Absinthe - Toulouse Lautrec
Cami Distillers - Dobronice, Czech Republic
Absinthe Toulouse Lautrec
Cami Distillers, Dobronice, Czech Republic
PROOF: 136 (68%) Thujone 30mg/1L
TYPE: Czech Republic, Clear (Blanche,White), Mixed and Macerated
PRICE: $65.00 750ML (roughly), plus shipping
Note: This is a Czech absinthe, which is usually quite different from the French varieties in both taste, strength and method of serving. (They like to soak the sugar cube in absinthe and set it on fire). We usually evaluate French and Czech absinthe as two entirely different styles/expressions but this one has been billed as the "Only enjoyable Czech Absinthe."
In contrary to almost all Czech sorts, Toulouse Lautrec is neither artificially colored, nor sugared. It goes on: "The result is a mild and nice louching Czech Absinthe, which could also be from France. In a blind tasting you won't be able to identify it being a Czech Product!" so we are evaluating it against the French ones.
First Impression: Spicy notes intermixed with the usual anise and mint, alcohol in background rather than foreground especially given the proof. Sweetish pastis/licorice, star anise smell overall no off notes from distillation seem to be lurking in the background, which is refreshing given my past experience.
Appearance: Brilliantly clear, ever so slight yellow cast to it (Indicator of the use of dried wormwood). On swirling, leaves a thin coat on the glass with scalloping and very thin legs, developing.
Taste: Quite a refreshing change from the usual Czech stuff -quite drinkable and pleasant ,even at full strength. Not overly complex but with star anise, mint notes with a definite but not overwhelming alcohol presence. Well-made and a very good choice for the beginner or for someone seeking a simpler absinthe in general.
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 availableon 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: Green Wine bottle shape- much more in the style a French absinthe with a faux antique label, cork closure and wood cap. Even some French words "Qualité Extra Superière."
Other: We indebted to our friends at absinthe fever for both recommending this brand to us and much more for actually providing us with a bottle even though they do not sell or manufacture absinthe. They are true absinthe aficionados and good friends.
Final Thoughts: Most Czech absinthe we have come across was a nasty hellbroth of wormwood,questionable dyes, and industrial alcohol.Also most of it doesn't even louche properly, making me wonder what they're actually made of. I am relieved to report this is not one of those. For a Czech absinthe this is an excellent atypical example and one of the few white examples they make. Actually one of the best Czech absinthes I have ever had.Evaluated against the regular Czech absinthe this would be a real standout,but we evaluated it against the French absinthe because of all the ads comparing it to the French .
Absinthe Fever: 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.