Thursday, 8 March 2007

Liquor Snob reviews La Clandestine Absinthe

A major American drinks blog has just reviewed two of our favourite absinthes. Extracts from the reviews follow:


We enjoyed the louche because it let us watch this clear liquid go suddenly opaque, traced with blue and what one intern called an "octopus fight" in the oils tracing the top. After the addition of the water, the absinthe was creamy white with a slight bluish tint in a halo around the top.

The scent before the louche was much more laced with fennel than anise .... Once we louched in the water, it opened up very nicely with a sweet wave of honey and a delicate floral back end. The smell became more balanced with the water as well, with both star anise and fennel making themselves known.

The mouth feel was .. without the oily roundness we've experienced in other absinthes ... it was silky smooth and warming on the tongue. The flavor maintained the delicate gentleness we got from the first whiff, along with the nice balance of anise and fennel flavors. There was less of the bitterness we'd have expected from wormwood, but it made for a nice smooth drink, and we're glad this fine absinthe is no longer the secret its name implies.


The louche .. had a nice bluish tint to it. The final product was an opaque bluish white, with a clear halo on top. Once we added the water, it opened up massively and had a similar scent to Clandestine, with a more herbal and even pepperminty smell.

The mouth feel was big and thick, with a solid, growing heat on the tongue that lasted for a surprisingly long time. The taste was largely anise up front, with a pepperminty finish. Or was it pepper? There was a spice we couldn't quite define, but we liked it nonetheless. We detected a bit more of the wormwood bitterness in this one, and all in all we found it to live up to its whimsical name.

One intern winked at us as he said "I can see myself sitting in a rocking chair on a Sunday afternoon, drinking this stuff and yelling at non-existent children to stay off my lawn." We're not sure exactly what he meant, but we're sure it was very profound as he spoke it.


We like both of these absinthes a lot, especially since they gave us a different experience than we had expected. Between the two, the Clandestine was the more popular, and as we tasted it we found we were much less inclined to set our glasses down to move on to the next bottle. We liked the Capricieuse for its minty back end and unpredictable nature, but we found we were returning to pour the Clandestine even after the official tasting was over.

The full review can be seen here. What do my readers think of the review?

As a foot note, it is interesting to see that Liquor Snob reviews Duplais too, and then finishes the week with an article about their favourite cocktail, the Sazerac. It is great for absinthe in general that such an influential trade blog should write so much about it!


Anonymous said...

What do my readers think of the review?

Do Liquor Snob charge anything for a review? U did not make that clear.

Alan said...

Of course they did not charge anything.

Gill said...

sounds pretentious to me- did nobody get a teensy bit drunk?

Alan said...

Interesting comments: in my years in the drinks business I have seen many reviews that were really pretentious!

Personally I thought some of the language went well with the absinthe experience. The "louche," in particular, is something that absinthe lovers are very interested in.

I think it will be very interesting to see if Liquor Snob start comparing different brands within the absinthe category as suggested on their blog.

Gill said...

Ah well, on a site calling itself Liquor Snob you would be disappointed if there wasn't a measure of pretension! I can see why when selling a drink that has a reputation for evil hangovers and making you barking mad that you would want to stress the purity and clarity of your drink Mr Absinthe.

Rituals are an important part of the process of a good evening. Call me Mrs Picky if you like but dripping water into a glass just doesn't have the same cachet as green and blue fire.

Whoever thought of that has to be marketing genius, not only do they get you to buy a horrid drink at a vastly inflated price but you set light to half of it as well. (Although we bought a bottle of the stuff to take to Stirling and about a quarter of it is still left after 3 years, so you can see it wasn't that tasty!)

Maybe you need to give out a cute promotional toy like a sweet little knitted monkey? Wait, that's already been done, how about a yodelling cow that squirts milky absinthe from its udders??
On second thoughts that seems a bit tacky. Oh dear. I knew there was a reason I didn't go into marketing.

How do you feel about the addition of sugar BTW?

Gill said...

I dunno what brand it was- whatever they sell at ASDA in Kendal. My friend has the bottle at her house in case we have need of it at a poetry salon. Maybe I SHOULD market the cow?

Alan said...

If the absinthe you tasted came from Asda, it was Apsinthion from Poland, a country with no historic links to real absinthe, as far as I know. It falls into the lowest category of absinthe, being mixed and macerated, as opposed to distilled. It also has various artificial colours.

Back to your sugar question, many of the Swiss distillers (and some of the French) would say that you don't need to add sugar to their absinthes. And absolutely no need to burn the sugar with a good absinthe! Yodelling cows are OK, and you are welcome to try marketing them. I hereby renounce any desire to market them myself.

Gill said...

Yeah that was it. Apsinthion. Strange taste, like kissing the bitersweet lips of the Faery King and just as green.

Gill said...

oops-I meant bittersweet but that is a nice typo that I can use!

Gill said...

You were right! I was drinking the wrong kind of absinthe. The real stuff is strangely nice and now I am in a warm glowy bubble of something or other. smile smile!

Nick said...

Many thanks for your comments and best wishes on our new blog here at Bordeaux-Undiscovered.

I will actually be down at the London Wine Show and would be delighted to learn more about your absinthe! Congratulations on The Real Absinthe Blog - it's an intriguing read!

Best regards