Absinthe - Absente
Distillerie and Domaines De Provence, France
Distillerie and Domaines de Provence, France
Crillon Importers, Paramus, New Jersey
PROOF: 110 (55%)
TYPE: French, Green (Verte), Macerated, 3.4 mg/kg
PRICE: $35.00 1L
Note: This is a French Absinthe distilled in Provence. Okay, there is some controversy as it does not use Artemesia Absinthium but Artemisia Abrotanum (a less bitter and lower levels of thujone but we judge absinthe on taste- not hallucinogenic potential) - which is a misnomer anyway..
First Impression: Anise and mint - alcohol in background rather than foreground. Sweetish pastis/licorice, star anise smell overall, sweeter smell than most. Not a traditional absinthe smell, as such but close and probably easier for most people.
Appearance: Clear, bright, ever so green cast - kind of a algae pond water looks - and no attempts to color or dope it with dyes which to me is a good thing. On swirling, leaves a thin coat on the glass with scalloping and very thin legs developing. Louche is properly opalescent and color is good.
Taste: Not overly complex- star anise hits you first, with mint on its heel, with licorice coating your tongue. Very pastis-like ending (think Pernod) with a more pronounced bitter taste if you are drinking it straight very little if you go the sugar and water route (see below). Decently made, if a somewhat unorthodox taste to it.
Drinks: The French absinthe ritual involves water fountains, sugar, spoons, and you pour the absinthe in the glass then put the spoon over the glass put a sugar cube on it and drip water from a purpose built fountain over until it louches (opalesces, turns cloudy, etc.) and the right amount of dilution (to personal taste-variable) is reached.
The Czech method is more fraught with danger (especially if you have had a few already) as it involves fire and highly combustible liquids. You put the spoon over an empty glass then place the sugar cube on the spoon, then pour the absinthe over the sugar,soaking it thoroughly and then torch the sugar cube, letting it burn down and caramelize the sugar, you then pour the water over the remains of the sugar cube and stir it in. Photos of this particular method are available on www.absintheium.com . Caution must be exercised to avoid spilling the flaming liquid or having the glass shatter from the heat. 0-Frankly I find the Czech method showy, dangerous, and tedious, all at once.
Other: Due to the relatively high proof I recommend a 5 or 6-1 dilution) - if you must add water.
Bottle: Green/brown glass wine bottle shape - much in the style its forebears with a old style label,cork closure and wood cap.
Final Thoughts: Pleasant enough, a trifle different taste, that being said it will probably appeal to more Americans than the old style types. Distillation is good. Low-to-mid range price makes it an attractive starter absinthe.
Excellent, quick-loading web page with attractive graphics, drinks recipes, and loads of information for the novice to expert. Highly recommend as a reference source for all things absinthe and great links.