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Country of Origin: France
Alcohol Level: 75 %
Description: From the vendor: An extremely limited production of one of the first known written absinthe recipes discovered, written down for posterity in 1797 and attributed to Abram-Louis Perrenoud, Henri-Louis Pernod's father. Translated from old French and put into production by two absinthe historians using anicient measurements and colouring techniques, along with only local Pontarlier absinthe plants, it shows another side to absinthe that had been modified so many times during the 19th century. It is more herbaceous and slightly medicinal, as it was most likely originally intended, yet quite tasty, and it has a louche that is more of a light, opaque olive green instead of milky white. This may have been what absinthe was like before the Pernod son went main-stream and is certainly an interesting historical experiment.
Reviewed by Absomphe 11/16/2006
COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Very attractive shade of bright peridot green, with just the slightest yellowish tint.
One of the nicer colorations I've seen in a commercial release.
LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
A really slow, deliberate louche that seems to build in uniformly rather than swirling from the bottom up.
It ends up somewhat translucent, with a bit of opaqueness. It could be fuller, but this is definitely no anise-laden absinthe, so the lighter louche is understandable.
COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Much of the original green is retained post-louche, and this is one of the brighter greens I've seen after the addition of water, and very pleasing to the eye.
Extremely herbal, tonic-like scent that is very appealing, clean, and complex, somewhat like an alpine meadow in springtime. If these aromatics had been more room-filling, I would have given it a perfect score.
A bit thin, and although this is in keeping with the botanical profile, I would have preferred a bit more creaminess. In fairness, however, had the louche been thicker, the intense, "perfumed garden" flavor might have almost been too moat-coating, and made sustained of this absinthe to be difficult, so perhaps it's nearly ideal as it is.
Despite its thinnish body, there is a really satisfying roundness of flavor, which is very full, and balanced.
I taste anise, fennel, hyssop, and another herb, which vaguely reminds me of the "mystery" herb in Nouvelle Orleans, but doesn't quite taste like Old Bay, or curry. Rather, it imparts more of a subtle bubblegum ester, similar to that found in some Belgian Tripel ales. This herb is also quite detectable in the nose, and whatever it is, it seems to impart that pleasantly medicinal quality.
The finish is redolent of minty, apparently high quality Pontarlier wormwood, and provides a lovely, drying counterpoint to the medicinal sweetness.
The flavor is wonderfully clean, throughout, and there is no trace of "burnt", or funk, whatsoever.
OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Despite its eccentric overall presentation (or, perhaps in part, because of it), I was very pleased with the 1797. It provided a very different take on what an absinthe might have been like prior to its widespread commercialization, and I found its bold flavor to be immensely appealing. With just a touch more fullness, it would have been a real knockout, but it is damned good as it is, and definitely my favorite commercial release, to date. I'm sorry it was such a limited experiment, and I look forward to the next collaborative effort of its creators.
Absomphe scores 1797 86 out of 100
Reviewed by Ari 11/27/2006
COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
A thick yellow green. A greener color would be better looking but it does have an appealing plant green to it. There is only a slight hint of browning from age.
LOUCHE ACTION 6/10
One of the few places on the score sheet it falters. Lots of oil trails and a slow general fog, nothing bad just not amazing.
COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
A yellow green opalescent translucence. Even though it contains less anise than most and isn't as thick it has an appealing louche which has kept most of its color. A very surprising result.
Before water there is a heavy carmel aroma that blends with the anise and fennel. Oddly I found it hard to pick out any hint of the wormwood. About half way through adding water the wormwood explodes out of it and the carmel runs away to the background.
Although thin, it is creamier than expected, with an appropriate amount of tongue numbing. While not the best, again much nicer than expected from the herbal flavors.
This is where it really shines. The wormwood is right up front and has a sweet smoothness with almost no hint of the caramel aroma. The anise trails behind the wormwood then fades into a satisfying bitter after-taste similar to good dark chocolate.
OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Very good. Although it is harsher and more medicinal than others it gives a nice peek into the very first absinthe. It is easy to see why the Pernod family thought they could make money selling this as a normal drink.
Ari scores 1797 82 out of 100
Reviewed by AndrewT 1/5/2007
COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
A fairly deep olive green. Very nice looking.
LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
The louche is slow, but remarkable steady. The louche didn't reach it's final thickness until almost 3:1. There was a layer at the top of the liquid level that was different from the bottom for most of the louche, but it wasn't as clear cut as the usual transparent band. I scored it on the high side since I'm pretty sure the louche is due to the low anise content as opposed to bad technique.
COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
A bit too green due to the weaker louche, but still appetizing.
Before water - Very flowery. The balance is not standard, but still pleasant.
After water - Wormwood is more noticable, with the floweriness still evident.
Surprisingly thick considering the louche. Bitterness plays a bit part in the mouthfeel, but it's not overbearing. All the flavors linger pretty much equally, giving a kind of fade out in your mouth.
I wasn't expecting this kind of taste from the smell. Wormwood dominates, but the entire flavor profile is decidedly different from the more anise and fennel heavy recipes. The taste is more vegetal than floral.
Overall, I'd say it's very quirky, but there are no obvious flaws and the herb quality tastes good.
OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
This is definately an interesting recipe. I think it'll take me some time to get used to it, but it's certainly high quality and worth getting to know.
AndrewT scores 1797 82 out of 100