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Country of Origin: Canada
Alcohol Level: 60 %
Description: According to AbsintheClassics.ca: Made by master stillman Frank Deiter in British Columbia. Absinthe Taboo is traditionally distilled from whole herbs (including grande absinthe or Artemisia absinthium) and the finest fruit-based alcohol. It's full strength, naturally coloured, and contains no additives or artificial ingredients whatsoever.
Reviewed by Darren R 8/26/2008
COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
A clear, bright, and natural light green. Personally, I'd prefer the ridiculous, overdone fake green colours if it were possible to get them naturally, but my preference is not at issue, here. No sediment, and again, it's green–not close to it, or greenish, but green. That's all I want or expect from an all-natural absinthe.
LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
I didn't have a dripper, so I carefully applied the cold water to the spoon–with one sugar cube–from a shot glass. At the completion of 1:1, it began. No oil trails for me, but a robust cloud forming from 1:1 onwards. It sustained itself, and grew at a steady rate as I did my best, sans a proper dripper.
COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
I've read just about every review here, so what can I add to "opaque?" To me, it had the same combination of light green on white as the plastic glow-in-the-dark toys I had as a child. This was at 4:4, when I stopped. I like to sip for a very long time, and the louche did not recede throughout the evening.
To me, it is licorice and mint, with an alcohol bite. I don't have the expertise to discern between green and star anise. After water, it is the same to me, but the alcohol is gone. The aroma took over the room; good, strong stuff, I say!
I didn't notice any alcohol distraction. It is rich, yet light, like fine silk, as opposed to something rich and heavy. Is this lightness the "baby powder" I've read about? To me, it is.
In order of strength: anise, mint, and wormwood. There is more going on which I wish I had the experience to note, but as they say, "It's all good."
OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
Of the bottle, some people might not like the plastic cork, but I didn't mind it. The glass is very dark bluish green. The label is tall and thin, like the bottle, itself. Its bright green letters are entwined with white plants and flowers, suggesting to me an area of a dark forest that is, in some way, magical. A very strong label, and a classy departure from the standard Pernod Fils imitations, which I am sick of, or the weird labels, which I can also do without.
As for the drink, itself, my history with absinthe was a knowledge of its lore, and then, a chance encounter with Hiil's, which was repulsive. But, given that the Hill's was expensive, I thought it might be a quality product, which it isn't. Then, I had another encounter, this time with Clandestine La Bleue. Much better. After that, some Taboo, and, as a Canadian, Taboo became the absinthe for me. My review may not be amongst the most knowledgeable here, but I know what I like, and I appreciate quality in all things. I advise you to appreciate the fine quality of Absinthe Taboo, as well.
Darren R scores Taboo 77 out of 100
Reviewed by Wolfgang 11/13/2008
COLOR BEFORE WATER 6/10
It looks natural but strongly colored, maybe a bit too much. It is green with a hint of yellow. Color may improve with aging as it is a very young absinthe. It is not perfectly clear even after standing straight for a few days in the dark so I will have to deduce some more points.
LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
I'm adding about 4 part water to one part absinthe. It does louche evenly and pretty fast. Nothing special there.
COLOR AFTER WATER 6/10
I've seen worse but it is still somewhat swampy. Coloration is too strong.
AROMA 24/30 (80%)
Neat :With such a strong coloration I would expect a nice pontica aroma but all I smell is the dominant alcohol base. This unbalance the drink but I would expect the aroma to mellow and blend after a year or so of aging so I’ll just try to forget this bottle for a while. The alcohol base is exuberant but it still feels good. Actually it leaves me perplex and I'm not sure if I like it or not. Interesting I would say. My intuition is this alcool base is missing another pass through the still.
After louche, no sugar: Adding water will release a sweet and herbal perfume but I would not go as far as calling this "room filling". I can now smell some citrusy notes on top of the fruity alcohol base, probably coming from Melissa.
Putting my nose back to the now empty measuring glass offers a very enjoyable experience. The residue of neat absinthe of the sides of the measuring glass lingers. I can now detect wormwood floating on top of the fruity sweet base. I’ve seen this combination of smells in the past develop into a powdery marvel after aging. This is where Taboo gold wins back a few aroma points.
A bit thin and metallic with water and no sugar. Actually it was much better without water. With sugar it gets much better but it also increases the fruity notes. If you like it, it’s fine. I’m forced to penalise it for my initial impression.
neat : I took a tiny sip neat and let it roll on my tongue. This surprisingly taste good even if a little weird. It is fruity, spicy and herbal. The alcohol base dominate the whole profile but it is not unpleasant.
4:1 water : citrusy. Adding some sugar improves the overall impression. It really tastes fruity in a distracting kind of way. I still gives it a relatively good score because it is really nice when tasted neat, which is extremely rare.
OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
I may end up enjoying this absinthe neat in a tiny cordial glass, something I usually never do. I give it a good score here because I always really like to smell my empty measuring glass after finishing a glass of absinthe. The smell it leaves is rich and very pleasing. I think this is an original absinthe that will improve with age. I’m glad I got a bottle to satisfy my curiosity but I would not buy a case.
Cut the alcohol base in half with some high quality neutral grain alcohol. It would gives a chance for the herbs to shine through.
Use a bit more anis.
Reduce coloration by 25%
Age it 3 month in large vat before bottling, this would improve customer's first impression.
Wolfgang scores Taboo 71 out of 100
Reviewed by Smiley 11/13/2008
COLOR BEFORE WATER 7/10
The color itself is beautiful. A clear and lucid green. The problem with the color before water is that it is far too light. I have seen pictures of Taboo before, and I knew it was a light color, but coming out of the bottle, it looked like a blanche; only when the dose was set fully in the glass did the color of the spirit emerge. That said, it is extremely pretty, however light it may be. Not as golden as duplais verte, but extremely natural and pretty. If the color was more "there", a little more potent, Taboo would score much higher.
LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Good louche, nothing to go crazy about. Not really turbulent, and as a number of absinthes I've noticed, the louche was completely underway, almost finished, by 1:1 The ring of the louche dissappeared at around 1:2, but I watered it down some more to bring the flavours out. The louche is thick and natural, nothing to complain about; perhaps it could have been more exciting, I've seen better shows in other glasses.
COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
Again, the Taboo is light. You can barely tell that it is a verte; the green tinge is negligible. However, the tint is opaque, looks thick enough, and if you know you're drinking Taboo, you'll notice the green in the louche.
Before water: Neat, the spirit is unique. The fruit base makes itself obvious, and I would venture to assert that it is one of the foundations of this absinthe, although I wish it presented itself more in the taste of the drink. Sugary anise, wormwood, are detectable.
After water: Anise and wormwood upfront. Mostly anise, however. The thing that's great about this is that I really enjoy the anise in this absinthe, better than any other absinthe I've had the pleasure of tasting. Really sugary in that black-licorice kind of way, even to the nose; maybe the fruit base is responsible for this enhanced nuance. Alas, my palate is not refined enough to detect any other complexities. I assume that the beverage gets its hue from the lemon balm and chlorophyl. Other than that, the only other components I fail to detect are the fennel and hyssop.
A little thin, the tongue numbs after several drinks, but the overall feel is satisfactory.
Again, predominantly sugary anise; this is the best aspect of this absinthe, it is delicious. Wormwood is there, stronger in the mouth than in the nose. Alcohol bite is a little overbearing, considering that the beverage is bottled at 60%.
OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
As a Canadian, I'm glad this stuff is being produced here. Authentic, quality absinthe, right here on the west coast. Once this stuff premeates the liquor boards and people enjoy it as much as I have, Canada should have no trouble embracing the Green Fairy, (we have no regulations). I love the bottle; unique, modern, sleek, informative… different from the classy labels most of you are used to. The cork… is plastic. I didn't mind it… but I got my heart set on wrenching it out, I even bought a new corkscrew. Anyways, overall, very good stuff. Canada's first absinthe marks an auspicious future.
Smiley scores Taboo 75 out of 100