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Full Version: Pernod Fils, circa 1900-1910
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Editors Note: Obviously, no vendor information is available for this absinthe other than that which appears in historical documents, which can be found at

Average score 92

Reviewed by Deluge 5/14/05

At nearly 100 years old this absinthe, like the Edouard, was what has been described as being the color “Feuille Morte”. It has aged well over time and has faded, as it should, like an autumn leaf.

Bringing the glass under the fountain the louche began almost immediately and was a lot stronger than I had expected. There were beautiful gradient lines in the glass that swirled around until the final stage at which the contents became very opaque.

The final stage of the louche was very thick and became quite a nice shade of white. Considering how brown the sample was before water I was amazed at the final shade of the louche.

AROMA 30/30
The nose was much more intense than I had imagined. There was a considerable amount of heat! I had assumed that a bottle over 90 years old would have mellowed out much more. The scent was very fragrant and full of spice! It was very well balanced and was unlike anything I had smelled before. The aroma of the bouquet was brilliant and it certainly filled the room! I could really smell the heavy fragrance in the air. There was a rich musky/spicy character that I have not witnessed in any other commercial or clandestine absinthe! The aroma of Pernod Fils was very unique indeed.

The mouth feel was another big surprise; it had a consistency similar to that of skim milk! It was very heavy and rich in the mouth. Unlike anything available

TASTE 18/20
Tasting the Pernod neat was very, very good! Although the alcohol was sharp to the nose it was subdued on the tongue by the rush of alpine flavors. The taste was balanced and herbal. After water had been added there were absolutely no overpowering flavors. The unification of flavors made it difficult to pick out what may have been any ingredients outside the generic Pontarlier recipe. The lingering quality on the palate lasted forever! Much longer than any commercial or clandestine out there. If there were a commercial absinthe available that tasted like Pernod Fils I would drink it exclusively! Yum!

I am glad that I had the chance to sample vintage Pernod Fils. It was much different than I had imagined and I will say that there is nothing out there like it.

Deluge scores Pernod Fils 98 out of 100

Reviewed by Artemis 11/7/2005

Very attractive golden green. Not nearly as brown as other "vintage" absinthes I've seen, the green has survived very well.

Louche is muddy, thick, opaque.

It's the sort of snot-thick louche expected of vintage absinthes, but not as yellowish as others I've seen, more green, not surprising given that it's also more green than brown before water.

AROMA 26/30
It's not as fresh as new absinthe, but this absinthe is 100 years old or so. The aroma is perfume-like, subtle, and not indicative of any given ingredient. It smells like good absinthe.

Fairly thick and silky.

TASTE 15/20
I have to say this is the weakest aspect of this sample. I've not had many vintage samples, but the others I've had were better. It has the balanced taste one would expect of an absinthe of this quality - no herb stands above the rest, and there are no faults I could attribute to manufacturing. It's not as flowery as I would like, there's a definite alcohol burn and a definite bitterness down the throat, even with a full sugar cube. I used half a sugar tablet at first, and after a sip, added another half tablet. I can't say this is easy on the palate - it might be an acquired tasted for those used to less intense absinthes.

I have to wonder, if I had tasted this blind, if I would have rated it lower. Probably so. Still, it has no faults and is just about everything you could expect absinthe to be. I have tasted absinthe more fragrant, less bitter, and easier to drink, but maybe not all in the same glass. Still, this is very good absinthe.

NOTE: Sadly, this absinthe is not commercially available except as an absinthe "antique". The sample reviewed is from Oxygenee's "Cannes Cache".

Artemis scores Pernod Fils 84 out of 100

Reviewed by Gertz 5/9/2006

An amber-like colour. Hard to rate something that has changed that much, but it has a beautiful glow, and it's hard to imagine that it came from anything but a vibrant, green colour. Seems wrong to penalize it for having turned feuille morte.

A thick cloud developed. Oily tracks were gently swirling around, even when fully louched.

When water was added, an ever so slight shade of green seemed to linger, depending very much on the angle and how light struck the glass. It was fully opaque, yet with this ever so slight glow. The term "opaline" seemed more appropriate than ever.

AROMA 24/30
The aroma was rather subtle, especially when I dig deep in my memory for the experience of the aroma of pre-ban Berger - less pungent than I had expected, but full of the nobility of age.

This is it. When I rate something, I find it very hard to go all the way to the very top (or bottom) of the scale, but this mouthfeel was out of this world. An incredible smooth and soft caress of the palate. This wasn't a dance with The Green Fairy - it was sex with her.

TASTE 19/20
Again, the taste of a high-quality wine base was apparent, but here, there was more of a herbal punch going on besides than in the Premier Fils. There were multi-facetted, rich, but never obtrusive or unpleasant notes of bitterness, perfectly balanced by a discreet sweetness. What prevents it from going all the way to perfection is my memory of pre-ban Berger, where the taste seemed to linger in the mouth forever.

Again, knowing that it's pre-ban, made while a young Picasso roamed the streets of Montmartre and all that, adds to the experience. I could probably tell my self to put on a matter-of-fact attitude and analyse it just like I would with any sample, but hey; this is the stuff legends are made of. The extraordinary mouthfeel is what pushes this one all the way to the top.

This sample came from one of the bottles of the "Cannes cache".

Gertz scores Pernod Fils 90 out of 100

Reviewed by EdouardPerneau 5/7/2008

Golden amber similar to VS cognac (with grenish hue)

A Classic Pernod Fils louche

green louche

AROMA 28/30
It smell melissa ,alcohol & spices

very nice

TASTE 19/20
spicied wormwoodiness

Very Great if I had the choice I would only drink this

EdouardPerneau scores Pernod Fils 1910 90 out of 100

Reviewed by Ricki 6/17/2008

Perfect Feuille Morte colour. No flaws whatsoever.

Excellent louche action. Starts nice and slow.

The final colour is a very milky white with a hint of amber through it. Perfect.

AROMA 30/30
Very different to what I was expecting. The best aroma of any absinthe I have come across.

Perfect mouth feel. Unlike any absinthe I have tried prior to this. Very very smooth!

TASTE 20/20
Again, to me, this is perfect. The taste is perfectly balanced throughout and I can not fault it at all.

There is no other absinthe like this around. From now on, any absinthe i try will be compared to this and I think my scores for future reviews are going to be quite low after tasting real pre-ban Pernod Fils.

The nicest, most balanced, and smoothest Absinthe i have ever tried, and probably ever will.

Ricki scores Pernod Fils, circa 1910 100 out of 100
Jaded Prole
Not bitter? I'm sure Dr. O can explain . . .
I recognize in that review (Deluge's review) almost everything, especially the strange spiciness and creamy texture. I don't know about rating an absinthe close to 100, though, it leaves no room for a better score if a better absinthe comes along. Still, I can't really argue with it, and although I did say I've had better, in retrospect, maybe I haven't.
Having tried pre-ban Pernod Fils myself, I would not rate it that high. While it is a very very good product, I have had several censored2.gif that were of a calibre better. I tend to think that these ultra-high scores are more in line with the idealized thought of what absinthe should be. Perhaps the romance and thrill of actually tasting some of the vintage absinthe influenced the scores higher than they actually are.
Also had the chance to sample some of the pre-ban Edouard Pernod. Very similar to Jade's Edouard, though not a carbon-copy. The old stuff had a much more pronounced coriander-like aroma and taste. The wormwood profile also was slightly more aggressive than its modern counterpart. It was nice to see a modern product come close to that of its venerable ancestor.
Having tried pre-ban Pernod Fils myself, I would not rate it that high. While it is a very very good product, I have had several censored2.gif that were of a calibre better. I tend to think that these ultra-high scores are more in line with the idealized thought of what absinthe should be. Perhaps the romance and thrill of actually tasting some of the vintage absinthe influenced the scores higher than they actually are.

Well said.
Maybe they forgot to add
the damiana to that batch.
Jaded Prole
Alright folks... I have reevaluated my score sheets for both the Edouard and the Pernod. I personally think that they are both marquees that still stand above the rest. Their mellowed yet still complex flavors and highly nuanced aromas are unparalleled and have not yet been matched by any modern commercial firm. I feel that both the Pernod and the Edouard deserve very high scores. I decided to deduct points mainly due to the color of each of these samples caused by the aging process. There is no doubt in my mind they were once perfectly colored and flavored. If a sample was available of each in pristine condition I am sure that I would rate them higher than I did. This is absinthe! I wont get involved in a debate about clandestine products. They are allowed on this board so there for I do not think I will let them effect my review. I would also like to add I have in fact sampled most of the cladestines available and I have come to the conclusion that most people regard them so highly due mainly to their rarity not their quality.

Artemis should have my reevaluation up when his time permits.
QUOTE (Deluge @ May 14 2005, 06:52 PM)
I would also like to add I have in fact sampled most of the cladestines available and I am not really that impressed... For many, many reasons.

I do not think this is possible, my musical friend. There is a great big world out there, and you have undoubtedly sampled more clandestines then I have.

I would also add that most cladestines are not available for general consumption.

But the number of anonymous kitchen distillers will forever go uncounted along with the unheralded grommet chefs of the world.

I have never sampled pre ban myself, but I found your review to be quite compelling.
I decided to deduct points mainly due to the color of each of these samples caused by the aging process.

I don't think you should do that. It's not a flaw in the coloration, it's GOT to happen to an absinthe that old, and that's part of its charm. As you already know, I've asked you to rethink changing your scores. If you really want to, I'll do it, but we don't want to set a precedent of making people change their reviews unless the reviews are crap, which yours weren't by a long shot. It's been a year since I've tasted any antique absinthe, and side by side with any HG I've had, I'm pretty sure the Pernod would mop the floor with it. Again, although I said in another post I've had better (than the old Pernod), I probably haven't. And I've taste a lot of stuff. Maybe Oxy should weight in on this. He definitely wants the old stuff reviewed, I know that much.
QUOTE (Artemis @ May 14 2005, 04:15 AM)

I love that word.

Kudos to you.
Artemis is correct. Don't revise your scores. Your reviews were excellent. The point of a review is to give a snapshot of how you experienced the absinthe at a particular time. If others disagree with you, let them post their own reviews. Over time, the composite average score will reflect a consensus, but the individual reviews will remain just that: one person's opinion. Yours is as valid as the next man.

Jmfranc was asked to revise his scores for a very specific and limited reason - they were logically inconsistent with his comments. On reflection, he acknowledged this, and amended them accordingly.

Regarding colour: It would certainly be wrong to deduct points from a century-old absinthe because it has turned an amber brown colour. This is exactly what it's meant to do. Remember, naturalness is the primary virtue as far as colour is concerned. A 100 year old absinthe that was still a very bright green colour would be unnatural, and almost certainly artificially coloured.

Regarding the superiority of the finest HGs to top vintage absinthes like Pernod Fils: this is a matter of opinion, not of fact. I've tasted many very fine HGs, but never one that I'd consider more impressive than pre-ban Pernod in perfect condition. Others, whose opinion I respect, disagree. It's precisely this type of divergent viewpoint that makes reviewing interesting.
I hope Dr. O doesn't read that. wink.gif
I thought about him as I was taking notes on the stuff - had to tell it like it is, though.
I have to agree with you on all points except for the taste….
I experienced NO burn whatsoever….. of course I've no other vintage to compare it to but I have had quite a few other current ones that have burned going down…. Even some Bleues…. the sample I had even tasted wonderful neat, for course this was just the quickest of sips to gauge it's bitterness. I used no sugar in the first glass, a quarter cube in the second and an 1/8 ir so in the last…and the last was probably all it needed for me….. again, I tend to use a about a part to part & a half more water than most people so that may have been it….. But the first glass I tried with only about 3 - 4 parts.
I only watered it until the floating clear layer was gone, so that's probably 3:1 or even less, but that's pretty much in keeping with the standard agreed upon for these tastings. I would have enjoyed it a lot more with more water, I think. It's one of the few absinthes that really must have sugar, IMO, but I'm not a hard liquor drinker, not straight anwyay.
QUOTE(Artemis @ Nov 7 2005, 09:18 PM) *

I'm not a hard liquor drinker, not straight anwyay.

Nor am I, Well, the odd dram of Glenmorangie Burgandy finished now and then but….

I honestly didn't know about the 3 to 1 rule…. I did take a sip of it at that strengh though since I know that tends to be the most popular/known ratio…. and, as with all absinthes I've tasted, I found that for my taste anyways, a tad more water was required…
I must say I'm getting better at it though…. I remember when I first started with Mari Mayans and Deva I used to add the dose and then just fill the damn glass up!

They needed it!!

Thankfully I can afford better Absinthe now….

though, sadly….. (insert violins here…) Not like THIS anymore….. (oh heavy sigh…..)

maybe I'll get lucky and come across a bottle of Tarragona I can afford someday…..
QUOTE(Fredie @ Nov 7 2005, 09:24 PM) *

I remember when I first started with Mari Mayans and Deva I used to add the dose and then just fill the damn glass up!

That’s as much care as any commercial absinthe today deserves.
Donnie Darko

I also still respectfully disagree with the 3:1 water ratio suggestion for reviews. I'll taste it that way, but always find more complexity comes out at 4:1 when it comes to higher alc% absinthes. On the back of one of my Tarragona bottles it actually says use 5 parts water!
Adding water until that thin line disappears always made the most sense to me. That way, you are always assured that all the alcohol has been diluted and your first sip won't be overly concentrated with alcohol.

Artemis (or anyone else who has tasted vintage Pernod),

Was the flavor profile comparable to any current CO?
The quality of the Jade absinthes seem to be pretty comparable to the vintages that I’ve been fortunate enough to sample but the overall flavor is a bit different. I've had a few samples of vintage Edouard Pernod each of varying qualities, a few samples of Pernod Fils that were also from different sources, and two samples of Pernod Tarragona. Comparing vintages along side the Jade absinthes you can tell that they each employ top-notch ingredients and are very well crafted. When it comes to taste it is a little subjective, it is hard to tell what these absinthe tasted like when they left the factory.

My guess is that high quality vintage absinthes would have been some what similar to the Jades or perhaps the Montmarte but speculating how they tasted is pretty difficult. The origin of each of the herbs would have played a crucial role in the flavor profile. I would imagine that most of the fields that were once used as herb sources for vintage producers may now be used for shopping centers and neighborhoods. There are so many factors that go into making absinthe that go beyond ingredients so it is a bit tricky to guess.

I will say this, vintage Edouard Pernod is in many ways similar to Jade Edouard but I could easily pick on or the other in a taste test. Anyone could! If the Jade Edouard was bottled at the same time and stored in the same conditions for the same amount of time would they taste the same? Who knows?
It is unlikely that anyone ever will. Adding my two cents to the whole 3:1 standard, I also find it too strong. Even though it's not practical, diluting all absinthes to the same final percentage gives me a better comparison. I do, however, stick to the standard if I am writing reviews.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Fizzle @ Nov 8 2005, 07:54 AM) *

Adding water until that thin line disappears always made the most sense to me.

Reviewing some of the star anise heavy LBs would mean you'd have to stop at a 1:1 ratio!

I probably shouldn't have brought it up, since we've already kicked this horse to death previously.
I haven't had what people consider to be the best modern products in some time, so it's hard to say. There is an "age" component to old absinthe that makes it difficult to compare with modern in any case. The thing about really good absinthe, as this is, or once was, when it comes to "flavor profile", is that everything is so well balanced, you really can't tell what's in it - it's just a highly potent fragrant drink. I know this doesn't help much ….
Photos are not the norm in this section, but since this product is unique, here is the raw Pernod Fils:

Louched Pernod Fils, graced with Kirk's Wormwood Fueille Spoon:

QUOTE(Artemis @ Nov 8 2005, 04:39 PM) *

Photos are not the norm in this section, but since this product is unique, here is the raw Pernod Fils:
Louched Pernod Fils, graced with Kirk's Wormwood Fueille Spoon:

Yup… that's the stuff!!
I realize Fredie also posted some photos somewhere, but I didn't see them - my connection is tedious, and I don't follow many links.

Also, I started a new thread for Pernod Fils before I realized one already existed. I have now merged the two threads, with some minor editing so hopefully everything flows right.
5/98? Is that like the price, or grade inflation?
Ooops. Fixed. Thank you.
Damn, where are those f***ing flying monkeys?!???
Green Baron
I know the feeling Rimbaud…they've got to travel to the other side of North America to get to me after they visit you though. I'm not going to be tasting until about a month after I get my sample, but I want to start subjecting it to my lecherous stares ASAP!
I know…I've already unbottled it with my eyes and it's not even here yet.
I found the PF 1910 (Palazzo cache) to be more peachy-brown in color with a peachy-white louche. Kinda odd at first, but once it hit my lips, it didn't matter. Pure ambrosia. Jade PF 1901 isn't even close.

BTW, I've just returned from Paris & had the chance to try some Belle Amie while at Cantada II. Really great stuff! I look forward to future offerings from Luc (whom I got to meet while visiting his fantastic shop - great guy and a true gentleman).
Passed on Boveresse?
Donnie Darko
Was that your honeymoon?
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Ricki @ Jun 17 2008, 07:36 AM) *

Ricki scores Pernod Fils circa 1910 100 out of 100.

It's amazing how an absinthe like that can ruin you. I try to block that bloomy taste and olfactory whallop from my memory when drinking other things but I just can't do it. "Chasing the dragon" doesn't only apply to opiate addiction, apparently.

Maybe all Absinthes need to age 100 years. It seems those are the ones that could double as a top shelf perfume for women.
Even the best absinthes can be over-aged. They remain delightful but lose their fresh, herbal punch.
Agreed, some have faded a little, the best one was the PF1914 'green' that didn't lose its fresh/herbal punch.
I wish I could review the vintage absinthes we drank at the chalet, but… yeah…
Yeah, passed on Boveresse. Didn't think an absinthe geek-fest would make for a suitable honeymoon for the wife.

I did squeeze in some absinthe-related stuff, though: drinking absinthe at Cantada II (PF 1901 & Belle Amie, fountain & all!), a great absinthe exhibit at the Musée de Montmartre (once the home of Renoir & Utrillo, we rented an apartment 2 doors down - I could see the Lapin Agile from the bathroom window whilst having a pee!), a visit to Luc's shop (bought the Pernod: 200 Years book in English, two saucers, the see-saw dripper & a mini bottle of Blanchette).

I attempted to hit the absinthe museum in Auvers, but it was closed. Did get to see Van Gogh's room & grave, along with Dr. Gachet's house & gardens. A great day trip.

All in all, a fantastic trip. I want to move to Paris. Like, now.
Donnie Darko
Sounds like a fantastic trip. Congrats on getting hitched.
Thank you, Sir.


Here is a link to the page for the absinthe exhibit in Montmartre.
Donnie Darko
NICE. Since Delahaye and the Pontarlier museum had stuff there it sounds like you didn't miss out on much by the Auvers-sur-Oise museum being closed.

Yeah, I figure as much. It helps console me a little.

I also couldn't for the life of me find Degas' L'Absinthe at Musee d'Orsay. Drove me nuts.
Donnie Darko
Last I saw it it was on the top floor towards the back, in 2003 when they were showing a lot of Tolouse Lautrec stuff. It may be on loan to another museum, I know the Tate in London had it for awhile, or maybe they just stored it while they're showing something else. Love the museum though, had a decent meal (compared to US museum food) there while looking across the Seine at the Louvre.
I'm pretty sure I didn't see it in 2004. I just looked at the museum's website, and it's listed in the collection but not listed among those works on exhibit, so it must be loaned out or out of rotation.
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