Bootleg Botanicals 'Make your own Absinthe' - Reviewed by Experts and Consumers at The Wormwood Society

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Available in USA?
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Wormwood Society Editor Comments
This was sent in an effort by the brand owner to convince the Wormwood Society Review Editor that indeed, absinthe CAN be made at home through simple herbal infusion. Let's see if they succeeded...

Editor reviews

2 reviews
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(Updated: February 16, 2014)
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Flavor / Mouthfeel
This 'make your own absinthe' kit arrives in a box packed with hemp straw, containing an empty bottle with a generic absinthe label attached, a funnel, and two vials filled with the typical absinthe herb bill: Angelica Root, Anise Seed, Calamus Root, Coriander, Fennel, Grand Wormwood, Lemon Balm, Lemon Peel, Licorice Root, Roman Wormwood, and Star Anise. They recommend you use Everclear, Gemclear, etc to infuse the herbs based on the instructions provided.

Appearance: When properly filtered during the finishing step, the appearance seems very similar to a naturally colored absinthe. Less of a peridot, and more of a forest green though. Clear, with no visible sediment.

Louche: A bit thin, and quite yellowish green. Not unattractive, but kind of strange.

Aroma: Anise, wormwood and quite vegetal. Hints of fennel and caramel.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: Ack! You're immediately hit with the macerated wormwood flavor. There are other things in the background, especially the Melissa and Lemon peel, and a touch of anise. But there's really no getting around the acridity of macerated wormwood. It really affects the mouthfeel as well. Absinthe should coat the tongue, with a silky feel. Macerated Grande Wormwood instead dries out the tongue with a tannic bitterness, giving you a 'fuzzy' tongue.

Finish: The lemon, melissa, and acrid bitterness stick with you for quite some time.

Overall: I couldn't take more than a few sips. It's just WAY too bitter. I had to sink it. The aspiring producers of this product may have good intentions, but if they do, they are also very misguided, possibly by past experiences with faux absinth from Eastern Europe.

Producing quality verte-style absinthe involves four major steps:
1) Herbal maceration (soaking) in high proof alcohol
2) Distillation of the macerate
3) Maceration of coloring herbs
4) Filtration and bottling/aging

The producers seek to have you skip step two. However, by doing so, you are taking out one of the most crucial steps, as the distillation helps remove many of the bitter compounds that grande wormwood imparts into the base alcohol (absinthins). The removal of these absinthins are what helps create the delicate, silky end product.

In conclusion, I don't know how many more times we have to say it: YOU CANNOT MAKE ABSINTHE AT HOME. At least not legally, since hobby distillation is illegal in the U.S. You cannot simply dump herbs into a base alcohol, let them soak, then filter them out to create absinthe.

I truly wish the producers luck in the future, as they seemed like nice people. But I hope their luck runs out with this specific product. Save your money. Don't contribute to their Kickstarter. Doing so would help propagate the 'do it yourself without distillation' myth.
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