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hartsmar
From Oxygenee.com:
Berger, based in Couvet and Marseilles, was one of the largest and most popular producers. Their Swiss-style absinthe was enormously popular in the south of France, and was also exported all over the world, especially to South America, where they, rather than Pernod Fils, were the market leaders.

AVERAGE SCORE 96


Reviewed by Deluge 1/12/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
The color of the Berger sample was lovely! It was a pleasant shade of amber and although it did not contain any trace of the original green it still looked quite stunning. I did find the color to be rather different compared to the various samples of Edouard Pernod and Pernod Fils that I have had in the past. The Berger was in contrast to the Pernod much lighter and had a charming warm glow to it. I would love to see what shade of green this was before the original color faded!

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
After placing my glass under the fountain the louche began slowly. Gradually as more water was added, a small cloud formed at the bottom of the glass and was soon lifted to the top revealing a thick louche crowned by a beautiful translucent amber band. Watching the Berger louche alongside the Jade Verte Suisse I was impressed to see that they louched almost identically to one another, which leads me to believe that Mr. Breaux is in fact using the same recipe. I noticed the same thing while louching Edouard Pernod along side Jade Edouard.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
The final stage of the louche was very thick and it became a nice shade of foggy amber.

AROMA 29/30
To quote Mr. Hartsmar…“this Is the garden!” I believe his every word. The scent of the Berger was wonderful! The bouquet was impressive and it did in fact fill the room with its fragrant floral aroma. I could definitely detect the unique scent of aged hyssop in this sample. This scent has been described as a dusky aroma similar to talc or baby powder. To me it seems similar to the sent of a light cinnamon. There were lovely notes of aged anis and wormwood that had come out boldly along with other warm spices. Absolutely brilliant! The Berger had a rich musky/spicy character that I have not witnessed in any other modern absinthe!

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Not as thick as the Pernod Fils, but still nice and creamy!

TASTE 18/20
This was a damn good absinthe! I would drink this and Pernod Fils exclusively if I could! They are both amazing and quite a bit different when compared to one another. The Berger was, spicy, herbal, and very floral. All in all it was very complex yet it was so well balanced. After water had been added there were absolutely no overpowering flavors. The unification of flavors made it difficult to pick out any ingredients that are not commonly used in Swiss or French absinthe. The anise and fennel were paired well with good wormwood and I could detect notes that reminded me of cinnamon, pepper, coriander, along with hints of citrus. Although I found that the Berger was definitely on par with Pernod Fils I did notice very distinct differences in the way that their flavors were balanced. I found the Berger to be a bit spicier than the Pernod. Perhaps the Berger used a little more star anise and a little less fennel? All in all I felt that the Berger was amazing! The lingering quality on the palate lasted forever! Much longer than any commercial or clandestine out there, an hour after having a glass of Berger, the flavor still lingered on my palate!

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
I am glad that I had the chance to sample vintage Berger. It was interesting doing a side-by-side comparison with its modern counterpart. I found them to be similar in many ways in regard to quality but the flavor and aroma were a little different. I think that the major differences were due to the age of the sample. I believe that if they were both bottled on the same date and stored well they would in fact taste nearly identical. One difference that set them apart to me would have to be the base alcohol. I think that the process used in making the base alcohol for the Berger is quite different than the process used for the Verte Suisse. The Berger does have over a hundred years of age on the Verte Suisse so I guess it is hard to make such speculations!

Deluge scores Pre-ban C.F. Berger 1890-1900 92 out of 100


Reviewed by JMFranc 1/7/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
A beautiful brown after 100 years.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
Thicker than almost any other absinthe I have drank including the preban Edouard, Premier Fils, and Pernod Fils. Swirls came on like a roiling boil from the bottle of the glass and the final louche was very thick.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
Louche was very thick and became quite a nice shade of amber.

AROMA 30/30
Bouquet was indescribable. Very strong but not from alcohol. This one filled the room with delicate odors. Extremely pleasing but hard to describe.

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
Coated the mouth and lingered. Thick like milk and trailing flavors were somewhat similar to the Edouard Pernod.

TASTE 18/20
Alpine, alpine, alpine. Herbal mixed with a slight alcohol bite. Flavors were hard to pick out. Lingering flavors long after swallowing!

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
Of the four prebans I have had the honor to try, this has to be at the very top. If I was around 100 years ago, I would have drank this exclusively (except maybe some Edouard now and again).

JMFranc scores Pre-ban C.F. Berger 1890-1900 98 out of 100


Reviewed by absinthist 4/12/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
After such a long time, the colour of the sample I have had is beautifully deep amber with small Venetian red or burnt umber nuances, deep and creamy, either the nicest "feuille morte" or something in the vein of very old Cognac. Very pleasant to look at.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
The louche is rich if slow, the unlouched line is disappearing very slowly. The consistence is subtle but rich.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
The green appears unexpectedly and absinthe show its verte face which seduces to take the first sip.

AROMA 30/30
First, it is very sublime and delicate in the vein of de Nîmes yet striving towards Pontarlier style. It is the number one class and from the aroma only, it is proven.

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
This is extrait d'absinthe definitely, not an anise bomb.

TASTE 20/20
Unbelievable taste is composed mainly of wormwood preceded by melissa, hyssop and aniseed with the aura of licorice. It is a divine pleasure to sip it slowly and embrace the essence of the universe hidden in those tiny nuances dancing with your tastebuds to reveal the mighty wormwood lingering once in the front, once in the back playing with aniseed emitting its charm not so shyly and others of the merry company that are singing "join us!." The sample I have had evaporated to 60%, so the alcohol part was very mellow and subtle as well.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
La vie est faite de miel et d'absinthe. If this absinthe is Berger, la vie est faite de miel, surement.

absinthist scores Pre-ban C.F. Berger 99 out of 100


Reviewed by EdouardPerneau 10/2/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
feuille morte lovely amber to die for

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
to die for

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
peachy lovely

AROMA 30/30
insane how an absinthe should smell like

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
thick

TASTE 19/20
Best absinthe ever tasted ? licorice,star anise? to quote Mr. hartsmar this is the garden

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
best absinthe ever tasted

PERSONAL NOTES
It was made at the Marseilles distillery

EdouardPerneau scores CF Berger 96 out of 100
absinthist
Pre-ban C.F. Berger

The best extrait d'absinthe I have had

Editor's note: Review merged into main review thread and added to the Buyer's Guide.
Jaded Prole
I hope to have a chance to sample the Berger one day.
hartsmar
Updated...
Absomphe
QUOTE


This is extrait d'absinthe definitely, not an anise bomb.



Unlike its modern clone, or at least the distiller's proof, if memory serves.


And, like JP, I, too, hope to be fortunate enough to sample the Berger someday.
The Standard Deviant
Don't do it.
tabreaux
QUOTE(Absomphe @ Apr 11 2007, 08:58 AM) *

QUOTE(hartsmar @ Jan 30 2006, 06:20 AM) *


This is extrait d'absinthe definitely, not an anise bomb.



Unlike its modern clone, or at least the distiller's proof, if memory serves.


Actually, when originally bottled, it was quite an 'anise bomb', as was every other vintage absinthe (of which I'm aquainted anyway). A century of aging presents a significant impact upon the character.
absinthist
Nice to see you, Ted abs-cheers.gif . But would you say that de Nimes was also such an anise bomb?
Artemis
I'd like to see Ted elaborate on that. I don't doubt him at all - this is an interesting subject for a change.
justabob
QUOTE(tabreaux @ Apr 11 2007, 01:16 PM) *

Actually, when originally bottled, it was quite an 'anise bomb', as was every other vintage absinthe (of which I'm aquainted anyway). A century of aging presents a significant impact upon the character.


When originally bottled any quality absinthe will be anise dominated. That is to say any product keeping within the constraints of a somewhat traditional recipe. Vintage samples seem to relegate the anise to somewhat more subtle notes, and let other more spicy elements come to the for.
absinthist
I agree.
However, there are some people out here and there who have had de Nimes made for scientific purposes (i.e. to estimate its anethole concentration) and they have admitted of very delicate and soft translucent louche with wormwood note in the front not in the vein of such anise bombs as Duval or Pernod fils.

Using gas chromatography with flame ionization detectors the result of the aforementioned study might suggest that de Nimes of the heyday had had 396 mg/l whereas in other studies concerning modern brands as a good example of such a low anethole concentration Emile Pernot 68 at 412 mg/l is given, which, as we all know, at the beginning of its career has had such a thin very translucent louche.

Even the historical protocols of de Brevans or Duplais giving the recipes for de Nimes indicate that the ratio of wormwood to aniseed is 1:1 unlike the other recipes for Absinthe Suisse. So, I would like to know which of the famous brands was using de Nimes recipe and was the result that of absinthe with more wormwood profile (as nowadays studies suggest) or just another anise bomb?
tabreaux
QUOTE(absinthist @ Apr 11 2007, 02:19 PM) *

Nice to see you, Ted abs-cheers.gif . But would you say that de Nimes was also such an anise bomb?


If this refers to a recipe out of Duplais, de Brevans, etc., the source of these recipes is unclear, and there is nothing to suggest they refer to anything particular in commerce. Like the many, many other recipes in the book, this is more likely something from the imagination of the original author (or an acquaintance thereof). I might also mention that such recipes yield somewhat different results when made on a large scale, repeatedly, than when executed once, on a tiny scale (not that it really matters here).

The initial balance (or a perceived lack thereof) sets the stage for the eventual result following (much) aging. What is judged to be 'balanced' (a truly subjective term) now certainly won't be in the future, and vice versa.
absinthist
Thanks, but would that mean that absinthe de Nimes though mentioned in these recipes has never been made by someone in the past (whether on small or grand-scale) or maybe it was not that popular as the brands that dominated the market like: Cusenier, Pernod, Vichet, Bazinet et al?
tabreaux
IF it (or another recipe) had been produced commercially, it would have most likely been used by a small distillery that produced a variety of offerings (liqueurs, sirops, etc.), with limited volume and localized distribution. This was commonplace in France at the time (and still is to some extent). I might also note that such activities would most likely focus on simple, mid-level, less expensive and troublesome protocols. Even so, the end result would have undoubtedly been tailored to meet consumer expectations. Where that is concerned, French tastes have always been partial to anise-heavy drinks, the original leading brands of absinthe notwithstanding.
absinthist
Thus it might mean that the same situation would be for de Lyon or de Besancon, respectively being by the topic.
And what about the clientele of ordinaire, demi-fine and fine. Were these absinthes (if we can refer to them so) made also to meet these expectations? Please, excuse for asking many questions abs-cheers.gif
tabreaux
I would say the same would apply to any of the recipes in these books. We tend to lose sight of this, simply because we live in a different age and have very different perceptions. In the day, these books could be equated more or less to something like the 'Better Homes and Gardens' cookbook (a popular reference in the US). One would be far more likely to find this book (and the use thereof) in the kitchen of an amateur or small restaurant rather than that of a well-known, accomplished chef. This isn't a discredit to the book (which is a very insightful reference), but it casts the book in its rightful role as a broad, basic reference guide for not only absinthe, but for many liquors and liqueurs.

I'd say that to keep things relatively simple and cheap (priorities for small, local distilleries with a broad portfolio), the protocols most likely used would be those which were simpler to produce and manage.
absinthist
Just as I thought. Thank you very much for all the answers.
EdouardPerneau
CF Berger

It was generously given by PierreVerte

Reviewed by EdouardPerneau 10/2/2008
...
EdouardPerneau scores CF Berger 96 out of 100

Editor's note: Review merged into main review post and into the Buyer's Guide.
Rimbaud
BASTARD!

I want some.
EdouardPerneau
This was the last drop comming from Peter's bottle
Green Baron
Maybe it's not too late to get it back Bat1.gif

I'll hold him down Rimmy. I just need a couple of sips! viking_emoticon.gif
Jaded Prole
Just be patient.
Absomphe
QUOTE(EdouardPerneau @ Oct 2 2008, 09:54 AM) *

This was the last drop comming from Peter's bottle


If that's the same bottle I remember a friend waxing rhapsodically over, quite a few years back, Peter certainly got a lot of classy mileage out of that beauty! chickawow.gif
Green Baron
QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Oct 2 2008, 04:06 PM) *

Just be patient.


Ok, if you say so. unsure.gif

But it's so much fun to get all riled up!
Grim
QUOTE(EdouardPerneau @ Oct 2 2008, 08:54 AM) *

This was the last drop comming from Peter's bottle

And she was a mighty fine absinthe…
hartsmar
Updated!
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