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Drinking Charlotte…Sometimes

While in Brussels earlier this year, I stopped in for a quick qwaff at The Floris Bar , which is always a good strategy in order to find something not presently being hawked in Australia.

Across the bar, this particular specimen – Absinthe La Charlotte – caught my eye and coin purse, as I decided to acquaint myself with whatever charms she may have to offer.

Charlotte 0

 

Distillerie Paul Devoille, located in Fougerolles in France, is no stranger to this site – being the source of torrid sex in glass Libertine Amer Absinthe , so it is with interest we partake to see whether this is more of a gentle foreplay or post-coital pillow talk.

 

Charlotte 2

 

First to the nose – sweet notes, something that reminded me strongly of Yellow Chartreuse, and a raw herbaceous Elder flower layer. But not much more than that.

 

Charlotte 3

 

While we are undertaking this courtship with a carafe of chilled water rather than the finesse of a fountain drip, by golly, it is quick to louche. Methinks our Charlotte has been kept a prisoner of desire, and rather than a slow tease and reveal, we are in bodice ripping territory. Fennel and aniseed blooms from the glass and lingers, a welcome bouquet to cover the miasma of stale cigarette smoke that hangs in the venue.

Charlotte 4

 

The colour is somewhere between asparagus and olive, rich dark tones, conjuring thick afternoon storm clouds rolling off the horizon as the dilution continues.

 

Charlotte 5

The louche is thick and obscures the spoon. The raw herbaceous notes have pulled back as a refined sweet chocolate hyssop aromatic takes the foreground.

Very aniseed dominant to the taste. Held in the mouth the talcum powder line is strong, and yet fleeting when casually sipped. It is unfortunately all tops and bottoms in terms of flavour profile. The foundation is strong and the higher register flavours, while present, seem to lack forte. I don’t feel anything is marrying the two.

Certainly a reasonable absinthe for those on the road to experience, but rife with timidity that is not characteristic of distillery companion, Libertine Amer.

Posted by Jonathan on Dec 17th 2017 | Filed in Absinthe Reviews,Distilleries,Reviews | Comments (0)

Double Dutch Part 2 – Akveld Absinthe (Blanche)

 

One good turn deserves another – double your pleasure and double your fun – and insert your own witty proverb about twins.

It is a nice when an absinthe producer experiments with crafting both a Verte and a Blanche of an absinthe recipe, which are seldom just monozygotic twins minus the Roman wormwood –  often there are twists and turns to produce a different sort of fraternal sibling. With good luck, a dark seed.

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Akveld’s blanche offering comes in at 60% alc/vol, so a touch lighter than the predecessor reviewed. Popping the cork, the aroma didn’t quite leap out of the bottle as the Verte, I needed to really stick my nostrils close to inhale a very pleasant chamomile – reminding me a little of the style of Blanche De Fougerolle, however, whereas that absinthe is overtly floral, Akveld’s is very tight and secretive. Being unwilling to flaunt her wares, we need to explore deeper.

 

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I pour the crystal clear liquid into the glass- I’m presuming this used an eau de vie grape spirit in the production? As the alcoholic vapour is released, I get a firm sense of this foundation spirit. I try and detect the other botanicals, but it is not being very giving in the glass. (Note: as a postscript to this experience I have since returned to the absinthe and used a narrower tapered wine glass rather than the wide rimmed Pontarlier glass and got a totally different aromatic experience – rich mixed botanicals. the chamomile again supported on a sweet hyssop and fennel/anise bed.)

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Upon dilution through sugar, I am finding the louche is considerably in more of a rush compared to the Verte, which may be a factor arising from the lower alcohol content. The conversion has fully taken hold before I have even diluted halfway. It is, however, a much thicker louche than its predecessor, the spoon is completely shrouded within its mercurial veil.

Upon tasting, rather than the expected wormwood bitterness and anise front notes, I’m greeting by fresh alpine mint flavours, an unexpected, surprisingly dominant sapidity. A wash of Angelica, baby powder minerality in the middle, lingering back-of-the-tongue notes of Fennel after the ambrosia has been swallowed. Wormwood is there, but she plays second fiddle – holding the harmony together.

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Liquorice-phobes would well find this an absinthe to their liking. It does have a thinner mouthfeel, it doesn’t linger quite as long as the Verte, but attenuated in some well iced water this perhaps makes for a quenching long absinthe for a summers day. We have plenty of those ahead in Australia…..time to pull out the water fountain and assemble friends around this bottle.

 

 

Posted by Jonathan on Dec 27th 2015 | Filed in Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Distilleries,News,Reviews | Comments (0)

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