Herring: Does all absinthe taste like it?

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archive Thru March 2002: Archive thru January 2002:Herring: Does all absinthe taste like it?
By Anatomist on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 05:53 am: Edit

I agree with A's initial impression of the spanish brands being kind of sickening mixed with nothing but moderately cold water (and especially with sugar). I'm not a big fan of sweets, in general. After that, I hardly ever drank the stuff without ice cubes at least. Usually I used seltzer instead of water, and had it on ice. The Segarra I could drink with water and less ice. Also, I tended to find it more palatable less dilute - like half to 2/3s water.

Eventually, I gave up. I'd like to try LaBleue and La Fee, but I think the bootlegging costs aren't worth it. I expect the Jade products to be worth it, but who knows when they'll be for sale.


By Wolfgang on Tuesday, January 29, 2002 - 05:12 am: Edit

Half a botle of Serpis in one sitting! Well I guess that makes Ali a dedicated absintheur ;-).

Wolf-I don't want that filty water-Fener.

By Heiko on Monday, January 28, 2002 - 05:29 pm: Edit

That should read "from 50% up to 8 parts water" not "80%"....

By Heiko on Monday, January 28, 2002 - 05:28 pm: Edit

It depends very much on your taste (that also might change) how much sugar or water you like.

I went through all the different stages - from only taking 50% water, up to 80% water.

Right now I favor a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio plus a whole sugar cube or even more for every absinthe.
Taking much sugar even in the Spanish makes it kind of like fluid candy. It's very different from without sugar - I never liked that until about two months ago...

Herring is dead? May it rest in peace. But really, I don't miss it too much...
Now I have to order Montana as an easy to drink party-alcohol ;-)

By Alisoviejoguy on Monday, January 28, 2002 - 04:40 pm: Edit

Woah, alright. I had a chance this last weekend to really drink some absinthe. I started with Herring on friday. Drank maybe 4-5 fingers from
the bottle over a period of around 4 hours.

Definitely felt something besides drunkenness. Sort of this clear headed feeling. It was pretty different, and hard to explain. I woke up with the same feeling the next day which lasted for around half of the day. Very pleasant, i felt very relaxed too. Im no novice to hard liquor, (I've had a few bouts with everclear, 190 proof in the past) and was surprised that this really did have something more.

I mixed the drinks to my taste, I only like to have around 40% of it be water, the remaining 60% being absinthe. It makes it strong, but it works better as a sipping drink to me that way. For Herring i let perhaps 4 drops of sugar water saturate the brew, and for Serpis, i let close to 1/4 cube dissolve into it. (I just pour until the cube collapses, then hit it with a few more drops, but don't let any major amount of sugar reach the drink) Personal taste thing i guess. (of course, now you all think im a hardcore alcoholic...)

I tore into the Serpis the next night. I felt some effects, but not as much as from the herring. I don't know what happened, but i ended up somehow finishing off almost half of the bottle of Serpis (well... almost half). I was able to walk (surprise!) and had invented a floater absinthe, by slowly pouring herring over a spoon onto the Serpis. Made a really cool looking drink, with the orange-ish red of Serpis floating underneath the green Herring. Mixed up it looked cool too.

Anyhow, still haven't tried the other three types i purchased yet, but am looking forward to it. I just wanted to share my first real experience with absinthe, and how i ended up drinking it. If you are new to it, (i know there are more first timers out there) give it a try, and work things to your taste, it's pretty cool stuff.

Ill see if i can get a hold of a digicam and show you guys the serpis-herring floater, and how i mix my drinks, if anyone cares to see. (Sorry, it's just damn cool the way this stuff looks. Gotta love the prep work!)

On an off note,
Artemis, it's all cool. I appreciate your posts, and I wouldn't want to make you an enemy. Im glad you don't hold a grudge.

By Artemis on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 07:55 pm: Edit

Alisoviejoguy (what a name!), thanks for not holding my flames in the other thread against me.

The Spanish stuff is not all the same.

Herring and LaSala are light on the anise but a have a strong chemical citrus quality that many people don't like.

Deva and MM are heavy on the anise or star anise, especially MM, but they aren't clean like a really good product, and what wormwood is there is masked.

N.S. is more herbal, which might be a good thing, but not all it could be.

Serpis is in a class by itself. You either like it or you don't (I don't). It tastes red, plain and simple.

Segarra is made with a very simple recipe and would probably be a very good absinthe much like Swiss stuff, except that it's aged in wooden barrels which lend their own butterscotch or brandy flavor that is interesting, but not to my liking.

I think you chose a well-varied range of products, except you left out the best SC has to offer, Segarra (don't know about that new stuff).

When you taste a good La Bleue, or Hausgemacht, or Jade, you're not going to regret your former purchases, because they gave you a frame of reference. But I'll bet you're never going to look back, either.

By Absinthespoon on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 07:54 pm: Edit

AVguy, you must have got the last bottle of Herring. I was looking for something cheap that I hadn't tried yet, so I ordered a bottle (mostly because Heiko said he likes to drink it sometimes). Cristina says they have no stock, and she checked with the distillery and it is not being made any more.

No great loss, I imagine.

By Heiko on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 07:48 pm: Edit

For me, Versinthe is also one of the "sometimes I like them, sometimes not" absinthes. Just like Serpis 65 or NS or Deva, or ... well, just like anything except Segarra which I always like :-)

By Wolfgang on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 06:44 pm: Edit

Versinthe is sickly sweet. So sweet that you can't know if it taste like shit. Not bad but very sweet (and the SAQ added a label that say anisseed essence 2% ...See, the big boys from the Quebec liquor board don't likes little fuckers who add oils to their product while stating it's distilled...)

Note that when my first bottle was finished, I bough another one. I almost dont drink it anymore but I like to have a bottle on hand.

By Rimbaud on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 05:34 pm: Edit

No, some absinthes have more of a cod flavor, while others still taste a bit like tuna. By the way, why the hell did you order 5 bottles of absinthe without ever having tasted it? Seems like you got a little carried away.

~21st Century Rimbaud

By Mvario on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 03:31 pm: Edit

I'm still newbie myself, but I've been at it for about a month now. So far I've tried NS, Serpis, Segarra, and Deva.

I think I know what you mean. To me Deva, NS and Serpis all have a kind of syrupy, anise sweetness thing that coats the inside of my mouth. Segarra doesn't do that to me, it tastes cleaner and more subtle. I like it a much better than the other three. In fact I ordered another bottle (along with a Versinthe to try that and a bottle of Old Way) because I'm almost out.

By Tavarua on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 02:47 pm: Edit

Scratch the Pineapple, was thinking of something else, substitute with minty.

By Tavarua on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 02:46 pm: Edit

You should definitely try Versinthe. It really is a whole different approach to the drink, with hints of melon and, oddly enough, pineapple, but not overpowering. The anis is there, but in the background. If you live in the US, don't buy here, they forgot to add all their herbs. Order it from overseas.

By Wolfgang on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 01:05 pm: Edit

Well, then again about La Fee, it's a matter of taste. Personally I find it maybe just 10% better than the best Spanish.

You know what ? Try them all. If you don't like it very much, throw a big party and give it to your guest, you will have a hell of a good time.

By Alisoviejoguy on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 01:02 pm: Edit

Cool, thanks for the input Artemis.

By Artemis on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 12:43 pm: Edit

"do all absinthes have that overpoweringly sweet anise (black licorice) taste?"

No. NO good absinthe does. And neither does Herring. I guess it's all relative. If you think it's overwhelming in Herring, the Deva and MM are REALLY going to fuzz your tongue up.

"Does all spanish absinthe have that overpoweringly strong licorice taste to it?"

No. Herring doesn't and Lasala doesn't. Serpis doesn't, but that's only because there's something else overpowering in there to mask it.

"Is there a real radical difference in taste between these absinthes"

There is, but it's not worth fretting over because NONE of them are good absinthes. Good absinthe has a balanced, dry, herbal/flowery quality. In my opinion, you're better off putting your money toward a Swiss product or waiting for Jade. La Fee is pretty good; it's nothing like any of the Spanish stuff.

By Alisoviejoguy on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 12:31 pm: Edit

Thanks for the replies everyone!

I think it tastes too diluted with a 1:4+ ratio of water myself. So I gather that this is pretty much the unvarying universal taste of absinthe, and that's that? I understand that there are other brands, which will taste different, but are all of the brands I mention earlier all very strong on the anise, and sweetness?

It wasn't horrible, just overpowering. I always heard that absinthe was bitter, which is why you add sugar. The sweet licorice flavor was a surprise.

Just received the rest of my SC order. Here is what I got:

Absenta Deva
Absinthe Serpis 65%
Absinthe N.S. 70%
Mari Mayans 70º

So wolfgang, you think I should try Serpis 65% next?

By Dvahacker on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 11:58 am: Edit

Ok then... What about Deva 55% and 70%? How are they in regards to sweetness? What about Czech Absinthe? Should one caramelize the cube? Does it make a difference?

I should get mine within the next 4 days, and I'd like to know what to expect.

Thanks in advance!!

By Wolfgang on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 11:30 am: Edit

The Spanish have a tendency to use way too much anis (oil). Absinthe is an anis based drink but many producers forget that it should be also balanced with other herbs...

Unless you totally hate this licorice taste, wait. You may get use to the taste. Your best bets are Serpis and NS. Play with the water ratio, some people like it 1:3, some like me prefer more water (1:5 plus some ice). If you got Serpis 65, try 1/4 sugar cube or even 1/2. With NS, try it without sugar.

Good luck.

By Heiko on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 11:26 am: Edit

First of all: No.
No absinthe are created equal, some differ so much that you will wonder how they can all be called "absinthe".

Herring doesn't have the most pleasant taste - but there are Spanish that have a stronger liquorice taste...

Herring is more a bit on the chemical/lemon side, but you can drink it by the liter (at least I can)

By Verawench on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 11:26 am: Edit

I will answer with a quote from Petermarc (see the "..to speak of many things" thread):

"there is a dry sophistication that those who search out fine alcohols like scotch, cognac/armagnac, fine marcs, etc. will discover, when the star anis cloud is lifted from their perception of what absinthe is supposed to taste like..."

In short, the answer to your question is no.

By Alisoviejoguy on Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - 11:19 am: Edit

Well, got some of my SC order in yesterday. I opened the bottle of Herring to give it a taste test.

Im totally new to absinthe, so this if my first taste, but do all absinthes have that overpoweringly sweet anise (black licorice) taste? It was too much for my stomach, after
two glasses, I felt kind of ill from the sweetness of the drink, (first one had about 1/4 sugar cube in it, the second glass had no sugar)

Does all spanish absinthe have that overpoweringly strong licorice taste to it?

Im debating if I want to open any more of the bottles I purchased (serpis, deva, mm, ns70) and just give them out as presents to friends who might like it a bit more then I did. Is there a real radical difference in taste between these absinthes?

Thanks for the input!

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