Moulin Rooz 60% – Review

In the spirit of Australia Day, we offer you…

Moulin Rooz 60%

The Australian Vodka Company – Tambourine Mountain Distillery

Reviewed: 26 January 2008

With/without sugar? Both

Reviewed – Robert Maxwell & Jonathan Carfax (Reviews in tandem! How modern.)

According to Aboriginal legend, the first platypus were born after a young female duck mated with a lonely and persuasive water-rat. The duck’s offspring had their mother’s bill and webbed feet and their father’s four legs and handsome brown fur.


In much the same way that the eurocentric Royal Society gasped in disbelief when New South Wales Governor Captain John Hunter sent a platypus pelt to London, only to have it dismissed as an elaborate hoax – those of us learned absintheurs of French, Swiss or even Spanish tastes may find ourselves perplexed by what is before us.

Moulin Rooz, Australia’s first modern commercially distilled absinthe, really is a surprising creature indeed.

Moulin Rooz-1

The first thing one notices is the extreme emerald green colour of the raw absinthe, presented in quite a long, nouveau-inspired clear glass bottle with t-cork closure (As it happens, the height of this bottle is it’s undoing in terms of my absinthe collection – it doesn’t fit in my absinthe cabinet. How tiresome. – Robert). The labelling is somewhat “home-spun” reflective of its cottage-industry origins, and features a kangaroo in quasi-fin-de-siecle costume with a bottle of MR and two more stuffed in her pouch.

Given the colour of the absinthe and the clear glass bottle, one immediately assumes that this is an artificially coloured absinthe, which is indeed the case. The label information tells us that:

“Moulin Rooz is Australia’s first premium Absinthe. Five times-distilled from the finest Australian grapes, with perfect balance of Elderflower, Gentian, Fennelseed, Hyssop and Wormwood(thujone), Moulin Rooz is further enhanced with Australian Native Aniseed Myrtle and other selected botanicals. A perfect expression of bitter and aromatic herbs, with hints of the Australian Bush. (Natural herbal particles may be present)”

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Upon opening the bottle a strong, sweet licorice-anise smell is the first thing one notices, likely a combined product of the Aniseed Myrtle, Hyssop and Fennelseed, followed by a noticeable alcohol scent. As this absinthe is only 60% alc/vol, this is surprising, and we can only remind ourselves that this may be due to production methods more akin to the company’s main stable of vodka and schnapps. With a little tweaking we are sure that this could easily be rectified, however in the present formulation it is distinct, and leaves one wanting more in terms of a raw bouquet. Other reviews have noted a floral aspect to the raw absinthe, however this was not noticeably present prior to dilution (Jonathan – I did however detect immediately a sweet lemon scent prior to dilution).

Moulin Rooz-2

Upon the addition of water there is a slight turbulence in the bottom of the glass, however the louche, which is quite a dark, opaque green, doesn not begin in earnest until you reach at least 1:1 dilution. There is a nice separation stage of the emulsification with the floating oil layer, so the visual impact cannot be criticised. However at full dilution the louche is semi-opaque and a thick, Spearmint green colour, in contrast to the crisp white or pearlescent louche of many other absinthes.

Now, it would seem the greatest surprise that Moulin Rooz has in store for the unwary absintheur is in the first sans-sucre tasting of the absinthe. Surprising? Why yes, as this is unarguably the most bitter absinthe I have tried since I had an unfortunate episode involving mislead backpacker friends and a bottle of Absinth King Gold. However, it is a pervasive, sharp, quinine-like bitterness, which leads us to believe this is produced by the quantity of Gentian in the formula rather than due to a novice’s mishandling of Wormwood. For those who like their Angostura bitters, this is the absinthe for you, and could probably be taken sans-sucre (but with a very good dose of fortitude).

Moulin Rooz-3

For the rest of you, however, you will soon be reaching for the sugar. Twice, in fact, as we found that this absinthe achieves a full, round, balanced palate with 2 sugars, at which point the bitterness is matched by a surprisingly complex set of further characteristics. At this dilution the background bitterness carries a strongly herbal character, and is matched by a sweet, lemon note which is clearly present in the middle palate. This, we believe, is one of the native ingredients, possibly Lemon Myrtle, or more likely a Lemon Eucalyptus, and is a pleasant surprise on the tongue… Proof again that some absinthes really do require sugar to amplify important, subtle flavour profiles. The artemisia content of this absinthe is also clearly present, though the Wormwood is carried well by the other herbs (Jonathan – I suspected I found a peppermint note, maybe a native mint?), balanced by the sweet and followed by the bitter.

Moulin Rooz-4

Like Lemercier 75 (see our review here), this absinthe requires very cold water for the louche to bloom, yet benefits by being allowed to sit and warm by a few degrees, thus releasing the full complexity of flavours and reducing the somewhat abrasive bitterness.

Overall we agreed that this is not an absinthe one would sit down to enjoy a glass of apropo of nothing. However, Jonathan noted that cheese and crackers changed the experience of Moulin Rooz, providing another interesting point of balance. The complexity of native flavours makes this a very savoury absinthe, and one that we feel could be taken as an accompaniment to hors d’oeuvres or an after dinner cheese platter.

Mouin Rooz-5

For the dedicated absintheur Moulin Rooz is a valuable addition to your collection, as it offers an entirely different flavour profile to most European absinthes, yet carries with it recognisable traces of the French verte product which it was inspired by. The native ingredients are given a valuable place in the final palate, however we do feel these could be showcased further by tweaking the formulation, toning down the bitterness of the raw product and experimenting with natural colouration. At the end of the day, Moulin Rooz drinks like an experimental absinthe, which it is, but one should not dismiss the ‘playtpus’ out of hand. We happen to know that the distiller in question is an artisan of her trade, being the matriarch of this small family run distillery with a focus on herbal liquers, vodkas and schnapps. We also know that no old commercial recipes were used to develop the formula – rather, the product arose from an intuitive process and years of experience.

As a first step into the local market by a local distiller, we can forgive the explicit mention of ‘thujone’ in the label info, just as we overlook the intensely unnatural colour of Moulin Rooz, as this is an absinthe breaking new ground elsewhere. Most (if not all) commercially available absinthes undergo refinement over several batches, and we wait to see if a refined Moulin Rooz Mark II appears in the future.

Robert Jan 28th 2008 08:47 pm Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Distilleries,Reviews No Comments yet Trackback URI

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