Review Detail

4.7 6 0.5
Affordable luxury
Overall rating
Color: 5

Before louche: Rating the color gave me a bit of a hard time, but only because the system is really set up to score traditional greens and whites. But, as I understand it, this absinthe is completely naturally colored. It's a beautiful amber, bordering on that feulle morte we love so much about century old absinthes. It's perfectly clear, and free of any sediment. Taking all of that into consideration, I'm giving it a perfect score for replicating a pristine pre-ban look.

After louche: Perfect. Maintains the look of the dead leaf color while adding hints of gold and brown.

Louche: 5

Comes along at just the right time. Starts building nicely around 1:1 and layers around 2:1. By 3:1, it's fully louched and beautiful. Opaque, sure, but as noted above there are hints of gold and brown, with the overall feulle morte still being the dominant color. Wisps of olive toward the top, which has more to do with light than it does the absinthe.

Aroma: 4

Comparing this to an authentic pre-ban absinthe is a double-edged sword, but this is an attempt to recreate a pre-ban style, so here we go. While Stefano has managed to capture essences of the correct aromas, there is just no getting around the fact that this absinthe is young. This bottle was a distiller's proof of the commercial release, so it has the benefit of a little age, but nowhere near 100 years. As such, there is a little heat on the nose from the alcohol, which distracts from the brilliant stuff. Talking of which, the best part about the aroma is that luxurious old leather. Slightly powdery, which is something I love. Nicely perfumed. Not a standard profile, in terms of a really forward anise, but this isn't a standard absinthe. The aroma highlights the wormwood more prominently, and the anise takes a back seat to the leather. Rather earthy and calm, with nothing screaming for attention. If it weren't for the heat, I would rate this a perfect score.

Flavor: 4

I can taste every many of the similarities that Stefano tried to recreate from pre-ban absinthes. But the first thing I taste is a bit of astringency (not spiciness), which isn't necessarily pleasant. I wanted to make sure it wasn't the alcohol I was tasting, so I added a little more water, no more than 4:1. However, the slight astringency was still there. It doesn't taste like process to me, and certainly not tails. It's definitely something in the herb bill. Sort of a menthol flavor, but not minty. Setting that aside, there is a smoothness and creaminess that is very, very enjoyable with the rest of the flavors. One of the things that pre-ban absinthe has going for it is a hundred years of melding flavors. Some of those flavors surely can't be recreated, as such, but the creator is in the ballpark with all of them. There is also a really good balance of sweet and bitter, vegetal/herbal and floral. I taste a smokiness that is rather enjoyable, which is reminiscent of toasted oak. One could easily imagine this absinthe as being aged in enormous casks.

Finish: 5

Absolutely the right amount of numbing, for the right amount of time. It doesn't linger unnecessarily. It's actually replaced by a creamy and delicious mouthfeel. Exhaling brings back many of the best aspects of this absinthe.

Overall: 4

Oddly enough, the only thing this pre-ban clone really needs is...more age! Nearly perfect.
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