No, It is supposed to have that giant bug that looks like a punked out praying mantis in it . Not sure why though.
Note: Czech Absinth(e) does not use an “e” at the end (for the most part) so you can recognize them as a distinct variety almost immediately. They also usually do not contain anise and so do not louche (turn opalescent).This is a Czech absinth, which is usually quite different from the French and Swiss varieties in both taste, strength and method of serving (see later).
We usually evaluate French and Czech absinth(e) as two entirely different styles/expressions as they are two very distinct types in ingredients,flavor profile and philosophy (in regards to Thujone).
As a gimmick, this one contains a large (as in Praying Mantis-sized)Eurycantha horrida also known as Spiny Devil Walkingstick (if you want one in a shadow box click here )! Click on our image for the front of the bottle, and click here:
to see the back (more gory detail)!
On a more pedestrian level, It also boasts no chemicals or artificial coloring agents, which is more than most Czech absinths can say.
Appearance: Brilliantly clear, no separation, floaters, pools of oil, etc. Dark green slightly yellow/brown in bottle, in a glass it has a very nice green cast to it (indicator of the use of fresh, rather than dried wormwood). On swirling, leaves a thin coat on the glass with scalloping edge and very thin legs developing. Louche action is negligible as it is with most Czech absinth- separates some oils much like what happens when you add water to a good non chill-filtered single malt scotch or bourbon whisky.
First Impression: Mint, lots of mint, spicy notes of coriander,cardamom, intermixed with the usual anise/licorice and the distinctive bitter earthy smell of wormwood with alcohol in background rather than foreground especially given the proof. Sweetish pastis/licorice, with mint overall no off notes from distillation or other funky smells which is refreshing given my past experience with some of the undrinkable hellbroths from that area.
Taste: Quite a refreshing change from the usual Czech stuff – quite drinkable and pleasant, even at full strength (for sampling purposes only-should be diluted by three to six times with water for drinking). And considering the giant bug in there, a surprisingly delightful spirit!
Complex (especially for a Czech absinth) with mint and some star anise notes, and a somewhat dissonant but interesting overlay of Camphor or maybe Spanish Cedar (think cigar box) with a definite but not overwhelming alcohol presence, and a definite drying bitter wormwood finish mixed with the mint and has a rather desiccating effect on your tongue (courtesy of the wormwood). It leaves one with no doubt there is a stiff dose of wormwood in this absinth.
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. Frankly I find the Czech method showy, dangerous, and tedious, all at once.
Bottle: Square-ish clear glass- looks more like a rum bottle than a liquor bottle. Rather simple black paper band label with minimalist,almost austere graphics by absinth label standards. Screw cap closure with black neckband with drawing/silhouette of beetle.
Other: The walking stick is not venomous and is considered to be vegan in its eating habits, so while I wouldn’t recommend eating it per se, it’s not as hazardous as eating some of the other things people have been putting in bottles lately. It may also actually discourage other people from casually drinking up your absinth.
Final Thoughts: Most Czech absinth we have come across was a nasty hellbroth of wormwood,questionable dyes, and industrial alcohol. I am relieved to report this is not one of those. For a Czech absinth this is an excellent one, actually one of the better I have ever had.
Evaluated against the regular Czech absinth this is one of the standouts. For those of you who want a high dose thujone level – this one has it and is a damn sight better than the King of Spirits. Pricey, but less than King, infinitely better taste too.
Website:http://www.originalabsinthe.com/absinth-beetle-p-73.html for the Beetle Absinthe.
Home Page: http://www.originalabsinthe.com