Review Detail

(Updated: February 16, 2014)
Overall rating
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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February 25, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to give our infusion a try and share your feedback with us Brian. It was never our intention to try and “convince” anyone that our product is true distilled Absinthe. We approached the Wormwood Society with respect for the community’s knowledge and passion for Absinthe. Our intent was to learn more about the drink and what improvements we can make to our infusion to make the flavor more authentic. It has never been our goal to claim our beverage as true Absinthe nor would we want to perpetuate any myth that someone can make traditional distilled quality Absinthe at home.

We started experimenting with infusions because frankly good Absinthe is hard to find and really expensive. However, we enjoy the flavor and ritual of the drink. We’ve done our best to create a final product that tastes good when prepared to one’s specific palette.

Brian is correct that Wormwood is extremely bitter when left in the infusion too long. That is why we have separated it into its own tea bag so that the end consumer can control how much bitterness they would like then remove it.

Before developing our blend, we did a lot of research including here on the wormwood society and read many reviews of other Absinthe kits that were quick to point out the bitterness of those products. We wanted to do everything in our power to keep our product from also becoming too bitter. Some of the measures we’ve taken include sourcing organic Grand Wormwood that has been harvested with less stem content. We now have a better supplier than we used for Brian’s sample and hope that will improve the results. Unlike some of the other Absinthe infusion kits we do not want the public to think that Wormwood will make you hallucinate and don’t feel there is any good reason to stuff our product with loads Wormwood to increase the thujone content.

We hoped that having Brian try out our product would give us ideas on improvements we can make before sending the final blend out into the world. It sounds as though we have some work to do on the instructions so that others do not experience some of the unpleasant outcomes Brian found during his trial. It also sounds like adding a bit more Anise Seed may help the overall flavor palette.

Our product line will offer a variety of infusions blends including Absinthe. We were actually surprised by the amount of interest in the Absinthe infusion over some of the other blends. It seems as though there are others who would enjoy experimenting with trying to make an Absinthe style drink at home.

Our goal is to make the best possible alternative to distilled Absinthe. It has never been our intention to step on any toes or disrespect the history or good name of Absinthe or the Absinthe community. We believe if there are going to be Absinthe kits on the market (let’s face it people appear to want them) lets at least make it taste good, as close to the real thing as possible and not perpetuate any myths about the effect.

We appreciate the Wormwood Society giving us the opportunity to share our product and gain invaluable feedback on how to improve our product for future consumers. We do hope that others will give our product a try before deciding definitively that it something they do not wish to drink. Each palette is different and we respect that while one person may really enjoy our Absinthe blend others may not. The beauty of infusing is the ability to control the end product and the fun of experimenting with flavors.

February 25, 2014
In reply to an earlier comment

Thanks Ryan. Just to clarify, I did not leave any of the herbs in the macerate longer than recommended. In fact, I took the wormwood out at the beginning of the recommended infusion time frame. The bottom line is macerated wormwood is simply not a desirable flavor for anyone who is looking to drink authentic absinthe, no matter how long you infuse it.

You mention that your desire isn't to make people believe that they can make absinthe at home, but the information on the site makes it pretty clear that this is product is a good substitute.

As for people wanting these types of kits: they want them because they have been led to believe that they are making a similar product. We see it all the time. If people are led to believe that they can get the 'same' thing (or at least similar) for a substantially lower price, they will be attracted to it. But in many cases, you get what you pay for.
February 25, 2014
In reply to an earlier comment

Thanks again for giving it a shot Brian and for your feedback.
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