A very traditional style absinthe
Note: This is an absinthe microdistilled by the boys at House Spirits (who also make Aviation Gin, Krogstad Aquavit and Medeyoff Vodka) for Gnostalgic Spirits (Gwydion Stone of the Wormwood Society).
First Impression: Complex multilayered bouquet to it. A nicely balanced aroma of wormwood, anise,and mint among other things.Very green, herbal and aromatic notes to it,with the brandy base notes adding further depth and roundness to it..
Appearance: Clear, bright, pond scum green cast to it -which is actually the color it should be – this is an indicator of natural chlorophyll which is a expensive and tricky thing to do. Most Absinthe is colored with dyes that have a shelf life longer than I do. On swirling, leaves a thin coat on the glass with scalloping and very thin legs developing.
Nice louche with water- I use a antique absinthe ashtray I have from my travels that was made from vaseline glass and perfectly captures the color of a absinthe louche as a color standard and this absinthe captures it well. Nice swirling and separation when you start to drip water then the louche kicks in and the absinthe starts to opalesce.
Taste: Full strength it is very concentrated but quite pleasantly drinkable for its’ proof- which is another show of its quality – even if I don’t recommend the practice. We try everything at original strength here so you don’t have to! Very herbaceous and licorice/anisette start followed by mint and fennel, with the iris making a aromatic whisper. Heat is quite mild for 136 proof. Anise coats the tongue for a long lingering finish.
Properly diluted (4 to 6 parts water to 1 part Marteau according to taste) rush of sensations in your mouth and palate. Well made and relatively complex
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. There are a number of web sites that show you how (check our Absinthe Links Section) and to get all your gear check La Maison d’ Absinthe . For other drinks such as a Death in the Afternoon, or a Sazerac, Marteau works well with other ingredients rather than overwhelming them as many absinthes can and is a absinthe we can recommend as a cocktail ingredient.
Bottle: Clear round cylindrical glass bottle with a sharp shoulder and short neck shape – much in the style its forebears with a very classy old style label. Cork closure can present a problem, use a thin bladed (double prongs of thin metal) corkscrew to get the cork out intact to reseal the bottle (assuming you and hopefully, some friends, are not intending to drink it in one go). Another approach is to use a regular corkscrew and toss the cork, replacing it with a decorative wine stopper of some sort to recork the bottle. See our solution here.
Final Thoughts: One of the better Absinthes on the mass-market now. Distillation is excellent, reasonably complex, balanced, A very traditional expression that is well done. Easy-to-find, a touch pricey compared to some, but this is handmade in small batches and it shows.