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Good news! Email from Luc:

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I hope this run has the same great aroma and flavor, but with a fuller louche and mouthfeel.
Donnie Darko
My sentiments exactly. The aroma put it at the front of the crowd, all it needs is a little more oomph in the richness department and it will be excellent. I hope it's still being made at Pernot, I don't think Devoille could make something like that via assemblage.

The delicate, seamless herbal balance in the flavor, and that vintage muskiness in the aroma, would most likely be lost in the translation.
The top of the label says "Les Parisiennes" and I think the Les Parisiennes serie is made at Devoille (which is great imo).
I could be wrong though.
Do we have a release date yet? I haven't heard anything from LdF.
This would force me to finally take advantage of the wonderful recent exchange rates.
Belle Amie is the best absinthe that I ever couldn't stand to drink. The aroma is fantastic, and the taste excellent - until I swallowed it. Then there was a distinct and intense soapy flavor, leaving a repulsive soapy finish. It finally mellowed out, after nine months or so, but by then the aroma and flavor had also lost their brightness, leaving a solid but unspectacular absinthe.

The people I shared the bottle with didn't have the same response (at least, not to the extent I did), so it must just be some weird body chemistry thing.

Have at it, you Belle Amie-loving bastards … abs-cheers.gif
QUOTE(mthuilli @ Jan 23 2009, 06:32 PM) *

The top of the label says "Les Parisiennes" and I think the Les Parisiennes serie is made at Devoille (which is great imo).
I could be wrong though.

I was wrong, Pernot makes it (wine alcohol base biggrin.gif ).
And no assemblage distillation. LARS!.gif
You can pre-order it here, 10€ off.
Pre-ordered it right after I received Luc's marketing e-mail :)
So, what are the differences between 1st edition and the 2nd one? And what about some pics and first reminiscences?
The second batch uses wine alcohol as its base
Heure Verte
I'm very happy to release (at least !) this second edition. It took us more than a year to achieve this absinthe, initiated in late 2007. Belle Amie is a playful lady, it's not easy to catch her : but finally the two editions are very similar, even if I chose to change some tiny things with this second batch, for the better I think :
- A very discreet and fine wine alcohol
- Double distillation
Some improvments have been made too : this second Belle Amie benefits of a stronger louche and a more creamy mouth.
For the rest, it's Belle Amie again, and it's a limited batch of 640 bottles hand numeroted by myself.

I hope you'll like it wink.gif For me, it's what I was waiting for.
Doctor Love

Congrats and thank you abs-cheers.gif
Congrats, indeed!

Sounds delicious, and well worth the wait.
QUOTE(Heure Verte @ Feb 10 2009, 09:30 AM) *
- Double distillation

I don't understand.
Donnie Darko
There are two sorts of "double-distillation". One is when the distillate is re-macerated with additional herbs and distilled again, which can have good or bad results. The other kind is when one re-distills the tails and adds them back to the original distillate. I'm not sure which type he's talking about, though either one is technically double-distillation as two distillations are required to make the absinthe.
He could also be rectifying his base, as Leopold does, which could also possibly be considered as double distillation.

In any event, without some additional explanation, I don't understand what was meant by phrase "double distillation."
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Feb 10 2009, 09:46 PM) *

The other kind is when one re-distills the tails and adds them back to the original distillate.

From the "stronger louche and a more creamy mouth", that would be my guess. Gotta have that anethole!

I'm not sure I find Luc's use of the nume to rote his bottles that traditional either.

I'm almost as exited to be trying this as I am disappointed that I missed the first run. Almost.
QUOTE(OCvertDe @ Feb 10 2009, 02:29 PM) *

I'm almost as exited

Promise? harhar.gif
Awe, fuck.
If his double distillation means macerating the first distilate again to concentrate the herbal components and re-distilling after, I could be interested in trying the second batch which should be clearly richer.

Actually I'm pretty sure that's what he means, given the effort toward top quality he seems to puts on this project.

First version was very interesting but a little thin. Using this double maceration/distillation method (wich is also used in the making of fine arak by the way and IMO most probably in the making of the finest absinthes) could certainly solve this problem and add a few points to the rating of Belle Amie (and probably to the effects for those who can still feel it ;-) ).

I still have 1/2 a bottle of the first version, it could be interesting to compare the two (even if 2 years of aging certainly helps the first batch).

Jaded Prole
Double maceration would be an unnecessary step and an added expense. Re-distilling the distillate, or at least a portion of it, with the tails and water would suffice to pull remaining oils out of the tails and increase the concentration in the finished product.
First of all, Luc, thank you for this extraordinary absinthe and well done! Secondly, here are some pictures:

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This absinthe louches very beautiful, as you can see, into a wonderful, thick color. The herbal aroma struck me immediately once I opened the bottle, and the taste is just as powerful. Powerful, and smooth at the same time. There's a delicious wormwood and slight fennel - anise balance, along with something extra spicy and warm. I'm loving this! abs-cheers.gif
You can expect me on your doorstep Any Day Now.
Always welcome, just give me a call so I can get the kids' toys out of the way so you can actually see a doorstep.
Absinthe Ben
Nice photos, Stijn! abs-cheers.gif I have a sample of batch 1 and a bottle of the second on the way, so I'll post some comparison notes once I get both in.
It would be nice to read more details about this double distillation process…

I find it's somewhat funny to read "to change some tiny things " and then read about a new distillation process and the use of wine alcool. Those things are not what I would call "tiny" ;-).

Pre-ordered a bottle, we will see. We will also have to let most of it age at least until summer…

ps.: This may very well be the last bottle I order on the internet as the SAQ is about to stock a new selection of quality absinthes (exact list not released yet but we should know for sure at the end of march).

The color is also a lovely green, and while this is nowhere near as important as the taste, it also represents more than a tiny change over the previous feuille mort.
Donnie Darko
How old is it?
The colour, as presented by Mr. Absinthia, looks like very young and kinda pale when compared with the first edition.
Perhaps the white background caused it to look a bit paler. It looks fresh and yellow-greenish to me though.
Absinthe Ben
QUOTE(Wolfgang @ Feb 16 2009, 03:27 PM) *

This may very well be the last bottle I order on the internet

That's what they all say! harhar.gif
Wow, March came early this year. I wasn't home to sign for it, but my Bel Amie arrived yesterday. I haven't cracked it open yet, but it sure is handsome.
Damn, that window of edportunity sure closes fast around here.
QUOTE(Absinthesizer @ Jan 24 2009, 06:19 PM) *

Belle Amie is the best absinthe that I ever couldn't stand to drink. The aroma is fantastic, and the taste excellent - until I swallowed it. Then there was a distinct and intense soapy flavor, leaving a repulsive soapy finish.

What the fuck happened to my Belle Amie?

My first glass was fantastic, right up there with the best I've had. That was two days ago.

Today I had my second glass. The aroma, the mouth feel, the taste, spectacular- for a couple seconds. Then out of nowhere comes this soapy flavor, reminiscent of an Ajax in water solution. It grows stronger and more pervasive, and after swallowing leaves an aftertaste so intense I don't know how I could have not noticed it in my first glass. I'm positive it didn't taste like this when I first opened it, and almost as certain that I'll be unable to finish it. What a waste. dry.gif
Try it again in a few days. If the Belle Amie has coriander, there's a good chance that one of two things happened:

1) you could have a genetic trait that causes certain enzymes in your mouth to process the flavor of coriandr (and cilantro leaves as well) as soapy. The first time around, you may have eaten or drank something previously that masked it. or:
2) you might have eaten or drank something that altered the enzymes in your mouth to temporarily process the flavor as soapy the second time.

This is speculation, since even in the scientific community, the debate is still going on as to whether there exists that genetic trait to begin with.
Donnie Darko
Some people are very sensitive to Cilantro, but I've never heard of that sensitivity translating to coriander seed. I remember Artemis mentioning that Cilantro could make him vomit but he was a fan of absinthes containing Coriander.

Other things that can easily make an absinthe taste soapy are Cardamom, Lavender or if the glass you used or container you dripped the water from contained a tiny bit of undissolved detergent from a previous wash (seems dumbly obvious but I had that happen once).
Well, I usually scrub my absinthe glasses out without soap, and I used my fountain, filtered water, etc.
The idea of something I ate previously masking or accentuating it seems most plausible at the moment, although the genetics theory may have merit as well… I had Hartsmar withhold my review of the Roquette 1797 for a very similar complaint, which resulted in a painfully low score for what is widely considered to be a top shelf Absinthe. As that was only a sample, trying it again in a few days wasn't an option, but the Belle Amie is barely broken in.
Better luck next time, hopefully. That first glass was an experience I'd surely love to have again.
Absinthe Ben
If this continues to happen, and looks as if it's leaning toward the genetics explanation…you have my sympathy, friend. :(
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(OCvertDe @ Feb 21 2009, 10:25 PM) *

although the genetics theory may have merit as well…

Your genetic makeup doesn't change in between your first glass and your second glass, and if you ate something the first time that masked the effect then its surprising you don't hate other absinthes that have similar ingredients to Belle Amie. Either something else screwed up your palate (I've experienced an oncoming cold cause one absinthe to taste like potato chips) or the bottle somehow went south after opening. I suggest you send a sample to someone to compare notes.
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Feb 22 2009, 08:56 AM) *
Your genetic makeup doesn't change in between your first glass and your second glass

Agreed. Good point.

I suggest you send a sample to someone to compare notes.

I bet you do lol…

No, seriously, this is a good idea. Any Belle Amie fans who have a bottle of this new batch and want to conduct this little comparison, first one to drop me a pm I'll drop them a vial.
While genetics wouldn't change your views on the first and second glasses, it may explain why some people can't stand (not merely dislike) "black licorice."
Jaded Prole
It could make you dsylexic though.
Dyslecksia is unrelated to poor spelling.
Received mine as well. I passed my bottle through a decanter for half an hour before pouring the first glass to accelerate innitial oxygenation. Still I won't be able to write a full review before at least a week or two. These are only my innitial impression upon first opening the bottle.

It sure is nicely louchy !

I'm having a small glass of each batches to compare and these are two different beauties of the same family. These are no sisters, more like close cousins.

As usual I'm tasting with 4:1 water ratio (+ a melting ice cube so it may end up 4.5:1). I'm also using about half a tea spoon of sugar per oz of undiluted absinthe.

The second batch uses a much better alcool base. Gone is the typical "Un Emile" taste and aroma and it's been replaced by a more fruity and delicate base. This is a huge improvement.

This leaves more place for the herbs to shine through (and I would also not be surprised to learn more hyssop have been used but that's just a wild guess). In the empty measuring glass I smell much more hyssop (or what I think some people call the "baby powder" smell) In a few months this should blend together pretty well with the fruity base. This absinthe won't be really ready before summer anyway.

I understand what OCvertDE said about the soapy taste. It is somewhat soapy but I don't find it obtrusive and I'm sure some extra aging will blend all these flavors together and improve everything. In the meantime, try it with more or less water and more or less sugar and you should find an acceptable balance. Actually I like soapy tasting chewing gum so maybe that's why I like this absinthe with sugar ;-).

Now the big question is what is the cause of this soapy taste ? Cardamone seeds are extra soapy so maybe there is some cardamone but unless this is a variety I don't know, I would say this is not only cardamone. There's somethiing else to it, maybe a bit of lavender ? Not sure.

I also noted the use of a plastic cap T-cork. Bad idea. The wax doesn't hold on it. My package arrived pretty much beaten up and even if the bottle was not broken, the wax was gone from the cork. This is just a tiny detail but still, this could be improved on the next batch. Personally I would be happy with a top quality regular cork even if this is less usefull once the bottle is opened.

Upon my first impression, I'm concidering putting some of my tax return money on a second bottle right away, which I wouldn't do for the first batch, even if it was at the same price…

In short, Belle amie 2 is excellent ! Congratulation to the makers !

One last note about the label, it may not be obvious while looking at a picture but it is different and what grabs my eyes if the "Les Parisennes" banner at the top. Could this be related to vintage Absinthe Parisienne from distillerie du Val Roger a Villier sur Marne ? (the poster with the old doctor and the young red haired lady in green).

ps.: That being said, if you're an absinthe afficionado who have missed the 1st batch and you have lots of money in your pocket, it is still worth grabbing one of those few bottles left of the first batch just for the pleasure of comparing the two.

Hm… nobody wants a free glass. Although, it's starting to sound like my issue is normal.
Cardamone ? blink.gif

Interesting topic re coriander leaves. I hate them, and if they have flavoured Belle Amie, that has put me off buying it.

I am not one of those people who find a soapy flavour in coriander leaves; I find a repulsive rank, stale urine flavour. I think they are awful. I do, however, love coriander "seeds" (actually dried corns, or fruits, like pepper corns or coffee, rather than seeds). I think they are excellent, and an essential part of the flavour of the Indian curries that I love.

NB There are only two other flavours I actively dislike: almonds and lychees. I will eat or drink anything else. Is dislike of almonds genetic too ?

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