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

3.9 (2)
4.3 (18)

User reviews

12 reviews with 4 stars
18 reviews
3 stars
2 stars
1 star
Overall rating
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12 results - showing 1 - 5
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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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The Bleue Standard
Overall rating
Appearance: It always pains me to give full points for a blanche, but it looked as though there wasn't anything in my reservoir glass when I poured it in.

Louche: Quite milky and ever so barely pink-toned, along with iridescent blues.

Aroma: Big smell while louching, peppery and sweet, with a slight musk and soil aroma. Really nice.

Flavor: Creamy and sweet, with a tangy sourness, very fruity fennel, and a sneaky wormwood floralness.

Finish: More tangy sour, and is pleasingly mouth-watering long after sipping.

Overall: Where this absinthe isn't perfect, I think it'd be damn near impossible to improve upon it. I enjoy it a good deal every time I drink it.
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Hallmark of the Bleue Tradition
Overall rating
Appearance: Clearer than water with a hint of nothingness. This is seriously clean and clear. The glass ads the only imperfection that I can see. Almost surreal to an extent.

Louche: Surprisingly thick louche. The louche was quick to form and stands strong. The final result is a milky white with blue hued edges.

Aroma: Wormwood floral tones mesh with an anise sweetness, earthen herbs, and a fruit scent similar to apple. I'm betting on Chamomile usage. A bit of pepper tone is there to add depth, just a bit.

Flavor: A soft creamy texture is very noticeable along with a very sweet taste, to the degree that I would suggest sugar users try this one without sugar first. Wormwood rushes in first followed quickly by anise. Every background note that was detectable in the aroma is present in the taste. A very well balanced and deeply flavored blanche.

Finish: Anise and peppery coriander come out and dominate the lengthy finish changing the creamy texture into a sharp and slightly bitter finish. Very refreshing.

Overall: It is obvious to me why this is the gold standard blanche absinthe. This is well crafted and complex enough to keep one guessing. A very good place to start heading if you are looking for a good blanche.
Top 10 Reviewer 70 reviews
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No Blues with 'Clandestine La Bleue'
(Updated: April 17, 2010)
Overall rating
Prepared 1:4 with small "dot"-sized sugar cube. Pontalier-style glass with matching brouilleur (dripper)

Color: Perfectly crystal clear pre-louche; after louche I would not consider this particularly creamy, but very nice opalescence and blue tints are impressive.

Louche: Great oil trails, but it doesn't last long. It's better to start with quite a slow drip to catch the "show." A billowing cloud appears in center of liquid after some time, and it's an impressive development.

Aroma: Very nice balance of the "trinity" with clear floral notes. Quite a fresh, natural aroma of mountain herbs and flowers. No alcohol odor present in bottle or glass.

Flavor: Fresh floral notes shine through the "trinity" superbly. Some vanilla notes, but nothing like Absinthe Duplais Blanche. Not too sweet, excellent balance of flavor. Hints of rose petals?

Finish: Flavors linger fresh with no bitter aftertaste. Grain alcohol quality is fine (no hangover after five glasses), wonderful fresh mountain floral complex stays with you. Different than Absinthe Duplais Blanche, better than Kübler.

Overall: Very, very good. Another one I must always have in my liquor cabinet.

Next day note (April 17, 2010): Sugar is not a must for La Clandestine. The natural balance of sweetness and bitter notes is wonderful. Sweeten only if you must.
Top 50 Reviewer 8 reviews
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