An authentic but very approachable Absinthe.
Note: It is a touch ironic ( to me anyway) that an Absinthe from Switzerland (the first country to invent it and ban it) is one of the first cleared for import and sale into the United States. It uses alcohol made by a special slow distillation in copper pot stills and high quality locally grown botanicals macerated at the distillery in in the Neuchatel region.
First Impression: You can smell this Absinthe at a distance when you open the bottle. A wonderful heavy sweet smell of anise and fennel, intertwined with coriander, mint and hyssop, alcohol in background rather than foreground. Sweet star anise/ licorice smell overall, sweeter smell than most.
Appearance: Clear, bright, faultless clarity- remember this is a distilled absinthe so it is supposed to be clear. On swirling, leaves a thin coat on the glass with scalloping turning to droplets and lots of thin legs developing. Louche is properly opalescent and color is good (note: with a white absinthe the color is a white, slightly bue opalesence).
Taste: The anise, fennel, and coriander coat,your tongue while the wormwood goes for the middle and back puckering it with a wonderful bitter and drying sensation with the mint tickling the edges with the licorice. They all hit you in a very specific spots, along with a delicious sparkling numbness/coating like most pastis (which is very much a love it or hate it aspect of most Pastis and why most Americans won’t touch the stuff).
While not as complex or layered as some, it has a fair amount going on in the botanical department and probably enough for a lot of people.
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 (actually invented by an Englishman) 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.
Other: Due to the relatively high proof I recommend a 3 to 6-1 dilution – if you must add water. Also it is a excellent (if slightly counterintuitive) digestif for a upset stomach-calms it right down. Did I mention that Absinthe was also considered a 19th-century version of viagra?
Bottle: Green/brown glass wine bottle shape – much in the style its forebears with a old style label,real cork closure and wood cap. Nicely done.
Final Thoughts: A authentic but very approachable Absinthe. Distillation is very good,even though it is a grain base (grape would be more ideal). Low price (especially for a white Absinthe, and if you factor in shipping from Europe, it is a steal by comparison to every other White Absinthe available).
Only negative is that it is a bit spare, not as complex as some of the other quality absinthe out there which kept it from getting a higher overall rating.