Vilya Verte (formerly Ridge) - Reviewed by Experts and Consumers at The Wormwood Society

4.5 (3)
4.5 (8)

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Top Banana from Montana
(Updated: July 28, 2011)
Overall rating
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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Montana Meadow
(Updated: January 15, 2013)
Overall rating
*Edited after receiving a very recent batch from 2012. The first review was an early bottling.

I enjoy it best at 4:1 with no sugar, after experimenting with 3:1, 4:1 and 5:1, with and without sugar.

Color: A lovely clear and natural light peridot. Beautiful.

Louche: A nicely paced, even build with swirling trails and light play. The final louche is perfectly opalescent, and a pretty light green with touches of yellows, gold, copper, and impressions of blue at the top edge. This later bottling has a slightly thicker louche than my first early bottle, which I like.

Aroma: A Montana alpine meadow. Fresh and clean. The room filled with flowers and herbs as water was added. The recent bottle's aroma has evolved, and is fuller and rounder.

Flavor: This is delicious. There is soft, but pronounced wormwood backed by a high quality anise and fennel, wrapped in flowers and herbs. The maker clearly feels strongly about the herbal elements, as they are so carefully selected, right up front, and balanced. It is crisp, lightly dry, spicy, but nothing overwhelms. The flavor in this new bottle is as I expected, a clear evolution from the promising early batches I sampled.

Finish: A wonderful finish; a light tingle and steady build of elements, with a smooth moothfeel. A solid linger with layers of pepper, citrus and florals.

Overall, after sampling this new bottle, I'd have to say this is one of the best American absinthes being made. Great job guys!
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believe the hype, baby.
Overall rating
The Color is a clear olive, undoubtedly an emeraldy color when fresh and aged into feuille mortification. A 4 that is actually a 4.5.

The Louche is quite readily formed early on. It is quite thick and not quite what I'd call opalescent but I wouldn't call it ugly, as it would be if it were overcolored. Amber highlights around the edge. Another 4 that is really a 4.5.

The Aroma neat is surprisingly floral. Louched, it opens to a well blended, dryish, alpine sort of thing. The floral component is very similar to L'italienne but much more reserved and as I said, alpine. Simply delicious, especially when exhaling through the nose after a drink. 5.

The Flavor is complex but well balanced and seamless enough not to be an academic exercise to drink. A reserved sweetness gives way to a powdery dryish floral sort of thing which is quite refreshing. A bit of tongue numbing is present, but not to the point of coating the tongue. Easily a 5.

The Finish is for the most part a long and smooth fadeout, with the layers showing themselves at the end. The mouthfeel is nice, creamy enough but again, not excessively mouth coating. Wonderful floraly aftertaste. A peppery astringence shows itself at the tail end, especially on the sides of the tongue. That component lingers longest, but not unpleasantly so. Another 4 that is really a 4.5.

Overall, this is a most interesting product. Similarities to L'italienne abound, but they are kept on a much shorter leash. Qualities that in higher proportion made Stefano's product a bit controversial have been reined in considerably and instead help create a distinct, individual, and yet still what I'd call a traditional absinthe. From an artistic standpoint that is an achievement. On a more practical note, I have enjoyed this absinthe at much higher dilutions than I usually go with; I generally make my drinks on the stronger end of the acceptable range and go to 5:1 strictly for inquiry purposes, not casual drinking. I have found Ridge to be quite "stretchy" in that respect and it is quite nice to not have to obsess over the sweet spot when louching up.

A full-on win for Team Ridge. I would unhesitatingly recommend this to anyone who has not had it, absintheur or not. Just don't ask me to give you any of mine.

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One of my favorite vertes of all time.
Overall rating
The color of Ridge Verte is a beautiful all natural green, what I expect a verte to look like, chlorophyll.

The louche is also perfect. It's quick, but not too fast, a beautiful and appetizing light green. Describing it as thick doesn't seem appropriate so I'll use the word 'solid'. Thick would be too much and I think if ther was any more louche it would be too much.

The aroma is spicy, with a little bit of citrus which becomes more apparent with a slow drip. I immediately think of melissa but there is some anise in there as well and while both scents are noticeable, neither are overpowering of unpleasant. Very appetizing!

The flavor is a symphony of herbs, led by some anise up front, but not too much, supported by good wormwood composing most of the body with apparent (but not distracting!) melissa on the finish. Like Ridge Blanche I feel there are other herbs and flavors in this absinthe that I'm missing or not identifying correctly and I like that very much.

The mouthfeel is perfect, not too thick and oily and not thin, but there and satisfying.

The finish is perfect. It's there but I don't feel like I've been chewing on any herbs.

Overall- This is one of my all time favorite vertes. I'd drink it everyday if I could, and next time I have someone who is new to absinthe over I'll start them off with Ridge Verte. It's so refreshing, coupled with the level of craftsmanship and quality it's quite clear to me that this is a marvelous beverage. And I like it quite a bit.
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All the nice reviews? An understatement.
(Updated: January 07, 2013)
Overall rating
Color: A really great, clear olive.

Louche: Very oily and wavy when water is dripped, but I wish the louche built much's over much too fast. The louched absinthe is a nice thickness, mostly pale green with a very slight golden glow.

Aroma: Easily distinguishable sweet anise, a hint of fennel, and clean, bold wormwood. This is my most favorite wormwood from any region in the world.

Flavor: The taste, especially of the wormwood is wonderful and not at all out of balance. It's cool and crisp (I think due to the coriander.) The flavor is so simple, without any unnecessary elements, and so complete and rounded that I can't discern any way it could be improved.

Finish: Sweet and spicy anise tingle with a slight melissa flavor, in addition to the ever-present wormwood. This lingers for a long time.

Overall: Typically I go for absinthes that do something a little different, and branch out into creative variations built upon a solid absinthe foundation. Ridge is perfect in its simplicity and does need any additional bells and whistles to stand out. This is easily one of my favorite absinthes on the market today.
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