|Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2002 - 5:17 am: |
Now about the Bleu...
That point out the fact that many La Bleu are not so amazing. In fact the only amazing La Bleu I had was the Betty #2. She must have searched real hard to find such a gem. The others Bleu I tasted where ranging from good to very simple and flawed.
The bottle I got from a friend, I sent it to Moonman for "repair and enhancement" and now it's nice (still too early to say if it's wonderful). Unfortunately most people doesn't know such a resourceful mechanic so paying big money for a La Bleu could sometimes be frustrating.
|Posted on Monday, August 5, 2002 - 8:47 pm: |
I've been fairly absent from the forums for a while, but this was definitely an experience I wanted to share.
|Posted on Monday, August 5, 2002 - 6:46 pm: |
Thanks for this post. For me this is what the Absinthe Forum is all about.
|Posted on Monday, August 5, 2002 - 4:31 pm: |
Last night I had a very pleasant surprise.
After a hectic and nerve-wracking week, Eric and I finally made connections. I knew he had something special to bring to the table, but I had no idea what I was in for.
So, after arriving home at about 11:30 pm, we got down to a good old-fashioned absinthe tasting.
The first brew we sampled was a 1983 bottle of Deva. Eric's review has already been posted, and is quite accurate. The absinthe, while still only 50 degree, artificially colored, and not requiring sugar, is a much superior product than the distillery is producing today. This Deva was much lighter on the star anise, and had a nicer, translucent louche. The flavor was much more broadly herbal (as opposed to its modern "black jellybean" composition). The watered absinthe was almost "creamy" in the mouth, with a well-rounded flavor, a pleasant hint of bitterness in the finish.
From there we moved on to Argenti, a Spanish absinthe distilled (I am told) in the Tarragona region of Spain. This sample was circa 1970, and much more impressive than the surprisingly-good Deva.
The Argenti is a 68 degree absinthe, with a yellowish-green tint. Tasted neat, you really feel the warmth of the alcohol, together with a minty taste and the oft-discussed but seldom-glimpsed bitterness of A. Pontica.
Watered, the absinthe has a very delicate louche, not unlike that of modern Oxygenee or Un Emile. The flavor? Unlike any modern product I've tasted. There were similarities to Oxygenee (which I've always felt is unfairly maligned), especially in a "peppery" characteristic. The scent is somewhat "perfumey", and there are many different flavors that dance upon your palate. In all, this was a wonderful drink, and surprisingly drinkable for its alcohol content. The finish is a rounded, back-of-the-mouth bitterness that makes your tongue seem almost to tingle.
Next we moved on to the crown jewel in this evening's trifecta: A Tarragona Pernod from the late fifties / early sixties. This too was 68 degree, and a tantalizing absinthe indeed. Amber in color, the unwatered Pernod has a spicy, earthy aroma, with hints of a sweetness that recalls molasses(?!?). When water is added, the consistency slowly changes through a series of gradient lines to another delicate louche.
This absinthe was incredible, and undoubtedly one of the most balanced brews I've ever tasted. The Pernod has an enticing mix of earthy, bitter and spicy notes, which are perfectly enhanced by the addition of a single sugar cube. The finish is dry, and lightly bitter, with hyssop and A. Pontica definitely present.
We finished off the evening by revisiting these three side by side with some modern absinthes: a Swiss La Bleue, Oxygenee, and Francois Guy. After the complexity of the Argenti and the Pernod, the LaBleue paled in comparison. The Oxygenee, surprisingly, held up fairly well, with a broad range of flavors not present in many modern absinthes or pastis. The Guy, as usual, was quite enjoyable, and hopefully an indication of the leaps in quality that will be made as absinthe continues to regain its popularity.
I have some digital photos I will post, but I'm having a few problems. If any of you good folks could give me some pointers, it'd be much appreciated.