Beginner's Review of Tabu and Deva 70%

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived thru April 2001:Beginner's Review of Tabu and Deva 70%
By Heiko on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 06:50 pm: Edit

I can tell you what a Deva official would probably say:

"Our recipe for the 70 is an even more sophisticated improvement over our 100 year old traditional recipe. With the use of even better herbs we managed to make an even more superior product by consulting experts from all over the world.....blablabla"

Do you think they would tell you "well, we just add more alcohol to the Deva 50 oil-concentrate we make by mixing 6 different essential oils with some tap-water and a lot of sugar" ????

By Wolfgang on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 08:56 am: Edit

I don't think it's just more alcohol because you can put more water in it than Deva50 and still have the same level of flavor. It's just more concentrated. I would have to try it again to be sure but unfortunately my bottle of 70% is now empty ( I only kept 1.5 Oz in a miniature bottle to do this comparative test ). If someone can do a similar comparative test, I would like to read your observations.

If someone have a contact with Deva (email or whatever), please ask them about it !


By Perruche_Verte on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 08:35 pm: Edit

Let us know how that works. I tried the Deva 70 too and I don't really like it better than the regular Deva, though it isn't bad.

Can anyone explain why adding more alcohol to the same mix of oils would make it taste better to people? I'll take Ted's word that this is probably how Deva is made.

By Heiko on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 08:19 pm: Edit


you said the Deva 70 is more "full bodied" than the Deva 50 - I agree. This is why I also doubted that it's just more alcohol. But I admit I do not really know how more (good) alcohol affects the taste of a drink.

As I found out recently (thanks Andy for the info!) that I can buy potable ethanol in drugstores in Germany, I think I might experiment with it (mix it into Deva 50 f.e.).

By Wolfgang on Wednesday, April 04, 2001 - 07:50 pm: Edit

Ok, now here's my beginners' comparative review of Deva 50 and Deva 70.

I got two identical glass. I put one ice cube in each (as I usually do), added 1 Oz of Deva70 in one and put a sticker on this glass for identification. I put 1 oz of deva 50 in the other glass. Then I added 4 oz of chilled water in each.

1) the louche is a little bit thicker in the regular Deva 50.

2) Sent is a little bit more peppery in the deva 50.

3) Taste is more concentrated in the Deva 70 glass and more watery in the other one. Deva 70 is slightly more "full bodied" than it's older sister (I'm not suggesting why, I'm only observing).

4) The oil films floating on the water are comparable.

5) Yes, now for sure I can say the 70% version is more tasty (same taste but more concentrated). Is it only because of the alcohol level ? I doubt, maybe but anyway I will probably eventualy buy deva 70 again. I would also suggest to put less water in deva 50.

I had one oz of N.S. one hour before without fealing any special effect but now that I took maybe one fifth in each of my Deva glass, I'm begining to feal this funny feeling. I don't want the green fairy to write this review for me so I will stop it there ;-)


By Tabreaux on Tuesday, March 27, 2001 - 09:57 am: Edit

I'll spike the plain Deva and see what I get. It will be a little later.

By Heiko on Tuesday, March 27, 2001 - 09:50 am: Edit

At least the Deva 70 seems to use cleaner alcohol in my opinion (I only had one glass of MM 70 once, so I guess I have to try it again). From what I can remember, the MM 70 seemed to have this slight smell and taste of alcohol (like window cleaner? Unpleasant alcoholic smell) and even seemed a little thinner to me than the Deva 70.

I have MM 55% on the way from SC, I guess this might be good as well (usually I like the 50%-55% Absinthe better - that was why I was so amazed by the Deva 70: I had never expected I might like it better than the Deva 50)

By Melinelly on Tuesday, March 27, 2001 - 09:39 am: Edit

just had deva 70 last night. have to agree with ted's bit below on all fronts. i'm sure that the cost had something to do with them putting it out, and the flavor is indeed thinner but pretty much the same. also, they probably put this out to compete with mari mayans 70 as far as popularity and press goes. when speaking of spanish brands, mari mayans always gets mentioned in part because of the unique packaging and also the high alcoholic content. well, now deva has a 70 percent absinthe which also comes in a pretty bottle... probably will appeal more to the party crowd there, but mari mayans still has one up on the fact it comes from Ibiza... heh i think i'll put on some dance music now and get funky =)

By Heiko on Tuesday, March 27, 2001 - 09:11 am: Edit


I guess you have access to good ethanol (as you're working with it anyways). So you could give it a try and mix it into Deva 50 to make it 70%. Wouldn't this be the easiest way to see if the Deva 70 is Deva 50 with more alcohol?

I can't do it, because I don't have access to ethanol and I admit I can't tell if the taste of Deva 70 comes from more alcohol as the only experience with liquors of 70% I have are MM and Deva.

By Netsurfer on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 07:28 pm: Edit

Be prepared for a slew of orders :-)

By Tabreaux on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 07:21 pm: Edit

Our products are ready, we are just waiting on the necessary paperwork to catch up.

By Absinthesque on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 07:02 pm: Edit

ps. I must add that I've gone through almost a whole bottle of La Fee, and it has generally left me underwhelmed. It's okay, but a little too syrupy for me. I definitely prefer Segarra and NS, not to mention the La Bleues - Bettina's and Justin's, in any event. Just my 2 cents.


By Absinthesque on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 06:22 pm: Edit

Interesting points Artemis. . .I've just been drinking NS and Segarra in succession, and for the first time, I found the NS to be overpowering in its star anise content, while the Segarra was far more interesting, subtle and complex. I am eagerly awaiting the release of the Jade products. . .Ted, how long 'til those of us who couldn't make it to N.O. will have a chance to sample the fruits of your labors??


By Artemis on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 05:29 pm: Edit

Heiko, solidly under the spell of La Fee Verte, wrote:

"It's strange how taste can change from situation to situation (at least with me) ... "

Not at all. You're not alone. It's that damned fairy. Now most of my posts are somewhat tongue in cheek, but I'm not kidding here. I've talked about this extensively with a couple of friends who drink much absinthe, and they agree - THE DAMNED FAIRY PLAYS WITH YOU!!

I have often drunk a given absinthe, and thought (for example) wow, wormwood with nice complex herbal character. Then tried it again, sometimes the very next night, and tasted NOTHING but anise. And later, it reverts to its original form. Deva and La Fee have both done this to me. Segarra has played the same game to a lesser extent. Also some "DIY" absinthe I've had.

Once I've nailed down the flavor of a beer, for example, it's the same forever. I KNOW what it's going to taste like every time. I cannot say the same for absinthe. I know this doesn't recommend me for the position of absinthe taster. But I'm not delusional either. Yet.

By Tabreaux on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 04:17 pm: Edit

The Deva 50% and 70% taste a little different, but I am pretty much certain that is only due to the fact that Deva 70% contains 40% more alcohol, which positively influences the flavor. Additionally, the 70% tastes a bit thinner than the 50%. This more or less spawns a theory....

If you make a unit cost comparison, you will find that assuming the profit margin (percentage-wise) of the distributor is equal for both products, the producer makes 30% more profit on the alcohol from Deva 70% than Deva 50%. How can this be? Well, Deva 70% contains 490mL of alcohol, while Deva 50% contains 500mL. Yet, the price per mL of alcohol is 30% higher in the Deva 70%. Now, let's just say that Deva 70% tastes thinner because the finished 50% product is 'fortified' with the extra alcohol. If this is done, the quantity of herbs, extracts, or whatever is the same, but alcohol is added (no extra processing cost) and the flavor is thinned a bit. You get less product per order with the 70% (700mL vs. 1.0 L), and the price is higher. Taking the differences in alcohol concentration into account, this works out to about a 30% advantage to the producer by selling the 70% product.

Could it be so? Your guess is as good as mine.

By Marc on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 04:08 pm: Edit

I took a bottle of Deva with me when I went to visit my father a few months back. He, his wife, my Uncle, my daughter and I each drank a couple of glasses. The conversation became very animated and upbeat. My dad later told me he had real good dreams that night.

The one time I smoked pot with my mother turned into a bit of a bad trip. We both got very paranoid. I was experiencing all kinds of angry feelings for her that I had suppressed over the years. I decided to be brutally frank. It was definitely not groovy.

By Wolfgang on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 02:44 pm: Edit

I will try to keep enough Deva 70 in my bottle to compare it side by side with the regular Deva I just ordered... I might not be an absinthe expert but I kept a tasting record of every wine I tasted in the last 3-4 years so I will trust my tongue.

I will post that in about a week.

I agree with you when you say the Deva70 can taste very different if you poor more or less water in it. The glass and the temperature is also important. Personally I like it in a tall champagne glass with chilled water (almost ice). The proportion are about 1:3.5. I also keep the absinthe in the frig. When you taste a drink very chilled, you taste the sugar less (same thing with a Coke...). That`s probably why I prefer it very cold.


By Heiko on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 02:24 pm: Edit

Taste is a wonderful thing as well - it changes from time to time.

I just had a glass of Tabu: first I thought "is this Tabu or did I pour it from the Absente bottle?"
It really tasted just like Absente, super sweet black jellybean. Then, all of a sudden, I felt the alcohol - very quick and strong. I paused and added more water to the Tabu. Suddenly it tasted different, not watery like Absente with more water, but better. It seems to be a concentrate of aroma, with more water I suddenly tasted the bitterness and the X-Mas taste again. Coriander? I'm not sure anymore because I just read Artemis' review which mentioned clove. I like Kretek cigarettes and know the taste of clove, but I can't tell if it's clove that I taste in Tabu...maybe I should do my taste buds a favor and quit smoking...

I can't even tell if it's a normal alcohol buzz I feel or a special buzz - I can only say I felt drunk after just one glass.

I'm just having another glass of Deva 70 as well (only half the amount - I almost poured it straight into the water instead of the empty glass, this made me decide to only drink half a glass...). It smells like Deva 50 now, but doesn't taste like it at all - it's dry with a wormwood taste (at least I think it is wormwood I taste) - I can hardly taste the anise right now.

It's strange how taste can change from situation to situation (at least with me), I guess I can only really comment on it after having had a certain drink in different situations. But still, the Deva 70 is my favorite though I'm not sure anymore if the Deva 50 is not better...but I think it has a little too much anise to be better.

By Artemis on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 01:30 pm: Edit

Language is a wonderful thing.

If you ask a Chinese how's it going, he might say Ma Ma Hu Hu, which literally is horse horse, tiger tiger. But it means "so so" (French "comme ci, comme ca").

By Heiko on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 01:04 pm: Edit


everything ok, you were exactly right. I'm still in the process of realizing that I'm grown up now and that I can see my parents like I see everyone else: as friends, not as the abstract "parents".

Perhaps "absurd" was the wrong word - often words from English are translated into something in German that would be ok for a certain context, but the usage is just slightly different. These nuances of meaning are sometimes still a closed book to me...(this might be the next example: I just looked up the "closed book" metaphor in the dictionary as a translation for what in German would be "a book with seven seals")

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 09:20 am: Edit


If my comments came across as patronising, you have my apologies.


By Heiko on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 06:51 am: Edit

I didn't mean it was absurd because my parents are older (btw my dad is 65, anyone older out there?).
It was just...well, they're my parents. When I was younger, they tried to keep me from drinking and smoking and all the "bad things" - in the recent years they more and more accepted me as a grown-up, so I found out they are not at all different from me. They also like to have a drink (or two, or three...) and now I suddenly get to hear stories from them about "the old days" that they have never told me before.

I found it interesting that my grandpa liked wine and high-proof liquors very much, and my mom suddenly remembered that he and my grandma drank pastis very often (even referred to as "Absinthe", she wasn't sure anymore). I mean my grandparents were living in Switzerland for about 10 years, so it would be possible they even drank La Bleue...
I learn more interesting stuff about my family history through Absinthe, that's amazing!

By Artemis on Sunday, March 25, 2001 - 04:47 pm: Edit

and Happy birthday, Lord H.

By Artemis on Sunday, March 25, 2001 - 04:45 pm: Edit

Once upon a time when I was well into my adult years, but staying with my parents while I worked on a contract in Louisiana (after quite a few years living in other states), I stashed some Belgian ale (several different Chimay labels) in the refrigerator in my mom's laundry room.

I came home one day to find the wire cages cut off and the corks popped, although very little ale was missing. I confronted my Dad, who confessed he was curious to see what "ale" tasted like. I read him the riot act, told him I was saving it to drink with my friends.

"I'm not good enough to drink it?", he asked.

"All right, if you want to drink, we'll drink," I replied.

I brought all the Chimay in and we sat down and drank it. Got shit faced. Laughed like fools. It's the ONLY time in my life I got drunk with my father, who died soon afterward. Thank God, there was that one time.

By Zack on Sunday, March 25, 2001 - 09:45 am: Edit

Happy B-day Hob,

The absurdity seems to be critical input they gave at the tasting. Sounds like he could have stayed home and louched up the dog bowl.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, March 25, 2001 - 09:29 am: Edit


You are obviously a very young man, in 20 years time the same event probably wouldn't seen so absurd to you. Some forumites are probably older than your parents. I find one of the best things about getting older is that you realise just what little difference there really is between oneself and one's parents. Today I added another year to my life, hence the reflective mood.

(Nice review by the way)

By Heiko on Sunday, March 25, 2001 - 08:16 am: Edit

I got a bottle of Tabu and Deva 70% that Friday and had about two glasses of each over the weekend.
First, the Tabu:
It tastes pretty good, in my opinion somewhat like Absente in the background with a little more anise, some coriander and a bitter wormwood taste. It is definitely better than Absente, more complex, not as sweet (even it is still very sweet) and has a definite taste of wormwood - but something underlying reminded me of Absente. The coriander gives it a little x-mas feeling - nice!

Now, the Deva 70%:
I expected it to taste like Deva 50% with a stronger taste of alcohol, but it was different than that! It was good, really really good - much better than MM 70% and better than Deva 50%!
It does taste roughly like Deva 50%, but with less sugar, less anise, and more wormwood (maybe you can just taste the wormwood-bitterness better because there is less sugar and anise which cover it?). In comparison to MM 70%, I tasted less alcohol - it had no predominant smell of alcohol at all and in a ratio of 1:4 with water, I think I couldn't say for sure if it had 50% or 70%.
I was really amazed by it, and it instantly became my new favorite, moving the Deva 50% to the 2nd place. Really an improvement to the Deva 50% formula, not just the same with more alcohol!

Any effects other than alcohol? I couldn't feel any from the Tabu, the Deva 70% was the same as Deva 50%: an awake calmness, comparable with that from green tea or cocoa, only a little stronger. It is for sure capable of covering the very high alcohol content.

I should add that my parents also tried both (I was at home over the weekend, so they just got involved in the tasting...) My dad, who doesn't like pastis or ouzo, said he liked the Tabu better than the Deva, but he isn't fond of it at all...
I don't know which one my mom liked better, but she definitely got a lot more talkative after the Deva.
It was really absurd: Absinthe tasting with my parents, I still can't believe it...;-)

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