Review Detail

4.7 6 0.5
Belle Epoque Reprise
(Updated: June 28, 2012)
Overall rating
Flavor / Mouthfeel
I would absolutely swear that I was drinking a top echelon pre-ban (particularly Pernod Fils 1914 "very green" to be precise) if I were blindfolded.

Gorgeous coppery/peachy feuille mort neat, which magically evolves into a creamy green with hints of brown and white after louching.

Said louche is very thick and creamy, unlike its more delicate counterparts among Stefano's other creations. The mouthfeel is, likewise, velvety and rich.

The perfuminess is there, but instead of a Mediterranean type, it is right out of the Belle Epoque, and wrapped in that classic pre-ban Rolls Royce leather.

This absinthe is absolutely seamless in its aroma and flavor, yet, at the same time, one can pick out a voluptuously fruity Florence fennel, candied anise, fragrant, baby powdery hyssop, and a particularly juicy wormwood in the remarkably lengthy finish.

There is also a peppery aspect to the mid-flavor, that reminds me of a cross between Pernod Fils "very green", and the more spicy Berger with a wonderful citric quality (more fruit-juicy than most), probably contributed by the Moldavian melissa.

Having enjoyed repeat tastings, I find myself in agreement with Brian regarding the astringent finish, but being a fan of Calvados, and, more precisely, Gale's Prize Old Ale, I find this characteristic in L'Ancienne to be bracing and inviting, rather than detrimental.*

*Having tried a few glasses of the latest (2011) version, I can say that the astringent aspect has been toned down, and the finish is far more rounded, spicy, and smooth. At this point, I feel perfectly justified in agreeing with Steve Williams, and awarding L'Ancienne a perfect score. Or rather, I would, if the star ratings could be edited.

This was an extremely limited commercial offering (only 60 of 80 bottles were up for sale), and for those who missed out, I'd recommend keeping an eye out for a hopeful reprise from Stefano, and the Zufanek distillery next year, providing the harvest is agreeable.

The Czech Republic is now the home of my absolute favorite absinthe...oh the wondrous irony!!!
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