Ricard Pastis de Marseílle - Reviewed by Experts and Consumers at The Wormwood Society

2.4 (3)

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Degrees ABV (% alcohol)
Country of Origin

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3 reviews
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Flavor / Mouthfeel
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Popular with not high quality
(Updated: November 03, 2012)
Overall rating
Clear, amber-yellow color. Looks too bright yellow, artificial. Contains caramel coloring agent: E150c, which is not harmful, but E is E. There was some sediment in the bottle in the end.

LOUCHE: is very artificial and too oily, because of high saturation of star anise oil. It also starts at once.

Color after water is nicely yellowish and opaque.

Very strong/excessive smell of star anise, licorice and spirit. Very simple, but ok. Smell of licorice is very natural, like real roots. After adding a water there are no big changes happening, smell becomes nicer, still a lot of star anise and licorice, but no sharp spirit smell.

Too much star anise oil, a very flat and simple drink. I like aroma better than taste. First mouth-feel is good, than there is mouth-numbing, because of a big amount of star anise.

The finish is harshly drying, not good.

Not high quality drink. It seems like cheap spirit is mixed with star anise oil, licorice essences and caramel coloring. As aperitif it works great, makes good appetite, but after it mouth taste sensors become senseless and taste of food is not so pleasant. I expected more from this drink, it’s too simple. But it was my first pastis and it was very nice experience. In the end this drink became annoying and I could not finish the bottle as fast. I can't understand why such a low quality drink is so popular in France. I have no intention to buy it again.
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Maybe in 1936 it was something
(Updated: May 14, 2008)
Overall rating
Contemporary pastis makers who work for big CO enterprises are very often cutting corners and commit 7 modern Pastis' sins:

1.low quality alcohol is used, usually it is beet;

2.natural or artificial oils are used which only suggest what should explode with finesse;

3. it is either sugared or oversugared;

4.too many ingredients are used

5. hardly any balance is found

6. maceration is short or simply omitted

7. very blunt dull taste

Apart from point no. 4, Ricard which should be a benchmark of Pastis de Marseille the real McCoy scores them all.

The current version of it (we can pray that 1936 version was much better) is terrible: star anise oil, inferior alcohol base, loads of sugar. If you are able to detect any herbal nuances in that pastis, like pontica or mugwort, you were lucky, I wasn't.

If I am to sip pastis, I simply go for Prado which although much cheaper, is surprisingly much better.
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Pernod with a really nice tan
(Updated: February 27, 2008)
Overall rating
My preference is to review a pastis as a pastis, not as an absinthe. That said, I will offer comparisons between Ricard and another common, previously reviewed pastis; Pernod.

I use a five-to-one dilution.

The color of Ricard is warmer and richer than the artificial greens you get with some pastis and absinthes. Whereas Pernod is 'antifreeze' green, Ricard is an herbal, earth-tone--like fall leaves. The color of Pernod is loud and annoying; the color of Ricard is...comforting.

The louche is full with much greater character than Pernod. Cloudy yes, but so is Pernod. Ricard retains an opalescence that Kubler (an absinthe) has, but Pernod does not.

Aroma is weak, almost absent. Refreshing compared the jelly bean factory scent of Pernod. Water does nothing to release any more herbal aroma.

Flavor is very strong on the licorice-side as is the Pernod. However, Ricard gets the nod as it is not quite as over-the-top as Pernod. Give Ricard an oh-so-slightly more herbal content.

As with Pernod, adding sugar is overkill. It is plenty (overly) sweet on its own.

The aftertaste of Ricard is like that of Pernod, sweet like sucking on licorice allsorts. Tongue-numbing but not complex. If you find a can of soda or southern 'sweet tea' refreshing, you will also find Ricard refreshing. Dry, fresh, crisp? ...not so much.

I prefer the Ricard to the Pernod but I can't get the Ricard in North Carolina. My supply comes from Louisiana. I give Ricard a 3 as an acceptable, relatively cheap summer refresher: A fine compliment for any pastis. But please don't mistake it for absinthe.
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