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Artemis
AVERAGE SCORE 88


Reviewed by Artemis 12/13/2006

I don't know the provenance of this sample, other than the fact that it came from a generous benefactor. Sampling this objectively was problematic, because it was a very tiny sample, only 15 ml, and some of that was spilled in a clumsy kitchen accident. It would be a crime not to comment on what remained, of which I made the best I could.

First, it was not very green - it was a very pale green, almost clear. I could be wrong about this because the very small sample might have fooled me. Even a very green absinthe looks clear when there are only a few drops in the glass. But I take "very green" in this case to mean that it is COMPARATIVELY green given its age. Absinthe this old is usually the color of honey, due to the "feuilles morte" process. For some reason, which would be interesting to pursue, the color of this absinthe turned hardly at all. This absinthe is an anomaly, a freak of nature (or industry, in which case Pernod went out at the pinnacle).

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Pale green. No faults. I might have been fooled on the color due to the size of the sample, but if anything, I probably scored it too low as a result.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Again, unexpected. NOT sinus headache snot-yellow as with all the old Pernod I have previously sampled. Pearl white, not too thick, not too thin. Could not properly evaluate the ACTION of the louche, because of the small amount of liquor. Still, no way to fault it.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10

See comments under louche action. Pearlygate.

AROMA 30/30
Spectacular. The best I've ever smelled, period. Floral and soft, more than the sum of its parts. Impossible to pick any herb out. Not anise, not wormwood, not anything. Almost a cinnamon bun nuance, but subtle, not cloying. I can detect only the very start of the aging process that gives absinthe this fine that "Rolls Royce leather" quality - that process has started in this stuff, but for some reason not progressed as it normally does in vintage samples. What does this have to do with the fact that it stayed green and did not turn brown? Plenty, is my guess. It would be a fascinating line of inquiry. I would like to knock a few points off because louched, the smell was not nearly as intense as that of the raw liquor, but it smelled so fine in the bottle I could easily have drunk it straight and tolerated the burnt gullet. I would almost hazard a guess that herbs of the quality that went into this stuff, the anise in particular, no longer exist in the world. Either that, or there is some secret ingredient that is absent in all other drinks. I suspect the former. There is NO smell of grape alcohol, in fact, the alcohol is notable by its absence, except for the burn.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Not too thick, not too thin. Refreshing and light.

TASTE 20/20
Tastes like it smells. Couldn't be any better. I don't have the words for it.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
The best absinthe I have ever tasted. It's quite possible that given a larger sample which would have allowed me to more properly evaluate color and louche, this absinthe would have had a perfect score. It's the closest I could come to having sampled 1914 top quality absinthe in 1914, and the experience, except for the accident which spilled most of it (go figure), was not disappointing.

Artemis scores 1914 Pernod Fils "Very Green" 93 out of 100


Reviewed by G&C 1/14/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 5/10
Clear, slight touch of green. Almost looked like a blanche.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10

AROMA 24/30

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10

TASTE 18/20

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10

G&C scores Pernod Fils circa 1914 (Very green) 80 out of 100


Reviewed by Grim 1/21/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 6/10

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10

AROMA 25/30

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10

TASTE 18/20

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10

Grim scores Pernod Fils circa 1914 (Very green) 84 out of 100


Reviewed by Donnie Darko 1/21/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 6/10
Just slightly yellowish green, reminiscent of the first incarnation of Emile Pernot. Looks like a colour suggestion rather than a colour statement.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Not quite as layered and distinct as the regular 1914 I had from the same cache, but still turbulent and thick.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
More white than green, but the green is revived somewhat by louching.

AROMA 28/30
It smells surprisingly fresh. The sweetest slightly honeyed anise smell I've ever encountered, with a nice milky floral scent underneath. 1 point deducted for slight alcohol nose burn and 1 deducted for not filling the room as much as two other vintage samples I've had. However, after smelling the empty vial it arrived in, the lingering musky/sweet fragrance makes me want to wear it as a cologne.

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
Spicy for a split second, then bitter on the sides of the tongue, then it's pure minky silk the rest of the way through. The mouthfeel persists for what seems an infinity.

TASTE 19/20
The superb (and by superb I mean best I've ever tasted) anise coats the tongue and somehow continues generate intense flavour several minutes after your initial swallow. Behind that is a flowery wormwood zing, that is not overly bitter, but persistent throughout. 8 minutes on after only one swallow, you're still tasting a complex and masterfully balanced herbal volley between the anise, fennel and wormwood. It's as seamless as seamless can be. I deducted 1 point because the alcohol gets in the way just a tiny bit.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
If the colour was more "there" this would have earned a perfect score. It's so delicious you just want to hold it in your mouth and not swallow. No, it didn't make me cry. It just tastes "right".

Donnie Darko scores Pernod Fils 1914 "Very Green" 89 out of 100


Reviewed by Sixela 1/10/2007

COLOUR BEFORE WATER 6/10
Beautiful hue between olive green and peridot - less yellow than appears in the pictures I took. Almost transparent, though, so I simply have to deduct points.

Not a trace of amber; the Cannes cache sample I had was actually prettier - more amber before it had louched, but a richer colour altogether.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
Simply perfect. Completely mesmerizing to look at.

COLOUR AFTER WATER 8/10
Very light green. Would probably have been less white with a stronger colour to start with.

AROMA 30/30
Unbelievably fragrant green anise - stands out like a radiant beacon. Some fennel adds other sweet notes and there is a herbal wormwood presence that's quite charming - superb even though it's very remote from the fruity wormwood of e.g. Emile Pernot's wormwood blanche.

As soon as it begins to louche, the aroma fills the room. Even my wife had to try it once she had smelled, despite really not liking even green anise (the only absinthe she does like is the Emile Pernot wormwood blanche!).

Absolutely no alcohol harshness despite the fact that there is a massive amount of alcohol (the bottle was filled completely and couldn't have parted with much of its alcohol).

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
MMhhhhh....

TASTE 20/20
Not a trace of age - it tastes younger than e.g. PF1901 does, with a wonderfully fragrant flavour explosion right a the end that I also recognize from the Cannes cache sample (and reminescent of Duplais Balance).

But unlike in other absinthes that are very fragrant and feminine, all this is complemented by quite some machismo, superb -- really unrivalled -- green anise and fennel, and an excellent wormwood that is very herbal but also outstanding. The wormwood lingers on for ages in the aftertaste, together with some green anise, but only after you've experienced the incredibly complex fireworks at the end of the taste.

One of the remarkable facts is that even though the colour is very light, it tastes very "green", with an obvious colouring herb presence.

Another striking fact is that different dilutions are always drinkable (even 1:2 is decidedly pleasant and fragrant) and change the flavour profile quite a lot - the green anise presence yields to the wormwood with the addition of more water.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
All it misses is some greenness. Other than that, it's simply irresistible, and unbelievably young despite being almost a century old...

The anise and wormwood is quite unlike anything that I've encountered in modern absinthes, and in this sample they jump at you from the bottle as if they had been plucked yesterday.

Were it a bit more green, it would simply have been perfect, and it's hard to believe anyone in the old days was able to compete with this thing.

It would have scored a lot more, as you can see, but for the relative importance of the colour in the scoring matrix -- which I find more than a bit exaggerated. if something tastes this good, I wouldn't mind if it were purple with fluorescent red blobs.

Sixela scores Pernod Fils 1914 (very green) 94 out of 100


Reviewed by eric and Joalco 2/17/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 4/10
Very pale green. almost no yellowing or dead leaf color whatsoever. Quite amazing for an Absinthe of this age but is still too weak to merit a higher score.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
Dramatic and turbulent. Perfect!

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Whitish green, slighty translucent. Near perfect.

AROMA 27/30
Before water: Medicinal with Alcohol and Anise predominant. After water: Primarily Anise with hints of camphor and wood. Wormwood very much in the background.


MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Very full, cool and crisp. Refreshing and not at all cloying or thick.

TASTE 18/20
This absinthe's flavor is dominated by anise, with a very light presence of fennel. The wormwood and other herbs balance out to make a very delicious-tasting experience. One word of note, for some palates the camphor notes present in this absinthe may be too much to the fore, whether it is tasted neat or with water. This is a quality present in several vintage samples we have tasted, and it does tend to nearly drown out some of the other herbal notes.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
This is an extremely interesting absinthe and we are lucky to sample it. Because of the striking differences in the color and taste (when compared to other samples of vintage Pernod Fils we have tasted) and the history behind this particular cache of bottles, we wonder if this is actually Pernod Fils, or if it is perhaps another, possibly unknown, distiller's vintage produced in the Doubs region during the same time period. The truth may be lost after so many years, but the contents of the bottle are a thing of wonder, no matter the name attached.

eric and Joalco scores 1914 Pernod Fils "Very Green" 87 out of 100


Reviewed by Provenance 5/28/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 7/10
Delicate green. Pale but pure. I've never seen anything quite like it.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Slow, billowing and full. Quite a show

COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
Pearly with the slightest hint of green

AROMA 29/30
Subtle yet full with herbs and flowers fluttering through the senses. Less alcohol on the nose then the other PF 1914 samples I tried.

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
Beautiful. Creamy but not heavy or cloying.

TASTE 20/20
Oh my. Anise, yes. Wormwood, yes. Fennel, Yes. Heaven, yes.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
Were absinthe close to this quality available today for the price of an average drink, I would spend most of my days drinking, probably in the company of poets, prostitutes and others who have better ways of spending their time than leading useful lives.

Provenance scores Pernod Fils 1914 "Green" 92 out of 100
Donnie Darko
Can I lick the floor or counter it was spilled on?

On a serious note, I do hope that Ted is able to get a sample of the same absinthe you reviewed. I'd love to find out what could be the cause of the excellent state of preservation. Even with all the GC/MS in the world, it may not unlock its secret, but it is certainly worth investigating.

I believe that's the highest score an absinthe has received in the history of the FV scoring system.
EDIT: Actually Deluge gave vintage Edouard a 97, but the score doesn't tell the whole story.
Jaded Prole
Excellent review. To bad about the spill.

I will have to post a review of the sample I recieved sometime tomorrow. Mine was probably not as green a sample but light greenish amber. Definitely the best I've ever had (or probably will have for that matter).

It finally arrived on Monday after having been opened and inspected by Canadian customs.
Artemis
QUOTE
Can I lick the floor or counter it was spilled on?


If you don't mind sloppy seconds. I already licked the counter. My wife was cleaning the house and I moved the bottle from the table to a cupboard to get it out of the way. Then she went to put a cup in the cupboard, and she deemed the bottle in the way. I went to move it to a higher shelf. I had previously cracked the cap to sniff the stuff, and had failed to resecure the cap. It fell from the top shelf. She caught it on the fly, but most of the absinthe spurted out of the bottle, onto her hand. I would have licked her hand, but she had already hauled ass out of the house after my remark: "It waited since 1914 for this - thanks a lot".
Absomphe
Wow.

Just wow.

If my bottle is anywhere near that spectacular, my timetable of one initial glass to review, and then one per solstice, thereafter, may be very hard to adhere to.
G&C
Specially since we have a tasting coming up.
Lord Stanley
I might not be able to wait much longer to uncork that dusty old bottle now. Actually, I'm going to have a go at the cork with a hypodermic needle first but I'll have to remember to steal a syringe from work tomorrow.
Marc
Looks like you had a nice day yesterday sampling all those vintage abs-cheers.gif

I'm quasi sure the PF 1914 "very green" woud have scored more if you had sampled a full 2-3cl glass, it would have changed the color and louche scores.

What LS said, I'm not sure I can wait much longer...
Oxygenee
I found all four of Artemis's reviews very interesting:

1. He awarded exactly the same points to the greener and the browner versions of the 1914 cache. This accords with my own experience - the differences on the palate between the two variants is one of kind, not of quality.

2. He's right that the colour of KOSG is perfectly acceptable, looked at in isolation, and I was surprised no-one else scored it like this. One of the advantages of colouring with wormwood is that you get a very nice green hue.

3. I will retaste the Bazinet, which I rated far higher than he did.
Deluge
It's funny what a person can learn in a year isn't it?
Artemis
I questioned my own review of the Bazinet, but I don't want to be second-guessing a low score simply because the absinthe is 100 years old and 100-year-old absinthe is "supposed" to be great.

I do have enough for a second tasting - I will revisit it and amend my review if warranted.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Dec 14 2006, 03:49 AM) *

2. He's right that the colour of KOSG is perfectly acceptable, looked at in isolation, and I was surprised no-one else scored it like this. One of the advantages of colouring with wormwood is that you get a very nice green hue.


I just went by the standard of penalizing an absinthe for haze. KOSG has no haze, but in my mind the debris, however intentional, destroyed any appeal of the colour even worse than a haze would, and so I penalized it. One would rate the colour for a wine the same if it had grape skins thrown in for dramatic effect. You are correct though that, subtracting the debris, the colour for KOSG is not bad, in fact it's better than F. Guy or Un Emile.
Absomphe
QUOTE(G&C @ Dec 13 2006, 04:57 PM) *

Specially since we have a tasting coming up.


I just noticed this.

As I already mentioned, you're covered, buddy. abs-cheers.gif

The bottle, however, has been superglued to the liquor cabinet.

Guess I'll need to get ahold of one of those stents, after all. evill.gif
justabob
I have a saws all if you need it.
Absomphe
Thanks, Bob, but I think I've been enjoying the series 'Dexter' just a little too much lately.

Maybe you'd better hang onto that.
hartsmar
Updated...
sixela
You forgot to merge:

http://www.feeverte.net/forum/index.php?s=...st&p=126037
hartsmar
Aaah! Thanks for reminding me! It's updated with that one now.

abs-cheers.gif
eric
1914 Pernod Fils "Very Green"

Private bottleing St Raphaël-Quinquina.

Editor's note: Review merged into main review post.
G&C
...™
sixela
It's Pernod Fils all right - it's evidently the same one as the greener Cannes cache samples.

It's a pity colour has such a large part in the scoring system - as I said, I wouldn't mind if it were purple with orange blobs when it tastes that good.
Absomphe
Indeed™.
Marc
What 6er said.
I think I said the same in one of my review, I don't care about the color and even sometimes about the louche when it's damn good.
Jaded Prole
I agree. The taste in all it's complexity is the bottom line. The taste of the sample I had was beautiful and I didn't find it camphory but spicy with that "bubblegum" flavor (it was not the green but the gold) and it lingered forever on the tongue.
hartsmar
Updated...
abs-cheers.gif
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