Angelique Verte Suisse Review February 2012

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Ok – we have been a little quiet lately, and the only excuse I’m going to provide is that when one has a young addition to the family in the first years of his life, it really throws plans for regular absinthe consumption out the window. Now he has more of his own independence, I can indulge more in daddy’s little helper and bring back some regularity to what’s on in Australia with regard to absinthe and associated cultural mores.

I have been sitting on this particular absinthe for too long – the wife is out, the child is having his afternoon nap, ginger & garlic beef stew on the slow cooker. Time to break the seal.

This Swiss baby is, according to the back label, hand crafted by Claude-Alain Bugnon, “one of the first clandestine distillers to come out into the open after the Swiss ban on absinthe was lifted in 2005”. It is a Swiss meadow in a bottle – over a dozen aromatic herbs in the making. I must admit upfront, as a trained herbalist such products tend to be favourite of mine as I untangle the dispensary upon my tongue.

I pop the T cork – this 68% alc/vol absinthe greets me with sweetened hyssop notes, a light touch of mint in the air, characteristic anise, antique leather armchair. But a dominant aroma of a freshly opened box of pipe tobacco mushrooms into the air, moist, just shredded to release the aromatics, rich like treacle. Not sure if I should smoke it in a pipe or drink it?

I pour a sample, and it is almost yellow. Citrine or Chrysoberyl. It is naturally coloured, but it is certainly a unique hue.  When drinking alone I sometimes defer to the careful pour from my water decanter, which does tend to be a bit quicker than a fountain drip, but this is not a quick louche absinthe. It resists my aqueous invocations.  The level goes up and up before the first tease of transformation. Patience. Patience is a virtue. About 3/4 there it blossoms, swirls of opaqueness that soon transforms into a veritable mothers milk – thick, solid, almost impenetrable as the spoon disappears into its veil.

To the taste, I first note a soft saltiness wrapped up in a more gentle beguiling wormwood bitterness.  And then, for a minute you fear that there may be an impending and unfortunate alcohol burn in the back of the throat – but no – it halt on the edge of the precipice and instead melts down your neck like a thick anise linament, warming, therapeutic, but no more than that.

The aroma on dilution is principally anise & fennel, the texture on the tongue is thick and gracious reflecting the appearance of the louche. I do think there may be more complexity hidden and weaved on the nose than on the tongue – but do not mistake this as meaning the taste is at all boring.

For a complicated absinthe it seems to try not to complicate the taster, which can be a risk for absinthes of this style. It does have a very good length – continuing to please in the minutes after the taste.  And then, as the absinthe in the glass warms a little, the tongue and snoz are teased with that cheeky mint again – more like a Persian Spearmint tea kind.

By no means an entry level absinthe, but I think accessible to those on all rungs above on the ladder – the training of the nose and palate I believe will unveil more and more surprises in this absinthe.  A welcome back for me, openly taunting me with what I have been missing.

Angelique Verte Suisse was kindly provided by Absinthesalon.com.au for review

Jonathan Feb 4th 2012 04:19 pm Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Distilleries,News,Reviews No Comments yet Trackback URI

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