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Review – Absinthe Reverie by Distillery Botanica

 

Followers of the site will know that Australia is no stranger to Absinthe production historically, however, it has probably been a little slow in terms of homegrown creations meeting the new benchmarks of commercial production.  No doubt this is probably in part to the enormous administrative burden of getting permission to commercially distill in Australia, a story which has been played out in the emerging Whisky industry, now making its mark in Tasmania.

It is appropriate then that the challenge to produce a high quality domestic absinthe has been taken up by a Master Distiller, Philip Moore, who as been playing with artisan liqueurs and botanical flavours for many years at Distillery Botanica (formally St Fiacres) in Erina, New South Wales.  It is probably a testament to his skill that this new absinthe on the block, Reverie, is already winning accolades at the International Wine & Spirits Challenge and getting some due publicity in the process.

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Reverie is 68 % alc/vol and comes in a 500mL bottle with plastic screwcap. Probably the right size for small batch craft distilling, but maybe the packaging production is not as ‘slick’ as other craft offerings.

Opening the bottle, I was greeted with a strong licorice note followed by a pot pourri of herbal aromatics – distinct dried fennel, a headiness like chamomile azulenes, but certainly no unripe ‘green notes’.  Examining a sample poured into my glass I thought it appeared like a very freshly pressed virgin olive oil, a rich golden green.

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I set the brouilleur in motion with some iced syrup laden water to watch the transformation.  It was a very slow louche, there was no rushing this creature into revealing her wings.  After stretching out the tease, the performance peaked as a creamy, golden buttery louche emerged within the glass, thick enough to obscure a spoon.  There didn’t appear to be a lot of aromatics being released during the dilution, and it really required a long inhale in the glass at completion to start picking apart the flavours, in particular a high sweet lemon note floating on the desiccated herbaceous layer.

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It was a very intense flavour upon first taste – bold on the fennel with the loooong lingering wormwood bitterness that just pleasantly hung around the back of the tongue.  A very comprehensive coating of the mouth, almost tannic but of a more refined kind such as in an older developed wine. The flavour notes were very much on the deep end of the scale – the lighter hyssop chocolate notes I would expect not really coming to the fore.

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But if you give the glass a little time to develop, the extroversion in bold flavours pulls back a little, allowing some talc like minerality to shine through in the middle of the palate.

I have little hesitation in saying in Reverie, we have an absinthe that punches in the same weight division of many quality European commercial absinthes, and is an absolute pleasure to have something of this tier produced in the antipodes.  Maybe we will see  more absinthe experiments from Meister Moore in the future, going farther with his botanical daring do, given he has the expected absinthe foundations solidly laid down? Time will only tell. You can purchase Reverie from Absinthe Salon – be aware it frequently sells out quickly.

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Posted by Jonathan on Jun 16th 2014 | Filed in Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Culture,Distilleries,News | Comments (0)