Review Detail

Simple And Synthetic... Just Barely Absinthe
(Updated: October 20, 2012)
Overall rating
Well, no confusing this with anything natural. A clear, bright, lighter medium green with a good deal of blue influence. Very artificial, “candy like”, and cartoonish in overall vibe. Dick Tracy wants his boxers back.

Actually nicely translucent, however very monochromatic and synthetic looking. Just the slightest gradients to cantaloupe at the bottom and bluish at the meniscus. The dyes are very apparent as it louches with all the “swirly” stuff being distinctly blue.

Surprising... actually a decent combination of relatively restrained star anise with a nicely balancing backing of wormwood. The wormwood doesn't really balance until dilutions of 4:1 or greater are reached. Now don't get me wrong here. So far we've got phoney-baloney color, a very synthetic looking louche, and and a simple nose dominated by the wrong anise. I'm not saying this is good, but for it's category, it gives a hint or two of what real absinthe may be like.

Flavor And Mouthfeel
Just like the nose, star anise and wormwood in acceptable balance. Try as I might, the only other absinthe ingredients I may be detecting could be the slightest amount of coriander (and only when it really warms) and a little mint, but I actually think that is coming from the wormwood. Oh, and one non-absinthe ingredient; sugar (supported by the drag and feel on the screw-top threads upon opening). Again like the nose, two things do the talking here; star anise and wormwood.

The finish is a quite rapid fade from the palate impressions leaving the whole mouth covered with the drying, high-traction coating typical of star anise. It's not horrible, but I wouldn't call it pleasant either. Like everything else about this it is simple and barely adequate.

Overall Impression
When it comes to this “highly synthetic” category of absinth(e) products, you could do a lot worse than this. However, that does not make this exactly a great choice, either. Not available in the US, it is available elsewhere starting at about the equivalent of $45.00 plus whatever you'd pay to get it here. For my money I'd rather drink something authentic and attractive.

I have often wondered what could be done by a top distiller in terms of making an absinthe consisting of the highest quality aniseed and wormwood only... just the most basic beverage with a right to be called absinthe. I think that would be an interesting academic exercise. I hope to get to see that some day, but today wasn't that day. Essentially with Xenta what you have is a barely adequate two trick pony. It's kind of like the White Stripes, only without the talent.

This review is based on a bottling labeled “Xenta Absinth” at 140 proof/70% ABV. Since I could find no available picture, the bottle shot is of their bottling labeled “Xenta Absenta” at 100 proof/50% ABV. All other label text and graphics are identical. No country of origin is identified.

Done with a 1 ounce dose, diluted 3.5:1, 4:1, 4.5:1, 5:1 and no sugar.

Xenta Absinth Je suis l'inspiration 9/12/12, 10/18/12.
Both evaluations had consistent notes.
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