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A Lopsided Pair

One of our co-conspirators at brought back a cache of ‘less’ commercial absinthes, in that they are not brands you typically find turning up on the international market.

So while you are not going to find them in Australia, it is never a bad thing to increase ones awareness to what is out there on the broader international market, just in case one should find oneself physically in the right place to try the local artisan creations.

L’en Joleuse 72% alc/vol

Looking all “Olde Worldly” with vintage sepia presentation, this first number was a glum olive colour that was not overly inspiring. To top it off it was a hyssop bomb, as opposed to the anise bomb’s usually dropped on the exploratory connoisseur.

It was also quick off the mark to louche, just to reinforce the lack of subtlety. Probably most disappointing, there was agreement this absinthe seemed to be all middle, but no tops and tails.While there was some nice tobacco aromas that bestowed a token level of complexity, it was definitely an absinthe for drinking about, but not for thinking about.

La Berthe De Joux. 56% alc/vol

Lower in alcohol and with higher expectations, this little number is out of the stables of the Emile Pernot Distillery, so we expect more than a completely unknown.

Pronounced peridot green, we feel things are off to a good start.  This absinthe was considerably more inviting to the nose – and while chocolate and coffee aromas wafted out of the bottle, it was the almond biscotti notes that really caught my attention.

Beautiful layers falling like sediment during the louche, a dance of relative densities and tantalising trails, visually it was just right.

Once to the taste, we couldn’t help but thinking there was some sort of wine-spirit funk which might have otherwise left us dispirited after such an excellent opening.

I was nearly going to conclude the real depth of this absinthe seemed to be missing, but then menthol and hidden back notes of flavour crept through with patience.Leather, but more like a suede boot than a Chesterfield. Youthful? Maybe.

This set is a good example that sometimes you need to take the good with the disappointing – but hopefully never the downright waste of time.

Posted by Jonathan on Oct 29th 2013 | Filed in Absinthe brands,Absinthe Reviews,Distilleries,Food,News,Reviews | Comments (0)

A Cheeky Absinthe or Three @ Absinthesalon – Libertine Amer

So the next absinthe I need to tell you about, Libertine Amer 68, is certainly a talking point.

A product of the Paul Devoille Distillery and from their website they state:

Libertine is based on the traditional recipe of our distillery dating from the turn of the last century. Its color is 100% natural and the plants used include absinthe (wormwood) itself, green aniseed, star aniseed, etc.

Each of the ingredients is individually steeped and then individually distilled. The resulting mix of distillation leads to a second steeping with plants to produce its distinctive green color.

While this is a product with some tradition and history, there has been debate over the decade amongst connoisseurs as to whether it is a “true absinthe” because it is based on the blending of individual distilled macerates.  (As an aside, this is how the eyebrow raising Moulin Rooz from Australia is made, and probably highlights the risk of this method in that the wormwood bitterness can be too overpowering).

That debate aside, it is something of an absinthe that has polarised folk, probably of more genteel tongues.

Taking a deep breath – wow, something wild on heat. Musk. Sweat. A boudoir after an summer’s afternoon orgy.   This will produce a strong reaction in some folk.  It will intrigue others.

Amber Yellow in the glass. Autumn leaves.

Slowly we dilute with sugar. Pour some sugar on me indeed – it remains defiantly hot, sticky & sweet. Nothing tempers the hormonal surge emanating from within. It louches to a shade of a sepia photograph capturing another time and place.

As I consume I am repeatedly assaulted with herb bombs, sweet & savoury, a tasty bitterness thrusting between the anethole like a black keyed pentatonic scale.  And then came a climatic chalky minerality, perhaps amongst the strongest I have experienced in an absinthe.

This absinthe does not pretend to be subtle. She isn’t there to seduce you, to beguile you with faint promises of mystical Elysian pleasures.  She is brutally physical. She is going to use her teeth and her claws to make it happen.

I hope you are up to it.

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

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