Archive for September, 2012

You are currently browsing the archives of .

A Cheeky Absinthe or Three @ Absinthesalon: Part 2 – Heritage

Now it appears I’m going to come into conflict with some of my peers, particularly over at the Wormwood Society, because I really liked this absinthe and my experience seems completely different to theirs.  Now, that may have something to do with the way my palate has changed after half a dozen years in the wine industry.

There are a lot of really good absinthes out of the market, many that have been important gateways for me, but that I would now class as ‘commercial grade’. They are consistent, dependable, maintain good drinkable quality batch after batch, but hardly a Magnum Opus.

In wine, a common fault is Brettanomyces which produces acetic acid and is a death knell for many wines. But.  There is a school of thought that for certain wines, at certain minimal levels, a bit of Brett can add complexity to a wine and is not necessarily a bad thing. But this is at the artisan end of wines, not for the average Joe. And even then the experts disagree as to who is sailing close to the wind and who is just making bad wines.

I give credit here to malcontent wine reviewer and protagonist Philip White who brought to my attention via his blog a pertinent proposition: “Taste is first and foremost distaste – disgust and visceral intolerance of the taste of others – Pierre Boudieu“.

Heritage, by Paul Devoille, is a hard green, a green of untamed wilderness and rolling unworked land, and the nose seemed only to reinforce this point.  After the pour had settled the most enticing aroma to hit me was a raw Elder Flower and Chamomile. Heady and harsh but then balanced by a delicate note of Honeysuckle.

As the louche unfolded it was brutally thick and creamy as King Island’s best. Delightfully, out of this arose a new savoury spice teaser touching my olfactory nerves, inviting me to explore further.

To the taste I immediately thought of Verte de Fougerolles as my nearest reference point, not inappropriate given the source. Only reinforces the artisan argument to me . Grassy fields, fresh herbs, certainly enough balanced bitterness for my taste and pronounced anise. But surprisingly throughout all of this, the Elder flower & Chamomile tango kept dancing on like it had just been poured, nothing was lost in the dilution.

Then at the very end of the contemplation, a nice chalky saltiness cuts through what would possibly be a cloying experience and lingers on the tongue.

This will not be to everyone tastes. Sure.

But this is an absinthe, I think, to the Bear Grylls of connoisseurs – who are willing to take a hard road to taste something challenging to others and finding some reward in the experience.

Posted by Jonathan on Sep 23rd 2012 | Filed in Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Bars,Culture,News,Reviews | Comments (0)

Night Flower – New Vali Myers Book Launch

Just to reproduce the eloquent description by the fine Outré folk from their own website:

Outré Gallery is very proud to be publishing and producing a brand new book on artist Vali Myers.  In conjunction with the Vali Myers Art Gallery Trust, Outré Gallery is planning this release in September 2012 – with a book launch which will be celebrated with an exhibition of original artworks, display of diaries and relics as well as new prints.

Vali Myers was an enigmatic Australian-born artist who lived her life as a fiercely independent, brave, bright flame carving her influence through Paris, Italy, New York and Africa before returning to Australia in the twilight of her life.

Artist, dancer, animal lover, dedicated diarist, visionary, muse and powerful creatrix, Vali left a body of work which started with her early drawings in the cafés of Paris in 1950 right through till her death in 2003.

Vali had an incalculable impact on creative beings all over the world.  Her path crossed with many luminaries of the 20th century, including Jean Paul Sartre, Jean Genet, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, George Plimpton, Django Reinhardt, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Donovan, Patti Smith, Deborah Harry, Dee Dee Ramone and Marianne Faithful.

Known in life for her wild, flaming hair, intricate facial tattoos and loud gypsy jewellery, Vali’s indomitable spirit and authentic take on life continues to permeate through her art, inspiring and influencing those who fall under her spell.

Her exceptionally detailed drawings, delicately executed at night by lamp-light, often took many months, even years, to complete with a light touch, patient hand and a fine pointillist style.

This book includes many hereto unpublished drawings, photographs, previously unseen diary excerpts and reflections by: Carlo McCormick, Eileen Polk, Devendra Banhart, Donovan, Chris Stein, Flame Schon, Gianni Menichetti, Ruth Cullen, Julia Inglis and Nicole Karidis (Vali Myers Art Gallery Trust).

The official book launch will take place at

Outré Gallery Melbourne
249 Elizabeth St, Melbourne CBD

Friday 21 September 2012, from 7pm

This will be a strict RSVP only event

Posted by Jonathan on Sep 10th 2012 | Filed in Art,Culture,Events,History,News,People | Comments (0)

A Cheeky Absinthe Or Three @ Absinthesalon Part 1: Duplais Balance

It has been too long between drinks in terms of popping into Absinthesalon in Sydney. Thus taking considered steps to be booked on the last flight out that evening left more than enough room to ensure an evening of conviviality could be spent in that splendid establishment.

But with what to break the drought? If there are at least a couple of drinks on the cards, best try something to wet the whistle with a gentle blow. And Duplais Balance at 60% alc/vol in its retro-label offering seemed to be the friendliest way to start the session.

This vert Swiss absinthe from Matter-Luginbühl Distillery, is most floral and simply delightful on the nose, a clear natural vibrant green pooled at the bottom of the glass. Much more than just a whistle wetter. Perhaps having more a potential to pickle the piccolo.

Setting the dripper going over the sugar, the louche happened a lot sooner than I had expected (but maybe this was because I was lost in good conversation), albeit graduated from bottom to top as the relative liquid densities swirled and interplayed into equilibrium.

The final translucency is consistent, but not thick, a feature that seemed to be reflected on the tongue. The finish is orderly, but not lengthy. More skim milk and not adhering greatly to my mucosal linings.

Make no mistake, it is an absinthe that hits all the right notes on the musical score: low register wormwood bitterness, arpeggiated potassium-chalky minerality that pops in and out, high accents of mint, fennel, anise and coriander played legato.

But the performance is perhaps not a Mozart, maybe more a Salieri. More than competent, excellent performer and faultless technicality.

But it didn’t induce a standing ovation from me.

The night is young, and there is more absinthe to come.

Posted by Jonathan on Sep 2nd 2012 | Filed in Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Bars,Culture,Distilleries,Food,News,Reviews | Comments (0)