Review Detail

4.5 8 0.5
Top Banana from Montana
(Updated: July 28, 2011)
Overall rating
Flavor / Mouthfeel
At last, I got the chance to uncork this very intriguing and flavorful absinthe. What's particularly fascinating to me is that its flavor is very much as I had imagined Butterfly Absinthe would taste, before I had ever tasted it. The Butterfly let me down, once I'd tried it. The Ridge did not.

Let's begin with the appearance...the color is an ideal peridot green, although it is hazier than I feel is appropriate. There is a rustic appeal here, not dissimilar to the delightful cloudiness of a Cooper's Ale from Adelaide, Australia. However, I feel that a distilled beverage should not throw off this much of a sediment.*

* Already, after 24 hours, some of that sediment has settled, and it's had a markedly positive effect on the palate of this absinthe.

The louche is a gradual thing of beauty, slowly cascading, rolling, and forming a lovely fog bank, as it eventually clouds over, and ends up on the thick side of ideal, but with enough of an opalescence, tinged with gradients of subtly iridescent blues and pinks, to be quite nice., to me.

The mouth feel is very creamy and rich without being even the slightest bit throat clogging (like St. George Absinthe, for example).

The aroma, neat, is very tightly bound, and there is evidence of alcohol, anise (particularly real black licorice), and perhaps the slightest hint of wormwood.

Once water has been added, the aroma really blossoms into an alpine (or rather, a Montana) meadow, and the wonderful wormwood opens up to reveal a very floral, but assertive character.

I initially tried a dilution of 4:1, but (as I expected, this did not open up this dense absinthe enough, so I switched to a slightly more than 5:1 ratio, and this seemed ideal.

The flavor is very immediate, and there's an honesty to this absinthe, as FingerPickinBlue has already mentioned. Aside from the holy trinity of herbs, I can definitively pick out the vibrant elecampane that, I believe lends Ridge Verte its particularly candy-like quality. There is also a decided citric grassiness contributed by the melissa, and a distinct honeyed edge (from coriander blending with angelica, I suspect) that segues into a nice, floral Montana Wormwood, which I only wish were a bit more featured. Unfortunately, this competes with a wild grassiness that I find to be similar to the flavor of La Coquette, for example, and it just isn't quite my cup of tea.

However, there is a wonderful spiciness that sometimes overrides the grassy component, depending on how my palate is oriented on a given day, and when it does, it's reminiscent of a dominant flavor in a pet Breger clone of mine.

The finish is very complex, with all of the above elements in very nice balance, but once again, sometimes the grassiness is just a bit too prominent for my taste, and at other times, that spiciness melds beautifully with the wild grass flavor, and the finish is an ethereal symphony.

Overall, I find this to be an extremely creative, herbally intense, rich, delightfully rustic, and extremely flavor-packed absinthe that certainly holds its own against nearly any of the best absinthes available on the market today.

Major kudos to Team Ridge for this truly artisanal creation!
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