Kübler 53% – Review

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Kübler 53%

Blackmint Distillery, Motiers, Switzerland

Reviewed: 8 December 2007

With/without sugar? Both.

Kübler 53% is a distilled Swiss La Bleue absinthe, produced in the Kübler ancestral distillery in the Val de Travers, dating to 1864. Interestingly, Kübler was the first absinthe in Switzerland to be produced legally post-prohibition, thanks in part to distiller Yves Kübler’s idea to trademark the word ‘absinthe’, thus allowing him to sell his product as such when others could not. The absinthe is presented in a shouldered olive green bottle with a cork stopper. This cork closure turned out to be more of a problem than one would expect, as the ‘lid’ or external part of the stopper came away from the cork, meaning your taster had the delightful experience of opening his bottle of Kübler with a pair of pliers. Oh, the romance… (If this happens to anyone else, try to avoid opening the bottle with a cork screw, as this perforates the cork totally and may lead to evaporation of your absinthe. However, if you just can’t wait and have the corkscrew at the ready, replace it with a T-cork and make your life much easier in the long run.)

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After some light mechanical engineering and blue language, the initial aroma from the opened bottle is undeniably and recognisable anethole, even and clean, though the nose blooms fully when the dose of absinthe is poured into the glass, revealing a slightly more complex character. In the glass the aroma is still dominated by anise, however this is accompanied by a floral sweetness, which may be a product of the relatively prominent fennel character of this La Bleue.

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As one would expect of a Swiss La Bleue the raw absinthe is completely colourless and transparent. This changes quite rapidly, however, upon dilution. An oil-slick turbulence appears after only a few drops of water, and a moon-glow appears after a short period of time at the bottom of the glass, sending louche tendrils through the clear alcohol above, which become increasingly oily, cloudy and turbulent.

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It must be said, though this La Bleue offers more of an anise-centred nose than other artisanal La Bleues, this formulation does contribute to a beautiful louche. At full dilution the louche is almost totally opaque with a slight moonstone blue glow at the wall of the glass. At 1:4 the louche is at its peak, and completely obscures half an absinthe spoon when submerged in the drink.

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After dilution the nose of the Kübler 53% is quite pungent, in a floral, wet-garden sort of way. The dilute product tastes primarily of anise, however the overall character is sweet and not at all overpowering. I expected a more prominent wormwood component to this absinthe, which I must say was lacking (which is ironic, given this absinthe boasts one of the highest thujone levels in Australia, just within the legal limit, at 9.9% thujone per litre). Though the anise character is followed by a slight Artemisia bitterness, this is not as prominent as it could be, however it is indeed present. The absinthe has a pleasant, firm, round mouth feel, which is almost milky in quality. The colour of the louche and the mouth feel are, in my opinion, Kübler’s best selling points, offering the creamy, alpine experience a well-crafted La Bleue should invoke. Though this product is not as complex or layered as some of the more expensive and artisanal Swiss absinthes, it is nonetheless a highly enjoyable absinthe for regular absintheurs as well as being a good absinthe to introduce to a novice with a taste for anise. Due to the high anethole content of the absinthe, in combination with the moderate alcohol content, this is quite a sweet absinthe and should only be taken with sugar by those who enjoy a very sweet drink. For most, I would recommend taking without sugar. Your taster had one glass with sugar and one without and, though I am an annoyingly vocal exponent of the historical absinthe ritual, Kübler is undeniably more even and clean in its palette without sugar.

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In essence Kübler is a successful and enjoyable La Bleue, and offers absintheurs a reliable and pleasant experience. Though the palette is simple and anise-centric, this is a well manufactured distilled absinthe using a balanced set of ingredients, and because of this the anise content does not overpower the absinthe experience, as some of the cheaper macerated and mixed products have the tendency to do. All in all, a good, regular tipple, but nothing particular to praise the Gods about.

This sample of Kübler 53% was provided by Absinthesalon for the purposes of review and comment.

Robert Dec 8th 2007 06:42 pm Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Distilleries,Reviews No Comments yet Trackback URI

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