Overall a very nicely done and somewhat understated absinthe of a slightly nontraditional bent.
Notes: Corsair Distillery is not only one of the earlier micro distilleries in this country but they are also easily one of the most prolific, with a dizzying array of products, many experimental and passing, others go on to become standards.Their current line up is here Corsair has also won numerous wards for both their products individually and their company in general as an innovative distillery and business. They have also just promoted Ms Andrea Clodfelter ( who started as be of their original bartenders) to head distiller, and plan an expansion with even more products soon !
This absinthe is styled after the red absinthes of the late 19th century called” rogue” which are a bit of a departure both in color ( of course) and taste from the more of less standard Verte and Blanche (green and clear respectively) and uses hibiscus flowers to achieve both the color and a somewhat different and slightly sweeter tastes than more standard absinthes.
Appearance: Clear red brown in appearance on swirling it leaves a medium oily coat on the glass with tears forming more or less symmetrically along the edge line and some, but not all turning into legs. The louche when water is added is a bit light compared to most absinthes but that is also because the Corsair is not heavy on anise ( th main reason absinthe, arrack and anisette opalesce on the addition of water)
First Impression: Anise, (rather lightly) spices, hyssop, fennel, floral with citrus notes and the tarragon and wormwood interleaving well to provide a balanced subtle bouquet of no small complexity.
Taste: Nicely defined anise (read licorice) forward spicing with the hibiscus and Dragon Wormwood (aka tarragon) playing nicely and adding some interesting sweetness to play off against wormwoods traditionally bitter drying notes.
Drinks: Corpse Reviver, Absinthe Frappe, Earthquake, and The Death in the Afternoon Cocktails all work well with this absinthe and the Chrysanthemum works relatively well but I would adjust the ratios a bit to taste,
Bottle: Corsair while making a large portfolio of products that spans everything from Absinthes to Whiskies uses one standard bottle with many label variations. A clear glass bottle of medium height, roughly cylindrical and somewhat squat in appearance but angling in toward the heavy decanter bottom with a slightly rounded but sharp shoulder angling slightly upwards towards a short neck. Closure is a natural cork with a black wooden topper with their logo silkscreened in silver. Neck capsule is a clear shrink wrap with pull tab that is easy to pull and remove. Label is square, paper with the name of the product and their logo. Background color in this case is sort of a very light brick red. Bottle number and bottle yield/run is noted on the back label.
Other: A traditional blanche (white,clear ) absinthe base with the addition of hibiscus and other less traditional herbs.
Final Thoughts: A nicely done, slightly understated version of an absinthe that is versatile and complex but can play well with other ingredients without muting them like some absinthes can. While not the most heavy-duty of absinthes, that is the point.
It’s unique blend of ingredients provide a unique absinthe that will not frighten off either the traditional absinthe drinker or the new acolytes .
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