to see how well it's regarded.
A
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"Berthe" Of The Cool
(Updated: June 18, 2012)
Overall rating
 
4.5
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.

Color
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.

Louche
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.

Aroma
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.

Flavor
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.

Finish
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.

Overall
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.
M
Top 10 Reviewer 53 reviews
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Unbelievable. Right up my alley.
(Updated: February 19, 2013)
Overall rating
 
4.7
Original Review: 8/26/10.
Updated Review: 2/18/11
Updated Review: 9/1/12

2/18/11 Changes: Changed color from 5 to 4. Aside from that, it's just as good as my first review. Fantastic stuff. The color has faded a bit, but it is still very inviting.

9/1/12 Changes: Reduced flavor and aroma to 4.5 each to reflect the half-point system.

Color: (original) Very deep, attractive peridot Updated: A lighter shade of peridot, but still bright green and attractive.

Louche: Nice layering begins around 1:1 which transforms into an inviting green louche with hints of blue, white and yellow.

Aroma: lots and lots of wonderful wormwood with hints of anise and even honey. Wonderfully layered and complex. Room-filling.

Flavor: Spicy and peppery with lots of top notch wormwood. The WW shows through first with a less pronounced but still clearly identifiable anise flavor. Complex and remarkable. Tastes a bit young but it's likely that aging will only improve this absinthe.

Finish: Wormwood plays on the tongue for a good long time with a supporting hand of anise, with just a touch of refreshing alpine astringency at the very end. Peppery and bold.

Overall: A powerful and masculine absinthe that pulls no punches. If your average absinthe is like a Lowlands Scotch, then this is like a powerful Islay. An immediate addition to the list of my top favorites.
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