Alcohol Level: 55 %
Vendors: ♣ Alandia
Description: Pastis available over the counter. There is an E.U. version that is reputably absinthe.
I bought a bottle an hour ago from a very angry shop owner. Apparently the salesperson from Crillon importers to the Southern California market was swearing, and providing literature atesting to the fact, that absente was unmitigatedly absinthe, no holds barred, the same product that was sold during the belle epoque -- hallucinations guarenteed. Then, when the product arrived there were disclaimers all over the literature that accompanied it attesting to the fact that Absente was a quality pastis, no poisonous thujone included.
The bottle maintains the salesperson's deception, reading (punctuation theirs):
ABSENTE WAS A FAVORITE DRINK OF ARTISTS AND PAINTERS THROUGHOUT FRANCE BUT ESPECIALLY IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE DURING THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY. TODAY DISTILLERIES -&- DOMAINES OF PROVENCE HAVE REFINED THIS LIQUEUR TO BE ENJOYED AS AN APERITIF OR AS A REFRESHING TALL DRINK WITH WATER.
On to the review... While it smells exactly like Pernod, it doesn't taste like anis to me... it tastes like licorice. I know that's a odd distinction to make, but it has a distinct black jelly bean flavor that doesn't round out in the mouth the way that, say, Herbsaint does. It's a very monochomatic taste. As for the bitterness, if absinthe colored with Artemesia absinthium is a 10 and Pernod is a 1, this is a 1.5. The bitterness is negligable. In fact it tastes precisely -- if memory serves, eerily so -- like Fanny (Fanny is a cheap but popular pastis served EVERYWHERE in France)! Mine louched beautifully. It started out virtually the same color as Pernod, clear yellowish green, and went virtually totally opaque with cold water. I don't really feel qualified to talk about effects, as I've had only one glass of the drink -- but I would speculate, based on the disclaimers in the Crillon pamphlet, that it's precisely the same as any other pastis.
New York Magazine reports that in Nov. a new liquor will hit the NYC, and U.S. Market, called "Absente". Absente does not have "the outlawed wormwood but its easier-on-the-thujone cousin, southern wormwood, known as 'petite absinthe' in France. It can still give you a buzz, Roux insists [President of the Co. selling "Absente"], especially when sweetened (he claims that sugar boosts the thujone effect)."
I believe "petite absinthe" is Roman Wormwood, which is less bitter than artemesia absinthium and essentially thujone free. In any case, the finished product will have to be absolutely thujone free if it is to meet with FDA aproval (which limits thujone to undetectable levels in finished liqueurs).
I just realized that Roux may very well be Michel Roux, of Crillon Ltd..
If so folks -- hold on to your hats and glasses -- and get ready for absinthe to get real trendy.
Michel Roux is the brain-trust that put Absolut Vodka on the map, and on the back of every glossy magazine on the planet. This guy is the biggest mover in the beverages industry.
I just looked over some Crillon Ltd. Press releases. They're planning on an introductory mail in offer of "2 absente glasses and 2 spoons for $8.00," which is pretty fantastic, even though these glasses are laughable (they look like the old 1/2 dose Ricard glasses from the mid 1980s).