Review: Absente, the Pleasant Traitor


Country of origin: France
Distillery: Distilleries et Domaines de Provence
LCBO price: N/A (de-listed years ago)
Neat colour: A vibrant green, almost excessively so, but nice to look at.
Neat aroma: Strong presence of anise, with a bitter undertone (presumably the so-called “wormwood” used in the mix)
Neat taste: Anise is very prominent, the southern wormwood used in the mix does give it a bitterness. The tongue doesn’t go quite as numb as with other absinthe I have tried.
Louched colour: Louche starts off with some oily swirling at the bottom of the glass and finishes off with a a nice, yellowish-green opalescence that almost seems to glow when the light hits it. Sadly, it looks rather artificial.
Louched aroma: Still dominated by anise, with some strange, citrus-like hints.
Louched taste: Again, the anise is incredibly present. The bitterness is only a subtle hint as the wormwood, equally subtle in its presence , is almost negligible.

Vinnie approved (begrudgingly so)

I read a review elsewhere in which the reviewer had said that he could find no oil trails in the louche at all. It could also be that these trails which I witnessed were caused by the melting sugar. The louche, apparently, comes from the anise and the fennel.

Here’s the quandary though. When I asked the LCBO about absinthe way back in 2001, the fellow I had spoken to informed me that of the absinthes available in Ontario at the time, it had the highest thujone content to it. Apparently, it used something called southern wormwood (Artemesia abrotanum) and, as I have recently discovered, when the US opened its doors to proper absinthe, they changed to Artemesia absintium and consequently adjusted their labelling to say “Now with Wormwood.”

I feel a little betrayed.

This was actually the first absinthe I ever tried, and while the ingredients are apparently a little sketchy, I still have fond memories of it. As a result, for people who want to ease their way into the taste of proper absinthe, I recommend this as a first step. Those who want the real thing will have to look elsewhere.

I gave a good friend one of my bottles as a birthday present recently, and I really do not mean to cheapen the gift, as I gave it from the heart, but against my now-better judgement, Vinnie approves.


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