One of the few drinkable Czech Absinths
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 louch (turn opalescent).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 as they are two very distinct types in ingredients,flavor profile and philosophy (in regards to Thujone). In contrast to almost all Czech varieties of Absinth this one is quite drinkable.
First Impression: Spicy notes intermixed with the usual mint, some anise/licorice and the distinctive bitter earthy smell of wormwood with 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 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 and very thin legs, developing.
Taste: Quite a refreshing change from the usual Czech stuff -quite drinkable and pleasant ,even at full strength. A bit sweeter than some but most would want to add sugar to it. Not overly complex but with mint and some star anise notes, with a definite but not overwhelming alcohol presence, and a definite bitter wormwood finish that overlays a minty finish and has a rather desicating effect on your tongue. It leaves one with no doubt there is a stiff dose of wormwood in this Absinth. A well-made and 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 available on 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: Clear glass wine bottle shape- much more in the style a French absinthe with a rather plain label cork closure and cap.
Other: We are indebted to our friends at AbsintheFever.com 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. I am relieved to report this is not one of those. For a Czech absinthe this is an excellent one.
Actually one of the better Czech absinthes I have ever had. Evaluated against the regular Czech absinthe this is a standout. While I have to say I much prefer a French or Swiss style absinthe (I find most Czech Absinth less complex and layered than the others. 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.