Sirène Absinthe Verte - Reviewed by Experts and Consumers at The Wormwood Society

3.5 (3)
3.5 (19)

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A Fine American Absinthe
Overall rating
This is a very good absinthe. The color is a little darker than I prefer but perfectly natural. The louche layers nicely and develops into a lovely thick louche at 4 to 1. Nice, pleasant aroma but I would prefer a little more. Very good balance in most of the herbs especially between the anise and fennel. There's some unusual herbs playing in the background that makes this absinthe especially interesting. The finish is predominately anise and fennel. While the Wormwood is definitely there, I would really prefer a stronger shot of A.a. here.

I prefer a little brighter color, more floral bouquet and a healthier measure of Wormwood. Sirène is sporting a complex yet mostly balanced herbal profile with some unique choices which deserve being praised. Lovely mouth-feel and a beautiful louche add to a delicious glass of absinthe. Well done, North Shore Distillery.
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America is starting to get it right.
(Updated: July 20, 2011)
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Pours a golden olive that I find very attractive. Per the ratings guideline it doesn't rank a 4 because it's not bright. But it's not "unremarkable" as a 3 indicates; it's very attractive, clear, and natural. So I'm going with 4, guidelines be damned. It's been a while since I've tried a new absinthe that louched from the bottom like this. Each drop becomes a small white cloud that then reflects off the bottom, spreading everywhere and climbing with the rolling action of the early formation of a mushroom cloud in a thermonuclear explosion. It leaves a clearly defined line that lasts until it's at about 2:1. It's the nicest I've seen in a while but still a bit short of the best commercial absinthes I've seen. Colour after louche is an attractive yellow-green. Kinda reminds me of Belle Amie except thicker.

Aroma before louche is anisey and a bit cloying. I struggled to figure out what it reminds me of, and then I realised a fennel tea I enjoy has a very similar character. Not much heat but also not much floral wormwood aroma. After louche the aroma is a little more traditionally anisey and I think I even might be able to detect some wormwood in there. A tad grassy, as well. The aroma is a bit too one-dimensional.

In the flavour I can finally find the wormwood. It's more camphorous than floral but manages to break through the anise and "fennel tea" flavour, which are lighter on the palate than in the nose. To my palate it's the sweetest absinthe I've ever had that hasn't had sweetener added. There's a very perfumey taste I can't quite make out; I don't recognise it and I figure it's the result of a combination of ingredients. It's slightly acrid, which makes me think that there's star anise in it, but it doesn't want to make a death-grip on my tongue like the star anise in St. George or absentas. I also taste notes that remind me of mint and ginger. The "Big Red gum" character I find peculiar in St. George is in this absinthe too but it plays more of a backup role than being a dominating flavour. It also tastes like it's composed more from mint, coriander, and fennel than from basil, tarragon, and star anise. I think I may be crossing the threshold from useful description to stream of consciousness nonsense.

The mouth-feel is fairly creamy. It could stand a little more in that department. But it's not very numbing for the amount of anise flavour. The finish is long and dry with mint turning to wormwood turning to fennel.

All in all it's a fairly weird drink but I'm digging it. I think it could use a little work. A weak wormwood profile is something I'm really wanting to see overcome in absinthes released in the States. I could also stand for it to be a bit less cloying. While the general flavour profile almost makes it a great, refreshing beverage the relatively intense sweetness and lack of floral wormwood holds it back.
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Things are looking up in the US
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Sonja was gracious enough to send me a sample of Sirene the week of its debut. I should have been more gracious in adding my review in a timely manner. However, by taking some time, it allowed me to become a bit more acquainted with it as it breathed.

The color is attractive, yet a bit too dark for me. I think going a little easier on the coloration step would make it a bit brighter. Overall, still nice.

The louche is very enjoyable. Starts with some nice layering and builds to a greenish opalescence.

The aroma is intriguing. I smell all of the normal things you would expect in a traditional absinthe, but also some citrus, juniper and mint. Quite clean and crisp.

The flavor is just as intriguing. I pick up orange zest and lemon as well as the aforementioned mint. This is all along with the well balanced wormwood and anise. This would certainly be an enjoyable absinthe to drink on a warm day. Even with all that's going on in the flavor, I wouldn't consider it overwhelming in regards to the traditional flavors. In a blind tasting, I don't see anyone categorizing this as 'non-traditional'.

Finish is clean and crisp, with the customary anethole tongue numbing, but I'd like to taste a bit more wormwood, and have the finish last a bit longer.

Overall, this is a top notch absinthe. So far, the most traditional of the absinthes produced and currently available in the states (as of May 08). I need to find a store close to me that stocks this, as it will be a staple. I look forward to seeing what improvements are made in the coming months. This absinthe is quite promising. Well done!
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