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> L'Artisanale, Reviewed
hartsmar
post Oct 25 2006, 08:31 PM
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AVERAGE SCORE 89

Reviewed by hartsmar 10/24/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
A clear olive-tinted green.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Very nice. Builds up slowly from the bottom and is fully louched at exactly a 3:1 ratio.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Turns more green after louche. Opaque and really quite nice.

AROMA 27/30
Before adding water there's a clear clean scent of Wormwood with notes of Pontica and a nice blend of anise and fennel. After adding water it becomes more floral and the complexity enhances.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Very rich in character with only one thing I notice as slightly disturbing and that is a rather spicy touch in the finish. It mellows out smoothly though...

TASTE 17/20
A rather typical absinthe-y taste. Nice Pontarlier-style absinthe with what you'd expect from a well made absinthe. No surprises or anything but certainly tasty.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
It's a very good product and it does leave a good impression. I still think there's too little of a "surprise" in it to score a little extra in the taste but that doesn't really matter. It's a nice absinthe.

hartsmar scores L'Artisanale 84 out of 100


Reviewed by Donnie Darko 11/13/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Clear greenish yellow to light olive. It's not a saturated colour, but still nice to look at.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
It starts slow, then builds fast, but doesn't reach full louche (when the clear band of liquor disappears) till a little over 4:1. A lovely cloud forms, mostly opaque, but ultimately could be denser.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Opalescent yellowish white with green.

AROMA 26/30
The alcohol heat hits your nose first, then a curious minty-wood note pushes that away and persists. The absinthe smells strongly herbal, rich and alpine. The alcohol is a tad overpowering but that unique minty punch makes it very alluring. However, the alcohol also smells remarkably clean which offsets the heat and perks the nose up.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Creamy and slightly vegetal at the same time. Initially the alcohol heat overwhelms the mouth feel, which is why a point was deducted, but then an amazingly powerful chewey richness takes over that is unique among any contemporary large batch absinthe I've had, and in line with the mouth coating fullness found in some vintage brands. Did I mention it was chewey?

TASTE 18/20
The taste is delicious. The minty wood taste hits the tongue first, and reminds one of the smell of an alpine meadow (minus the Swiss cows of course). It's immediately apparent outstanding herbs were used, to the point where the beverage tastes as if it were freshly picked off a plant. The alpine salute eventually gives way to an impressive creaminess which I've only encountered in two modern absinthes previously, both of them clandestine. There is clearly some variety of fennel at work here that has a sweet velvetyness which is beyond anything I've encountered before. As the aftertaste is developing, I'm noticing that the mint may actually be part of the wormwood used, which carries miles onward into the aftertaste. It's also super clean. Not one hint of burnt, dirt, funk or any other taste which doesn't belong, and the flavours fuse together quite nicely.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
This is a great absinthe, especially impressive for a first large scale distillation, and entirely unique. In terms of the quality of herbs used, this is something all other absinthes should aspire to. It's obvious only the best herbs were allowed to make it into this one. The criticisms are an ordinary colour, and an alcohol bite which seems to be separate from the herbal luxury as opposed to supporting it. It's also remarkably clean and refreshing, certainly the cleanest tasting large batch absinthe I've had.

Donnie Darko scores L'Artisanale 87 out of 100


Reviewed by justabob 11/17/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Only slightly off green not quite as dark as I was expecting.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
This is about the prettiest louch I have ever seen, forming vertical volcanoes when applying a slow drip. Nearly 4 parts of water are necessary to eliminate the upper green band.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Only slightly off green. Completely Opaque.

AROMA 28/30
The nose when sampled neat is very alluring, minty wormwood and anise. The addition of water fills the room with lovely floral notes.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
It is hard to imagine a better mouth feel, it coats the senses completely. If it were aged a bit more it might get a perfect score.

TASTE 18/20
Hartsmar mentioned a typical absinthe taste, I disagree, for a Pontarlier style absinthe the taste is unique. All components work together as one but are also distinguishable as separate parts. It is clean crisp and refreshing. Oh did I mention clean? Simply wonderful.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
This is the best absinthe I have ever tasted. Eric's process and the wonderful herbs used have set a new benchmark for absinthe making.

justabob scores L'ARTISANALE 90 out of 100


Reviewed by Thegreenimp 11/17/06

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Medium emerald green, clear with no sediment.
Looks pretty to me.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Clouds into a nice louche as a distilled absinthe should, lot's of swirling action as the oils come out suspension. The louche looked denser than what some others had said, so……
I’m happy with the louche.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Turns to a nice pretty, pale green louche.
I’m happy here too.

AROMA 28/30
A little heat from the base alcohol upon opening the bottle, then an excellent wormwood scent up front. In a dose cut vintage glass, the scent really comes alive.
Like the alpine meadow where you first banged Heidi behind the wormwood drying shed.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Very nice, clean herbal flavor with some excellent wormwood and fennel, all balanced together.
I’m starting to think about Heidi again.

TASTE 18/20
The absinthe that drinks like a meal, you want to lick the glass to get every drop.
Makes you want to chase Heidi around the wormwood shed for another round.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10

What can I say that hasn’t already been said, other than the part about Heidi the Swiss maid.

L’Artisinale should be a regular in LDF’s line up.

Thegreenimp scores L’Artisinale 90 out of 100


Reviewed by Absomphe 11/22/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
A shade somewhere in between emerald, and peridot green, it could be a touch more vivid, but still a very attractive color.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Extremely lovely, languid louche, eventually forming swirling spires that reminded me of one of those agitated snow globes of old. This was a beautiful sight to behold, and the end result was a creamy, solid louche, with no opalescence whatsoever.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Nice retention of light minty green, which was quite appealing.

AROMA 28/30
Before the addition of water, the scent was very fragrantly perfumed. After water, this scent really opened up, and rounded out, with notes of really minty wormwood, fine quality anise, and a bit of discernible fennel, creating a truly savory bouquet. If there had been a fruity component here, I probably would have scored it even higher.

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
This is the most wonderfully creamy absinthe I have ever sampled, and I simply couldn't find any fault here.

TASTE 18/20
I agree with Donnie, here, and also have to take exception with Hartsmar. Most better Pontarliers I have sampled are very round in flavor, but that flavor tends to be so tightly bound that it comes across as a whole only, and seems to lack some depth. The flavor here is more dynamic, coming across as both a beautifully integrated whole, and also the individuated sum of its parts, with that wonderfully spicy wornwood coming to the fore, and the anise, and fennel also showing their flavors. On top of this (although I don't know if it was actually in the recipe) I taste the presence of coriander, putting me in mind of Duplais, but even cleaner. There is definitely a bit too much alcoholic heat, but I imagine this will age out, in time.
A marvelous tasting experience, overall, and as Donnie already emphasized, amazingly clean through and through!

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
My favorite commercial release, hands down. It certainly ranks up there alongside the best HGs, and Eric is to be saluted heartily for pulling this coup off using full scale alambics. Cheers, Absinthe Ninja!

Absomphe scores L'Artisanale 90 out of 100


Reviewed by AndrewT 1/4/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
A bright olive green. Natural and beautiful.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
The louche is very sudden. It starts late, but within seconds it's almost opaque, save for a transparent band across the top. If it progressed just slightly slower, I would've gone with a 9.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
This is what I consider a perfect color. Pale green, opaque without being too thick, with hints of blue in the thinner parts of the glass.

AROMA 27/30
Before water - Very crisp and clean. Wormwood and hyssop are detectable and very fragrant.

After water - The wormwood is a bit more present here. There were some lovely floral hints while the glass was louching.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Nice and creamy. The aftertaste is very complex. I found myself discovering new flavors after I'd finished a sip.

TASTE 18/20
The wormwood comes across very well. The flavors all blend very nicely. My only complaint is that the finishing herbs are maybe a tiny bit too harsh.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
A very well made absinthe. Very clean and refreshing. The herbs are vibrant and the base alcohol is subtle. It's a pity it was only a one-time distillation.

AndrewT scores L'Artisinale 90 out of 100


Reviewed by joalco 2/17/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
A really nice yellow-green color, somewhere between olive and peridot. Clear and without sediment - at least in my glass.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
I have a very slow pour (especially when I am reviewing). The l'Artisanale started louching gradually up until about 1:1, and then the louche compounded exponentially, roiling green clouds topped with a thin line of emerald which finally disappeared around 3:1.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
Fully watered, the absinthe retains a deep opaque jade-colored louche.

AROMA 29/30
Before water, there is a slight taste of the heat of the alcohol. Beyond that, it's fields of ripe and fragrant wormwood. For some years I grew Artemisia absinthium in my garden, and on a beautiful summer day, my backyard smelled just like this. Breathtaking. After adding water (approximately 4:1), the heat of the alcohol, while still present, has been moved far to the back. The absinthe fills the room with the fragrance of both grande wormwood and its Roman cousin, along with notes of fennel.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Full, warming, and wonderful, with a nice dryness around the sides of the mouth and tongue which really blossoms in the finish.

TASTE 19/20
Initially, l'Artisanale wants to teach you what fresh wormwood tastes like. Like I mentioned previously, the wormwood in this absinthe is pronounced and of high quality. After the initial wave of wormwood subsides, the flavors of anise, fennel, hyssop, and even calamus dance on the palate, and the Roman wormwood leaves a nice dry finish on the palate. For some, the wormwood characteristics of l'Artisanale may be too much in the fore, but I quite enjoyed this.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
This is a quality product made with care, and it shows in every aspect - the color, aroma, flavor, and appearance.

joalco scores L'Artisanale 95 out of 100


Reviewed by Le Gimp 8/10/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Clear bright olaivine natural, but indicative of oxidation or over temp in coloration.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Kind of murky swampy louche building from 1:1 to a deep green at 2:1 and finally looking more traditional at 3:1.. Builds up fast from the bottom and is fully louched at 3:1 ratio.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
at 4:1 it is fully Opaque and really quite nice.

AROMA 25/30
Before adding water there's slight industrial or solvent like smell, although it is not displeasing. Nice complexity with Wormwood (maybe Pontica) and sufficient anise and fennel. After adding water it becomes more estery (floral) with a nice complexity.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Smooth and velvety feel with a nice richness to it.

TASTE 18/20
Clean with a dominant wormwood flavor followed by anise, fennel and slight alcohol sweetness.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Good overall balance with a bit forward wormwood flavor.

Le Gimp scores L'Artisanale 85 out of 100


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Donnie Darko
post Nov 13 2006, 07:18 PM
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I took an extra long lunch break just to review it....

...review merged in main post...
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jacal01
post Nov 13 2006, 08:47 PM
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As I understand it, personal stash herbs were used.
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Donnie Darko
post Nov 13 2006, 09:12 PM
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I think you misunderstood. I thought some of the colouring herbs were personal stash, but I'm under the impression the big 3 (Anise, Wormwood & Fennel) were all European. I like the Anise used in the Tedouard just a bit better (I'm assuming they're not from the same source, maybe I'm wrong), but the Wormwood and Fennel in L'Artisinale are super sexy. Not sure what else is in there, but whatever it is, it's good.

I didn't get to snag any of the 1797, but I'm assuming it uses at least a few of the same herb sources as L'Artisinale, which is promising.
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G&C
post Nov 13 2006, 09:16 PM
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QUOTE(jacal01 @ Nov 13 2006, 12:47 PM) *
As I understand it, personal stash herbs were used.


I think that was only in the coloring step.


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Jaded Prole
post Nov 13 2006, 09:16 PM
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The wormwood is exceptional.


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jacal01
post Nov 13 2006, 09:25 PM
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Didn't say all the herbs. Maybe I should have added "some". DD wasn't especially specific.
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Donnie Darko
post Nov 13 2006, 10:24 PM
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I was intentionally vague, although maybe more specific than I should be. It's up to Eric, Peter or Oxy if they want to be more specific. There's a LOT I'm leaving out on purpose. I'm just a groupie, not a member of the band. I wasn't even there, just talked with some who were.
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thegreenimp
post Nov 14 2006, 12:38 AM
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Sampling some right now, very nice wormwood.

This needs to be in LDF's regular line up.


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Donnie Darko
post Nov 14 2006, 02:09 AM
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Good god no. I'd have to file for bankruptcy.

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eric
post Nov 14 2006, 05:18 AM
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QUOTE
It's up to Eric, Peter or Oxy if they want to be more specific.




I have been waiting for the right time to weigh in on this subject.



l'Artisanale was intended to be a single batch Absinthe. I really do not know if there will ever be another batch of it made. We were really lucky just to be able to do it at all.



Peter deserves a lot of credit as well as my deepest gratitude for having the vision to make it possible. I cannot begin to say how much I appreciate all of the effort he put into making it happen.



Oxy, Oscar, Skeets, and of course Grimmy were there to share the experience. It was an amazing time and I cannot think of a greater group of guys to have been doing this with.



Special thanks go to Hissykitties for the label design. heart.gif



Damien Hevia and Becky Cash were on hand to take photos. The work they did is absolutely brilliant.



Lastly, The wonderful folks at Distillerie les Fills d'Emile Pernot were just the best. It was such a huge privilege to be able to utilize that historic facility in Pontarlier for this project.



Now for the details.



The Anise was produced in Spain and sourced through the distillery. Nice and sweet, certainly adequate for the job.



The Fennel was grown in Provence, France. Produced for the medicinal trade, it is very low in fenchone and imparts a smooth, creamy sweetness that I feel is ideal for Absinthe.



The Grand Wormwood was grown in Pontarlier. This is the best that I have ever seen. Very pungent and floral with a mintyness that just sings. Really amazing.



The herbs used for coloring, Petite Wormwood, Hyssop and Melissa were grown in my backyard here in Austin. They are of the very highest quality and I believe they really make l'Artisanale a unique product.



When I taste this stuff I cannot help but to be transported back to the distillery and the time when this Absinthe was created. I hope that others can enjoy it as much as I. .





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Steve
post Nov 14 2006, 05:41 AM
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It's really superb. Thanks for telling us some of the details, Eric. Congratulations on a spectacular effort!

Probably never to be made again... damn... damn... damn!!
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ubu
post Nov 14 2006, 07:08 AM
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I really wish I had bought two so I could save one. I was thinking about not drinking the one I bought, but when it arrived the wax seal had broken into tiny pieces. I took it as a sign from the absinthe gods that it was too good not to drink. I haven't tasted it yet but I did smell it. The scent is wonderful and I can't wait to taste it. Thank you Eric and everyone else who was involved.
Hey, he said he doesn't know if another batch will ever be made. That reminds me of High Fidelity.
I mean, if a doctor said he doesn't know if the patient has a chance to live that doesn't mean the patient's definitely going to die, now, does it? I mean, he might live.

I hope there's more than a nine percent chance L'Artisianle will be made again.

Also, can someone post a picture of the seal? I'm curious as to what mine looked like before it was smashed to smithereens. I can make out Pontarlier, but that's about it.


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Donnie Darko
post Nov 14 2006, 01:21 PM
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Funny, mine had no seal at all. Just a screw cap. I wouldn't care if it was shipped in an empty Gatorade bottle though.

It's amazing how minty that wormwood is, and also how not-astringent it is. So often high quality wormwood also has a certain astringency which I've always wondered how to temper, and it's controlled masterfully in this absinthe. I think the Pontarlier wormwood and that Provence fennel were born to be distilled together.
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Marc
post Nov 14 2006, 01:30 PM
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QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Nov 14 2006, 03:21 PM) *

Funny, mine had no seal at all. Just a screw cap.


The were all wax sealed above the screw cap, but some of the wax seals may have broken and been removed prior to shipping.

Now, who did receive his bottle with a green wax seal on instead of the red one ?
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