La Fée Suprise

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Nov 2000:La Fée Suprise
By Absinthedrinker on Friday, December 01, 2000 - 02:06 am: Edit

I tasted La Fée and Deva together last night and they were like chalk and cheese. The Deva I had was an old batch bought several months ago and I do have an unopened bottle bought on my recent trip to Barcelona that I will also try.

Absintheur - Do you have lot numbers available for the bottles that you tasted?

By Malhomme on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 11:11 am: Edit

The last batch of Deva I received has an unusually "alcoholic" nose. Reminiscent of Montana, though not nearly as much of that "Ronsonol lighter-fluid" smell and taste that defines so much of Montana's character (Light-ends?). Anyway, mildy disappointed with this batch. Also, the mint seems to be more tamed in this latest batch.


By Don_walsh on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 05:05 am: Edit

It isn't difficult, if one is constantly ptoducing, to maintain consistency. It's done by blending smaller batches, which serves to level everything out. This is usually done in connection with aging -- see the Chartreuse website for photos of their 200 m long celler lined with rows of aging casks. If La Fee is showing wild swings in flavor, thujone level etc then the pastis maker who makes the stuff isn't taking any such steps, he's just bottling batch by batch.

It stands to reason that if there had already been two batches by September, there have probably been more since then.

By Absinthedrinker on Thursday, November 30, 2000 - 02:12 am: Edit

When I spoke to Delahaye in September she said that there had been two productions runs of La Fée since its launch, and that the second was lower in Thujone (not as a deliberate policy, its just the way the plants asayed). I don't know when the second batch hit the streets but when I tasted the original version no way was it like Deva, I tasted them side by side. I am waiting for an order of La Fée which will arrive today so I will repeat the tasting.

By Thegreenimp on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 10:05 pm: Edit

In light of this discussion, I was curious if any one could tell me if a modern brand such as Deva, will maintain a consistant flavor during a years production run, or does anyone notice a bottle to bottle difference. Regardless of brand does any one notice their favorite brand varying in flavor or level of anise etc. I was just curous how these modern brands maintain a level of consistancy.

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 07:54 pm: Edit

Ok. You'll need to send me only very small samples.

By Absintheur on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 06:58 pm: Edit

Ted, re-email me your contact information, and I'll send you samples from both the bottle of La Fée in question, and the bottle of Deva. I'm pretty confident you'll agree with me on this one.

In fact, I'm very confident. These two bottles are extremely close to being the same.

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 06:24 am: Edit

I've received a direct quote from Green Bohemia concerning La Fee:

"I am happy to officially confirm that La Fée contains Artemisia Absinthium."

Therefore, La Fee does appear to be genuine, and there is no reason to doubt this.

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 02:31 am: Edit

Yes welcome back. Did you manage to leave Vegas with your shirt?

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 02:12 am: Edit

Welcome back Marc!

By Marc on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 01:52 am: Edit

La Fee and Deva are not at all similar. La Fee, among other things, has a bitterness that Deva does not. La fee is more herbal and, to my taste, more complex.

By Artemis on Wednesday, November 29, 2000 - 01:35 am: Edit

"Hmmmmm. I was stunned when I read this."

You're not the only one.

Now I have two tests to do, LaSala/Herring and Deva/La Fee. My immediate impulse was to call bullshit on the Deva/La Fee, but I'm going to see if I can be fooled on the blindfold test. If it tells me Deva and La Fee are the same, I still won't concede they're actually the same; it may just be that I don't have Ted's tasting ability.

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 09:12 pm: Edit

I concur...

By Michele on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 09:07 pm: Edit

are you kidding me? my bottle of la fee was purchased at gerry's about 3 weeks ago and it isn't remotely similar to deva. btw, the friends i've shared them with have commented on their differences repeatedly without any prompting; two of these friends are restaurant critics. just for the record, i like them both very much. (i mean deva and la fee, i like the friends too, of course)

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 08:46 pm: Edit

as far as we know it does contain AA

By Malhomme on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 08:26 pm: Edit

Perhaps I missed this one somewhere, but....

Does La Fée contain Artemesia absinthium (ie., is it absinthe or pastis)?

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 07:50 pm: Edit

I can easily differentiate the two samples I have 10 times out of 10, without even tasting them, no problems whatsoever. Has something changed? That would be tragic for La Fee. I am going to buy a new bottle of La Fee just to compare against the early sample I have now. The sample I have is clearly superior to Deva, no question about it. It has no oily texture and does not taste macerated. Therefore, I regard a step toward Deva to be a backwards one, if such a step has taken place.

By Absintheur on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 07:26 pm: Edit

And, the final count is ten for ten, not counting myself or my girlfriend who were switching out the glasses, fooled by scent.

Eight out of ten were fooled by taste in more than 2/3 of the samples.

I'm down half a bottle of La Fée, but at least we're having a more entertaining "Welcome Back" gathering than we'd anticipated.

So, the question is, does this hold true for all the bottles out there, or is La Fée's blend maturing as the product goes into broader production?

By Absintheur on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 07:08 pm: Edit

"Frankly, I don't see how anyone could confuse one for the other."

If that's the case then we're tasting different products, because I'm now up to eight folks fooled out of eight attempts, regular absinthe and pastis drinkers all. Two more should arrive any minute, and I'll try it on them.

The Deva and the La Fée I've got here are virtually identical.

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 05:44 pm: Edit

Hmmmmm. I was stunned when I read this. As soon as I did, I went back and sampled them side by side. While I agree that La Fee is fairly strongly flavored in comparison to the old products, I can taste the difference between Deva and La Fee right away, and I can smell the difference as well. La Fee is certainly drier and more aromatic. Deva is much sweeter, has a considerably greater proportion of star anise, fewer aromatic flavors, and has a distinctive oily citrus aroma and flavor which is very up front. I disagree that they use the same herbs, and I'll bet Deva is at least partially macerated. La Fee doesn't taste that way to me. Frankly, I don't see how anyone could confuse one for the other. Going back and forth a minute ago, I can easily differentiate one from the other by the aroma alone.

Unless we aren't tasting the same thing, I find these two products to be markedly different.

By Absintheur on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 05:22 pm: Edit

I recently purchased two bottles of La Fée from Gerry's on Old Compton Street, just North of Leicester Square, and I didn't have a chance to taste them until this evening.

Fortunately, I have some friends over at the moment, so I feel a significantly more confident in saying this (four noses agree with mine on this one, but I encourage you to try it for yourself) --

Save their colors, La Fée and Deva are nearly identical. They use precisely the same ingredients, the quantities are virtually the same, and the production method has got to be identical. Here's the way to test it.

Take a half dose of each in an identical wide mouthed glass (absinthe glasses may be too deep for this, try a tumbler of some sort). Add three full doses of water. Prepare yourself mentally... Smell the La Fée, note the woody, herbal, earthy componants that balance the anise... give yourself a moment or two to let the smell of anethole clear your head (smell a lemon if you need to)... then smell the Deva.

The woodiness in the Deva will be ever so fractionally more pronounced, and on returning to the La Fée the second will smell ever so slightly sweet in contrast, but the noses are nearly identical. Try going back and forth, these two products are uncannily similar... uncannily.

Both are noticably sweet -- star anise gives everything a sweet cast, but the Deva has the slightest amount of added sugar. Even the way they fill the mouth is the same.

Both are so saturated with anethole that the milkiness of the louche clings to the sides of the glass as it's consumed. The La Fée is colored darker green (so dark that it's bottle looks olive colored until you've drunk a bit), which shows through the louche.

If I were blindfolded I doubt that I could tell these two products apart more than two out of ten times, they're that similar.

I like La Fée quite a bit, as I'm a huge Deva fan, but I don't know that those opposed to Spanish absinthe would appreciate it, as it's a dead ringer for a Spanish product. It lacks the subtlety and complexity of La Bleue, and is significantly stronger flavored than turn of the century products.

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