Duplais Verte Review

One begins to develop specific criteria around when you want to have an absinthe, and how you would like an absinthe to be prepared. I for one seem to prefer to partake in absinthe when the weather is warmer, as the chilled water is more refreshing, and yet the ambient temperature allows for the heady aromas to burst forth from the bottle and the glass to add to the olfactory enjoyment.

It is therefore with some trepidation that I review this absinthe, Duplais Verte, as it is below 15 Celsius, wet and miserable outside. I will however press on with this review, but perhaps reserve the right to revisit my thoughts when spring has sprung and conditions are more to my liking.

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Duplais Verte, produced by Swiss distillery Matter-Luginbühl (makers of Mansinthe), comes in at 72% alc/vol in a 500 mL dark bottle adorned with a surreal piece of label art by David Michael Tibet, principal of Apocalyptic Folk band Current 93 . Duplais Verte is named after the notable 19th century Swiss distiller and publisher of the seminal text ‘Traité de la Fabrication des Liqueurs et de la Distillation des Alcools‘, an important text containing key absinthe recipes, and which is available once more in an English language reprint.

Tearing off the silver foil and popping the wood-capped t-cork, I was greeted by sweet fennel and soft chocolate-licorice notes.  I was however somewhat disappointed to find this aromatic profile did not seem to carry across into the sample I poured into the glass.  While the colour of absinthe itself was a pleasing bright peridot green, pleasantly achieved through natural botanical colouration, there was no great olfactory continuity to match.

Not until I started the dilution did the hidden herbaceous qualities begin to emerge, but not convincingly – the bitter principle was apparant to the nose however. The louche was slow and steady to develop, emerging from within the liquor rather than ‘breaking through’ suddenly. I was pleased to see the carry through of the peridot intensity into the rich green opaqueness of the louche, which was thick enough to obscure the spoon in the glass when stirring the granular remains of the sugar. Visually it gets high marks.

The taste was surprising.  This is amongst the more bitter absinthe’s I have tasted, having two distinct manifestations in the mouth. A long back-of-mouth bitterness, almost ‘angostura bitter’ in quality, followed by a sharper note to the front of the tongue, neither unpleasantly overpowering I hasten to add. A welcome wash of mineral notes could be tasted, however the texture itself was not particularly thick, in contrast to expectations one may have from the appearance of the louche. And as pleasant drinking as this absinthe is, I feel that maybe it is missing something.

I suspect that the high alcohol may play a role in this. While being spared the alcohol burn that sometimes appears in other absinthe products >70% alc/vol, I am arriving at the opinion that such a high strength absinthe can mask or hold back the full release of their herbal bouquet.

By no means is this a ‘simple’ absinthe however, there are a number of flavours to discover. And being more bitter than most it is a good absinthe for developing your palate for wormwood. But maybe it needs just a little bit more, perhaps a reduction on the alcohol and tad more prominence of other flavours.

Certainly this absinthe has undergone a reconfiguration in the formula in the past couple of years, something increasingly true for many artisan absinthe’s released in recent history, so we may see further refinements in the future.

As it stands it is well above average in terms of quality, a good balanced wormwood profile and lighter on the anise. I suggest that it may be an absinthe to share (as such a 1L bottle size is also available for the generous), but maybe not quite as interesting long term for those lone mavericks whose palates are beginning to appreciate a challenge for more complexity.

Duplais Verte was kindly provided for review by Absinthesalon.

Jonathan Jul 15th 2008 12:18 am Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Distilleries,News,Reviews No Comments yet Trackback URI

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