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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > Absinthe Brands Discussion
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Provenance
A gracious and absurdly generous friend sent me a sample of a vintage absinthe from an unlabeled bottle and asked my views. My understanding is that it is possible that the bottle is from a small cache of similar unlabeled bottles with a…uh…perhaps dodgy provenance.

I’ll use the elements of Oxy’s rating scale to structure the discussion but without numeric ratings.

A few thoughts:

Initial Color – Light gold with perhaps a minor suggestion of a green highlight.

Louche action (using a slow cold fountain drip) – Classic slow, bottom-up louche resulting in a thick fully louched glass of absinthe.

Color after louching – Between gold and feuille morte with a slight hint of the orange/pink shade I've seen in a few vintage samples.

Aroma – Predominant rounded grape base. Sweet green anise. A bit of harsh alcohol before louching. This glass really reminds me that absinthe is all about the anise. The base will appeal to people who prefer tubes to transistors in their sound system. If the base were an audio component, it would be a 300B triode amp.

Mouth-feel – Creamy and rich. Perfect.

Taste – Quality anise followed by fennel and wormwood. Really nice herbs. It does lack the herbal complexity/roll in the alpine meadow experience of the best absinthes.

Overall impression – A classic high quality, Pontarlier-style absinthe. It reminds me most in aroma and taste of a sample from an unlabeled Pontarlier bottle from the 1860s but is obviously much younger. It also reminds a bit of Lanquetin Fils although the sample of LF I tried had gone a bit dull and flat was a little past its prime. This sample manages to combine long aging with some freshness.

Conclusion – If this absinthe became available and I could afford it, I would buy it, not as a collectors item but just because I enjoy drinking it.

Best guess as to what it is – PF Tarragona circa 1930s.
Conte d'Ugenta
I want to say that the mystery absinthe from above is not vintage and I made it. It's some time that I'm working on a vintage replica, that actually taste like a vintage with the ageing, and I'm doing it just for passion and pride, since something like this is not likely to be produced in distillery. The first prototype of this absinthe was the "Freaky Stuff" many sampled at Pernot in 2008. I then improved both the recipe and the protocol and came up with a new kind of replica, much better and much closer to the goal. I gave some samples away, one to Boggy telling him it was mine, one to Marc just telling him it was old stuff and waiting for his opinion before saying it was mine.
With the last prototype I made I tought it was better, but wanted to have a sincere review to see how close I was to my goal. So sent Provenance a big sample FOR FREE making up a story about it being from unlabelled vintage bottles and asking his opinion first and asking him to send smaller samples to other guys to have their opinion too and know which vintage it could be cause I wanted to sell it. I wanted the story to be believable (but looking back it looks very fishy to me so I didn't a good job), so I went in detailes, I also asked about a possible evaluation. But of course I NEVER meant to sell the stuff and to scam people. I wasn't interested in the money, I was interested in the pride, and I wanted people to know the stuff was mine from the beginning.
I then told Provenance if he could keep a secret even with friends cause I didn't want him to tell his friends the truth before they evaluated the absinthe. I still wanted to wait until the reviews were out but when I saw 2 of them (Provenance's and Grim's) I told Provenance the truth and he felt betrayed and that he betrayed his friends, which hurts me because I never intended to betray/harm/scam anyone, I wanted to play this game to see how close I was to my goal of having done something on par on vintage absinthes, for my own pride, that's all. He also thinks I wanted to sell and scam people but honestly I don't see why a scammer would fire in his own balls telling the truth just when the reviews were out and he could sell his stuff.
I acknowledge it has not being fair to lie about the absinthe I gave him and I apologized for this, but I just wanted to see the reactions like I did with Marc and other friends.
I have what I wanted, cause the stuff actually was believable as vintage for the flavours, eventho the alcohol heat betrayed its young (4 months) life. I'm really sorry this caused problems, I've never imagined that.
As said my first intention was to wait all the reviews before telling everyone, but since I realized this caused grief and anger I decided to say everything immediatly. And again my deepest apologies to everyone who felt betrayed/harmed/whatever by my "game".
Provenance
I would like to publicly apologize to everyone for representing the sample the sample as vintage. I was lied to repeatedly. In that I promised secrecy about the specifics, I will say no more either publicly or privately.
Steve
I trust Stefano. He obviously made an error in judgment but I am confident he would never try to sell something fraudulently. He's a good guy with good intentions.
Steyr850
Soooo, Stefano is puppeted Tedly Biceps?
Stroller
Any pics? That has to be some amazing Absinthe if Provenance couldn't distinguish it from vintage. chickawow.gif
Steyr850
and I must say, after re-reading Prov's take, no one should be pissed really. It was an interesting 'slight of hand' by Stephano, given it was a sample only and nothing that Provenance said indicated it was anything other than an excellent absinthe, albiet "cloak-n-dagger".

One for the making hopefully.
Grim
QUOTE(Conte d'Ugenta @ Nov 18 2009, 03:28 PM) *

I want to say that the mystery absinthe from above is not vintage and I made it… And again my deepest apologies to everyone who felt betrayed/harmed/whatever by my "game".

I wouldn't be too concerned… I suspected as much, but hesitated to call it an experiment for fear of offending you. But I suggested as much:


"Still has youthful heat when nosing…"

"Tastes unusually young, with less polish than I’d expect for a vintage with the same scent."

I do like the wormwood you used. And I'm interested about how brief the vieillissement actually was, method of storage, and… well, shoot me a PM. We should talk more.

Provenance, don't feel too spited my friend. I'm sure Stefano will try to make things right…
Conte d'Ugenta
I was concerned cause I don't like to hurt people, and even tho my ego satisfaction is of the highest importance to me, I'd never had put this game on if I knew about the consequences. Since I've played this game many times and never had complaints I thought it was quite innocent, but every person is different and has different values, which I respect. This story definitely taught me not to play games with people you don't know well cause you can offend them. Anyway I have no problems acknowledging that I'm a proud bastard and I did a mistake; I apologized many times privately and here publicly, so now end of story for me.

But it's not being casual that I chose Provenance for this, eventho I could choose people I know better and personally: my idea from the beginning was to share a bottle of this absinthe for free to as many people as possible after my pride would've been rewarded and the truth unveiled. And since I knew how Provenance is into the concept of passion and sharing (and also because of another reason I can't say cause I promised him to keep secrecy long time ago) he was my obvious choice. Since this didn't work out I need another person for this job so anyone who feel he's up to it can contact me. He'll need to be a hub for giving samples to as many people as possible and will have to make the choices, eventho I'd surely have a couple of friends to recommend and I'd like to focus on guys who never been able to afford a sample of real pre-ban.

I didn't want to tell this last part from the first post cause I didn't want to seem like I was trying to bribe benevolence, but since people already started asking me about trying this stuff I felt like to make this clear.

Conte d'Ugenta
The sample distributor has been found, thanks anyone.
Patlow
This "game" might piss people off b/c even Tarragona 1930 (which this was compared to, BTW) costs about $900 a liter (or 900 ml).

It's scary for people who actually buy these bottles (and don't know as much as others here) and I know that first hand. How would I not know that it was Mystery-Sinthe? Unless I bought it from someone I "trusted?" A joke on the internet these days. Just sayin'.

I think replicating recipes was LDF's thing many years ago, and producing something that tasted like vintage for less was also offered in their business model years ago. (Rack your brain.)

Good luck though. I like you. I like your absinthe. I think most here do.

I get your experiment, but I also get that people didn't get it.

By definition, vintage is OLD. No?

Je ne sais pas.
G&C
That's one.
Way at the bottom.
QUOTE
vintage definition vin·tage (vintij)

noun
    1. the crop or yield of a particular vineyard or grape-growing region in a single season, with reference either to the grapes or to the wine made from them
    2. wine; specif., the wine, esp. a prized wine, of a particular region in a specified year
    3. the region or year of a particular wine
  1. the act or season of gathering grapes or of making wine
  2. the type or model of a particular year or period a car of prewar vintage
Etymology: ME, earlier vendage < OFr vendange < L vindemia, vintage < vinum, wine (see vine) + demere, to remove < de-, off + emere, to take: see redeem

adjective
  1. of or produced in a particular vintage: said of wine
  2. of a good period, choice, representative of the best, etc. vintage Hemingway
  3. representative of or dating from a period long past vintage clothes
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2009 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.




Grim
QUOTE
Since this didn't work out I need another person for this job so anyone who feel he's up to it can contact me.


That's a little more laissez-aller than the situation warrants. Provenance shouldn't and won't be pushed aside. You've likely had some private discussion, but what's visible to the rest of us… well… I wouldn't move on as though no harm was done, and the day is new.
Conte d'Ugenta
I can't force him to do something he doesn't want to do, and I don't give up on what I want to do, whatever happens. As you said it's a new day and I'm not gonna talk about what happened ever again.
absinthist
Since the thread was created, maybe everyone who has got a sample, should post a review, so the rest of the forumites can compare and contrast the reactions to the sublime Art of Stefano?
Tibro
So be the first to ante up, big boy.

QUOTE(Conte d'Ugenta @ Nov 18 2009, 11:28 PM) *

I gave some samples away, one to Boggy telling him it was mine,

Marc
QUOTE(Provenance @ Nov 9 2009, 06:59 PM) *

A bit of harsh alcohol before louching.
but is obviously much younger.
This sample manages to combine long aging with some freshness.

What I see here is that Provenance made a very good review of what actually Stefano's absinthe IS, a vintage-style absinthe that still shows its freshness.
Well done Pro'!
absinthist

Reviewed by absinthist 4/14/2009

COLOR BEFORE WATER

If it is blanche and aged, then quite nice, for a verte is too pale

LOUCHE ACTION

Typical for the style, the desired oil trails waving up to the complete opacity are there.

COLOR AFTER WATER

Again, blanche or verte? If blanche colour for an aged sample is right, for verte gets too whitish.

AROMA

Anethole and little herbacousness. Scent is very pleasant, not obtrusive, however the herbs could be moved slightly upfront.

MOUTH-FEEL

Clean, slightly robust. Delicate tinge of spiciness that is trying to come thru and wash anisiness down the drain. Not heavy what we observe in various Pontarliers. Slightly tailsy in the end.

TASTE

As traditional Pontarlier it cannot be taken, since it contains some of your personal twists. There is some biting spiciness that can be lost upon adding too much water and intriguing balance of wormwoods. 1:2.5 seems to be perfect ratio, so that aroma is caught and the perfume is widely spread, leaving a nice sensation on the tongue. Higher ratio and these subtleties are becoming less apparent and less discernible palate won't find them and perceive the absinthe as dull and one-dimensional. The aging does also contribute to the taste.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

I must admit I am not a fan of Pontarlier style. It is difficult to evaluate your work not knowing what was your goal initially. If it was to take Pontarlier and rape it, there is some work required. If it was to take Pontarlier and just add a pinch of your artistry, it is perceptible but most people won't be able to catch it. The absinthe is very nuanceful on its own and although retains the Pontarlier louche, lacks its heaviness. On the one hand, it is good because it is very drinkable and pleasant, on the other hand, it is not typically Pontarlier akin. As I said before, the aging must exert its impact on the rest of the stuff, hence the result is interesting.

Of course, I removed the scores.
Steve
In case anyone is wondering, I will be distributing the samples. Please don't PM me asking me for a sample, at least not yet. Stefano and I are still discussing the exact details. He would like a portion of the samples to go to people who haven't tasted vintage because they couldn't afford it. The remaining sample recipients will be agreed to by Stefano and myself. I already have a list in mind much longer than the number of available samples. I will of course cover all the distribution costs.
Stroller
Ha, I thought you might be the person.
Steve
Grim
QUOTE(absinthist @ Nov 20 2009, 06:22 AM) *

Reviewed by absinthist 4/14/2009

COLOR BEFORE WATER… Of course, I removed the scores.


You're a very unique guy, Tits…
absinthist
Since Pro and you didn't post theirs…
Grim
Whaaa…

Do I detect some snittiness?
Steve
I must be stupid but I can't find Grim's review.
absinthist
QUOTE(Grim @ Nov 20 2009, 08:04 AM) *

Whaaa…

Do I detect some snittiness?

Show yours, I will show mine. All is in the archives evill.gif

QUOTE(Steve @ Nov 20 2009, 08:20 AM) *

I must be stupid but I can't find Grim's review.


Here

still in the public, though.
Conte d'Ugenta
Just to avoid confusion, the sample Boggy and Marc tasted was earlier than the one we are talking about, and a little different, less coloration, different balance.
Tibro
Never any confusion where tits is concerned. Just some discomfort if the tit is left hanging out all alone.
Steve
QUOTE(absinthist @ Nov 20 2009, 08:27 AM) *


Here

still in the public, though.


Duh! Actually I did already see that but I had forgotten. Black outs, I guess.
sixela
QUOTE(absinthist @ Nov 20 2009, 04:56 PM) *

Since Pro and you didn't post theirs…


And the winner for the title of plural second person personal possessive pronoun is…?
Oxygenee
A few comments:

1. This was, unfortunately, an error of judgment on Stefano's part, I can understand why Provenance is annoyed.

2. The thing that makes vintage absinthe interesting is that it's vintage absinthe. I can see the interest in trying to replicate a particular historical style - as for example Ted has attempted with the Jades - but trying to actually fake the effects of aging - an entirely different thing - just strikes me as pointless.

3. The easy confidence with which Absinthist and others talk about particular vintage styles and brands, and their apparent certainty that they can both accurately define the character and divine the ingredients of commercial products whose recipes were a closely guarded secret at the time, and are long forgotten now, is not something I share. But on the other hand, I've only tasted about 150 different pre-ban bottles, so I'm still learning.
Absomphe
OH, SNAP!
absinthist
QUOTE(sixela @ Nov 20 2009, 01:21 PM) *

And the winner for the title of plural second person personal possessive pronoun is…?

C'mon, a good joke to lighten up the atmosfear. Yet, Alan has not spotted it. Bad, Sixer, bad.
Patlow
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Nov 20 2009, 02:42 PM) *



2. The thing that makes vintage absinthe interesting is that it's vintage absinthe. I can see the interest in trying to replicate a particular historical style - as for example Ted has attempted with the Jades



I think that's what I said, but maybe I didn't articulate it as well? Or maybe since I'm not Oxy, no one listened…
Patlow
QUOTE(Patlow @ Nov 19 2009, 08:24 PM) *


I think replicating recipes was LDF's thing many years ago, and producing something that tasted like vintage for less was also offered in their business model years ago. (Rack your brain.)

By definition, vintage is OLD. No?


Tibro
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Nov 20 2009, 11:42 PM) *

3. The easy confidence . . . I'm still learning.

A long, difficult journey. Harder for some than for others. Or so I'm told.
sixela
QUOTE(Patlow @ Nov 21 2009, 05:54 AM) *

Or maybe since I'm not Oxy, no one listened…


We're only pretending to listen to him. And only because he has a lot of vintage spirit.

absinthist
Nevertheless, he has not got the new kewl Pernod fils encore verte and Dechanet encore verte…

I remember Stefano saying to me it was an attempt at an extrait that was classique (Pontarlier in that very case) and aged in the certain conditions, there was nothing said about it being a particular brand's replica, a travesty thereof or anything like that. Hence, IMHO, his intentions were clear and sincere. And the stuff was tasty, although the Angelica Freaky Stuff was much tastier.

On the other hand, age simulation of various spirits (which per se is apparent in the spirits industry of the heyday and is still apparent nowadays), not absinthe alone is something I do not share (to paraphrase Oxy's words) but it is great fun, a challenge for an Artist and the results can be helpful for future work, ideas and on-the-way projects, so why not? There is definitely a point in it.
Kirk
If someone did that to me I would not be happy about it. At least in a blind tasting, you are told you are blind.
dakini_painter
To learn the techniques of the Old Masters is one thing. To use the techniques to create one's own Art is another thing, but with a long tradition. To use the techniques to imitate the Old Masters has a long tradition (School of Rembrandt, School of Veronese). To use the techniques to create a copy of a specific Old Master piece too has a long tradition (usually signed by the artist as aprés Rembrandt).

To use the techniques of the Old Masters, create a copy of an Old Master piece, then artificially age it and cover it in simulated old varnish, so that people (and your friends) think that it is an Old Master piece might be amusing at best.

jmo.
Steve
Slightly off topic, but Luc has a new product, La Désirée, which appears to be an attempt to replicate an aged vintage product.
Grim
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Nov 20 2009, 02:42 PM) *

A few comments:


3. The easy confidence with which Absinthist and others talk about particular vintage styles and brands, and their apparent certainty that they can both accurately define the character and divine the ingredients of commercial products whose recipes were a closely guarded secret at the time, and are long forgotten now, is not something I share.


Yep.
absinthist
QUOTE(Steve @ Nov 21 2009, 10:54 AM) *

Slightly off topic, but Luc has a new product, La Désirée, which appears to be an attempt to replicate an aged vintage product.

Just vintage or a particular brand? Does anyone know something more? The information claims "approaching Pernod fils and Edouard Pernod, based on a historical French recipe of 1908".
dakini_painter
QUOTE
I've only tasted about 150 different pre-ban bottles, so I'm still learning.


Certainly far ahead of many, myself included.

In the interest of learning, I know many people that have not been able to be in your fortunate situation would love to hear your descriptions and tasting notes of these historical absinthes. Since many of these specific brands and bottles will never again be available, your personal addition to the historical record would be quite valuable to future absintheurs.
Stroller
Oxy shares the knowledge firsthand by making samples available instead of selling whole bottles. That's not something he has to do & I bet it's a pain in the ass to boot. You should be asking those who have purchased samples for tasting notes. I think he's made his "personal addition to the historical record" ten fold.
Absomphe
Indeed™.
thegreenimp
Oxy has always been a trailblazer.

Click to view attachment
dakini_painter
I'm sure Oxy has sold samples to the absinthe community out of the goodness of his heart, and he is to be thanked profusely for that. He certainly didn't have to do it for the money. But I do believe his unique experience is sampling vintage absinthe from 150 different bottles is valuable to the absinthe community as a whole. And the same for others that have sampled many different pre-Ban and vintage absinthes. Theirs is a unique experience and their perspective is important as well.

But then again I'm just a drunken dummy who doesn't know anything about absinthe.
speedle
We're all bitter™ in our own way.
Stroller
Lots of drunk dummies makin' good absinthe and vintage being found occasionally. Nothing to be bitter about in my book. abs-cheers.gif
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