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hartsmar
According to Absintheonline.com:
"Blanchette", the original absinthe produced by Distillerie Combier (Saumur, France) circa 1900. Blanchette is a Swiss-style, clear absinthe that yields a distinct aroma and flavor of anise and grande wormwood, with a background of alpine herbs. Like our other Jade absinthes, Blanchette is crafted entirely by hand in the antique copper absinthe stills in the Combier distillery.

AVERAGE SCORE 76

Reviewed by Traineraz 2/5/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 1/10
It ain’t Old, but it sure is Yeller. Blanchette gets one point for clarity and a general lack of cloudiness, but it’s mighty yellow.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
Begins to louche at about 1:1. Fairly quick, bottom-up louche but with good separation and density. Nice to watch.

COLOR AFTER WATER 6/10
Dense louche, translucent, but loses points because it is slightly off-white. Good legs, almost as dense a residue as skim milk.

AROMA 15/30
Before water: ONLY 60% ABV? Alcohol scent (and nostril burn) is what I’d expect from something stronger. Fairly one-dimensional, smells a bit too sweet and/or slightly caramelized. I’m really not getting anything besides alcohol and caramelized (Burnt™) sweetness.

After water: Caramelized scent recedes somewhat but is still quite noticeable, and an assertive wormwood note is now present. Still simple, as befits a simple blanche.

Points reduced for strength of alcohol burn and caramelized scent.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Milky and smooth, this certainly qualifies as rich. A bit too rich for my taste, in fact, hence the one-point reduction.

TASTE 17/20
The caramelized character is only present as a background flavor, and is not unpleasant in that capacity. Flavor strikes me as predominantly fennel rather than anise. Not much else comes forward until the pleasantly surprising wormwood kick at the end, which lingers for some time afterward.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 7/10
The actual tasting of this product, after reviewing its color and aromas, was a pleasant surprise. There’s something of a disconnect between the aroma and the flavor profile, as it smells sweeter than it tastes, and the final wormwood punch is stronger than anticipated. This one-two punch is what “makes” the Blanchette for me; it struck me as essentially a mid-grade arak until the wormwood kicked in. Correction of the caramelization, which I assume to be a distillation error, would likely eliminate this product’s shortcomings.

Traineraz scores Blanchette 62 out of 100


Reviewed by AndrewT 2/8/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 1/10
Yellow. No other flaws, though. It's clear with no sediment. But yellow.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
The oils swirl for a bit before the louche builds. A nice transparently layer forms on top. Final product is quite opauqe, although not the most that I've ever seen. Would be a nice pearly white if it weren't for the yellow tint.

COLOR AFTER WATER 2/10
The color sticks around after louche more than some vertes I've known. This would be a good thing if it weren't supposed to be clear.

AROMA 25/30
Before water- A hint of tails. The wormwood is strong and flowery. The smell is very thick and sweet. The wine base is appareny and very fruity. If it weren't for the tiny bit of tails, this would be a superb smelling absinthe.
After water- The tails smell is more prominent when watered. The other aromas are a bit more muted

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Very thick. A slight bitterness in the aftertaste, but not unpleasant. The usual crispness of a blanche is there upon swallowing.

TASTE 14/20
Overall the taste is fairly nice. A nice flowery taste throughout. The wormwood is a bit subued from what one would expect from the smell. Unfortunately, the taste of tails is still noticable, especially after inhaling.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 6/10
There's an awful lot of potential here. With a few adjustments, this could be a really superb absinthe.

AndrewT scores Blanchette 64 out of 100


Reviewed by Sixela 3/27/2006

COLOUR BEFORE WATER 6/10
The colour is a bit yellow, but at least with this batch I wonder what all the fuss was about - it's only a slight straw tinge.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Louches quite early and with beautiful swirls. Doesn't stand a fast drip, though, or it louches almost instantaneously. Use a fountain or a brouille.

COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
Not the merest hint of yellow remaining. Luminous, but a bit thin, certainly diluted more than 3:1.

AROMA 22/30
I'll give it good marks though it's idiosyncratic and because of the wormwood - there's a lot of anise and wormwood, and little else (almost no fennel presence), with the usual interesting difference in the wormwood smell before louching and after louching.

A blanche, in my opinion, can afford to be more simple, but there are more flowery noses than the one from this absinthe, even just looking at blanches.

I wouldn't want to have to identify the "secret" herbs in addition to the anise and wormwood (and the hint of fennel) - they're barely present in the smell.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Not harsh at 3:1, but then you'd expect it from a 60% absinthe. I do subtract a point for the tongue-numbing at the end (is there some star anise?).

TASTE 18/20
*Very* idiosyncratic. For a blanche, there's little fennel and an *enormous* wormwood presence (very different from the smell). A hint of caramel, but it isn't tails. Your breath actually smells of freshly cut absinthe a few moments after you've drunk this.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
I wouldn't want this as my *only* absinthe.
But if you're looking for an absinthe that strays a little from the beaten path, to complement others and to have a range of very different absinthes (together with classical blanches that are typically fennel-rich and some vertes), you can't afford not to have this in your cupboard, if only because this one has WORMWOOD written all over it, and that's one of the essential herbs, isn't it?

It's different and wants to be, and for that it's almost perfect (though it could do with some extra floral and fruity notes).

Sixela scores Blanchette 78 out of 100


Reviewed by Ari 10/9/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 7/10
A pale yellow color in bottle, an error but it isn't anything horrible. The yellow isn't as noticeable when in the glass.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Defined oil trails that slowly become thicker eventually turning into clouds and fill the drink.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
An opaque, but not thick, white opalescent louche with no notice of the original yellow color. I'm hesitant to give this 10/10 but I'm not sure how it could be improved.

AROMA 24/30
Before water a sweet earthen aroma with anise in the background. As water is added the aroma blossoms. After water the anise pushes its way closer to the front and mixes well.

MOUTH-FEEL 6/10
lightly creamy. Not horribly tongue numbing but a lot more than is to be expected with the lighter anise approach.

TASTE 18/20
Reasonably balanced leaning away from the anise and fennel compared to other blanches. A nice amount of wormwood with a sweetish flavor, a good presence of anise and a nice soft bitter finish.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
I quite like this.

PERSONAL NOTES
For me this doesn't need sugar and it only serves to muddle the flavors.

Ari scores Blanchette 83 out of 100


Reviewed by eric and Joalco 2/17/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Clear with a slight yellow tint. Deduct one point

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Gets thick quickly, gradient lines developing into a nice turbulence

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Dense, opaque opalescences with a touch of amber and blue hues.

AROMA 23/30
Before water: Soft alcohol with some nut and honey overtones. Some slight woodiness is evident. After water: The aroma really opens up with a complex array of floral notes. Wormwood comes to the front along with the persistant nuttiness.


MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Smooth and full bodied. Very soft with little sharpness. No tongue numbing whatsoever.

TASTE 13/20
Pleasant and complex but a bit on the sweet side even w/o sugar. This does have some very nice flavors. Especially the wormwood. Would like it to be a bit drier and cleaner tasting. Does not seem to be as floral as some of the better Lablues we have tasted.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 7/10
We feel that this is indeed a quality product. We also believe that it could be improved. Having said all of that, it is still among the best of the Absinthe Blanche's currently available.

eric and Joalco scores Blanchette Combier 77 out of 100


Reviewed by EdouardPerneau 5/8/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
yellowish clear

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
oily and fast and thick

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
milky white

AROMA 13/30
funk and fennel

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Thick and creamy very nice

TASTE 13/20
Very Nice french blanche not very complex at all

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
A very great blanche and cheap also great to beginner

EdouardPerneau scores Blanchette 68 out of 100


Reviewed by Donnie Darko 9/3/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Clear and glassy

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
The show is over pretty quickly, but what's there is fun to watch, with a blooming cloud and swirly oil trails that continue on top even after fully louched.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
Cottony white.

AROMA 25/30
A mixture of heat, "bright" herbal tones and a subtle popcorn impression. An entirely unique aroma, that smelled toasty in the initial release of this absinthe, but is no longer "cooked" smelling and is quite appetizing. It doesn't fill the room but is noticeable a few feet away.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
A bit of alcohol bite propped up by some interesting anise/herbal combination that feels fluffy on the tongue.

TASTE 17/20
Simple but very drinkable, and entirely unique. The word that comes to mind again is "bright". The flavors in there pop to the forefront and are fairly seamless, with a bold quality wormwood presence that is more assertive than in other blanche absinthes, and it has a rich chewy fennel finish that lingers a few minutes past the first taste.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
This is a great summer absinthe. It's got a healthy portion of wormwood but still manages to be crisp and refreshing. I wasn't crazy about the initial release of blanchette, but with time all of the rough edges have been smoothed over, and this is an ideal blanche for anyone looking for something different from the generally monochromatic bunch that makes up most of the swiss la bleue offerings. It's evident the herbs used are of good quality, and one is not inclined to stop pouring after the first glass.

Donnie Darko scores Combier Blanchette 86 out of 100


Reviewed by Green Baron 9/7/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Clear, with a very minor beige tint. I was expecting worse from older pictures. The tint that I experience is very subtle, but it’s present so I can’t give it a 10, like most other blanches get by default.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Very nice thick blue-grey trails with classic instant “invisi-layer” towards the top. Could be a little bit more interesting weather patterns in the clouds, but it layers nicely and is fun to watch.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Nice glowing white with subtle blue and gold-brown highlights.

AROMA 26/30
Before water, a very interesting wormwood aroma, other herbs, what might be grape alcohol base. After water, an almost Sharpie-marker-like, yet floral scent from the A.a.; fennel and anise.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Decent creaminess with a mild tongue numbing, but not as velvety and thick as other blanches I’ve sampled.

TASTE 18/20
Very floral wormwood, reminiscent of the really tasty Pontarlier stuff in Pernot beverages- yet, it’s more smooth and light here, rather than the more herby-earthy character I get from EP absinthes. Behind the A.a. is the anise and fennel, seemingly in equal measure, with some other very minor herbal notes in the background.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
Very tasty. However, when I first opened the bottle, I had little experience with A.a. forward absinthes, and the “black magic marker” note was more chemical than herbal tasting to me. I wasn’t a fan. However, as the weeks went by, it really opened up and I was able to appreciate its unique and floral character. This is definitely NOT a La Bleu style blanche. I think that this, along with a few Pernot absinthes, have really helped inform my palate were wormwood is concerned.

PERSONAL NOTES
No bottle date. Bottle opened Feb 2008, tasted Feb through Sept 2008. Louched 3:1 with medium fountain drip, no sugar.

Green Baron scores Combier Blanchette 83 out of 100


Reviewed by Brunswick Green 12/18/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Subtle swirling, slow and even build-up.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Opaque and milky.

AROMA 25/30
Fragrant wormwood, creamy anise.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Perfect balance.

TASTE 17/20
Balanced. Nothing sticks out. Soft and feminine and rounded but never boring, you can just keep drinking this forever. Candy but still very fresh and not too sweet.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
Harmony. Nothing fancy, yet so rewarding.

Brunswick Green scores Blanchette 83 out of 100
Heure Verte
I really don't understand that "caramelization" thing Hartsmar ! I didn't sense any aroma like that in the Blanchette, it's very odd. Besides, the Blanchettes sold on LDF are, as I'm aware, from the same batch the Blanchette I got.
I might be the only one not to sense this "caramelization" but I had to speak my point wink.gif

I'm ok with the strong presence of fennel, and with the wormwood kick, but I felt also an "herbal bouquet" (just before the wormwood) very interesting where I sensed a very special herb : genepi or artemisia mutellina. Combier didn't concur on that as they want to keep their secrets but as genepi amateur, I would be surprised to be wrong.
hartsmar
It was Traineraz who wrote that review. Not me. I haven't tried the Blanchette yet.
Absomphe




"Flavor strikes me as predominantly fennel rather than anise."

"This one-two punch is what “makes” the Blanchette for me; it struck me as essentially a mid-grade arak until the wormwood kicked in."


Trainer, these two statements seem somewhat contradictory, to me, since I'm unaware of araks including fennel in their recipes. They are basically wine based distilled spirits that are liberally flavored with green anise.

justabob
From what your describing, it sounds as though the distillite was collected far into the tails. Maybe this is the method being used? Hey if it tastes good so what!

Unless the yellow color is added from some herbal source, but then it wouldn't be called a blanche now would it.
traineraz
That's pretty much what I'd assume, bob. I liked it overall, and as noted the caramelization faded to the background, but the score was based on the scoresheet.

It'd be interesting to see what score Heure Verte arrives at, by using the scoresheet.

Assstomphe, the reference to Arak was more about simplicity rather than anise vs. fennel. I should have been more clear about that.
Absomphe
Thanks for clarifying. abs-cheers.gif
hartsmar
Updated...
Mashoujiki
Flaw or no flaw, I think it tastes damn fine to my admittedly recently initiated palate.
sixela
Hey Hartsmar, did you get my review via PM?
Kirk
I haven't tried it yet but
Artemisia absinthium flowers if present in sufficient quantity in the macerate will cause the distillate to be yellow . If I were guessing I would say that is the source of the yellow color.
hartsmar
QUOTE(sixela @ Mar 28 2006, 09:38 AM) *

Hey Hartsmar, did you get my review via PM?


I did and I've just updated with your review above.
Many thanks for your contribution. Keep 'em coming folks!

abs-cheers.gif
sixela
I find you and AndrewT very harsh on the colour - I mean, if this scores a '1', what does Hill's score?
Lord Stanley
QUOTE(Heure Verte @ Feb 5 2006, 05:35 AM) *

I really don't understand that "caramelization" thing Hartsmar ! I didn't sense any aroma like that in the Blanchette, it's very odd.


I noticed that caramel flavour in the Blanchette. It reminded me somewhat of the butterscotch-like flavour in Segarra 45, another supposed uncoloured absinthe with a yellow tinge. I won't speculate whether or not this is purely coincidental. Those characteristics in the Segarra are usually attributed to aging in old brandy barrels.
sixela
I'd also have to add that I'd give aged Blanchette a couple more points. The wormwood is still present but changed in character, but the fennel has come to the forefront more than a bit. All in all, it'd score more han a couple of points more.

Hartsmar, do you want me to post a new review?
hartsmar
If you would like to do that, that would be excellent.
Deluge
I opened a bottle of Blanchette last night that came from a newer batch and
I agree with Sixela it has changed a bit.

The wormwood is rather subdued behind a fennel character that seems
a bit strong to me.

I would like to let the bottle breathe a while before making any hasty
judgments though.

I really liked the old Blanchette but that is not to say I will not like the new.
sixela
QUOTE(hartsmar @ Oct 10 2006, 04:36 PM) *

If you would like to do that, that would be excellent.


But why is it taking you so long to include Ari's review in the summary - and to update the mean score?

C'mon - on the double!
Ari
Although 7 may be a point too high for the color, it has faded since I bought it. The one ratings seem extremely harsh considering artificially colored absinthe consistently get higher numbers. A little green dye and you would never know it has a coloring issue. I would rather have a slightly off color blanche than just another fake verte.
hartsmar
QUOTE(sixela @ Oct 10 2006, 06:28 PM) *

QUOTE(hartsmar @ Oct 10 2006, 04:36 PM) *

If you would like to do that, that would be excellent.


But why is it taking you so long to include Ari's review in the summary - and to update the mean score?

C'mon - on the double!


I'm doing a thorough background check on Ari first to see if he's credible or not. It's part of the Homeland Security Program.

Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Ari @ Oct 11 2006, 12:02 AM) *

Although 7 may be a point too high for the color, it has faded since I bought it. The one ratings seem extremely harsh considering artificially colored absinthe consistently get higher numbers. A little green dye and you would never know it has a coloring issue. I would rather have a slightly off color blanche than just another fake verte.


The difference is that artificial colouring is not unintentional. I wouldn't believe anyone if they told me the yellow tinge to Blanchette was intentional. While the subtle yellow of Blanchette may not be resultant of an error in the distillation, we are instructed in our reviews to penalize things which appear to be mistakes. Having a yellow tint in an absinthe that is supposed to be clear, regardless of where that yellow comes from, is certainly an error, although not as severe as an absinthe tainted by empyreuma (like the first batch of Kubler). I don't think it should be given a 1 out of 10, as it wasn't piss yellow, but a 6-8 score seems reasonable to me for the straw tint.
hartsmar
Tell you this... Let the bottle sit on your table for a couple of days instead of putting it away from light and you'll see the yellowish tint all gone.
The Blanchette I have here is crystal clear. It was yellowish when I first got it.

Patlow
That's because you finished it!!! It's empty, Hartsmar. Throw the bottle away...
Bruno Rygseck
QUOTE(hartsmar @ Oct 11 2006, 11:41 PM) *

Let the bottle sit on your table for a couple of days instead of putting it away from light and you'll see the yellowish tint all gone.

I am going to try this, thanks for the tip. Not that I dislike the yellowish color. I think it looks kind of "hand-made" (yes, I know, the color is not supposed to be like that). At some point I'll try to review it. I also like the strong wormwood presence in it.

BR
Steyr850
Worked for me.

Unfortunately, my bottle is going the way of the buffalo no.gif
(emo in remebrance of our dearly departed)
hartsmar
QUOTE(Patlow @ Oct 11 2006, 01:49 PM) *

That's because you finished it!!! It's empty, Hartsmar. Throw the bottle away...


Damn it! You're on to me!
ripvanmd
I really, really disliked the Blanchette when I first opened the bottle, finding it very medicinal...I disliked it so much that I put it away and didn't touch it for about 2mo. When my supplies of my others began to dwindle, I tucked back into the Blanchette and, now, absolutely love it. I find it to be much sweeter (sans sucre) than the others that I have tried. I won't actually post a full review, most b/c I don't know what I am talking about.

Are there any plans to market a larger scale bottle....the small size of the Blanchette is a real pain in the ass. I looked at the website and found no indication as such.
G&C
It won't even be considered if you don't do a review.
Absomphe
And considering its relatively high wormwood profile, one has to wonder what other absinth(e)s you've tried that were more bitter.
ripvanmd
QUOTE(Absomphe @ Dec 6 2006, 07:24 PM) *

And considering its relatively high wormwood profile, one has to wonder what other absinth(e)s you've tried that were more bitter.


I feel that VdF is much more bitter....yeah but I probably dunno what I'm talking about
Marc
Blanchette is no bitter for me.
sixela
QUOTE(ripvanmd @ Dec 7 2006, 01:00 AM) *

I really, really disliked the Blanchette when I first opened the bottle, finding it very medicinal...I disliked it so much that I put it away and didn't touch it for about 2mo. When my supplies of my others began to dwindle, I tucked back into the Blanchette and, now, absolutely love it.


I have news for you: you don't like the fresh aroma of fruity wormwood.

hartsmar
QUOTE
Are there any plans to market a larger scale bottle....the small size of the Blanchette is a real pain in the ass. I looked at the website and found no indication as such.


AFAIK there are 1 liter bottles of the Blanchette. Not from LdF, but that is probably mainly because of the huge size of the bottle being a problem for packaging etc.

http://www.vertdabsinthe.com/index.php?opt...&Itemid=185
Absomphe
QUOTE(sixela @ Dec 7 2006, 02:40 AM) *



I have news for you: you don't like the fresh aroma of fruity wormwood.


Can such a thing be possible?

Alas, I'm afraid it's all downhill from here for you, Ripper.
ripvanmd


I have news for you: you don't like the fresh aroma of fruity wormwood.
[/quote]

I think it was that the Blanchette was really far afield from what I had already tried (VdF, Eichelberger, Clandestine, Monmartre). Now that it is aged a little, it tastes somewhat different and I love it and am bemoaning the fact that it comes in such a small bottle. The monkeys just brought me my PF1901 and the duplais (and, of course, more ike). Very happy. Unfortunately they are "christmas presents" so, in theory, they really should remain unopened. I'm not sure I have such moral fortitude...

I am chalking my initial dislike of the Blanchette to inexperience...
EdouardPerneau
Blanchette

EdouardPerneau scores Blanchette 68 out of 100

Editor's note: Review merged into main review thread and the Buyer's Guide.
Steyr850
huh.gif
hartsmar
Updated...
Provenance
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ May 14 2008, 12:38 PM) *
But calling something "Blanchette" that is in fact "Jaunette" might be considered "fucked up".

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Sep 3 2008, 12:22 PM) *
Combier Blanchette

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Clear and glassy

It's been unfucked?
Rimbaud
I bought a 20cl bottle at Luc's shop in June & it is clear & delicious.
Provenance
Maybe Ted started adding artificial clear coloring.
Rimbaud
BWAHAHAHA!!!
absinthist
Since it is quite cheap, could be the case.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Provenance @ Sep 3 2008, 04:26 PM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ May 14 2008, 12:38 PM) *
But calling something "Blanchette" that is in fact "Jaunette" might be considered "fucked up".

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Sep 3 2008, 12:22 PM) *
Combier Blanchette

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Clear and glassy

It's been unfucked?


Yeah, defuckterized.
G&C
Bleached?
Kirk
Blecked?
Wild Bill Turkey
They've added something artificial to make it clear, for sure, bleach or otherwise. Leave it out in the sun for a few days and I bet it turns green.
Marc
HA!
hartsmar
Updated...
hartsmar
Updated...
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