Pastis - Aqualanca
Liquoristerie de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France
Liquoristerie de Provence, Aix-en Provence, France - No Importer
PROOF: 90 (45%) Thujone ?/1L
TYPE: Macerated and Distilled
PRICE: $30.00 700 ML (roughly), plus shipping
Note: Aqualanca is made by the same people who make Versinthe Blanche and Versinthe Green Absinthe, along with a host of other great liqueurs and perfume. They say Aqualanca contains little licorice or exotic spice -but they make the most out of the more commonplace. Their macerations are made using local plants, such as fennel, anise, coriander, verbena, peppermint and wormwood, as well as Piedmont achilles.
Appearance: Brilliantly clear, no separation, floaters, pools of oil, etc. Attractive light straw/yellow in the bottle, in a glass it has a very nice yellow herbal cast to it. On swirling, leaves a thin coat on the glass with scalloping edge and very thin legs slowly developing. Louche action is dramatic as the water causes a swir- like smoke then sudden yellow green opaqueness.
First Impression: Mint, fennel, coriander and anise with a mixture of the verbena and peppermint and a slight suggestion of earthiness layered with the the usual anise/licorice and with alcohol in background. Overall spicy, sweet complex and multi layered- everything a pastis should be.
Taste: Very drinkable and pleasant, even at full strength (for sampling purposes only- since it is a lower proof figure it should be diluted by 2-5 x with water for drinking). Complex, sweet start and then the flavors start to be noticed one at a time with mint and some star anise notes, and a pleasantly drying finish (from the wormwood?) mixed with the mint, anise and fennel for a finish. Make this a wonderfully pleasant Pastis to review. Adding water causes it to louche (opalesce) to a milky white and releases even more anise.
Drinks: The French verte heure is the customary hour (usually 4 PM or so ) where one has a drink after work or it's nearest equivalent and before going home. It is a time to relax at a café and watch the world go by.
More social than the Martini at home and less raucous than Happy Hour, it is a civilized ritual. When you order a pastis they bring you a glass with the pastis already in it and a carafe of water. Preparation of the drink involves spoons, and you pour water from the carafe into the pastis until it louches (opalesces, turns cloudy, etc.) and the right amount of dilution (to personal taste-variable) is reached.
Aqualanca can also of course be used for any recipe calling for Pernod, Herbsant or true absinthe (although in that case the result will be possibly different).
Bottle:Clear glass bottle with rounded shoulders with a paper label which is in the shape of a elongated shield. Simple but tasteful graphics and a silver neck and screw cap closure finish the package.
Final Thoughts: Complex, multi-layered and well done.
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