La Clandestine - Reviewed by Experts and Consumers at The Wormwood Society

3.9 (2)
4.3 (18)

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18 reviews
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1 star
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A classic that deserves respect
Overall rating
This is good stuff... Among the blanches I've tried, I prefer La Sorciere Bleue, but this is real close to that. No real flaws, well-worth drinking.

Appearance: having seen three quite good blanches in person so far, I begin to understand why some are very reluctant to award "5"s to blanches... I'm not necessarily reluctant, just concerned that I haven't seen the best a blanche can be yet. I use "reservoir" type absinthe glasses-- when it gets so clear that I can lose the "water line" against the pinch in the glass between reservoir portion and main body and really have to look to see that there's anything in there, I'll give a "5"-- because I'm told that there are blanches that clear out there, and La Clandestine isn't quite that good (although it's really close)-- I'm giving it a 4.5.

Louche: Down at 3-- because it's acceptable, but very opaque. Also because I stacked this up against the other two blanches I had on hand.... and I had trouble telling them apart (the Kubler actually had the best louche).

Aroma: I'm not really good at judging this part-- but it smells good to me.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: Excellent. No flaws. Perfect? Probably not... I think the La Sorciere Bleue is a little better, on the other hand, this is a little better than Kubler. It's well worth drinking...

Finish: Excellent, intriguing. Good stuff

Overall: La Clandestine has the reputation of being the blanche against which all other blanches are measured. I think the reputation is well-earned.
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Bugnon's craftsmanship
Overall rating
Color: Perfectly clear, absolutely transparent.

Louche: With the first drops: nice oily swirls bluish and orange, with some purple. Then a very thick, milky, creamy white with some blue. It reminds me, just visually, of Italian “orzata”, an almond based drink for kids. Pearly opalescent.

Aroma: With the first drops the aroma explodes, Mostly anise. Alpine woods. Some wormwood.

Flavor: Anise, and wormwood. Complex, with restrained bitterness. Like other Bugnon absinthes I tasted, all rough edges seem to have been distilled away. Only sweetness and balance remain.

Finish: Creamy in the mouth. Anise and wormwood lingering for long.

Overall: A lovely absinthe. I drink almost exclusively green absinthes, so I’m not a competent judge. It has all the marks of Bugnon's excellent craft.
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One of the Best
Overall rating
I usually drink this around 3/4:1, no sugar. I first tried this before it was legal, when it was sold by Betty. Betty's La Bleue's. I now regularly keep this in stock, partly because it has been readily available in Quebec for the past several years.

Color: Perfectly Clear

Louche: Opalescent white with blue around the edges. Finishes quickly

Aroma: Anise, spice, white pepper, herbs, wormwood, a bit of earth, pine. Alpinely, crisp and cold. Very complex. Amazing.

Flavor: Matches aroma. Anise, white pepper, menthol. Crisp, clean and very refreshing. Sweetness and bitterness in perfect balance. A bit tongue-numbing

Finish: Excellent mouth feel, not thin at all, has some weight, but also not too thick. Sweetness fades fast, then long bitter tongue-numbing. Piney and bitter til the end. Lasts a long time. In no way unpleasant.

Overall: A top-notch absinthe. Sweet enough to not require sugar (I sugar most of my absinthes). The bitterness of the wormwood matches the sweetness perfectly. A perfect balance.
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Sneaky Blanche!
Overall rating
Wow - this absinthe is absolutely transparent unlouched. Looks like water with no particles present. Aromas are lovely, floral, balanced, and inviting. The louche consists of pretty trails which turn to a billowing fogbank! Quite exciting to watch. Very pure white when completely louched and noticing some bluish tints around the edges. Striking! Sweet, quality flavor and aroma. You can really tell the quality of ingredients and the mastery of the distillation process in this absinthe.

With this being a blanche - some of the normal flavorings of a verte are noticeably absent... but this is such a great product that it truly makes up for anything which might be considered "lost" by working so well with what *is* there. An absolutely beautifully crafted spirit.
Top 10 Reviewer 47 reviews
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It's a keeper
Overall rating
Appearance: absolutely clear, almost invisible

Louche: Beautiful, but it's over pretty quickly. Pearly white with a few blue overtones.

Aroma: No-nonsense, unadorned absinthe goodness. Nothing stands out, but that's not a complaint. Everything harmonizes into a nice bouquet.

Flavor: Wow. I'm partial to vertes, but if all the blanches were this good, I wouldn't be so biased. Rock-solid blend of the trinity, slightly bitter (but not too much), seductively spicy (but not overpowering), and a hint of numbing that just begs for another sip.

Finish: Slightly dry, slightly bitter, a hint of anise, a dose of pepper... long after the last sip.

Overall: This will absolutely be my go-to brand when I want to introduce someone to absinthe. It's not edgy, it's not unusual, it's not trying to be anything other than a really, REALLY good absinthe, and it hits the mark almost perfectly. I'll definitely have this on hand all the time.
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