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> Absinthe Roquette 1797, Reviewed
hartsmar
post Dec 10 2007, 10:43 AM
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According to Liqueurs de France:
The Roquette 1797 is a complex, unusual and spicy absinthe, based directly on a late 18th century manuscript recipe. It represents the first serious attempt in the modern era to recreate an absinthe from the very birth of La Fee Verte, when the drink straddled the line between liquor and potion, when it was as much magical and mysterious elixir as fashionable aperitif.

The 1797 contains the classic trinity of anise, fennel and grande wormwood, together with several other herbs, some of which will be found in no other commercially available absinthe. The absinthe is batch distilled in Pontarlier in an antique alambic, and is available in only very limited quantities.

The oldest distillations in the final Roquette bottling are nearly 18 months old, the youngest around 6 months, and this degree of maturation will be preserved in on going production.

AVERAGE SCORE 80


Reviewed by C.F. Blok-Andersen 11/18/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
1797 is exceptionally bright and clear and a light-green that looks more yellow than green at particular angles. This is certainly a natural-colored absinthe without any sediment.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
As ice water drips from a fountain, the louche is slow to evolve. Initially the union yields an oil-like effect, but eventually the opaline takes. Overall, this is not spectacular louche.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
1797 is light, translucent and more straw-colored than green, yet the lightest jade tones are there. This is a very natural-looking absinthe that stands apart from others in it's uniqueness.

AROMA 27/30
Before the addition of water, 1797 has a mysterious aroma that's alcoholic and medicinal. The scent is very potion-like. After the addition of water we have a much nicer bouquet of wormwood, fresh anise, with hints of coriander (although I am not sure if coriander was an ingredient). What an amazing transition from pungent to pleasant!

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
1797 yields a nice, warm mouth-feel that is exceptionally smooth, sweet, and delicious at 3 to 1!

TASTE 20/20
It doesn't get much better than this! Roquette 1797 is incredibly well-balanced and smooth at 150 proof. The forefront is bitter-sweet maintaining a delicate, spicy finish that is second to none placing this fine opaline in a class of itself. This absinthe is very fresh, delicious, and fulfilling.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
This is a timeless absinthe that is as delicious as it is refreshing. One finds it hard to succumb to just one glass as the senses heighten half-way through the first. What a success! I am grateful to our comrades David and Peter who have recreated a true masterpiece. If this is what Archive Spirits has to offer in future productions, then modern, absinthe distillers have their work cut out for them. Roquette 1797 sets a new standard in absinthe distillation. Finally, the bottle shape and wax seal complete the package and perfect the aesthetic of this fine product.

C.F. Blok-Andersen scores Absinthe Roquette 1797 92 out of 100


Reviewed by Absomphe 11/21/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
A really appetizing bright, and vivid green which is absolutely natural looking.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Initially, I thought there was no way that this absinthe could rate high in this category, as it seemed to take an eternity for the louche to begin to form. However, after a patiently slow drip of about ten minutes duration, I was rewarded with a much thicker louche than I could have imagined, and the slow unfolding that I observed was worth the price of admission.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Very appetizing pale minty green.

AROMA 28/30
Positively room-filling, and incredibly appetizing perfumy melange of spices…it is even more difficult to pick out the individual herbs here than it was in the case of Doubs Mystique. The overall aromatic profile definitely leans toward the vegetal, and slightly medicinal, but I mean this in the best possible way. This is one medicine I would have looked forward to taking BIG TIME during the late 18th century. I won't even hazard a guess as to what the pre-commercialization herbs are, but they certainly are intriguing, and ingratiating on the olfactories.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
This is thicker (almost bordering on creamy) than I would have expected, and certainly ample enough to support all the spiciness that suffuses this absinthe.

TASTE 18/20
A major improvement on the original 1797 (which was quite tasty) this version obviously benefits from longer aging, and some really postive tweaking. It is still quite eccentric, and certainly won't appeal to everyone, but I find it to be beautifully crafted, and incredibly appetizing. The rough edges of the original have been delightfully smoothed over (there is no metallic, or burnt component, whatsoever, and the balance is remarkable for such a flavor-packed herbal dynamo).

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Kudos to Oxy, and Peter for a beautiful imbibing experience!

Absomphe scores Roquette 1797 89 out of 100


Reviewed by Grim 12/20/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 6/10
Not consistent with a scented spirit that is further aromatized by the coloring step. More of a green tinge than the tourmaline alluded to by sources of the preban era. On par with the depth of discoloration that the tails of a distillation with Pontarlier A.a. provides.

LOUCHE ACTION 6/10
Without density and therefore it will not be fully be realized until at or beyond a 3:1. Tasted blindly, without being prompted that this is the replication of a medicamen more than a beverage, one might say the louche is disappointing. This absinthe is more unctuous than milky; akin, more, to the front-end of the cœur in an absinthe distillation than the whole shebang.

COLOR AFTER WATER 5/10
At a 3:1, the color is hardly existent for the fact that the troublement is so weak. This absinthe does not whiten, it refracts light in hazes. No offense, like bath-water… so glints of color are sparse and indefinite. Maybe I don't see as well as Absomphe.

AROMA 18/30
There is no fruity anise nose, or dominant wormwood aroma, the scent is characteristic of all the absinthes distilled at the Pernot Distillery (a big flaw in l'Artisanale, that mellows but never completely disappears). Dripping a few drops on the back of a spoon, and paying close attention, I don't smell empyreuma, or even an excessive tinge of queue. The scent is, however, muted, dumb, un-inviting. More salty and low-toned than floral and herbaceous.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Tastes as though anise dominated the macerate but fell short of the receiver. Somewhat cool, but no more dense or coating than a vodka (and you can sense the base in the finish at a 3:1).

TASTE 16/20
The dryness of this absinthe would be corrected with more essential oil from the anise/fennel. Not vegetal, completely, but certainly toughened by root-herb and/or A.a..

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
This is absinthe could be much more, and it wouldn't take much. Nothing is aggressively disharmonious. I suggest that anyone tasting this absinthe not make the mistake of associating its weakness, for subtlety. Complexity is not a forward profile of the most volatile part of the distillate...

Grim scores Roquette 1797 66 out of 100


Reviewed by jmark 1/10/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Paler than most, though natural looking. Pretty balance of green & yellow, maybe a tad towards the yellow. Clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 6/10
Mid-rate drip from a see-saw brouilleur. Very slow louche, no drama, just a slow, general opacification. I found that a slow drip is key to getting any louche at all.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
I give it a nudge, as it eventually achieved full opacity, though never looked what I would call "milky." Pale, yellowgreen and watery.

AROMA 28/30
Before water wasn't too much of a treat, though not bad. Alcohol was strong and the other herbs seemed balanced enough to not stand in front of each other. A nice mix.

After water…wow! Full bloom of wormwood I could smell from feet away. Herb, grass, very light, no trace of funk. Great promise in this aroma.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Seems caught somewhere between the oiliness of a macerate and the creaminess one should expect. Not unpleasant in any way, but simultaneously round and watery.

TASTE 16/20
A lot to speak for it: lots of wormwood without being the full artemisia-bomb that always turns me off. Herbs seem obviously of a high quality and besides the step forward of the wormwood, all the rest seem nicely balanced. I like the anise in the mix rather than up front the way this is, BUT…this is too sweet for me. Almost tastes pre-sugared.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 7/10
Louche, mouth-feel and taste are the hat-trick for me, and this doesn't really do it in those arenas. I like it fine, it will be a nice flavor to mix up the taste buds from all the others. It is refreshing, but, as said above, a bit too sweet, thin and pale to rise to my favorites.

jmark scores Roquette 1797 80 out of 100


Reviewed by EdouardPerneau 5/8/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Pale green. It could be greener.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Nice unusual louche - greyish green but nice

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Greyish green. Nice

AROMA 23/30
Before water: alcohol
After water: alcohol and herbs

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Thin but different than "anise boom" like Verte Suisse or PF1901

TASTE 17/20
Very great wormwood taste. Sweet no need of sugar, a minty finish.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Everybody should try this one once. It's a great absinthe from a recipe of the past.

EdouardPerneau scores Roquette 1797 81 out of 100


Reviewed by absinthist 5/8/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 5/10
Too pale, almost like blanche, the yellowish tinge is barely noticeable. That department requires improvement.

LOUCHE ACTION 6/10
Bearing in mind what others have said as regards its louche, I have taken half-frozen water that couldn't be colder and so: at 1:1 there are nice oil trails dancing and the unlouched part slowly moves up to front, at 1:4 it is half-transparent and thin, though it does louches somehow.

COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
Payne's grey heavily lavee with water, could be more greenish. Still, not bad.

AROMA 24/30
Very aggressive and obtrusive, there is one note I cannot simply stand (and my Father says the same) and that note is too present in an unlouched glass. If you have ever had the displeasure of smelling eau de toilette made in U.S.S.R. that note is very akin.

It disappears upon the addition of water but is still persistent, there is however, a nice anisy note that overpowers it.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Spicy, refreshing, quite balanced, the herbs could be more concentrated.

TASTE 14/20
Clean, wormwoody-spicy with some intriguing nuances at the back, little mintiness comes and is taken over by spiciness that lasts longer in the finish.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
Leaves good impression, but requires work and development in some obvious departments.

absinthist scores Absinthe Roquette 1797 71 out of 100


Reviewed by Sleeper 6/8/08

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Brilliant Chartreuse. Close to perfection.

LOUCHE ACTION 5/10
Quite poor. If the water is dripped painstakingly slowly and precisely, a mass like the yoke of an egg will gradually begin to appear.

COLOR AFTER WATER 6/10
Far too thin. I do enjoy the slightly amber hue though.

AROMA 22/30
Neat, there is something…uh, semenal in the undertone. I don't think there's another way to describe this very peculiar note. I don't believe it is the eau de vie, but rather one of the aforementioned herbs unique to this absinthe. Which herb, I have no idea. After water it blooms quite well; my roomate walked in the front door and said the house smelled like absinthe. Then again, it could have just been seeping from my pores at that point.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
You could hold this in your mouth for days. Velvety. Absolutely superb, the best I've had to date. I came very close to giving this a 10, but my conservative scoring (I believe there is always room for improvement) and inexperience (haven't had the fortune of sampling vintage) compells me to deduct a point.

TASTE 19/20
This is an incredibly delicious aperitif. Wonderfully fruity with an outstanding slightly bitter finish. An absinthe to make converts with. Everyone I've had taste this has recognized its quality.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
This is a top-rate absinthe. Its flaws should devastate it, but the Roquette 1797 shines through with its peerless mouth-feel and impeccable taste. A must-buy. I'm afraid my bottle will be drained shortly.

Sleeper scores Absinthe Roquette 1797 79 out of 100


Reviewed by Brunswick Green 12/18/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
A bit olive but clear. Very natural.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
Hardly any swirling, the extremely slow louche only barely makes it to opaque with very, very slow dripping from a fountain. Even my "see saw" is too fast.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Not quite opaque but a subtle and pleasant yellow green.

AROMA 26/30
Tangy, medicinal, fleeting, herby. I like it a lot.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
A bit angry and skinny in a most refreshing way.

TASTE 17/20
Aromatic, bitter wormwood. Herby. Refreshing mint. Tangy lemon zest. Sugar rounds it off but it stays somewhat medicinal and fleeting.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
This is quirky and sensitive. The aroma was lovely right away, the taste was initially to toothpasty but improved a lot after a month or so. I would try to leave this bottle to age further, except it's already so damn good.

Brunswick Green scores Roquette 83 out of 100


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hartsmar
post Jan 31 2008, 10:13 AM
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Updated with Grim's review (inserted before jmark's). Sorry for forgetting that one before...
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Grim
post Feb 1 2008, 04:37 PM
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Thanks!


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OCvertDe
post Mar 28 2008, 08:47 PM
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I hope I survive my decision to post this.

If I'm fortunate,
perhaps my undying love for Doubs Mystique will somehow help to balance the scales of my fate here at la Fée Verte…

Reviewed by OCvertDe 3/12/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Pale. Greenish, yellowish… gold? Clear and bright, just not very deep. Pleasing enough and nothing to really fault it for.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
Nice oil trails that last through 1:1. Louche comes on very slowly, more like a ghost sneaking in than a fairy dancing up from the bottom. Like a mist, it just appears everywhere at once, and very slowly thickens all through the drip cycle until the mixture reaches 3:1 where it pretty much stabilizes.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Surprisingly more interesting than before water, the finished Roquette has character and nuance- various shades of green and gold from the thin outer edges to the near opaque center. I found it quite beautiful.

AROMA 25/30
This one really smells good to me, lots of complexity but nothing stepping on anything else- very well balanced.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
It’s a tad thin, but still a well rounded blend of smoothness with the numbing presence of the base.

TASTE 5/20
This is where I’m quite lost. It tastes like… pool water. I can find none of the flowery herbal goodness that was promised in the aroma, all I taste is alcohol and chlorine- neither of which I inferred from the aroma. I’m sure there are many terrific ingredients in this absinthe, but they're so completely trounced by the intense flavor of the YMCA that I can’t enjoy it at all.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 4/10
These final two scores really hurt my peace of mind, because I can’t believe them myself. In spite of providing a wonderful experience in every other way, it just plain doesn’t taste good to me. If you don’t like to drink it, what does the rest matter? I’m stumped. I can't make much sense of this outcome and have become quite disturbed over it. I have no logical explanation, and feel there must be some mistake; but I won’t be investing in any more 1797 one way or another.

OCvertDe scores Roquette 1797 64 out of 100


Editor's note: This review is not included in the above review post or the Buyer's Guide per the request of the author, OCVertDe, awaiting a second sample for reviewing.


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"Clear things up? Most likely not, but we likes things cloudy around here…" -Petermark
"I can't drink at work. We have no ice." -Selmac
"…but it sure would've been a blast to be there on that night." -Absomphe
"here is what absinthe almost tastes like" -Kirk
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Absomphe
post Mar 28 2008, 11:03 PM
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Chlorine???

Better get out of the pool before you shrivel up like a prune.

Prolly too late, I'll wager. wacko.gif


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absinthist
post Mar 28 2008, 11:17 PM
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Chlorine-the new kewel thing to replace antimony chloride. It is so simple.


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OCvertDe
post Mar 28 2008, 11:54 PM
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Devastatingly.


--------------------
"Hmmm, someone rated Zima higher than Sam Adams? Well, they both blow, so who gives a rat's ass?" -bob_chong
"Clear things up? Most likely not, but we likes things cloudy around here…" -Petermark
"I can't drink at work. We have no ice." -Selmac
"…but it sure would've been a blast to be there on that night." -Absomphe
"here is what absinthe almost tastes like" -Kirk
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Oxygenee
post Mar 30 2008, 12:05 PM
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A score of 5 out of 20 isn't possible for any absinthe unless it has objectively serious technical faults, severe enough to make it undrinkable. The Roquette does not have such faults. There is absolutely no taste of chlorine - of all things - in Roquette. This isn't a matter of opinion, it's a matter of fact. Either there is something seriously off-kilter about your judgment here (which I don't see reflected in any of your other reviews), or your individual bottle is faulty. TCA contamination, while less common in spirits than in wine, does nonetheless exist (particularly in products like Roquette, that use composite T-corks), and manifests itself precisely with a chlorine like character. I think it's very likely that your bottle is "corked". If you send me a small sample of your Roquette I'll evaluate it, and if need be arrange for you to receive a replacement bottle.


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...et c’est l’absinthe enfin, la grande absinthe ou la petite, parure chaste des montagnes et des rivages marins, fille des grand vents purs, blé des espaces vierges, emblème de la liberté farouche.
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OCvertDe
post Mar 30 2008, 12:15 PM
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This is unfortunate. My glass came from a 10 dram sample, out of which I had two cordials and one full 3:1 glass which I reviewed. I believe the benevolent soul who sent it to me enjoyed his bottle, and just finished it.

There are a couple problems with my chlorine description. First, I've never tasted chlorine, only smelled it. It tastes the way chlorine smells like it would taste to me. The taste that turned me off did taste like chlorinated pool water, but that's hardly a scientific diagnosis- simply the best description I could come up with. Like I said, I'm far from happy with my conclusions.

I'd say there is merit to your suggested explanation, but knowing that the bottle my treat was fathered by was thoroughly enjoyed by it's owner, I'm not sure. Maybe he likes the taste of corked beverages? IN any case, I submitted my reviews knowing full well that they may or may not be deemed worthy of joining the BG, so if my freak experience negates the validity of this one I would understand- if I hadn't read the other reviews for the 1797 I wouldn't find mine so baffling. It's out of my hands now.


--------------------
"Hmmm, someone rated Zima higher than Sam Adams? Well, they both blow, so who gives a rat's ass?" -bob_chong
"Clear things up? Most likely not, but we likes things cloudy around here…" -Petermark
"I can't drink at work. We have no ice." -Selmac
"…but it sure would've been a blast to be there on that night." -Absomphe
"here is what absinthe almost tastes like" -Kirk
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Jaded Prole
post Mar 30 2008, 01:10 PM
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The sample I had did not have any chlorine-like taste. Sometimes the wormwood distillate breaks down with too much air exposure and gets an iodine-like taste, could that be the case?


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OCvertDe
post Mar 30 2008, 01:56 PM
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I suppose anything is possible. I just know my impressions felt terribly wrong, but it was what it was.

That being said, if what it was was a compromised sample somehow, then I'd be less than enthusiastic about my review finding it's way into the BG.


--------------------
"Hmmm, someone rated Zima higher than Sam Adams? Well, they both blow, so who gives a rat's ass?" -bob_chong
"Clear things up? Most likely not, but we likes things cloudy around here…" -Petermark
"I can't drink at work. We have no ice." -Selmac
"…but it sure would've been a blast to be there on that night." -Absomphe
"here is what absinthe almost tastes like" -Kirk
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Donnie Darko
post Mar 30 2008, 02:27 PM
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QUOTE(OCvertDe @ Mar 30 2008, 08:15 AM) *

This is unfortunate. My glass came from a 10 dram sample, out of which I had two cordials and one full 3:1 glass which I reviewed. I believe the benevolent soul who sent it to me enjoyed his bottle, and just finished it.


You might want to edit the part of your review that says "I won't be investing in any more 1797 one way or another" then, since you didn't invest in any of it to begin with. The sentence gives the impression you shelled out money for it and it wasn't worth it.

I haven't tasted the 1797, but sometimes I wonder about the effects freezing temperatures may have during shipping of an absinthe. If it's delivered by FedX or YouPeeEss, those storage areas of those trucks and planes are not heated. Freezing can cause the anethole to crystallize which can produce odd taste artifacts. I thought TCA contamination too when I read your review, but since the person you got it from finished the bottle, I would be very surprised if they liked something that was TCA contaminated. If you've ever tasted that, it really is undrinkable, and you would immediately identify it as something being seriously wrong.
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Oxygenee
post Mar 30 2008, 03:56 PM
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I had no idea that your review was based on only a tasting sample, and as Donnie has said, the review actually expressly implied otherwise. I'm extremely wary of reviews based on a small tasting sample, rather than an original bottle, and I think any review based on just a small sample should definitely say so up front.

For the vintage absinthe samples I periodically send out, I use brand new laboratory grade bottles, and brand new wood-pulp lined caps, both of which are stored in sealed airtight plastic bags until immediately before use. I never re-use a bottle in any circumstances, not even if it's previously contained exactly the same absinthe. I never transfer absinthe from one sample bottle to another, only directly from the original bottle. I use only sterile Duran glass lab beakers and funnels if any interim handling is necessary during decanting.

The tiniest variation in this - dust in the bottle, the use of a previously used or washed bottle, the use of a cap with a liner incompatible with high proof spirits, contamination from a dirty funnel, poor storage of the sample prior to dispatch - can result in noticeable flaws in the sample.


--------------------
...et c’est l’absinthe enfin, la grande absinthe ou la petite, parure chaste des montagnes et des rivages marins, fille des grand vents purs, blé des espaces vierges, emblème de la liberté farouche.
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OCvertDe
post Mar 30 2008, 04:21 PM
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I didn't see the issue with how I said it at the time. Now that it's been pointed out I can see how it would be easy (or even most probable) to infer that I was saying I'd actually purchased a whole bottle. What I meant was: I won't be making the investment required to secure myself any more of it than I've already acquired for nothing, and used up.
If I'm still able to edit my posts, I shall clarify the ones that were reviewed from samples.

I've suspected many of the shipping problems Donnie suggests, but (possibly) to the contrary, there were three other samples in the same box which were absolutely stellar, and only the Jade showed the faintest trace of the unctuous flavor I'm complaining about. As I said in that review, it was barely noticeable and didn't negatively affect the taste at all. It did lead me to presume- possibly in my own ignorance- that it was in fact a typical ingredient in the Pontarlier absinthes and there was simply a lot more of it in the 1797 than there was in the PF1901. This is further complicated by the fact that the Doubs Mystique was formulated by the very same mastermind as the 1797 and would likely have had the same ingredient but there wasn't a trace of it. All of this, of course, could well be just me thinking logically to the wrong conclusion.

The vials themselves were new, medical/food grade glass vials as seen here: http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Produ…mp;PRODID=69231


--------------------
"Hmmm, someone rated Zima higher than Sam Adams? Well, they both blow, so who gives a rat's ass?" -bob_chong
"Clear things up? Most likely not, but we likes things cloudy around here…" -Petermark
"I can't drink at work. We have no ice." -Selmac
"…but it sure would've been a blast to be there on that night." -Absomphe
"here is what absinthe almost tastes like" -Kirk
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OCvertDe
post Mar 30 2008, 04:26 PM
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SOL on the edit. Perhaps I should pm Hartsmar on which were reviewed from samples so that he might add the clarification before putting them in the BG… should he decide to do so?


--------------------
"Hmmm, someone rated Zima higher than Sam Adams? Well, they both blow, so who gives a rat's ass?" -bob_chong
"Clear things up? Most likely not, but we likes things cloudy around here…" -Petermark
"I can't drink at work. We have no ice." -Selmac
"…but it sure would've been a blast to be there on that night." -Absomphe
"here is what absinthe almost tastes like" -Kirk
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Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 19th January 2018 - 07:37 AM