L'Amesinthe - My Review

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Nov 2000:L'Amesinthe - My Review
By Don_walsh on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 11:38 pm: Edit

I'm not at all rigid about what ought to be discussed and reviewed here. We can and do discuss and review all sorts of liqueurs, some substantially further removed from absinthe than pastis/unAbsinthe. That's never been in question.

The Spanish absinthes were around long before the present absinthe craze and long before mail order sales.

It is the Czech absinthes that are johnny come latelys solely for the present (mostly UK) market.And by far they are the worst in quality and the most outrageous liars.

By Petermarc on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 03:27 pm: Edit

i completely agree that this forum (and buyers guide) should be only absinthe, but it seems quite difficult not to discuss other similar alcohols due to the interconnected history and the legal status of absinthe...it is my intention
to inform (to the best of my limited abilities) people about what i have found here that i like or think is related to absinthe and its history, so others can try it or just be aware it exists.
as i have said before, this country is full of amazing things that are becoming lost with the encroaching americannibalization of the planet...
i am always thrilled to try something that i never knew still existed, or existed at all, especially when it is made by people who don't seem to give a shit whether anyone except their friends or family ever get to try it...which seems to really be reflected on this forum...as much as i would like to see absinthe become popular, or at least enjoyed openly by those who choose it, pastis has been popular here since the ban of absinthe (because of the ban of absinthe) and the idea of improving on it has been desperately needed...as long as the ban stays firmly in place, people will continue to drink pastis here, much more so than anywhere, but, i can assure you, the steps up from pastis to un-absinthe to absinthe are/can be directly related and those who like pastis really like absinthe...i will continue to humbly attempt to "enlighten" the french to their own heritage, no matter how "jaded", with much that i have learned or had been inticed to learn on this forum...certainly, the french themselves are not doing a very good job, except for a few, and not many are talking about it...but the more high-end pastis's or distilled anis or un-absinthe, the more people will want to know what the real thing is
about, and for now, that's the only thing people in france and many other countries have, unless you take fuzzy legal risks with the fake czech history or the spanish, who have all but forgotten it themselves, even though it continues to be made there (for who? mail order to the usa?)
or "artisanal" la bleue, verte, etc...until it
is legal again, there is a place for the others,
alongside of absinthe, and i feel that good, honest reviews and comparisons will only help those interested in developing a taste and appreciation of the authentic article, which, i believe, has many variations on itself, which makes it just that much more interesting...

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 11:29 am: Edit

alpha-pinene is related to thujone. Also menthol, camphor, bornyl acetate etc..

By Petermarc on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 09:16 am: Edit

i'm getting this desire to cut of my ear...actually, i think pine resin (or pine berries, kind of like juniper berries) is added afterwards with sugar (i didn't even think about it becoming turpentine, yikes!)...it's quite good, a little sweet, hell, i don't know how it's made, but it's made in a distillery, god damn it... and hey, i like retsina, too, don...jeesh, all this pine, no wonder i'm like this...isn't this the same or similar chemical component as that in absinthe?

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 08:49 am: Edit

Retsina, anyone?

By Bob_chong on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 08:48 am: Edit

That's funny--remove the apostrophe to get "Lame-sinthe."

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 08:46 am: Edit

I agree with Ted that the Pastis & Absinthe Substitute section (which is already on hand but needs revision) is or can be useful in educating consumers about what isn't absinthe, as well as dispelling myths like the '(modern) Pernod with wormwood is absinthe' one which is quite widely believed and persistent.

In some cases (like Absente) the situation is quite clear: deception albeit failed deception.

In many others, it is just as clear that no deception is intended and the products are a niche within a niche.

Regarding Versinthe and Amesinthe I wish Federico would slide these over to his pastis page. I think neither Federico nor the maker are trying to hoodwink amyone but Federico seems to be confused about these. They just aren't absinthe.

By _blackjack_ on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 07:56 am: Edit

"(my favorite is made with pine resin)"

Doesn't distilling pine resin make turpentine?

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 07:41 am: Edit

I feel the inclusion of a pastis and absinthe-substitute category with reviews serves to clearly demonstrate that where in doubt, certain products which imply to be absinthe, are not. I feel to omit this would simply promote ambiguity. If certain producers were more honest about their products, naturally, this wouldn't be necessary.

I've received a response from the manufacturer regarding the differences between Versinthe and L'Amesinthe. The translation is as follows:

"The difference between Versinthe and lamesinthe: Versinthe has a slightly more pronounced bitterness. Lamesinthe is more flexible and fresher. The two products result however from a recipe which uses more than 20 macerations of plants. The two products belong to the family of anises."

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 07:12 am: Edit

Petermarc, the Buyers Guide has a category for 'Pastis and Absinthe substitutes' If you are arguing that it isn't absinthe, and it isn't pastis, but ought to have a 'right' to be in the BG, then I'd say sure, review it, and it ought to go in the absinthe-substitute category.

Just my opinion...

Also this is still the Absinthe Forum, and not the Pastis Forum nor the Something Not Absinthe But Not Quite Pastis Forum, and no product has a 'right' to be listed in the Guide, except an Absinthe. On the other hand you have a perfect right to review anything you want.

We occasionally discuss anisette or ouzo in here, but none are listed in the BG nor should they be.

While there is a considerable revival of interest in and thirst for absinthe, everywhere but France, there is no appreciable upsurge of interest in pastis, and/or what I call unAbsinthes, except in France, and except to the extent that unabsinthes are (deceptively) marketed as genuine absinthes -- and even there the primary malefactors have fallen flat on their face.

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 05:58 am: Edit

If you read the literature carefully, these products are made like some pastis, in that they state plainly that they include both distillation, maceration (with essences), and added sugar. These products are not absinthe, and are not claimed to be by the manufacturer. They are described as anise liqueurs (absinthe-free), which is categorized as pastis these days. I don't feel pastis is a dirty word, and categorizing them as such seems perfectly appropriate given the content.

By Petermarc on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 05:26 am: Edit

that's my point, it isn't pastis and it isn't considered absinthe, but it is not made like pastis, it is a distilled anis alcohol, made by a firm that made absinthe in the past and continues to distill products now in the same stills they used for absinthe (my favorite is made with pine resin)i don't think this was taken into account in the buyers guide as an alternative...i agree that we should stick to absinthe, but many people believe (rightly or wrongly) that absinthe is dangerous and will always believe it, and will choose "un"absinthes as a alternative...do they have a right to be considered here in the same light as "real" absinthe?

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 03:58 am: Edit

Petermarc, if they say it is pastis it is pastis. If they say it is absinthe but containing no A.absinthium, it is an unAbsinthe and they are being deceptive.

As it is made in France I think it cannot contain A.absinthium, and nothing in your description indicates that they call it absinthe.

This complicates Absintheur's color-based definition of pastis as caramel colored. But then I don't think Absintheur would have intended that as -- essentialist!

By Petermarc on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 03:43 am: Edit

pontarlier-anis makes a distilled anis in the same fashion as absinthe, and, it is lightly green...i imagine that this is the type of spirits that the pastis-maker may have been referring to, which seems quite different (better?) than virtually all modern pastis...it is surprising to me that it remains a very local drink, but the french are very regional in their choices of everything...what category would this
fall under? it isn't pastis or absinthe (obviously)

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 01:07 am: Edit

All this sort of begs the question of why Federico thinks this is absinthe and is selling it that way, doesn't it?

Remind me what price he sells this stuff for. And if you think a bottle of pastis is worth that.

I can get Ricard for about $15 US here in the supermarket. And that is Bangkok! So I'm rather dubious about the whole premium-pastis 'niche'.

By Tabreaux on Monday, November 27, 2000 - 06:22 pm: Edit

Having the opportunity to sit down and properly sample L'Amesinthe, I have the following to report:

As can be expected, Spirits Corner delivered the goods intact. It sometimes takes a little while to get the booty, but the reasonable prices and prompt communication keep Spirits Corner in the upper echelon of distributors.

Like its sister product Versinthe, this liqueur is intended to be a top-shelf pastis where quality and flavor are concerned. The producer maintains a website, although L'Amesinthe is not yet featured on it:


Pouring over the material on this website, it is interesting to note that the manufacturer indicates that even before the ban of absinthe, there were anise-based liqueurs which were much superior to modern pastis. Although these liqueurs are claimed to contain certain (legal) species of Artemisia (wormwood), other than in historical context, nowhere is absinthe mentioned, and these products are clearly not intended to be absinthe.

The label of L'Amesinthe is a very pretty one. The back label features a lengthy little poem in French about the liqueur, which is too lengthy for me to regurgitate here. It doesn't seem to yield anything revealing, but is a 'cute' way to describe the product and how to serve it.

Since the similarities between the two products (L'Amesinthe and Versinthe) are considerable, I decided to compare them side by side. The aroma of both products is similar. Both products seem to be derived from a similar core of herbal constituents, and identical manufacturing methods. They both have a somewhat sweet, aromatic aroma, and seem almost a bit medicinal, but definitely not unpleasant in any way. The aromatic qualities of each are very similar, with Versinthe perhaps being a little more 'colorful' to the nose.

Both products are dark amber in tint, and both louche heavily. This is apparent upon reading the labels, as both list contents such as essence of star anise, cane sugar, and a maceration of aromatic herbs. Both products claim an alcohol content of 45 degrees (90 proof).

Either product is smooth enough to easily taste neat. Tasting Versinthe yields a liqueur which is sweet, but not overly so, and not pungent. The star anise is tamed enough such as not to mask what shouldn't be hidden. This product does not need to be sweetened any further, if you want to taste the complex layer of aromatic flavors which underly the sweetness, don't ruin it with more sugar. There is a slight medicinal texture to it, and even a very slight bitterness (gentian?). Overall, I find the flavor to be very pleasing, and a complete departure from modern pastis. Upon tasting L'Amesinthe, I found it to be almost identical in flavor to Versinthe, with the exception that it did not seem to have quite the aromatic herbal complexity. I think the herbal content is the same, but the finishing aromatic herbs used in L'Amesinthe don't seem to give as 'pointed' of a flavor.

Undoubtedly, the differences between these two products are very slight, and although they are both nice, interesting, and easy to drink, I'd have to give the slight edge to Versinthe where sheer flavor is concerned. All in all, either is worth trying, and both offer more in flavor and complexity than the current offerings of modern absinthe. The closest product I can equate to these with regard to taste is Segarra, which shares a similar mildly medicinal texture. If you are familiar with Segarra, either of these will give you a touch of deja vu. In comparison to the other recent premium pastis, Oxygenee, both of these products are similar in flavor, sweeter, but equally interesting. As a final note, these products don't taste much like classic absinthe, but differ enough from modern pastis to deserve a distinction.

By Don_walsh on Monday, November 27, 2000 - 10:09 am: Edit

Doesn't naming something "XXX-sinthe" imply absinthe?

Implying it and then failing to deliver it, well, that wanders close to deception.

I think such a product ought to proclaim iyself an unAbsinthe (by whatever name). If it does not...it is open to some criticism.

Versinthe for example...Absintheur says is and was always a pastis. Cool. I accept that and see no intent to deceive, as Absintheur always had this stuff in the right place in the BG.

Federico demurrs, so maybe there is some room left for doubt. Whether to doubt who, well, that's what's still up in the air. My guess is it's an honest mistake, on whoever's part.

By Tabreaux on Monday, November 27, 2000 - 08:24 am: Edit

I've just received a bottle of this and tasted it alongside Versinthe. Let me say that the two are almost identical in flavor and content. Also, the name is "L'Amesinthe", not "L'Amersinthe". It states plainly, "Anis Amer" on the label, and makes no claims anywhere about being absinthe, and as far as I can tell, it most certainly is not.

I will post a thorough review this evening.

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