Review Detail

0.7 24 0.5
The Road Less Traveled - In The Wrong Direction
Overall rating
Flavor / Mouthfeel

The bottle is at best unremarkable if not a bit cheesy. I can forgive the silly label but a thin metal screw of cap? That doesn't exactly say quality at a $60 price point. Nor would it at half the price.

A thin stream from a fountain of iced spring water.

Color Before Water
Very attractive and a pleasant surprise. It's a lovely deep, bright Peridot leaning almost towards emerald. Pristine, jewel like and gorgeous an absolute delight.

Aroma Before Water
Odd I knew not to expect a strong nose of Anise, Fennel and the notes of Licorice to be up front. I didn't expect them to be absent. I let the glass breathe for 30 minutes hoping it would open up a bit and become more floral and less awkward and hard to place. But in final assessment the aroma is like a cinnamon flavored gum at the point where little flavor or scent remains. There are fruity tones I can't place which are interesting but left me thinking this was anything but Absinthe.

Nice Louche which began quickly. I didn't see much in the way of trails and rolling clouds but I was pleased with it nonetheless. The finished color isn't as dense and creamy as other Absinthes I've had but it's attractive in it's own right albeit a bit too thin. No real opalescence to speak of and Mouth feel is a bit too watery for my taste.

Aroma After Water
Still odd and candy like with cloying hints of cinnamon. The aroma strikes me as somewhat muddled I definitely missed the luscious fragrance of Anise and allure of sweet Fennel. The herbal tones could be crisper and for lack of a better word cleaner.

Just like the aroma. At first, the flavor struck me as washed out with peculiar notes of herbs that bordered a little on funk, but not terribly so. These issues aside Mata Hari has an acceptable flavor but to me it's pretty far away from what I expect from an Absinthe. If the thinking behind Mata Hari was to tune down the Anise and Fennel to make it a more flexible Absinthe for use in cocktails I have to say I don't see the advantage. For instance in Sazerac you would never know it had been added, and we tried quite a few. Some with an ample 1/2 ounce or more of Mata Harie added directly to the drink as opposed just coating the glass or using an atomizer. It just disappears into the drink not effecting it one way or the other.

The Finish
Clean and smooth with a bit more herbal complexity which was a welcome change from the cinnamon like taste. There was something else too...something borderline unpleasant and hard to pin point.

Final Impression
I can understand tuning down the Licorice notes but I think to make them non existent is a mistake because Absinthe is in itself an Anise flavored drink. If a Gin producer lowered the Juniper in the hopes to win Vodka lovers I doubt there would be much success. Because if you don't like Juniper chances are you're not going to like any gin - even those with a lower Juniper profile. The flavors of Mata Hari do less in the way of presenting the real flavors of Absinthe and lean more towards a drink that may indeed be very enjoyable to some - but I wouldn't consider them a proper representation of Absinthe.
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