In addition to la Grenouille, Stefano cooked up a batch of l'Ancienne at the Zufanek distillery last summer. This is a scaled-up version of "vintage mysterysinthe", of which I distributed samples to 20 lucky people a year and a half ago. The feedback from that sample distribution was mostly extremely positive, with a couple of exceptions. The people that liked it really really liked it. I was among that group that really loved it. I tasted it next to a sample of Pernod Fils 1914 and it compared favorably in my tasting. The "commercial" version has been tweaked a bit but is quite similar to the HG version.
I stole the pics of the labels from a friend on facebook:
The pic of the back label is grainy because I had to greatly reduce the quality so the forum would allow me to upload it.
I thought I knew a big secret that Stefano used Moldavian melissa instead of regular lemon balm, but it's right there on the label!
I just had a small sample
My impressions: The color undiluted is a beautiful clear amber. It has a wonderful baby powder/old leather/grandma's purse fragrance with a rich quality that reminds me of old cognac. As it louches, the fragrance really blooms and fills the area. It's quite lovely and intoxicating, and quite different from either of Stefano's other absinthes. The louche is just perfect, with a lovely layering effect. The taste is quite reminiscent of a great vintage absinthe. Everything is in perfect harmony so none of the herbs stands out above the others. I know some of the details of aspects of things Stefano strove to recreate, and I can't really say what those are, but I can say it was very successful (in my opinion).
Stefano and Martin have told me that there are a few bottles available for sale. They are basically selling these few bottles for the cost of production, actually probably less. I won't quote the price, because I have nothing to do with selling them, but I will say it is less than some other commercially available absinthes (plus shipping from the Czech Republic). I think this is remarkable because of the high cost of some of the special ingredients that are only available in small quantities. If you want a bottle, you should contact Stefano (Conte d'Ugenta) or Martin (martin.zufanek) on the forum.
Thanks much, Steve.
I'm so all over that!
That's wonderful that this and La G. are being saved from extinction, and the icing on the cake is that stuff is now coming from the now former capitol of crapsinthe.
Martin is a great guy :)
Two threads active this morning, you linked them .
I already ordered my bottle of L'Ancienne a couple of weeks ago, gonna pick it up from the maestro on Sunday. Steve's description fits my observations. Whopper of an aroma, pretty louche, distinctive 200% seamless taste, hyper-quaffable. I'm very happy that this is being made and didn't go extinct. While I realize the impracticalities and expense of making it available on an easily accessible scale, I'm happy Stefano and Martin took the risk and did it anyway.
Thank you all!
Ancienne is definitelly a challange. We need special, custom-grown herbal cultivars and complicated distilling protocol which required even hardware tweaks. That's why there will be no hundreds of bottles.
First run is almost gone now and future distilling depends on current harvest. So let's see on September.
How many bottles were made, exactly?
Hopefully, enough so you can still score one.
I know I'm damn glad I did.
I have a reservation. Just under the wire, you might say.
First of all: thank you all guys!!!
We made 80 bottles, but only 60 are on sale, and now I think there are less than 20 left.
Well thanks again, I'm so happy when people appreciate my work, it makes me feel all the effort and sleepless nights were worthy!
Man, I'd love to try some of this!
I stay corrected: I just got news from Martin that L'Ancienne is SOLD OUT, so we can't accept any new order or reservations.
I guess you should go back and make some more then!
I want some!
Not speaking English I rely on Google translate, hopefully not do damage …here are my impressions after tasting. The smell of clean is very complex, full aroma and a broken Mediterranean with a vague hint of barrique Linnaeus, one perceives a slightly sharp note of alcohol that made me think that Absinthe tasting this could be aggressive (Score 8).
The pure color is a beautiful green / brown mottled reflection of Amber, very light and beauty that the idea of a product from an aging important that certainly does not and can not therefore be the fruit of the mastery of production of Stefano (Score 8.5).
The Louche is one of the many merits of this absinthe of a regularity is hard to find in almost all contemporary Absinthe, body, neither too fast nor too slow, perfect (Score 9).
The final color is a green / gray very thick and strong (rating 8).
L'Ancienne tasting keeps all its promises, unlike the known set of such leave of alcohol found slightly pungent smell the taste of this absinthe is soft and round, well balanced, anise does not predominate, while This leaves room for un'Artemisia of excellent quality and a complex spicy aromas, slightly spicy flavor and "Mediterranean" with a new emphasis barricaded really nice and soft which gives the complex and convincingly the idea of a extended barrel aging.
The taste of this Ancienne is firm but never aggressive, complex and leaves a pleasant aroma and lingering on the tongue and palate (Score 8 +).
A really good absinthe, which he feels strongly that the hand of Stefano and consider seriously the best I've tasted modern Absinthe. When asked if you remember a pre-contract I can answer that comes close, if only for the undoubted quality of the ingredients. What it lacks compared to a vintage-are-the softness and roundness of flavor data from one hundred years of aging. Final score 8 + and love to try. PS: the label is my creature.
I see you have an Italian absinthe forum, too…
Undeserving, I am.
But I'm honored.
Maduva, please post it in Italian. The language has a certain beauty that I can appreciate even if I don't understand it very well.
Are you sure you don't mean "remove it before you get banned"?
Well this is telling…
Banned - I guess that went over my head.
The last person to post a review was banned.
Perhaps that was just a coincidence.
Perhaps it was for the best. Perhaps it was last self-aggrandizing straw of linking self with self. Perhaps the timing was coincidence. Perhaps we are not privy to the machinations of the hidey-hole or the benevolent despot.
Perhaps he should have reviewed a Pernot product instead.
I got a better translation but can't edit my previous one, please delete it :) This absinthe has a really peculiar background: few years ago Stefano had the idea of trying to replicate (as much as possible) in a modern absinthe the peculiarities and features of Pre-Ban absinthe. This hard and fascinating challenge developed through several steps, some
When pure the smell is very complex, full-bodied, with a strong, spicy, mediterranenan scent, and some oaky barrique note. There's a slightly biting alcohol hue, that brought me to think it could have some alcohol burn in the tasting.
The color pure is a gorgeous green/brown flecked with amber, very bright and visually pleasant, that makes you think about a great aging, and is the result of Stefano's skills and craftsmanship.
The louche is one of the many advantages of this absinthe, seamless and consistent in a way that is hard to find in any other modern absinthe, thick, not to quick, not too slow, perfect.
The color diluited is a green/gray, very thick and intense.
At the tasting L'Ancienne keep up to the promises, and in spite of the slightly biting alcohol found in the smell, in the mouth this absinthe is rounded and smooth, perfectly balanced, the anise is not not too upfront but is there, and supports an excellent wormwood, followed by a complex mix of spicy and mediterranenan notes, and an unusual oaky flavor that is really pleasant and smooth, and that makes you think about a long barrique aging.
The taste of this absinthe is assertive but not aggressive complex, and with a pleasant long lasting aftertaste.
A really excellent absinthe, that shows Stefano's craftsmanship and that I really consider the best modern absinthe I have ever tasted. If asked if this absinthe reminds of a pre-ban I can answer that it's close, in particular for the ingredients quality. What is lacking is the smooth, round aroma obtaines in more than 100 years of aging.
A must to try and love
P.S. I am the designer for the label
Dynamite design, I wondered who did that.
It is beautiful indeed.
Thank you for the fine review though I'm not sure what you mean by "mediterranenan scent." This is one absinthe I look forward to the opportunity of tasting.
Yeah, in fact I think that review was the only thing of substance he ever contributed to this forum, so I doubt he was banned over that. (even then, the louche of L'Ancienne is not "translucent" as Absinthist claimed, and the repeated posting of the same review over and over again made crystal clear that the intended focus was himself, not the absinthe he was reviewing, so there you have it.)
Boggy was banned here too? I thought you guys never banned anyone? Not a challenge, just a question.
It's very rare.
I'm glad you guys like the label too, I had the idea of minimalist label from the beginning, but Maduva had a LOT of patience with all my endless little variations of size, font, elements, etc. I'm very satisfied with his job!
The eagle has landed, at last.
Now try it, and be amazed.
You sampled the Mysterysinthe, right tongue wagger?
Huh. I may not be as amazed as you suggest then… but who knows!
Well, I'm prepping the first glass as we speak, so I'll know soon enough.
I'm wondering when the next batch will be going out… any news?
Looking forward to it.
Still have most of my first bottle.
Is that because your saving it, aging it, or don't like it?
I'm guessing the first two would apply here.
As far as second batch is concerned, I am ready so the bottles too
I am also incredibly busy these days so all the preorders were handled by Stefano, please write him an email or PM and he let you know all the details.
But also feel free to contact me with your order as well. I'd like to dispatch first packages during next week.
Thank you all.
Cool. The email from Stefano said it would ship December 10th so that's great it's shipping early.
I'd like to speed it up becouse I am in such a time pressure (you know, Christmas sales) that going to Post office around Dec. 10th would be almost impossible. I hope you won't mind getting it sooner
I've had my bottle for weeks (because I bought it from Martin in person), but I haven't opened it yet. I did taste some in Pontarlier and I thought it was even better (to my taste) than the first version, which I already loved. I will post impressions when I open it.
Stefano let me try a sample when he was visiting NY a couple of months ago. I thought the flavor was a bit richer/round than the first bottling, and the aroma was lovely. It didn't taste quite as "old" as the previous bottling, but that's partly because it was only a few weeks old at the time.
The pre-sale bottles will ship December 1st, the official sale will start one week after, even though like Martin said it's not gonna be easy to handle orders in holiday time…
This was one of the reasons why I decided to offer a pre-order.
For any question, let me know
I've let the first bottle settle for a couple weeks now after having a glass or two when I first opened it.
It's really good. I like this even more than the the previous batch.
Yeah. The previous one was excellent at simulating that very old flavor, while this one has that same very old character dialed down about 20%, and also has a more balanced well-rounded absinthe character. It's super-drinkable.
L'Ancienne : le nom d'Absomph quand il s'habille comme une femme.
Vraiment? J'aurais juré qu'il était Fossil de Travesti.
Dis que oui.
Dis que oui.
What the balls?
That's just how they hang.
I have an opinion about this absinthe. . .
fuck off if you think I ought tell it you.
But it's a 4:12 AM opinion so it must be worth hearing!
Middle of the night opinions are the most informed.
It was around noon in the middle of the week when Cheryl, Kirk, Eric and I were standing around a bottle of it last September after all having a taste, and there wasn't much difference, if any, in the opinions among the foursome. I'd rather fuck off than expand upon it, though.
Yeah. Way cool video. Hope this whole thing with the FFA gets sorted though, or we won't get a chance to find out how good this latest batch is. Thanks for the link.
Hopefully secured 2 bottles for consumption. Looking forward to it.
2014 batch available for pre-order. Bet supplies won't last till middle of this week.
This is my favorite batch to date. That ancient strand of Swiss Wormwood really makes a difference.
Received two bottles today and will try it out on Friday, had the 2012 at a friends house and was amazed. Really looking forward to it.
So rob. What do you think?
Well first of all I made a mistake, it was the 2011 that I had tried and I truly liked it. This 2014 not so much, Stefano asked me to let it rest until the end of the month and then try it again, luckily this time frame will be putting back with my friend with the 2011 release.
2014 sucked. I had ordered three bottles. One I opened and the other two I sold one and traded one. Sold one about a year and a half ago. The other one I traded for two bottles of gron opal back in March. Best thing I ever did.
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