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Montmartre Review – 28 June 2011

Austrians aren’t exactly world-renowned for their production of absinthe, so today’s review should prove to be something of an adventure for my taste buds. In front of me is a bottle of Absinthe Montmartre, which comes from the Schnaps Museum in Vienna, a location that quickly provides intrepid absintheurs with a devastatingly obvious clue as to the distiller’s area of expertise.

Yet on we go, undaunted and curious.

On opening the dark and slender bottle adorned with a home- (or museum-) made label, a sweet cinnamon note tickles the nostrils, overpowering the base alcohol. A dark mix of olive and opaline with a hint of turquoise fills the bottom of the glass, appearing only slightly artificial. A gentle sip confirms the schnaps-like origins of the drink, albeit with a higher alcohol percentage, weighing in at 65%.

The louche doesn’t work very well with room temperature water, but once it’s refrigerator-cold there is a surprisingly satisfying movement of oil trails to begin with. Unfortunately, disappointment quickly surfaces as the water level rises, with the final louche appearing thin and translucent.

Sugar helps to blend the herbs together but the flavour still comes across as a smile curve on a graphic equalizer—or the sound from a cheap stereo system—all alcohol burn and cinnamon. There is the small saving grace of a lingering dryness from the wormwood but much more of an unwelcome citrus note than the usual unifying anise and fennel. I’m not even sure that fennel has been used here at all.

It’s not the most horribly crafted absinthe as it’s apparent that the makers have spent time tweaking the formula, this being the Cinquiéme (fifth) Edition. But a few years ago I tried the third formulation and if the memory of my taste buds serves me correctly, there isn’t a lot of difference. I’d say the word ‘Edition’ is more of a replacement for the word ‘batch’.

If you do come back with a bottle from a wild European tour that happens to include Vienna and the Schnaps Museum, I’d definitely recommend taking it with sugar and ice-cold water. It will give you enough of a hint as to what absinthe can be, but don’t expect your Green Fairy to look like Juliette Binoche—this drink will conjure forth someone more along the lines of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Montmartre was provided for review by Absinthesalon

Posted by Daniel Hatadi on Jun 28th 2011 | Filed in Absinthe Reviews,Reviews | Comments (0)