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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > Vintage Absinthe
Heure Verte

I bought several bottles from a friend of mine (the one with some problems related to an ex-member). Those bottles were found some years ago in a french cache, perhaps some members of this forum heard about it. I bought all the bottles he had, after had the chance of tasting it. This story ran for months, it was hard to decide for me.

On the bottles, no label (except one with a scratched label with some handwriting : G.....P). That kind of bottle was produced in 1938 by Pernod. Inside, very brown absinthe. I tought it could be vintage Pernod Fils produced in Tarragona in the 1940's, considering the bottle.

Two days ago, I uncorked one of the bottle : the smell was very floral, herby, different from the modern absinthes. I measured the absinthe and it showed 66°.
Then I poured two glasses with a friend of mine and we tasted it. The color was as dark "feuille morte" as the sample I had. The taste reminded us quickly my pre-ban Pernod Fils but this one is more vivid. My pre ban Pernod Fils is a little asleep and the complexity of the aromas need a few sips to give their "full throttle".
This is vintage absinthe for sure : the floral "bouquet", the balance, the bitterness coming by waves, the color...
The thing is : according to the bottle, it could be 1940 Pernod Fils Tarragona. But in the 1960 Pernod Tarragona, there was star anise. In my absinthe, no star anise at all and the taste is closer to the pre-ban rather than to the 1960 one.
It's not exactly the same taste of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if this absinthe was a Pernod one (either Pernod Fils or another family brand). It seems old.

I finally decided to "break" this bottle into 60 ml samples and to propose it for sale. I'm not sure I'll do it with others bottles as I'll keep some for the next years or for research and so.
Meanwhile, I'm searching to ID this absinthe : at least it's 1940 Pernod Fils Tarragona. At best, it's pre ban absinthe discovered in the 40's and re bottled in Pernod bottles. I forgot to tell you : one of the bottles found had something handwritten on the label : Gempp Pernod. This bottle has been given to a museum by my friend and I trust him.

The alcohol proof (66°) is also curious : a Pernod Fils Tarragona produced in 1940 (or even 1950) could loose 2° in 60 years ? Wouldn't it be possible that this absinthe were 72° and lose 8° in 100 years ?

I have contacted people who could help me ID it but for now, I propose this absinthe in some samples.
Feel free to look at the pictures here : I've made an english page. I know the price is not the same that the one we've seen recently but hey, I bought those bottles !

Excuse me for this long text in my very bad english, but I had to tell you about this story and I think you might be interested...
le Gimp
Alcohol will be lost at a greater rate than water.

How full was the bottle?

Can you take an empty bottle and fill it to the eqivelant level as this bottle was with water. Then pour out the water and measure the volume. Then fill the bottle to the approximate full level one would expect in a new bottle. pour this out and measure it. The differnce is the loss due to evaporation. Figure most of it was alcohol, say 95% Calculate how this much 95% alcohol of the missing volume would effect the gravity of the remaining amount. It should tell you the original % alcohol within a small margine.

Congrats on the cache.
Heure Verte
QUOTE(le Gimp @ Feb 11 2006, 03:16 PM) *

How full was the bottle?

The level was "mid glass stamp". I'll try to do what you suggest.
However, a respected member told me that Pernod Fils Tarragona 1940 is very close from the pre-ban and far from the 1960. It makes sense to me.
Donnie Darko
I've had both and that is true. 40s Tarragona is outstanding while the 60s one is better than a lot of commercials but is surprisingly different from the 40s.
QUOTE(Heure Verte @ Feb 11 2006, 01:40 PM) *


I bought several bottles from a friend of mine (the one with some problems related to an ex-member). ....
I poured two glasses with a friend of mine and we tasted it.

If it's THAT ex-member....You French are brave!! abs-cheers.gif
.... well, at least there appears to be no 'added ingredients' by the ex-member.....from his member blink.gif
Heure Verte
Ahem no :) The samples are coming from bottles who didn't travel much : found in an abandonned cafe -> -> went to my cellar's friend -> ended in my basement.
It was a huge cache : 9 bottles !
Oh!!! the Cannes Cache!??!

If so, Lucky Vous!!! abs-cheers.gif

The samples I got from Oxy were wowzers!!
Heure Verte
No, not part of the Cannes cache (BTW, I hope the full and amazing story of this bottles will come up here one day, it's really stunning :) ).
The bottles I'm talking about have been found elsewhere.
QUOTE(Heure Verte @ Feb 17 2006, 09:46 AM) *

No, not part of the Cannes cache (BTW, I hope the full and amazing story of this bottles will come up here one day, it's really stunning :) ).
The bottles I'm talking about have been found elsewhere.

I need to move to France....and start tearing out the walls of old abandoned cafes!! frusty.gif

Heure Verte
To those who ordered from me (many thanks to Donnie Darko), this absinthe is Pernod Fils 1940.
The mystery is solved and it's no more mysterious absinthe !
Donnie Darko
I compared it to another 40s Tarragonna I had, and in terms of flavour profile, they're remarkably similar, although Heure Verte's Tarragonna is better preserved. Mine has a bitter astringency left from a shriveled cork, which I was able to tame some after multiple decantings, but its still noticeable, whereas Heure Verte's seems to have experienced the natural deterioration that comes with age. In spite of that one difference though, nearly everything else about the two is identical. It's also far superior to 60s Tarragona, which has a strident licorice root/star anise aspect. Neither star anise nor licorice root is apparent in the 40s Tarragona.

What's most remarkable is how good the alcohol base is. I highly doubt they sourced their spirit from the same place in France as pre-ban Pernod Fils, but the alcohol is still definitely high quality wine base, not obtrusive and leaves an almost bubbly feel on the tongue. The aroma is of old books, anise, honey, lemon and a hint of camphor, and the aroma really fills the room, and hangs around in the emptied glass for several hours. The wormwood they were using was excellent, as was the anise. The wormwood lingers in your mouth for a few hours after tasting, but it's not strident. The only downside is it appears that by the 40s Pernod Fils was using inferior fennel to its predecessor, which means a less creamy mouthfeel and a less dense louche, also leaves a camphorous smell and residue on the tongue. I noticed this in samples from both bottles.

Here's the pics. The one on the left is my bottle and the one on the right is Heure Verte's sample. The biggest visual difference is mine has a better preserved colour, still fairly yellow-green, while his is more of a dense amber, but ironically his is better preserved in terms of flavour.Click to view attachment


For some reason it won't allow me to add the louched pic and I have to go to work so I'll post the louched pic later.
Donnie Darko
Louched at 3:1. I'm a lousy photographer so sorry about the weird light and slight blur.

All in all, it tasted and smelled great. with the one exception being the mediocre fennel. I've never had the pleasure of trying pre-ban Pernod Fils, so I can't really make an accurate comparison, but from what I've been told, this doesn't have the mouth coating incredibly rich and dense whallop that Pre-ban PF has, but it's still certainly very flavourful, aromatic and well crafted, and probably a bit fresher tasting due to being younger.
Really incredible the color difference between 2 Pernod Fils 1940.
Thanks for the pics !
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