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King of Spirits GOLD


Average Score: 16
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Country of Origin: Czech Republic
Type: Mixed & Macerated
Alcohol Level: 70 %

Description: From the manufacturer: We are the only firm producing absinth with the contents of this neurotoxic drug 100 mg/l. However, such an absinth cannot be bought in every country, the reason consists above all in the legal limit of 10 mg of thujone per liter. It can be bought almost exclusively only with the helo of Internet.

NOTE:
The following text was submitted to an online poll at the Fee Verte Forum, and then later at the Wormwood Society Forum as well. As of November 15, 2006, 84 members participated in the poll, of whom 93% agreed wholeheartedly, or with only minor reservations, that the text accurately reflected their view of KOS/KOSG. The actual numbers were: agreed wholeheartedly - 72 members or 85%, agreed with minor reservations 9 members or 8%. So it's fair to say this text represents the collective view of our online absinthe community.

King of Spirits (KOS) and King of Spirits Gold (KOSG)

These “absinthes” deserve a special entry, because they’re very aggressively marketed online as “the ultimate”, "the original as drunk by Toulouse Lautrec and Hemingway”, the “only authentic absinthes”. They’re none of these things – on the contrary, they are, in the near unanimous opinion of the hundreds of regular posters both here and in the other independent online absinthe forums, precisely two of the most notorious ersatz products in the entire industry.

To put this in plain language: these absinthes, amongst the most expensive on the market, and certainly the most heavily promoted online, are in reality almost undrinkable, and bear little if any relation to the taste of real absinthe.

KOS and KOSG give the appearance of being widely recommended - dozens of websites and countless blogs mention them, and even supply links to purchase them, giving the impression of a broad consensus as to their quality. It’s not usually clear to the casual viewer that these references are almost always linked to the affiliate programs run by the vendors of KOS and KOSG.

Neither at this, nor at any other well-known, independent absinthe discussion-and-review website are you likely to find even one positive review for these products (this includes sites in France, Sweden and Germany). There are arguments for and against many different brands, and people who strongly favor brands that are otherwise unpopular. But there are no positive reviews for KOS or KOSG on any of these sites. There are no stubborn fans who defend them there, yet many tasters of all stripes who revile them. Why is the consensus here at Fee Verte, and at the other leading absinthe forums that KOS and especially KOSG are to be avoided?

1. The contain little or no anise, which is the primary flavour in absinthe. Absinthe without anise isn’t absinthe, or at least not absinthe as it was ever understood in France or Switzerland.

2. KOS and KOSG are arguably even less authentic than most other Czech absinthes, almost all of which are totally inauthentic. At no time during the Belle Epoque did any absinthe, whether distilled or mixed from essences, naturally or artificially colored, cheap or expensive, contain wormwood leaves or other herbal matter floating in the bottle, as do KOS and KOSG. The best distillers of the time knew better than to refine a bitter plant into a soft, palatable drink, only to ruin the drink by dumping the unrefined plant back into the finished bottle. The less-reputable producers also knew better – gimmicks to sell a product were often seen, but vegetable debris in the bottle would have been so obvious a hallmark of low quality that not even the most disreputable dared attempt such a thing.

3. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. KOS and KOSG are not merely bland, or dull, or a little too bitter – they are frightfully bitter, weird-tasting stuff, to the point of being undrinkable. They’re much easier to spit out than to swallow.

4. King of Spirits Gold appears to be the same foul tasting stuff as KOS, but with the thujone boosted to levels that make it illegal to sell in the EU. It’s sold at nearly twice the price of the finest genuine absinthes. There is no historical precedent for the addition of extra thujone to absinthe, and the most scrupulous recent scientific research has confirmed that vintage absinthe had very little thujone, typically less than 10mg/l. thujone won’t, even in high doses, make you trip, hallucinate, or have any significant drug-like experience. In short, to buy an absinthe with expectation of getting high is to be sure of wasting your money. As the most aggressive online promoter of the bogus thujone myth, KOSG deserves special censure. Read our FAQ for lots more on thujone. See also “What’s wrong with Czech Absinthe” (http://www.wormwoodsociety.org/czech.html) by our friends at the Wormwood Society.

We’d have no problem with KOS and KOSG if they were truthfully marketed for what they are: rather eccentric Eastern European bitters. But to claim, as they do, that they are authentic absinthes, and indeed the ne plus ultra of their type, is a travesty. Avoid them.

Review:

Reviewed by Hartsmar 12/10/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 6/10
A good, natural green. Disturbed by terrible herb debris...

LOUCHE ACTION 0/10
There is no louche. Only minor oily traces but you get that from adding water to Scotch as well...

COLOR AFTER WATER 1/10
Transparent greyish green. Not good.

AROMA 7/30
Before adding water it actually tries to present something not entirely bad.
There's wormwood of course but also fennel, anise mint and something that could be vanilla.
Two major problems though, one is that neither of the ingredients show signs of good quality and it's not distilled.
There's a strong alcohol bite on the nose here but that seems to be less overpowering after adding water
and the little floral character that is present is thinned out.

MOUTH-FEEL 1/10
It starts out by trying to give room for the blend of ingredients I smelled. Then it collapses into a dry terrible bitter that just doesn't want to go away.

TASTE 3/20
The bitterness here is awfully dry and removes whatever traces of taste the other ingredients try to lend to this concoction.
To be perfectly honest I have had absinth's with a taste worse than this and that is what saves it from scoring lower...

OVERALL IMPRESSION 1/10
This is precisely what anyone would get if they bought a bottle of Everclear, watered it down to 70%, bought a low-quality "absinth-kit" on ebay and macerated it all for a month. Then drink it.
Only, that would be waaay cheaper. This is $200 a bottle. It is nothing but a complete rip-off.
There's nothing "authentic" about it in regards to absinthe. If marketed as some form of bitter and not absinthe, I would rate it higher
but that's not what we're reviewing here.

Hartsmar scores King of Spirits Gold 19 out of 100


Reviewed by Donnie Darko 12/10/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 2/10
The tint is a fairly light green, not unattractive, but the bottom of the glass contains a hodgepodge of herbal detritus which ruins any potential for the drink to look appealing.

LOUCHE ACTION 0/10
When water is added, you seem some faint swirly oil action for a brief moment, but then that disappears and it goes back to being entirely transparent. It louches about as elegantly as a glass of vodka (i.e not at all).

COLOR AFTER WATER 1/10
Looks like a watered down glass of Chardonnay. To make matters worse, adding water stirs up the herbal detritus and now that debris is floating throughout the drink rather than staying at the bottom.

AROMA 8/30
It smells a bit like Zubrowka Buffalo Grass Vodka, if you've ever smelled that. The difference is the alcohol is much harsher, akin to a very cheap vodka, plus there is a lingering Listerine type aroma behind that.

MOUTH-FEEL 0/10
There is no creaminess or smoothness at all to the mouthfeel. I've had cheap grappa that was softer on the tongue. Nothing but harsh alcohol bite followed by some bitterness that adds insult to injury.

TASTE 3/20
If I were grading this beverage as just another alcoholic beverage, I might have scored it a little higher, since I have tasted worse, but this claims to be Absinthe, and the flavour does not resemble real absinthe whatsoever, so I am forced to heavily penalize it. The first taste one gets is an enormous alcohol stab, followed by a split second minty taste, and then a castor-oil stomach acid type bitterness comes through that induces stomach flips. The bitterness, however, is not as intense as the bitterness that can come from straight wormwood. It tastes much closer to Mugwort. The three points I gave it are for that brief minty taste that creates a short oasis between the piercing alcohol and the repugnant mugwort.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 0/10
Under no circumstances should one consider this drink Absinthe. The only thing it has in common with absinthe is that is contains alcohol. Comparing this to absinthe would be like comparing coffee to wine (hey, they both are mostly water!). In the name of science, I decided to investigate the detritus included in the drink, and it's a curious mess. There is one fennel seed, totally flavourless, 4 anise seeds, all flavourless and one of them has already germinated, and then some sharp wooden splinters which are either the remnants of a shattered 2x4 or perhaps some Mugwort stems. This beverage cannot be taken seriously, even if it were just a generic alcoholic beverage not aspiring to be absinthe. I've tasted a few nastier drinks, like really cheap Tequila, Cisco and Wu Liang Ye, but this one hits the gullet like a greasy pork sandwich dipped in gasoline. You really have to concentrate hard to swallow it. If I had Tripped Balz, I probably would have at least given it one point, but it couldn't even muster that singular characteristic for which people buy it.

PERSONAL NOTES
This product is not worth the glass in which it is bottled.

Donnie Darko scores King of Spirits Gold 14 out of 100


Reviewed by Justabob 12/10/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 5/10
Some hint of green color, considering there is actual chlorophyll from the things floating in the bottle.

LOUCHE ACTION 0/10
None, just a lightening of the undiluted liquor. Contains no essential oil.

COLOR AFTER WATER 3/10
Nearly clear, with some remnant of green hue.

AROMA 8/30
Mainly alcohol but with herbal notes present.

MOUTH-FEEL 0/10
Non existent, bitter alcohol burn.

TASTE 0/20
Undrinkable, frightfully bitter.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 0/10
Vile yet putrid.

PERSONAL NOTES
I am quite sure that anymore than a couple sips of this stuff would make anyone sick. This crap has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Justabob scores King of Spirits Gold 16 out of 100


Reviewed by AndrewT 12/10/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 5/10
Slightly pale olive green. Not unpleasant, but lacks the depth of a really vibrant coloring step. Floating chunks of herb stalks detract from the overall appeal, though.

LOUCHE ACTION 0/10
There were occasions where it looked like it was trying to louche, but a slow stream of cold water just brought out the swirly currents you see when diluting any kind of alcohol. After the water settled back down, it's obvoius that there's no louche. The addition of water also brought out some small white bubbles that stick to the side of the glass, as well as float on top. It almost looks like remnants of foam from beer. Perhaps it's also due tobeing "bottle treated".

COLOR AFTER WATER 2/10
Water brings out more of the yellow in the hue. It actually looks like undiluted Un Emile, but slightly more green.

AROMA 10/30
Before water- Alcohol is very present. After my nose got adjusted to it, there were actually some pleasant notes to it. There are some faint floral characteristics (probably from the wormwood) and some vegetal seedy smells (perhaps there actually is some anise and/or fennel macerated in there?)

After water- The alcohol is no longer overwhelming. The wormwood aroma is still present, and not weakened as much as the alcohol was.

Overall, it's not a bad aroma, just very weak and not very complex.

MOUTH-FEEL 2/10
Surprisingly thick for lacking any sort of louche. The bitterness lingers for a loong time though, which is a major turnoff.

TASTE 3/20
Not as bad as I was expecting. It's slightly less bitter than chewing on raw wormwood. The taste isn't bad when it first hits your tongue, there is some of the floral scent present in the taste. If I were reviewing this as a bitter, it would probably get a moderate score. Classified as an absinthe, though, there are glaring holes in the flavor profile (anise!). As far as scoring goes, since it's lacking 2 of the 3 main ingredients, I don't think it can go higher than 7/20. The wormwood that's there is simple and not very complex, which takes off a point or two, and the fact that it's much more bitter than it's supposed to be takes off a lot.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 1/10
If it weren't for the advertising campaign behind this drink, I would probably take pity on the makers. It doesn't have the best herbs (assuming it uses more than one), and the makers obviously don't know what absinthe is supposed to taste like. As a mislabeled bitter, it's not too bad. Better than Gammel Dansk. But absinthe it ain't.

PERSONAL NOTES
It pains me deeply to say this, but I got some secondaries from this. Keep in mind, though, that I've been known to get secondaries off of arak or beer before.

AndrewT scores King of Spirits Gold 23 out of 100


Reviewed by Deluge 12/10/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 6/10
The KOSG was a pale green, which looked ok near the top of the glass but the bottom however was full of herbage that should not be in there. I was under the impression that there was supposed to be wormwood in the bottle. All I could find were chunks of fennel, some anis and an assortment of other herb materials. My group gave it a 5-6 since the color was in fact green. A little thin but it was a seemingly natural green.

LOUCHE ACTION 1/10
There were swirls and some bubbles that gave a faint appearance that a louche might start but alas the end result was translucent and oily.

COLOR AFTER WATER 2/10
Although it was still a bit green there was no louche to speak of. The opalescent quality that one looks for in a quality absinthe was defiantly not found in KOSG.

AROMA 4/30
The nose of the KOSG was really harsh. The quality of the spirit was poor and reminiscent of turpentine the only other detectable notes were a faint citrus scent and a lingering Pinesol aroma.

MOUTH-FEEL 1/10
KOSG was oily in the mouth, thin and quite unpleasant.

TASTE 1/20
I have been able to try a lot of absinthes over the years. I have had some of the worst commercials, some of the best artisinals and vice versa. I have been able to try a few vintage absinthes and I have been able to try a few directly out of a still. With that experience I am confidant in saying that KOSG tastes nothing like absinthe.
It was bitter and that’s all. From what I remember of Camargo, the Brazilian absinthe that uses wormwood in the coloring, there were some similarities but it was in the end even better than KOSG.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 2/10
This “absinth” is a product of flagrant false advertising that aims dupe the uninformed
into thinking that they are 1. going to have a induced drug like experience. 2. going to drink real absinthe 3. get what they paid for. After drinking KOSG I will say that there is no altered effect. It is not absinthe, far from it. Finally, there is absolutely no reason an unpleasant oily drink made with fennel seeds a bark dust should cost this much.

PERSONAL NOTES
When I took the first sip of KOSG there was an audible groan that arose from my stomach!!!

If I had to pick a top 5 worst absinthe list it would be. 5. Hapsburg Red Label 4. Hills 3. Camargo 2. Grune Fee 1. KOSG

Deluge scores King of Spirits Gold 17 out of 100


Reviewed by Nepenthes 12/10/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 6/10
Green but thin & Pale

LOUCHE ACTION 1/10
Lots of action, next to no results.

COLOR AFTER WATER 2/10
Green with a very slight hint of a louche.

AROMA 4/30
Before. Alcohol & solvent nose. No hint of herbs.
After. Weak, with a hint on cleaning solution.

MOUTH-FEEL 1/10
exceptionally thin with residual pastiness.

TASTE 1/20
Citrusy, but no hint of anise or fennel.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 1/10
Yuck! If I would have paid for this, I would be sad. My impression is that the herbs were mixed with the alcohol and then it was bottled.

Nepenthes scores King of Spirits Gold 16 out of 100


Reviewed by Selmac 12/10/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 6/10
Pale, thin green. Not extremely vibrant, not bad though.

LOUCHE ACTION 1/10
Oil trails and not much else. Extremely thin louche.

COLOR AFTER WATER 2/10
Almost completely clear. Only the slightest opacity.

AROMA 4/30
before: Smells like rubbing alcohol. I can't smell any herbs at all.
After: not much there. Slight anise scent with a bit of Pinesol.

MOUTH-FEEL 1/10
Thin, viscous. The opposite of creamy.

TASTE 1/20
Very bitter with citrus notes. No trace of fennel. Real bad. The worst I've ever had.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 2/10
Color was the only redeeming quality of this absinthe.

TOTAL 17

Personal note:
This absinthe scored so highly only because of its color. The maker should stop right now.

Selmac scores King of Spirits Gold 16 out of 100


Reviewed by Absinthesizer 12/10/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 3/10
A sickly, sallow yellowish green, like urine after you’ve eaten a lot of asparagus. The floaters present the reviewer with a dilemma. On the one hand, no historic absinthe contains actual bits of wormwood; on the other hand, it’s intentional. So I did not deduct any points for them.

LOUCHE ACTION 0/10
Louches? We don’t need no stinkin’ louches!

COLOR AFTER WATER 1/10
An even paler sickly sallow yellowish green, like urine after a major-league asparagus-and-beer bender.

AROMA 6/30
A first whiff of licorice, from a distance, is almost appealing — it certainly gives no hint of what awaits the expectant imbiber. Up close, the licorice overwhelmed by a strongly medicinal quality, reminiscent of the antiseptic used in dentist’s offices. It actually smells bitter.

MOUTH-FEEL 1/10
Astringent, but not pleasantly so. It’s viscerally repulsive — your mouth does not want this stuff in it. Occasionally you’ll get a little piece of wormwood, which adds a novel element of texture. Whether this is an addition or a deduction is purely a matter of personal taste. I chose to deduct a point.

TASTE 2/20
"I don’t care for it," said Mrs. Absinthesizer in a masterpiece of understatement. Like the aroma, the taste is also medicinal, but a completely different kind of medicine. It’s bitter. It attacks different parts of your mouth in different ways. On the sides of your tongue, it’s as though a malevolent cockroach is working you over with a piece of sandpaper or perhaps a small file. (I have had a live cockroach in my mouth, so I know whereof I speak.) At the center of the tongue, the medicinal flavor dominates. Meanwhile, the esophagus attempts to close reflexively — I suspect KOSG is designed to be chugged, not sipped. There is a last little sting as you swallow, as if you’d accidentally ingested a live scorpion. (I have not had a live scorpion in my mouth, so this association is purely conjectural.) The finish is bitter, and finally the wormwood taste comes out a little, but the impression is not pleasant.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 1/10
Please, please, please do not waste your money on this product. It’s actually worse-tasting than the Fruko-Shulz, the only other Czechsinth I’ve had. It’s not absinthe by any reasonable definition. Those wishing to recreate the effect may do so by downing a shot of Everclear and chasing it with a cup of wormwood tea.

PERSONAL NOTE
KOSG is hyped for its supposed psychoactive qualities. It provides nothing of the sort. In fact, all I notice as the time passe si fidne sme shavinmore and omore trouabel evien conilling simplem moemvnts on at he kyaj;lfs;l ;lkjjr90

Absinthesizer scores King of Spirits Gold 14 out of 100


Reviewed by Absomphe 12/10/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 3/10
Extremely pale peridot green, with particulate matter in solution, but certainly natural looking enough.

LOUCHE ACTION 2/10
From the addition of the very first drop of water there was the noticeable beginning of swirling action that was trying to develop into something. The problem was that it went nowhere, with the prepared drink only showing the very slightest trace of a louche, and simply becoming an even paler shade of barely discernable peridot green. I gave it two points for the initial entertainment value.

COLOR AFTER WATER 2/20
An even more extremely pale shade of peridot green, and 98% translucent, aka basically clear, with just a tincture of color, and still natural looking, hence the two points.

AROMA 2/30
Little more than some alcohol, a miniscule trace of anise, and a little obviously macerated wormwood come through in the nose, neat. When diluted, this scent dissipated, and became barely detectable.

MOUTH-FEEL 1/10
Water (not even watery about sums it up.

TASTE 1/20
A little perceptible anise, otherwise, an interminably long, harsh, and highly unpleasant taste, (and aftertaste) of mercilessly bitter, "herb store" wormwood.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 1/10
This is one sorry excuse for an alleged absinthe, or even absinth. As I recall, even the regular King of Spirits showed a little more character (although that actually made it a little more offensive). Mostly, this is one really bland drink, but what flavor is detectable is just plain crude, and awful. The hilariously absurd price point makes it even more egregiously rotten. The bottom line... this stuff makes Logan Fils seem like PF 1901, by comparison.

Absomphe scores King of Spirits Gold 12 out of 100


Reviewed by Gertz 12/10/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 6/10
A pale, but nice-looking green.

LOUCHE ACTION 0/10
None at all.

COLOR AFTER WATER 1/10
A paler shade of the color before water. No louche at all. One point for it being a rather inoffensive color.

AROMA 7/30
A weird, sweet, perfume-like aroma. Not really offensive - less so than the "regular" King of Spirits.

MOUTH-FEEL 2/10
Slightly oily. Not as harsh as one might expect.

TASTE 3/20
A nasty bitterness, but actually slightly less pronounced than in the "regular" King of Spirits. A trace of a weird, minty note can be detected. It is possible to eliminate most of the bitterness with sugar and thus get a bit more of the minty flavour. Not that it is really enjoyable, but it can actually be swallowed that way.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 0/10
To be avoided. This is not absinthe, it is something similar to a bitter, but a badly made one. However, the taste is actually slightly less nasty than that of the regular King of Spirits.

Gertz scores King of Spirits Gold 19 out of 100


Reviewed by peridot 12/10/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 5/10
It's paler green in the glass than I expected, with a yellowish tint. It looks natural at least. There's herbs intentionally floating in it, but no sediment otherwise.

LOUCHE ACTION 1/10
Developed the slightest of hazes. Water settled at the bottom, pushing the spirit up and creating the illusion of a real louche until everything just mixed up. Lots of oil swirls but not much comes of it.

COLOR AFTER WATER 2/10
Pathetic. The spirit is almost clear now, with only a slight bit of yellow left.

AROMA 0/30
A zero is a strong statement, but I honestly can't imagine the odor being any more disgusting. It's the weirdest liquor I've ever smelled. It's mostly alcohol. However, there's a mintiness and something that totally turns my stomach. It has a salty, chicken-broth smell. Adding water diminishes that odor but that doesn't redeem it. The smell is now strongly medicinal and minty like a Halls cough drop.

MOUTH-FEEL 2/10
At first it almost fooled me. The first sip yielded a creamy feel for all of half a second and then turned tremendously harsh and biting.

TASTE 0/20
Don't take this as hyperbole. Really imagine this. Imagine the smell of Vicks VapoRub, juniper after a rainshower, and tomcat urine all mixed up. Now imagine that smell as a flavour in your mouth. The bitterness is not as bad as I expected but it is still beyond excessive. The only herb I can identify for certain is wormwood but it's nothing like the wormwood in absinthe, whether distilled or oil mix. It has no woody flavour. The flavour of the alcohol is strong. The bitterness is amplified in the finish. It's like sucking on a penny. There's also the taste of B-vitamins. There is no similarity whatsoever to absinthe. The herbs floating in it are flavourless.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 1/10
I only give it a 1 because the colour isn't offensive, although everything else about it is. This is completely unrelated to absinthe.

PERSONAL NOTES
Many times I've seen consumers of this product regard this product as true absinthe. The way it should be. Absinthe for real men, not that weak stuff produced in France. I don't get it. Is it more tough and manly to drink something horribly unpleasant so that you can swagger and boast that you're the only one who can handle it? Perhaps those who think this is real absinthe should take a look at history. The alleged and much-hyped illegal 100 mg/L content has had no appreciable effect on me. That's the one thing that vendors say it has going for it, yet there's nothing there. So if you buy it you're going to be shelling out lots of money for a horrendously bad drink you could easily make at home with some plastic bottle vodka and herbs. So if you want to drink absinthe, get some real absinthe. And if you want to swagger, get some single-malt Scotch. Either way you'll save a few bucks.

peridot scores King of Spirits Gold 11 out of 100

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