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St. Antoine


Average Score: 76
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Country of Origin: Czech Republic
Type: Distilled
Alcohol Level: 70 %
Vendors: ♣ Absinthes.com

Description: One of the very few Czech absinthes that aspire to be true to traditional absinthe. Made by the family owned Zufanek distillery, known for its excellent Slivovitz and liqueurs.
Absinthe St. Antoine at Absinthes.com

Review:

The following reviews are for the first batch

Reviewed by mthuilli 5/29/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 7/10
Nice dark olive with an amber tint, but too deep.

LOUCHE ACTION 5/10
Louches correctly with slow iced water drip and specially with sugar. Quickly overwaters, needs great care. A very light (or almost none) louche without sugar and regular drip. So let's say it does louche decently if carefully prepared.

COLOR AFTER WATER 5/10
If correctly louched, retains its nice deep olive tint, but overall not very inviting because of its lack of opalescence.

AROMA 21/30
Alcohol is not overpowering, nice floral bouquet (thanks Veronica!), just lacks a little something on the balance and complexity side, like a rich wormwood or a savory anise aroma.

MOUTH-FEEL 4/10
Slightly biting but thin.

TASTE 8/20
That's where it hurts. Not really unpleasant but clearly shows some flaws. Over-distilled that conducts to a non-existent wormwood flavor and almost non-existent anise and fennel flavors. Over-colored that conducts to overpowering pontica/hyssop/veronica flavors. Result : totally unbalanced. I gave it a 8 specially for the veronica that leaves a nice finish.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 7/10
It's not a bad product per se, it's even really encouraging coming from that part of Europe (hence the 7 for the encouragements and the lovely bottle and label), and I'm sure Martin can easily improve it by lightening his distillation method and by having a less heavy hand on the coloration step.
This is the best Czech absinthe I've ever tasted (ok, easy one), and (I hope) soon to be a good absinthe as such.

mthuilli scores St Antoine 57 out of 100


Reviewed by absinthist 5/28/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
My sample is a nice almost feuille morte with a shade of greenish and little yellow. Looks natural and smells natural.

LOUCHE ACTION 4/10
Delicate, at 1:1-1:2, there are oils dancing only. Becomes translucent, rather not opaque. Be careful or you overwater it.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Becomes green, very nice to look at. Confirms the natural colouration.

AROMA 25/30
Veronica. Some pontica, and anise. Pleasant, not much of alcohol smell, inviting.

MOUTH-FEEL 4/10
Rounded, spicy, a bit unbalanced.

TASTE 18/20
Veronica in the front and veronica in the back, ladies and gentlemen, this is veronica bomb! Second comes pontica, so definitely colouration was strong and definite, then some little hyssop becomes snitty, and there is a nice floral wormwood aspect, whilst anethole buddies are in the back. Taste is complex, spicy, unusual but quite nice.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 7/10
A real Durchbruch in absinthes made in the Czech Republic. It will not appeal to everyone because of strong colouration and delicate louche action, but I am very satisfied with it and I must add I am making the 2nd glass of St. Antoine, just for pleasure. That absinthe requires some work: louche department needs fining, wormwood note should be more pronounced, and colouring herbs subdued, of course, but it is a nice, traditional if unusual product.

absinthist scores Absinthe St. Antoine 77 out of 100


Reviewed by spoon 6/3/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 7/10
Attractive dark olive/amber.

LOUCHE ACTION 3/10
I couldn’t get it to louche as well as mthuilli. I don’t use sugar, but I always use very cold water and lots of ice in the fountain, with a slow drip. The louche was very thin.

COLOR AFTER WATER 4/10
Not terribly attractive thinly translucent drab olive.

AROMA 18/30
Neat, I smell the nice aroma of the coloring herbs, with some nice floral character. I don’t smell the alcohol at all. After louche, it’s just a bit weaker.

MOUTH-FEEL 4/10
Thin and slightly biting, but the more I sip it the less I find it objectionable.

TASTE 9/20
Almost all I can taste are the coloring herbs. There’s only a weak presence of wormwood, anise, and fennel. It’s actually rather pleasant, but is clearly lacking the most important flavors that should be in absinthe. Before this, I wasn’t really sure what veronica tastes like, but now I’m pretty sure I recognize it. That aspect is quite nice.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 6/10
I wanted to like it more. The bottle and label are beautiful, far better than most. And of course it’s far above the normal Czech crapsinthe. It’s clearly made with quality ingredients, distilled without a trace of tails etc. but it’s just lacking in anise/wormwood/fennel presence. I hope Martin will try some of our suggestions (no triple distillation, gentler coloration). I think with some tweaking it could be much better. My overall score seems a bit harsh to me, but I can't really justify raising the scores for any of the categories. It's not undrinkable, it's just flawed.

spoon scores St Antoine 51 out of 100


Reviewed by Ricki 5th June 2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 7/10
Very clear and nice looking amber/olive colour.

LOUCHE ACTION 3/10
I could barely get a louche out of Absinthe St Antoine and i was really trying hard to make it louche. Low points here.

COLOR AFTER WATER 4/10
Slightly cloudy and the colour is a bit lighter than before water. Nothing special.

AROMA 20/30
The aroma is very nice before adding water. Water just dilutes these aromas slightly but doesn't lose them.

MOUTH-FEEL 4/10
Mouth feel is thin but smooth with a slight bite afterwards.

TASTE 9/20
Slightly medicinal in taste. A bit weak though.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 6/10
The best Czech Absinthe out there but not good enough to compete with the French and Swiss variety just yet.

Ricki scores St Antoine 53 out of 100


The following reviews are for the second batch

Reviewed by absinthist 12/15/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Green-yellowish, at least neither lightfast green nor undercoloured. My score is obvious.

LOUCHE ACTION 5/10
Translucent, needs very cold water. Better than previously but still it is not that mocca goodness.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Green with strong yellowish tinge.

AROMA 27/30
Pontica. Herbal but spicy, no trace of funk from alcohol. Clean base.

MOUTH-FEEL 6/10
Assertive and bold. More balanced. Herbal but not too heavy on the palate.

TASTE 19/20
Pontica, wormwood, angelica with anethole buddies gently swing in the background providing spiciness. Some bitterness lingers and transforms into mild sensation of herbacousness.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
#1 is light years from the #2 offering. More in the vein of traditional absinthe than previous one, needs some work in the louche department, but the rest is very, very promising and I bet Martin will be developing that extrait further and further.

absinthist scores Absinthe St. Antoine (2nd batch) 83 out of 100

The following reviews are for the third batch


Reviewed by absinthist 8/26/2009

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
That is the colour less demanding people will like as it is vivid green and I will like it as well, as the colour is not too pale as in most of the cases, with few glorious exceptions. A strong and well-earned 10.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Begins like in 2nd batch, so very nice long oil trails, but then gets greatly opaque and turbulent. I am glad Martin has listened to Bitter Bogz' advice and in that department it has paid greatly back.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
Typical absinthe colour, yet not whitish but greenish, hence no flaws.

AROMA 28/30
Very good and clean anise, permanence of of veronica married with wormwood.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Badiane spiciness coats the mouth that is hit by herbal sensation of meticulous quality, not exactly light one, but not too heavy, either.

TASTE 15/20
is complex and requires 1:4 to open fully. The veronica has its say and it is good to hear her trying to be louder than wormwood, pontica, delicate hyssop, very discreet melissa and gentle badiane touch.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
That particular batch is light years from 1st and 2nd, I woyuld describe that extrait as orchestral due to its complexity, immensly pronounced wormwood (not shy gigolo anymore) and well-placed anethole buddies. I am glad Martin has taken my advice to his heart and produced something that can really compete with some of the better brands out there. I would put it now in the league of Vieux Carre.

absinthist scores St. Antoine (3rd batch) 88 out of 100


Reviewed by Absinthia 09/22/2009

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Beautiful "peroquet" green, with a hint of yellow playing through it. A great improvement compared to the first batch which was too dark and murky.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Ah, very beautiful! Hypnotizing oil swirls all the way, making the drink end up in a thick, milky, green-yellow tinted whole. Yet somehow the aroma doesn't spread across the room, like with some brands of absinthe.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
A mighty thick, creamy, greenish glass of absinthe.

AROMA 22/30
Before louching: a very gentle, fragile balance of wormwood, anise, and coriander I believe. A very inviting aroma, with just a little hint of the alcohol strength it contains.
After louching: still gentle and delicate, like a shy, fragile woman. Pontica or wormwood is definitely there. The coriander-like aroma is now stronger, but there also is a hint of fennel now. Anise moved to the background. Something else is there which I cannot identify. Maybe tasting it will clear things up.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
The first sip tells me there's either been a very powerful sort of wormwood in the distillate, or a great deal of pontica in the coloring. It isn't bitter though, it teases you up to a certain point, and rather has a particular dryness with a clear absinthe taste.

TASTE 18/20
Now, contrary to many an absinthe, this 3rd batch St. Antoine has clear wormwood first, followed by a sweet aftertaste of anise, fennel, and something floral. At some point while emptying the glass I'd have said violets, because that's what it reminded me of. In the end there's that subtle dryness, leaving you wanting for another sip.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
Absinthe St. Antoine 3rd batch is great! It has a strong wormwood or pontica profile, yet at the same time there are other instruments that complete this impressive symphony and make it a beautiful experience. Each sip is a different sensation. Ask me what to change, and I would say "nothing". I only wonder how aging would affect this one.

Absinthia scores Absinthe St. Antoine (3rd batch) 82 out of 100


Reviewed by Green Baron 3/9/2010

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Clear, vivid and natural amber-olive-green. The sample I had was a bit young, which contributed to the brightness, but I’d bet this will settle into a nice amber or peridot.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Great fog bank and bouncing tendrils, good pace.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Thickish but good and opaque; light olive.

AROMA 22/30
-Before water- Mild anethole along with sharp star anise, herbaceous and earthy.

-After water- Distinctly fragrant and dryly floral wormwood, citrus; anise and fennel are mild but subtly juicy in the back. Star anise is still one of the most prominent scents, and though I know not much of it was used, I feel it comes across as just a bit too cloying and distracting.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Good body and smoothness, perhaps a bit too numbing, with a dry, slowly receding zang in the finish.

TASTE 17/20
Enjoyably mild spice, citrus and minty notes up front. The tasty A.a. from the aroma is very prominent and contributes the same dry floral character, along with strong but well balanced savory bitter. The anise and fennel provide a backbone roll, but are nice and full. It’s interesting, but I did not perceive the star anise in the actual flavor, only the aroma.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
I found this absinthe overall to be very enjoyable and would recommend it. The big wormwood character is similar to Pontarlier, but is different enough to distinguish itself and is obviously very high quality (if I’m not mistaken, it’s the same stuff used to make L’Italienne). Though I know that very little star anise was used, it still detracted from the aroma for me. However, it did not detract from the flavor, which I found to one of the better, more expressive wormwood forward profiles I’ve had in recently.

Since it was young at the time of tasting, I wonder if the cloying from the badiane aroma will dissipate with time and how long that might take. I recently had some PF Taragona 1950, and though the presence of star anise was about as obvious, it somehow wasn’t bothersome in the least.

PERSONAL NOTES
Batch 3; 3-4:1 ratios tasted; with and without sugar.

Green Baron scores St. Antoine (Batch 3) 79 out of 100


The following reviews are for the fourth batch


Reviewed by absinthist 1/19/2010

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
excellent, could be that dark as with mead proto

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
excellent, following the Art

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
jolie tinge of greenish chrome yellow subdued with creaminess

AROMA 28/30
The top notch quality anise you will find in a few products only (some CO, some HG), melissa, veronica and wormwood.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
The spiciness in its glory evokes the spirit of long forgotten nuanceful sensation, a bit heavy, nevertheless, spot on

TASTE 19/20
Saints are alike, so St. Hieronimus likes St. Antoine. It is just a little sweet, well-pronounced wormwoody and the hints of veronica poking at you. Really meticulous combo of the tastes

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
a definite improvement if I treat sentimentally both #2 and #3

absinthist scores St. Antoine (4th batch) 93 out of 100


The following reviews are for the fifth batch

Reviewed by absinthist 4/15/2010

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Marvellous, jolie verte. Could be darker

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
Tremendous and Pernod fils thick

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
more greenish than yellowish, creamy, opaque

AROMA 29/30
veronica and wormwood with the aura of top notch anise crispiness

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
Herbaceous and gentle. Wafts like a breeze on a tongue, not that heavy as in #4

TASTE 19/20
Begins as if it was sweeter than #4, but more bitterness and herbaceousness come thru. Very balanced but not overbalanced.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Since verte is so a propos, Martin should think about an equally excellent blanche

PERSONAL NOTES
This one was from Batch #5

absinthist scores St. Antoine #5 96 out of 100

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