Sauvage - Reviewed by Experts and Consumers at The Wormwood Society

4.5 (2)
4.4 (8)
Absinthe Sauvage

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Wormwood Society Editor Comments

An absinthe made with wild wormwood foraged from the Pontarlier countryside and aged for 18 months before bottling.

Editor reviews

4 reviews
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Take A Walk On The Wild Side
(Updated: June 18, 2012)
Overall rating
Neat, medium forest green with glints of peridot. A strong level of color but not overdone. Perfectly crystal clear and bright. Louched, lemony-yellow light green with beautiful soft amber, rose, and powdery blue highlights.

Absolutely beautiful. Restrained, with nice translucence. The allowed light really creates a classic kaleidoscope of all the expected louche tones. A slow and steady build thanks to 68% and restrained anethole. Really a treat for those into the theatre.

Neat, a honey/vanilla coated wormwood dusted with baby powder. Louched, some of the most beautifully floral wormwood I have experienced. Just the right sense of camphor to make it assertive, but not pushy, and really give it focus. Terrific balance of the coloring and distillate herbs. A sense of tangerine at lower dilutions, a tremendous sense of flowers at the higher dilutions. A hint of conifer leaf. Very "outdoorsy" in general impression. All this is wrapped in a subtle veil of citrus confection.

A wormwood yum-fest. Spicy, some pepper, and nice pontica. A lemony background note. Round, smooth mouthfeel with some weight, but still very "spirity", satisfying, and refreshing. It's great at a wide range of dilutions, but my favorites are in the 4.5:1 to 5:1 range. Lots of teasingly playful nuances that come and go. All impressions exhibit a very mature restraint. This is a very "grown-up" drink.

An immediate bloom of slightly drying, powdery, and spicy sensations in such a wonderfully controlled way. That georgeous Jura wormwood, center stage, and just the right measure of anise and fennel, supported by a persistent nano-tingle. Not highly complicated, but very long and tremendously satiating.

If only I could afford it, I'd buy a case of this. Seriously, one of the most beautifully nuanced absinthes I have had. It might not be the desert island choice, but it certainly would make the desert island five. Much has been made of the foraged wild wormwood used here, and it is terrific. But I think the even greater influencing factor with this offering is the extreme care and thought that went into it because of that wormwood. Every facet of the assembly of this is obviously well planned and expertly executed. In every category I gave a "4", it would be pretty easy to cave and give it a "5". A beginner may not necessarily see all this has to offer, but would still probably find it pleasing, and the experienced absintheur will reap a refined experience that only the top-tier offerings provide. However, anyone would be leading a more charmed life for walking down this path.

Done with a 1 ounce dose, diluted 3.5:1, 4:1, 4.5:1, 5:1, and no sugar.

Sauvage Extrait d'Absinthe 8/13/11, 8/15/11, 8/17/11, 10/08/11, 10/09/11.
All evaluations had consistent notes.
Top 10 Reviewer 53 reviews
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Wild and beautiful
(Updated: August 01, 2011)
Overall rating
Appearance: The greenish yellow hue of first press extra virgin olive oil. The aging has obviously taken out some of the fresh peridot colors, but it still looks attractive.

Louche: I didn't get the clear line mentioned in the other review, but I believe I louche with a bit more turbulence based on the distance between fountain and glass. A nice even build ending up in a somewhat thin yet still attractive louche with whites and several shades of yellow. Thicker than the previous experiment, Roquette.

Aroma: room filling scent of herbal, minty wormwood. It retains the normal scent of what many would describe as the characteristic 'Pontarlier wormwood' aroma, but there's also a bit of teas leaf aroma that denotes the wild character of this wormwood. Slight scent of anise as well. Very enticing.

Flavor: Like another recent Emile Pernot release (Berthe de Joux), the flavor is bold and herbal with huge wormwood notes that are nicely complimented by the sweet anise. The aging has married the individual herbs' flavors beautifully.

Finish: The wormwood exerts more force here, but in a minty, not bitter way. Pleasant warming. Hints of anise, fennel, and white pepper.

Overall: Yet another intriguing antique absinthe recipe from David Nathan-Maister with the wild wormwood twist. This is an absinthe that is for the experienced absintheur, as it is quite complex and bold. Simply wonderful. I'm glad I ordered multiple bottles, as this will go quickly.
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8 reviews
2 stars
1 star
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New and Unimproved?
Overall rating
This is a review of the 3rd edition of Sauvage, one which has widely been agreed to be significantly less sound in comparison to its earlier iterations. I've never tried the first or second editions, so this is coming to me without any prior comparisons in mind. Review done at 4:1 ratio, extremely slow drip and 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar.

Appearance: Crystal clear, no haze or sediment. Color is an attractive blend of olive and peridot. I wouldn't say it's jewel-like, and perhaps just a skosh dark, but certainly very attractive.

Louche: Just as a note, coaxing a good louche out of this was difficult, hence the very slow drip. There's nothing wrong with the louche, but it is not exceptional or opalescent.

Aroma: Not at all unpleasant, and during the louche the aroma blooms out nicely, but post-louche the aroma is a touch weak, with some notes of anise and a fresh, grassy note as well, but overall not particularly strong and not as inviting as it could be.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: Rather light and refreshing, like the aroma, but perhaps too much in that direction. The anise is there but weak, some fennel, a definite undertone of bitterness, though not overpowering, and some suggestions of mint. There is a very slight "off" taste, it's not prominent, but adds a less pleasant note. I wouldn't call it highly flawed, but it is idiosyncratic. Mouthfeel is perfectly acceptable.

Finish: A slight, and pleasant, burn, some peppery notes, as well. The aftertaste lingers for awhile, but it isn't particularly pleasant. Doesn't make me want to run for a glass of water, but there is a very slightly acrid note that makes it less enjoyable for certain. Only some mild numbness,

Overall: If you're looking for an absinthe that is a bit lighter on the nose and the tongue, this could work for you, except that the aftertaste is off-putting. And it's less a "feminine" absinthe and more just plain lacking. I wouldn't call it outright bad, it's certainly drinkable. But especially for the price, you could certainly do better than this.

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Love comes close...
Overall rating
Appearance: Unlouched, the color is a pleasant shade of greenish-gold. This may be influenced by the bottle's age: I purchased this when it was first introduced and am just enjoying it for the first time now. The louched color is a soft sea-green, with yellow highlights. Pretty.

Louche: The louche activity is among the most visually interesting, best I have ever experienced! Strikingly opalescent... a mystical beauty to behold. The strong activity witnessed was constant from the very start to finish of the pour.

Aroma: What a powerfully fragrant aroma! It's very floral, with mint leaves, alpine scents, baby powder, and a uniquely exciting herbal complexity, in regards to the wormwood.

Flavor: The flavor bursts and blooms as Sauvage goes dancing across the tastebuds... Bitter and very tangy, with a robust, spiced earthiness. Through all of this intensity, it is somehow bound together in a nicely balanced way.

Finish: Slightly drying, with white pepper heat, subtle vanilla bean, and florals akin to potpourri.

Overall: A libation bold enough to steal even the most guarded of hearts! I can see the comparison to Roquette 1797, however this one is not quite that hot/spicy, and it's more herbally layered and bright. One can really taste the difference the wild wormwood and aging process has made - I haven't had anything that compares. It now has a place among my all time favorite Absinthe.
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Sauvage: One for the Ages
Overall rating
Really wish I could get my hands on more of this!!!
I bought 3 bottles and thus far have managed to store one which I plan to drink with my youngest daughter when she is drinking age ( She's 7 now so its going to be hard wait). Unfortunately, I had better get that bottle out of sight because its too much of a temptation.

Color: Sunkissed yellow honey, very nice and attractive.

Louche: builds slow and best with the coldest of mountain spring water. Take your time don't rush this for both the louche and the flavor.

Aroma: Wormwood forward waves of scent nicely balanced by fennel and a spicy mintiness.

Flavor/mouthfeel: A tad on the bitter side but not as much as the Roquette 1797, infact it grows on you but likely not for the novice to absinthe unless they are prepared for it. Upon tasting just great vibrant wormwood flavors.

Finish: Complex, and wild and lingers nicely for some time.

Overall: A great product with an exciting marketing campaign that delivers on many levels. The distillation is unique and reveals the very best in special artisinal attention creating a truly unforgettable absinthe experience. The label and bottle design completes the entire package. If you can get a hold of a bottle somewhere somehow please send it my way. I miss this stuff!
Top 50 Reviewer 7 reviews
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EP scores a hit!
Overall rating
The golden appearance has me conditioned like a russian lab dog.
The louche I had found a bit weak, but when I used my dripper tonight, it was everything the ratings guide says it should be.
The Aroma is where this is King of the Hill, there is the wild Aa like Julie's, but there is something else there (aging, tangernies?) that just makes it awesome.
Flavor and finish have the awesome Aa, the usual herbs in amounts I like, and that tangerine flavor I keep suspecting. Like tangerincello or something. What ever it is, EP hit my happy flavors spot like a sniper.
overall, this a great abinthe, if a bit different from the norm.
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Archival Amazement
(Updated: October 17, 2011)
Overall rating
I was expecting Sauvage to be very similar to Roquette, but (although similarities exist) this wonderfully bucolic absinthe stands head and shoulders above its archival predecessor in every respect.

The color, neat, is a very vibrant emerald green tinged with yellow, beautifully clear and inviting.

The louche is extremely gradual with a subdued snow globe effect, not turbulent and rife with fog banks, but a delight to watch as it languorously unfolds. The end result is a near-perfect display of almost opaque, but slightly translucent green with bluish and amber highlights.

The nose is redolent of wormwood that has a very unusual aromatic profile. I get hints of mint tea,and nopal cactus. There is also a definite tangerine quality.

These elements are also present in the flavor (the wormwood is huge, extremely floral, and very juicy) but (as with Roquette) there is a decidedly powdery, candied, medicinal quality to this absinthe that is definitely in keeping with the primary purpose it would have served in 1804. I'm also noticing more than a hint of underlying smokiness that reminds me of Laphroaig or Laguvulin, or perhaps a bit more like that found in a modern interpretation of a 16th century Bamberg smoked beer (Hair of the Dog Adam) in the finish, along with a distinct pepperiness that melds perfectly with the citric notes.

While the wormwood definitely takes center stage here, the supporting herbs (including a very fruity fennel) play an important role, and are much more vibrant than they are in, say, that other notable wormwood showcase, Doubs Mystique.

Sauvage is a bit of a paradox in that it is, at once, rustic, and not incredibly complex, and yet also very eccentric and dynamic. All the flavors are beautifully harmonious, and (although I don't generally believe that there is any such thing as an "expert's" absinthe, I would venture to agree with the Michael Meyers assessment that Sauvage is a grownup's drink, and a wondrous one, at that

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