Grande Absente - Reviewed by Experts and Consumers at The Wormwood Society

2.1 (2)
2.2 (12)

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12 reviews
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1 star
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12 results - showing 1 - 5
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I'll never drink it again
Overall rating
Since it was on the menu I thought I'd get a glass so that I could review it. The bartender told me it was "the best absinthe" on the market; he must have read that on their bottle or something.

Color: fake. Not even trying to masquerade as natural. This is the color club kids think absinthe ought to be.

Louche: it took so long I started to worry it wasn't ever going to happen at all. Not particularly thrilling once it go going either, but at least there was something happening.

Aroma: n/a

Flavor: pre-sweetened which I should have remembered so that I could have saved myself a sugar cube. Cloying with it's "fake licorice" star anise flavor and precious little else. I tasted none of the wormwood they taut so annoyingly in the marketing, nor any other herbs.

Finish: it's already been said, but black licorice jelly beans are the nearest thing to come to mind. I finished the glass, but I feel no need to ever revisit it.

Overall: it sets a very bad example and is sure to turn off many casual imbibers. Honestly I would recommend Pernod over this in a heart beat if nothing better was on hand.
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More like absent than absinthe
(Updated: March 02, 2010)
Overall rating

Color: Artificially colored. Too bright a geen/yellow.

Louche: The closest thing this absinthe has to doing what it should. It does louche fairly well.

Aroma: Big alcohol bang. Anise in your face. Nothing subtle or quality.

Flavor: "Good 'n Plenty" licorice WITH the candy coating. No herbal qualities. Pre-sweetened, and a bit sickly sweet. I believe the pre-swetening officially makes this NOT a true absinthe.

Finish: Just not worth talking about.

For the high price of this stuff, you could buy real world-class absinthe. I suspect they may be using oils instead of real ingredients. Nuff said.
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A Little Better than the Worse
Overall rating
Color: Vibrant lime green, yellowy. Looks like lime cordial. Doesn't look natural

Louche: Starts with a whirlwind of nice trails but then it just gets hazy. No cloudy billowing. Too thin. Color is more natural once water is added. Nice greens with some blue and white.

Aroma: Alcohol, sweet black licorice and water. Faint grass. Simple

Flavor: Candy anise and sugar even though I did not add any sugar. I taste the alcohol. I tried adding water until the alcohol was less present but then it was just way too thin. Some bitterness. Simple and unremarkable

Finish: Mouth feel is thin. Bitterness recedes quickly then you’re left with anise and a numb tongue. The flavor is simple and bland to begin with and therefore there is not much flavor to finish with.

Overall: The label says “Premium” but it is certainly not that. By definition it is not a real absinthe because it contains added sugar. It is cheap and simple. The packaging is misleading and also hypes the thujone content, which for those that know absinthe, is like putting a sticker on the bottle that says “this is crap”. For those that know nothing about absinthe but are curious, I can see why this would be appealing with words like “Premium liqueur”, “bitter absinthe”, “authentic thujone” and “authentic wormwood”. Not a good thing, but if it’s between this, Hills (which doesn't louche and tastes like mouthwash) and Mythe (which has even less anise flavor and also doesn't louche) I would prefer they buy this one. I think beginners could at least find this palatable and hopefully will like it enough to go for something better next time.
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Below Average
(Updated: May 16, 2009)
Overall rating
Before Water: A nice yellow-green. Maybe too yellow, and ½ a degree too neon bright, but it might be natural (I am pretending that I don't know that FD&C artificial coloring is used). Basically correct and even attractive.

After Water: Natural looking light greenish-yellow. Opalescence and depth could be better however.

Decent trails, entertaining, slowly forming cloud layer.

Before water: Smells unfortunately like rubbing alcohol.

After water: Licorice and maybe star anise or green anise, whatever it is, it’s kind of flat. Along with this is a very unappetizing alcohol scent that smells to me almost like mint-accented rubbing alcohol. I ended up sinking the first glass. I had another glass from my large sample bottle a few months later, and this was more subdued- but still slightly off-putting.

A bit o’ the ol’ black jelly bean taste here. Very simple. I’m not really sure if there's any green anise at all, probably just star anise essential oil. I think I might taste a little fennel and some basic wormwood as it moves toward the finish. Overall, it’s much flatter and one dimensional than I’d like it to be, as well as the significant minus of being pre-sweetened (as we know authentic absinthe is not). The funny thing is, it’s actually a bit better after a few months of aging, which is likely due in part to the producer not having aged it themselves.

Not harsh in any way, moderate tongue numbing, not much body or creaminess. The first glass kinda grossed me out, but after breathing the second glass actually had some acceptable wormwood and anethole notes. There is also some unpleasant cloying from pre-added sugar.

There are definitely worse products that are further removed from what absinthe actually is. But this is really NOT authentic absinthe, since it’s pre-sweetened and gets major negatives for taking all the producer shortcuts (star anise, oil mix, artificial color). When all is said and done, it’s a cheep imitation that mimics the real absinthe, but costs just as much.

The drink itself is a 2/5, but I dropped the Overall score to a 1 for the myriad unforgivable inaccuracies represented in the packaging and other marketing for this product. No reason at all to give these people my money. How unfortunate that many will try this and believe it's among the best the absinthe world has to offer.

Notes: 3:1 with medium fountain drip, no sugar.
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More Average Than I Would've Thought
(Updated: September 04, 2008)
Overall rating
After reading some of the other reviews on the site, I was expecting this to be a lot worse, so I suppose I was pleasantly surprised. It did rank low across most categories, but I find it one of the better low end brands. The aroma is simple, but I found the taste/flavor to be pleasant (I really wanted to give flavor a 3.5). Whereas most brands have complex bouquets of flavor, Grande Absente is very two-dimensional with a mix of sweet and bitter. Having read about, but never tried, absinthe for nearly 10 years, this product looked, smelled and tasted exactly like I expected absinthe to taste. So, while the taste is not as interesting as a good absinthe, I did not find it as appalling as several of the other reviewers.

If you have more of a sweet tooth, this product might be acceptable to you. I intend to keep it stocked, in favor of Lucid, for the entry-level comparison brand.
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