A delightful but limited edition of a outstanding absinthe.
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 clear macerated and distilled version in which no sugar is added. The distillation is done in a partial vacuum (like some perfume distillations so lower extraction temperatures can be used for better extractions of essences using as little damaging heat as possible).
It is more of the Swiss style of absinthe in the extra distillation and being clear rather than green. 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. This is a special 10th annivesary bottling that was created during the snowstorm that buried Provence this spring with the tale in storybook form here.
First Impression: Nicely balanced and complex. Quite a bit different from their usual, lavender notes, peppermint . A nicely balanced aroma of wormwood, gentian, verbena, coriander and anise among other things fill in the background. There are 20 different botanicals used in this blend and you can pick up on most of them.This blend is decidely more aromatic and pastis like from the standard bottlings with angelica and fennel as a strong back up to the more aromatic herbs.
Appearance: Clear, bright greenish cast. On swirling, leaves a thin coat on the glass with scalloping and very thin legs developing. Louche is minimal.
Taste: Rather complex and multifaceted- especially compared to some we have been trying lately. The bitter (wormwood and gentian), mixed with the floral notes played off with the mint, verbena and sugar with very pastis-like ending (think Pernod) with a pleasant bitter finish and less licorice coating than some. Well made and layered enough in flavor be interesting.
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 , Kegworks or Rue Verte. 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. This one again has more of an anise spin to it and also yields a much drier version of any cocktail over its green sibling.
Other: I recommend a 4-1 dilution.
Bottle: Coated rectsangular boolte with rounded shoulders with heavy decanter bottom, sythetic cork closure.
Final Thoughts: A delightful but limited edition of a outstanding absinthe.