Review Detail

0.8 29 0.5
Neon in a bottle
(Updated: February 27, 2008)
Overall rating
Flavor / Mouthfeel
At risk of sounding like a Pernod apologist, I will submit what I consider a fair review of Pernod. I say 'fair' because I think rating pastis low because it is not like absinthe is unfair. Pastis is not absinthe. I use a 5 to 1 dilution.

That said…nothing, and I mean NOTHING edible should be this shade of green. Reminds me of the wide-lapeled polyester suit I had in the 70’s. It’s unnatural, it's inorganic, it's likely made by Union Carbide.

Certainly it has a louche and a fairly heavy one at that. But it lacks the character and complexity of that of a good quality absinthe or even a pastis like Ricard. Pernod’s louche, like its color, smacks of chemical intervention rather than herbal infusion.

The aroma is like a visit to the licorice room at the Wonka factory. It’s not herbal, it’s not botanical. It’s candy. The addition of water doesn’t really improve the situation. Thankfully, it doesn’t make it worse. There isn’t even a hint of anything but licorice.

Nothing is hidden to the taste. What you smell is what you taste. Don’t even think about adding sugar. I like sweet tea on a hot day so I like Pernod on a hot day or as an after-dinner drink. But don’t expect an herbal symphony.

The finish is average compared to the other pastis' I've had. Not nearly as intriguing and satisfying and a genuine absinthe but, hey, this isn’t absinthe. Still, Herbsaint isn’t absinthe either and it does manage a much more impressive mouth-feel than Pernod.

I have never tasted a Pernod product from the belle époque. I am sure it didn’t taste like this. But I don’t think this is supposed to. Pernod is a cheap commercial pastis. Nothing hand-crafted about it. It’s about the cheapest pastis you can buy in the US. Given a choice, I would spend an extra buck for Ricard or Herbsaint. It is certainly no substitute for absinthe. However, if you like licorice—if you REALLY like licorice—then you may like Pernod.
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