Vieux Pontarlier - Reviewed by Experts and Consumers at The Wormwood Society

4.1 (4)
3.8 (20)

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Pontarlier Perfectly
(Updated: June 07, 2012)
Overall rating
The appearance is exactly what I think an absinthe should be. Beautiful to look at and very herby. The louche from my carafe is magical to watch like whisps of smoke and then turns into a fog bank. Aroma, so this is Pontarlier wormwood? You can sure tell a difference. Very organic and earthy. The flavor is stout and deliciously fruity and a little bitter too. Just like I like it. Seems to develop and open up as it warms. Finish lasts a good bit and makes my mouth crave that next sip while savoring the last one. Overall this is my favorite absinthe of the dozen I've had and my only one from the Emile Pernot family so far but will not be my last. For me it goes best at a 4 to 1 ratio and needs no sugar.
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You can’t go wrong with this one
Overall rating
My bottle has been open since the beginning of January 2009. I did carafe pours for all glasses.

Color – Peridot. It is very pleasing to the eye, even if it is a little pale. 4.5 would be my rating if it were possible, so I chose 4 because I’d love that tiny bump of color.

Louche: A little fast with a thin stream from a carafe, and no “billows” that I could see. However, it is certainly attractive, and the separation is clear down to the last millimeter.

Aroma: I really like the aroma this has, both louched and un-. There is a fruity quality I really enjoy—can anise smell this fruit-like?—and there’s a pleasant kick from the wormwood. There are other scents in the mix, but they seem more in the background.

Flavor: The wormwood is front and center to my palate, with a pinch of spice accompanying it. The anise and fruit notes are at the beginning of the sip, though they are more subtle at this point. A decent amount of creaminess presents itself halfway through or so. The flavor seems unified to me, which I initially read as being “simple”–not a bad simple, just that it went over my head for the first glass or two from the bottle.

Finish: The wormwood and spice are at play the most here, though the finish didn’t last as long as I would have liked.

Overall: The flavor and the pre-louche aroma (a force to be reckoned with) are the inverse of each other, in that the anise and fruit notes present upon opening the bottle give way to the wormwood upon louching and on the palate. Because my only quibbles are a slightly pale color and a short finish, I see this as a solid offering.
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I like this one
(Updated: January 05, 2013)
Overall rating
*I revisited this after many other brands, and have modified the review.

Served at 3:1, 4:1 and 5:1 and it opens up nicely at the higher ratios.

Color: Lovely sparkling peridot. natural looking. Color after louche is wonderful as well.

Aroma: Nice..anise, wormwood and light spice. It filled the room and made me want to drink it!

Louche: Very nice louche...developing slowly and evenly with clear trails and nice colors. Smoky clouds billowed up, with a clear layer at the top. The thickness of the louche was very nice, not too thin, not too thick.

Flavor: The anise is at the forefront here, wormwood is just a tad behind it. Not a lot of complex elements, which is not a bad thing. Surrounding the trinity is a pleasant light spice, light mint and gentle floral element.

Finish: Clean and quality elements. The Wormwood is more present here. Finish fades to a nice fennel, pepper and citrus.

I'd buy this again and share it with friends as a good affordable absinthe. It is a great intro to French style vertes.
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A favorite daily drinker
Overall rating
The color in the glass is amazingly bright and clear, having a gem-like quality. It louches up nicely, keeping a tinge of green that is quite attractive. The louche builds from the bottom, with a layer of green at the top of the glass. Though it's thick enough at 2:1, I usually use a 3.5 or 4:1 ratio to open it up even more, and to provide an additional few sips per glass. It doesn't fall apart at higher water:dose ratios, either. I've had it unsugared, but I prefer it with because I think it thickens up the mouthfeel in a very positive way, without being too cloying.

The aroma is delightful, sweetness accompanied by a bit of wormwood and a detectable anise/fennel. The first sip gives a butterscotch richness, with the middle and back of the tongue sensing the slight bitter & dryness of wormwood. The anise flavor is present, if light. The finish is refreshingly cool, minty and bitter at the same time. A slight amount of tongue-drying accompanies the finish, but not as much as in some other wormwood-forward absinthes.

I love this product. At the price ($65 per bottle), it's an amazing value, cheap enough to be a daily drinker. I keep one bottle open and one in reserve because I know I'm going to be going back day in and day out.
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A fine French offering
(Updated: August 18, 2009)
Overall rating
Color: Vieux Pontarlier has a color that is not unattractive, but is too far on the yellow side of the spectrum to qualify as a true peridot. However, after having been opened for a month or two it does age to a more appropriate color.

Louche: The louche was active, with nice, roiling clouds that weren't too thick nor milky. This is one category in which this absinthe truly shined.

Aroma: Upon first opening the bottle a few weeks ago, I found the VP to have a somewhat grassy or spinachy aroma which I found off-putting. This has since mellowed out some, but it is still present before loucheing; after the louche, the smell is far less concentrated and merely average.

Flavor: Some have cited a mintiness in VP, but to my palate it seems like a strong, distinctive wormwood. I'm new to absinthe, and I may be wrong about this, but I simply find it to be heavy on the wormwood and spicy zing. This is one of the few absinthes that I add a full measure of sweetener (1 tsp of agave nectar), at which point the flavor is full and enjoyable. A ratio of 4.5 or 5:1 worked best for me.

Finish: The wormwood leaves its mark on the tongue, with a numbing that lasts a bit longer than it should. The aftertaste is bitter, but not excessively so, although it does remain well after the flavor has gone.

Overall: I'm glad to say that my initial concerns about what the funky aroma may indicate the flavor would be like were proven to be of little concern at all. Vieux Pontarlier is a solid offering that may not rate as highly as some, but is a tasty absinthe that I would not turn down.
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