Review Detail

3.4 22 0.5
(Updated: July 20, 2011)
Overall rating
The colour is bright golden green. Far more attractive than any pictures I'd seen of it. The louche action is ugly and fast. I started the drip and looked away from the glass for 5 seconds. When I looked back it was completely opaque and hadn't risen out of the reservoir of my Pontarlier glass. As I added water I could see more clouds swirling and thickening in the already-thick absinthe. The result is an extremely thick, mustard-yellow drink.

Aroma before louche is star anise dominant with a bit of heat. Sweet and candy-like. Notes of wildflower honey and something that resembles artificial cinnamon like in Big Red gum. After louche I think I can kind of smell a little bit of wormwood, but otherwise the other flavours are simply stronger than before. No floral wormwood.

Flavour is dominated by that Big Red flavour, which seems to be a result of the combination of distilled anise, basil, and tarragon. Mostly basil. As it lingers on the palate the flavours separate so that they're more individually distinct. Star anise gives it an acrid, absenta-like attack and it's very numbing. The flavour reminds me of the aroma in my parents' greenhouse in North Carolina when I was 6. I can detect a faint wormwood camphour but it's well-hidden. The sweetness of the aroma doesn't really carry over into the taste; it's dry and slightly bitter.

The finish is dominated by basil with hints of wormwood peeking through. It's not very complex or lasting. What does last is the tongue-numbing effect.

I'm very perplexed by this absinthe. It tastes very wrong to me but I am enjoying it for what it is. All the more unusual because I'm not generally a fan of star anise. It's unlike any other absinthe I've ever had. In fact, of any I've had it strays the farthest from a traditional absinthe flavour while still being absinthe. I think it needs some tweaking; pull back the basil some (I'm a fan of basil but it's a little out of balance), bring forward the wormwood, and substitute at least half of the star anise with green anise and I think it would be quite a good product. As it is I think it's nice and interesting enough but not worth half its price tag.

Edit: As I continue my glass it seems gradually sweeter. I wouldn't go so far as to remove my comment that it's more dry, but it definitely is changing as I slowly sip it. I suppose that's not a bad thing.
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