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> Doubs Mystique Carte d'Or, Reviewed
hartsmar
post Dec 10 2007, 08:09 AM
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According to Absintheclassics.com:
Doubs Mystique "Carte d'or" is a superb ultra-premium absinthe distilled in century old alambics in Pontarlier, in the heart of the Doubs region of eastern France, the historical home of absinthe.

Our aim in formulating and distilling Doubs Mystique Carte d'or was simple: we wanted to make, absolutely without regard to cost or technical difficulties, the finest, most complex, most delicious absinthe possible.


AVERAGE SCORE 86


Reviewed by Donnie Darko 12/3/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Really nice lemony olive tint. Clear. Different from other perfect absinthe colours, but still flawless.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
A very slow iced water drip brings up clouding from the bottom, though the cloud is not thick or dramatic.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Cloudy limey yellow. An inserted chopstick is not entirely obscured as in absinthes with the thickest louches, so as a result it doesn't hold the light that well, but it still has a very beautiful green colour when fully louched.

AROMA 27/30
Neat, there is that familiar Pontarlier wormwood mint/musk, backed up by some alcohol heat. Louched, that fantastic wormwood really blossoms. Not room filling (it would need more anise to push it that far) but you'll notice it a few feet from the glass. Clean, without any hint of process problems.

MOUTH-FEEL 6/10
More tonic than smooth, there is a spicy kick that may either be from alcohol or from an ingredient. Once one gets over the initial bite, there is a luxurious velvety feel that eventually overtakes the abrasiveness.

TASTE 16/20
Wormwood galore. For anyone who liked L'Artisinale, this is a welcome reminder of that absinthe and its wormwood kick, though this lacks the creamy fennel component. There are also some lemony tones along with some other verdant herbal tastes that are impossible to put my finger on, but are reminiscent of Eichelberger Verte. The wormwood dominates them all, however. There is a bitter medicinal tonic quality to it, but thanks to that wormwood, it's not off-putting and surprisingly drinkable, though it might benefit from a sugar cube.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
If you like wormwood, you'll like this Absinthe. The emphasis is on raw verdant herbal power as opposed to creamy smoothness, and is a pleasant alternative to absinthes that overly emphasize Anise. This wouldn't be a daily drinker for me, but it nonetheless shows off stellar wormwood better than wormwood found in most other absinthes. While not wholly balanced, it does balance all the other herbs that are not wormwood nicely. If you like Ike Verte then you'll like Doubs Mystique. It needs help in the mouth-feel and louche departments, but otherwise is a high quality absinthe.

PERSONAL NOTES
The only thing it has in common with its predecessor Doubs is the shape of the bottle and the name.

Donnie Darko scores Doubs Mystique 84 out of 100


Reviewed by C.F. Blok-Andersen 11/17/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Mystique is a very natural-looking absinthe that is a subtle, soft gold color with light-green hues. Mystique is crystal clear with zero sediment.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
The transformation is slow and entrancing with a nice clouded opal base and thin clear surface. The louche looks delicious!

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
This is one of the nicest colors I have seen in a modern absinthe. The color after water is entirely natural-looking with green and yellow hues. The opaline is rich and not translucent. What a nice color!!!

AROMA 28/30
Wow! Both before and after water this is a beautiful smelling absinthe that is balanced, floral, and as fresh as the spring air! What an aroma!

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
This mouth-feel is think with spice and tang. The feel of mystique is fresh and unique.

TASTE 18/20
Mystique is delicious and fresh, with initial notes of wormwood and spice followed by a back-end of balanced anise and fennel. This absinthe is not an anise bomb. For those that want to taste delicious, balanced wormwood notes, then try this fine liqueur.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 6/10
Overall, this is a superb, complex absinthe with quite the herb bill. Mystique is refreshing and extremely well-balanced. However, neither the shape of the bottle nor the twist cap are as elegant as I would expect from such a high-quality marque. My gut tells me that both aspects may change in future productions. I realize that the guidelines focus more on the character of the spirit itself, but I find the complete aesthetic important when appraising an absinthe.

C.F. Blok-Andersen scores Doubs Mystique 89 out of 100


Reviewed by Absomphe 11/21/07

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Very nice medium peridot green with slight hints of yellow.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Slow and steady with swirlig trails that are lovely to behold, but could be just a little thicker.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Light minty green with whitish tones. It's a very appealing shade, but slightly on the pale side, like a verte/blanche half 'n half.

AROMA 28/30
Minty, and very floral, redolent with that wonderful Pontarlier wormwood, but short of room-filling, or I would have tacked on a point.

MOUTHFEEL 9/10
Nicely firm, but not creamy, very much in keeping with the refreshing quality of this absinthe.

TASTE 18/20
Extremely harmonious in flavor, only the fragrant and floral wormwood really stands out in this beautifully crafted creation, and it makes the whole experience, carrying into a very long, and sprightly finish. There is detectable anise, and fennel (which serves as a bridge to that killer wormwood), but they are clearly the ancillary players whose ultimate mission is to showcase that herb that absinthe is named for.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Doubs Mystique is a wonderfully refreshing absinthe, and a most successful effort obviously aimed at the sophistacated modern palate, and brilliant at featuring its shining star, Pontarlier wormwood. Although the louche is not quite as creamy, it definitely reminds me of L'Artisinale in some aspects (not quite as fennel forward, or creamy in texture, but a little smoother, and also wonderfully Pontarlier wormwood-forward.
What an amazing transformation from its earlier namesake!

Absomphe scores Doubs Mystique 90 out of 100


Reviewed by Chris 12/18/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Pretty, natural light shade of green; very clear and bright.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
A little slow to start; nice pretty trails with the first few drops of water but nothing spectacular.

COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
Pale lime green, more on the opalescent side than opaque; not as thick as I would have hoped.

AROMA 18/30
Before the addition of water the Mystique smells of wormwood and anise combined with an off putting muskiness. After water the scent is much the same, more floral but the muskiness is magnified.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Decent; not mouth coating but not overly thin.

TASTE 15/20
Spicy with a nice balance of bitter and sweet (this definitely does not need sugar). There is an odd pine-like taste that is present and which lingers for some time.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 7/10
A decently made absinthe but not one I would consider "ultra-premium".

Chris scores Doubs Mystique 71 out of 100


Reviewed by jmark 1/10/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Beautiful tone of peridot green. Bright, clear, natural.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
Nothing to write home about. Like the Roquette 1797, a slow clouding, but no stage show on this one.

COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
Developed a thicker opacity than expected from the lethargic louche. Color is well-balanced but I'd like to see it thicker.

AROMA 22/30
Before: Well-balanced, light, clean, not too much alcohol. Slight wormwood advantage, but well apportioned. After water: No aroma traveling from the glass, the anise steps forward a bit. Nothing unpleasant, just not a whole lot to mention.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
I seem to be alone in finding this a very creamy mouth-feel. Much, much creamier than expected. Round, coating, not oily. Very, very nice.

TASTE 18/20
Very interesting absinthe. Light, refreshing, a lot of complex interplay between all the herbs. Very, very fresh tasting. I wish for more of a bitter linger on the tongue. This is easily the lightest flavor profile I've tasted with this much going on under the surface. Most of the really complex absinthes are also less refreshing.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
I think the bottle is crass, but I would drink this absinthe regularly. Absent a little more bitterness (a plus in my book), I would compare it favorably to the Serpis 65, which isn't one of the very finest brews, but I like it a lot.

jmark scores Doubs Mystique 81 out of 100


Reviewed by Wilson 2/14/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Like looking through a peridot stone. Crystal clear. I can not fault it at all.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Cool looking contrails dancing in my glass and then starting to cloud hypnotically, slowly from bottom to top. A clear green layer on top till about 1:2, when it went away.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Beautiful pale yellow green. Opaque with opalescent swirls of green and gold. Small dots of oil on the surface. Not enough to make rainbow sludge. Has nice "legs" each time I swirl the glass.

AROMA 28/30
Nose to bottle, wonderful mix of herbs with the anise coming forward on the 3rd sniff. Poured in glass, and it is still great. Can't help but wonder how I can smell so much, but no alcohol scent. After louching, the scents tone down to levels where I can start to sort them out. The wormwood comes front and center. Makes me grin from ear to ear every time I sniff the glass.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Like sipping a White Russian made with Half and Half. (milk/cream brand) Very think, creamy and smooth. Coats the whole mouth then goes away as it should after swallowing. Nice mild alcohol bite at the end. Just enough to get your attention and keep you reminded not to chug-a-lug this stuff. Very slight tongue numbing effect. Almost not there.

TASTE 18/20
Oh, my God! The anise and spice start the show with just a hint, then the wormwood knocks them out of the way and says, "Here I am!" That wonderful bitter taste is heaven. It is just sweet enough to not need any sugar.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Wow! Wow! Wow! I keep using the word "wonderful," and thinking it is to excess, but it describes the feeling I have each time I take a sip. The nose nears the glass and my mind's eye takes me to crunching through the last bits of snow in the mountains in spring. I see wildflowers and evergreens. This is great stuff and I will buy more when I can afford it. Too expensive to be my regular, but I will have to have more.

PERSONAL NOTES
This one is different. It is not for everyone, but for me, it is a favorite.

Wilson scores Doubs Mystique 89 out of 100


Reviewed by OCvertDe 3/25/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Bright, clear, brilliant green; very rich, very natural. Perfection.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Wonderful slow louche. Strong, turbulent oil trails that swirl and balloon as each drop of water plunges a new storm of contrails through the last. Doesn’t begin clouding until nearly 1:1, and very gradually thickens to fill the glass until fully opaque near 3:1. A fantastic show with wonderful layering throughout.
I still fantasize about an absinthe that louches like this one only with more definition in the smoky wisps, but I’m far from disappointed with this.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
Very mature, natural, semi-pale green; fully opaque with nice shading and nuance. As it should be.

AROMA 27/30
Fresh and clean, herbal and complex with only a pleasantly mild hint of a medicinal quality or alcohol.

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
Excellent. A smooth, rich, creamy numbness that all hits at once in a perfectly balanced harmony of sensations. I could drink this for the mouth feel alone until I passed out, and as a rule I’m a very conservative drinker.

TASTE 19/20
Almost exactly the way it smells, only better. Deep, rich, very smooth- there’s just a faint hint of bitterness, alcohol base, medicinal and herbal intensity to keep it interesting. Not too heavy nor too light, not too herbal or too sweet, not too unconventional nor too traditional, not to violent nor too bland… it's just excellent. Each individual ingredient can be tasted with distinction, but none step on the others. If you’ll pardon the oxymoron: simply complex. Unobtrusive enough to be sipped without excessive pondering, and complex enough to dwell on if you desire to. Very refreshing. It elicits thoughts of a brisk spring day as much as a cozy Christmas evening- in other words, this one tastes good any time no matter what kind of mood you’re in, it will adapt. Fantastic.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
When Duplais named one of their products “Balance”, they either didn’t of know of Doubs Mystique, didn’t foresee Doubs Mystique, or simply hoped none of their customers would. To my mouth, THIS is a perfectly "balanced" Absinthe that excels in every area. Expertly crafted; it will give as much or as little attention back as you give to it, with astounding flexibility. I cannot say enough about how much I love it. This is the first absinthe I’ve ever considered buying in bulk, and I intend to. Until further notice, this is my favorite libation bar none. I’m not sure it can be improved upon, and I won’t be disappointed if I ever discover this is as good as it gets. My only complaint is that I have six other different bottles of absinthe on my counter, and all I want to drink is this.

PERSONAL NOTES
Based on one 30ml sample mixed 3:1

OCvertDe scores Doubs Mystique Carte d'Or 95 out of 100


Reviewed by Bruno Rygseck 5/6/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Brilliant flawless golden green. Natural verte in progress of turning feuille morte. I cannot score it lower because I cannot find anything wrong with it and the color is perhaps the most beautiful I have seen so far in green absinthes before dilution.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
The color in undiluted part is emphasized by the almost rainbow-like layered louche that formed as cold water slowly dripped from the brouilleur. Squirting some water into it produced stunning stormy clouds. Again, I could not find anything wrong with it and it was so completely satisfactory so full points it shall be.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Proper and nice slightly yellow citrusy opaque green.

AROMA 25/30
Before water, very little alcohol aroma but mostly "aristocratic" buttery solid herbal mixture, difficult to distinguish any single herb. After water the principal absinthe herbs came forward. Altogether juicy and rich in wormwood.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Silky and round, could be a bit more biting but very fine as it is.

TASTE 17/20
Very well (almost too well) balanced -- no single taste masks any other, Aftertaste is gentle and anisey, each mouthful calls for another one (and the glass is soon gone…). I would guess that there is only green anise in its recipe.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Doubs Mystique is a high-end verte absinthe that goes to recommend to anyone. What else could I say.

PERSONAL NOTES
A swirl glass is highly recommended to enjoy the wonderful color before and during dilution. It looks like a jewel, really.

Bruno Rygseck scores Doubs Mystique Carte d'Or 87 out of 100


Reviewed by Brunswick Green 12/18/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Amazing yellowish green. Bright but still deep and natural.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Delicate swirling goes on forever before the cloud gathers slowly and evenly.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
A milky version of the color before water. A little bit transparent.

AROMA 25/30
Fills the room with a tangy touch of citrus fruit over the Pontarlier wormwood, balanced by creamy anise when you get your nose in there.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Light cream with a perfectly dry finish.

TASTE 17/20
The Pontarlier wormwood, anise, fennel balance seems perfect to me. Nothing sticks out. A little bit of sugar can bring out even more warmth and depth.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Harmonious, complex but not distractingly so. Deep and intricate but stays true to what absinthe is all about.

Brunswick Green scores Doubs Mystique 86 out of 100


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Steve
post Dec 19 2007, 02:26 PM
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Chris: out of curiosity, what's an example of an absinthe you like?
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Chris
post Dec 19 2007, 03:44 PM
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PF1901, Edouard, Clb, Eichelberger, Blanchette, ect…

I realize my score is much lower than the other three posted, but I feel it's an honest appraisal. It isn't that I think the Mystique is a horrible absinthe, I just think that many of these absinthes are rated far too high; even the best available commercial brands today I wouldn't rate over the mid 80's. With so many scores in the high 80's to 90's where is there to go, and where does some of the best vintage fit into this? Is the Pernod Fils 1914 only a few points better than the Roquette 1797?
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speedle
post Dec 19 2007, 03:52 PM
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True dat. Except…I am surely in the minority on this when I say that I don't the the average pre-ban (or even one of the millions of bottles of Pernod Fils was so wildly better than the best CO today, at the time it was bottled. So while the scores may be a tad overly high, the limited disparity between the two doesn't bother me.

Oh, and Chris, the etc at the end of your list makes it seem a bit..well arbitrary or perhaps made up on the fly to me.


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Steve
post Dec 19 2007, 04:57 PM
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I agree that in general scores tend to be a bit high. I always like to leave room at the top for something I haven't tasted yet. I don't do many reviews but now I will have to do one for the Mystique to bring the score up, because it's definitely in my top 2 preferred absinthes.

I wonder what the "muskiness" is that you describe. To me, it's one of the cleanest ones out there.
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Donnie Darko
post Dec 19 2007, 05:06 PM
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I think Chris's review is good. He doesn't like muskiness in his absinthe (although I'm pretty sure that aroma he penalized it for is that distinctive Pontarlier Wormwood aroma, which is not noticeable in any of the absinthes he likes, and which many of us would perceive as appealing as opposed to off-putting), and so he scored it that way. There's nothing wrong with that.

I don't think modern absinthes are scored too high though. Just because nothing yet is quite equivalent to the best pre-ban brands doesn't mean there aren't plenty of absinthes that IMO deserve scores in the mid 80s or even higher. Obviously the top shelf of 90+ absinthes are very far and few between, but I have had a few absinthes I think deserve a score of >90. IMO our scores are line with what one would expect from Whisky scoring or wine scoring. Products that we would consider of good quality fall into the mid 80s, products that are drinkable but need work are in the 70-80 range, and pretty much everything 70 and below really isn't worth the time or money of most discerning drinkers. Anything in the high 80s-low 90s is fantastic, and anything that hits mid to high 90s is a revelation in a glass.
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Steve
post Dec 19 2007, 05:08 PM
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QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 19 2007, 09:06 AM) *
I'm pretty sure that aroma he penalized it for is that distinctive Pontarlier Wormwood aroma


Yeah that's what I thought.
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Chris
post Dec 19 2007, 05:10 PM
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I don't know what it is but I find very off-putting; and others I have drank it with have described the same thing.

I hope you do post a review, and other people as well; the more there are the better and more acurate the averages will be.
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Donnie Darko
post Dec 19 2007, 05:16 PM
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I think more reviews will help average it out. I'm not even sure the maker of Mystique would score it as high as Absomphe did, but it's still a quality absinthe, I like it and I think it deserves a mid 80s score.
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Chris
post Dec 19 2007, 05:17 PM
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Isn't the same wormwood used in the Roquette 1797?
If it is I don't think that is it because I find the aroma of the 1797 very appealing.
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Absomphe
post Dec 19 2007, 05:23 PM
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QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 19 2007, 09:16 AM) *

I'm not even sure the maker of Mystique would score it as high as Absomphe did, but it's still a quality absinthe.


As I responded to Grim yesterday, if I were to rate it at this point, I would give it about an 87. I find it perfectly balanced, but the supporting herbs leading up to that wormwood crescendo are a bit more muted than I would like.

Since your re-appraisal raised the score to an 84, our assessments of the Mystique are not really all that divergent.


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post Dec 19 2007, 05:47 PM
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Sounds very good and I look forward to trying it. Seems like it'll benefit from a little aging.


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post Dec 19 2007, 06:11 PM
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QUOTE(Spoon @ Dec 19 2007, 08:57 AM) *

I wonder what the "muskiness" is that you describe. To me, it's one of the cleanest ones out there.

I agree. As much as I like the Mystique, there are still things I could ding it for in a thorough review. But not muskiness.
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post Dec 19 2007, 06:27 PM
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I associate muskiness more with the Jades than with any other absinthes I've tried, and not necessarily in a negative way. I think it's mostly a function of the base Ted uses, and after the final versions of the VS, and the Edouard were released, I found it to be toned down enough to be quite appealing…nothing like that characteristic in the Mystique, though.


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post Dec 19 2007, 07:02 PM
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That's not muskiness, that's funk.


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