Sunday, 24 June 2007
Officially launched at the Boveresse Absinthe Festival, Angélique is now also available from absinthe-suisse.com. It is the first Verte created by Claude-Alain Bugnon of La Clandestine fame and is in response to many customer requests for a "véritable Verte Suisse."
Distilled using 12 plants, it is named Angélique partly after Claude-Alain's daughter and partly because it contains angelica. However, as Claude-Alain says, this new absinthe has both an angelic aspect and perhaps one that is almost .... "devilish." Angélique may be the natural daughter of his original Charlotte La Clandestine (named after Charlotte Vaucher, the original inventor of that absinthe's recipe), but she is evidently a rebellious daughter, judging by her impish appearance on the new label! Charlotte and the distillery also feature, echoing the original Clandestine label.
Angélique itself is slightly more bitter than La Clandestine and takes it natural colour from the aromatic plants of the Val-de-Travers region which are steeped in the distillate.
In fact, Angélique has been privately offered to a few of Claude-Alain's friends both in Switzerland and via the internet in recent months. Their response has been overwhelmingly positive, with reviews such as:
"Oh my....we just tried it. You have created a wonderful new verte. That smells wonderful and tastes incredibly delicious. Congratulations on one of the best I have tasted in the vertes. We already love the CLB! When can we "talk" about this product on the Wormwood Society website? Best to you. This is outstanding!" ..... "Our desert island absinthe." (B & C, Washington).
"The most amazing quality of this verte suisse is its mouth feel, truly like nothing I've drank before. Louche is beautiful, perfect. Great with sugar! Sweet, bitter, and very aromatic, Angelique is my new favorite, even my friends preferred it when i let them sample my absinthes (their first time)." (K, California)
"I thought the Angelique was terrific. It was well-balanced with just the right amount of wormwood." (J, Nevada)
"I want to congratulate Claude-Alain on the Angélique. It's wonderful! I hope it'll be going into full production soon so that I can rave about it on the forum! It's definitely my favorite verte of the ones I've tried so far, superceding the Jades which constitute my only reference. If Artemisia is aiming for a monopoly, well, you're quite close to having one in my book. :) I think I'm going to start telling my friends absinthe is a Swiss beverage." (D, New Mexico)
And my favourite review, just in:
"I will treat the description of this bottle as though it were made just for
me because it is that good. The graphic designer has gone above and beyond
with the label. It is beautiful and captures a mood that is befitting such
an amazing recipe as this. It must have been the fairies that contributed
to the herb selection and balance because it could only be through magic or
an extremely sensitive pallet that this combination could have been
The smell as the bottle is opened the first time is strong and reeks of the
essence of absinthe as it ought to be.
The louche is perfect and beautiful. As it is difficult to determine the
rations the first time an absinthe is mixed, I used the method I always use.
I slowly drip the spring water from my fountain until it is entirely
opaque; only then do I stop and I stop exactly then.
I suggest smelling this with your eyes closed to see what the
smell evokes as I did. It is olfactory perfection.
The taste of this absinthe is just as absinthe was meant to be. It
accomplishes what many other absinthes are obviously trying to accomplish.
It is a refined combination that makes no attempts at being overly complex
just to stand out. The subtle tincture of background herbs dances around
the dominant flavors in such a way that there is no competition. It is
drinking a bottle of harmony.
The mouth feel of this absinthe has just the right amount of bite even when
diluted. I can feel it working as the flavor passes over my tongue. The
aftertaste of this fine mixture is of strong anise. I have grown to adore
anise over the last several years of drinking absinthe so it is as though it
is still in my mouth long after I have lamentable pleasure of swallowing my
I am greatly pleased that Claude-Alan has turned his expertise to the
absinthes verte as they have always been my favorites. Thank you for the
pleasure I have had this evening." (N, Colorado)
A forum friend toasts Claude-Alain at the launch in Couvet
Given these comments, Claude-Alain was delighted to be able to launch it in time for Boveresse. At a time when other absinthe distillers may be focused on the bigger volume opportunities perhaps available in the USA, it is good to see at least one artisan sticking to his roots.
Note: Angélique was originally released at 72% abv, and some of the photos in this article show that label. The top photo shows the latest 68% abv label.