A great absinthe in a handy pump spray bottle.
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.
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. On swirling, leaves a thin coat on the glass with scalloping and very thin legs developing. Louche is good (turns opalescent).
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. The anise is more pronounced in this version along with the wormwood and alcohol. 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 usually involves water fountains, sugar, spoons,etc. This bottle dispenses with all that (no pun intended!). Just spritz it into a glass either before or after pouring the rest of a cocktail into it as an accent. You can also of course spray it into your mouth or a friends also for a quick taste or to erase the taste of something else you drank.
For other drinks such as a Sazerac, the Versinthe worked well and added a lot of complexity over a absinthe substitute. This one again has more of a anise spin to it and also yields a much drier version of any cocktail over its green sibling.
Other: I recommend a 6-1 dilution – they call for a up to 10-1 ratio) – if you must add water.
Bottle: Clear glass bottle with rounded shoulders and silver label roughly in the shape of a absinthe spoon. Pump action sprayer and long metal cap.
Final Thoughts: One of the better absinthes on the mass market now. Distillation is good, reasonably complex but balanced. Easy-to-find overseas.