Probably a best buy for quality and price.
Note: This is a French Absinthe distilled in Aix-en-Provence, a small city near St. Remy and an area where you can find many different Absinthe and Pastis distilleries. This is the macerated-only version with the addition of a fair amont of sugar and lower proof – some of their literature refer to this as their Absinthe Liqueur. Nearby Marseilles and Antibes are two of the places to find a large variety (in the hundreds) so spend some time exploring – preferably on foot if you are doing much sampling.
First Impression: Nicely balanced and complex, if not awe inspiring. A nicely balanced aroma of wormwood, gentian, verbena, coriander and anise among other things. There are 20 different botanicals used in this blend and you can pick up on most of them.
Appearance: Clear, bright, yellow/green cast to it which is an indicator of the use of dried wormwood – and no attempts to color or dope it with dyes which to me is a good thing. On swirling, leaves a thin coat on the glass with scalloping and very thin legs developing. Louche is decent but not awe inspiring (turns opalescent but no swirls, pools,etc.).
Taste: Rather complex and multifaceted- especially compared to some we have been trying lately. Interesting bitter (wormwood and gentian), played off with the mint, verbena and sugar with star anise both in front and on its heel coating your tongue while the coriander, dill and rosemary dance around in different areas of the tongue blending and playing off each other.Very pastis-like ending (think Pernod) with a pleasant bitter finish with a sugar rimming to it. 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 websites 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, the Versinthe worked well and added a lot of complexity over a absinthe substitute.
Other: I recommend a 6-1 dilution – (they call for a up to 10-1 ratio) – if you must add water.
Bottle: Green/brown glass wine bottle shape – much in the style its forebears with a old style label. Cork closure and wood cap. Label is silver colored and in the shape of a Absinthe spoon.
Final Thoughts: One of the better Absinthes on the mass-market now. Distillation is good, reasonably complex but balanced. Easy to find overseas.