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Country of Origin: France
Alcohol Level: 72 %
Vendors: ♣ Absinthe Classics
Description: According to Liqueurs de France: Absinthe Belle Amie was created for the world-renowned Parisian absinthe-specialist shop Vert d'Absinthe. Liqueurs de France was presented with an absinthe recipe from 1908 that the owner had always wanted to experiment with and commercialize under his own label. The project was presented to the Emile Pernot Distillery which agreed to host, and distillation began in February 2007. Every effort was made to remain faithful to its historic origins and even some of the plant ingredients were grown on a private farm in Pontarlier. Belle Amie is an absinthe that remains outside the norm of modern interpretations. Herbaceous and refreshing at the same time, it really shines when a sugar cube is slowly dissolved in the deep, olive-coloured liquid.
Reviewed by Absomphe 11/30/07
COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
A stunning golden-amber shade, basically identical to that of the Pernod Fils 1914.
LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
One of the finest louches I've had the delight to visualize…extremely slow-forming clouds that swirl langorously like a snowglobe on quaaludes. The final product is nearly opaque, but with just enough opalescent translucence to be a thing of true beauty.
COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
As with the PF1914, this is not the most attractive of shades, being a tad more amber-brown, even, but there is still plenty of verdance shining through, and it's attractive.
Incredibly complex blend of anise, fennel, hyssop, melissa, coriander, wormwood, and a few more exotic offerings that are more difficult to pin down, although perhaps cardamom is one of them….the wormwood, in particular, is really a standout). It is the best aroma, bar none, that I have ever detected in a modern absinthe, and only the 1914, Edouard Pernot 65, and Berger put me in mind of this one…the only reason I deducted a point was because I think it could be a bit more room-filling.
Full, and almost creamy, but not really thick, it is probably perfect for the level of herbage used, so I'll call it a conservative 9.
This is, hands down, the tastiest modern commercial absinthe I've sampled, and better than the vast majority of HGs, as well…if someone had sent me a sample, and billed it as pre-ban, I would have no trouble swallowing it (pun intended). The flavor profile is remarkably intense, and yet manages a real refinement at the same time, and despite the apparent melange of herbs, it is impeccably balanced, with a finish that is immensely long, and that leaves you craving another savory sip…as is the case with Berger, this is truly a cigar-lover's absinthe.
OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
Simply, a mind-blowing effort, which truly evokes the Nimes style of absinthe, and I believe breaks new ground in commercial offerings.
Profuse thanks go out to Heure Verte, the Craftsmen at Emile Pernot, and LDF for bringing this wondrous libation to fruition!
Absomphe scores Belle Amie 94 out of 100
Reviewed by Donnie Darko 12/3/2007
COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Golden greenish amber, reminiscent of vintage. No sediment, though it appears it may have been slightly over-coloured
LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Clouds up fairly well with a slow iced water fountain drip. Nothing mind blowing but to quote Larry the Cable Guy, it "gits her dun"… almost. Two points deducted for not being thicker.
COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
Muddy green-amber. Looks vegetal, but holds light fairly well. It's a bit murky, and not opaque enough, reminiscent of Verte De Fougerolles. As Belles go, it's above average in attractiveness, but some makeup would probably help.
This is the foundation of this absinthe. The aroma is very distinctive, and genuinely is reminiscent of vintage absinthe. Maybe it has to do with the age, maybe it has to do with the Hyssop, I have no idea, but if I were blindfolded and it were slipped under my nose I might think this was a much older absinthe. Still not as room filling as your typical vintage glass, but there's this soft flowery musk to it that is a rare find among contemporary absinthes, and is very seductive.
A little rough at first, maybe due to being 72% or maybe due to an ingredient, but it softens substantially after that and has an evaporating dry feel which is really lovely. Not as creamy as the best, but still goes down smoothly and is very drinkable.
It tastes good; earthy, rooty, smooth and herbal. The herbs used all seem to be of good quality and in excellent balance with one another, creating a pleasant seamless whole. The aftertaste is also fantastic and nicely balanced. The only problem is it's all a tad light. I don't need my absinthes to be a concentrated syrup, but because the tastes in it are so good, I'd like them to be more assertive than they currently are. This could be a meaty absinthe, but right now it's more on the delicate side, but then again "Belle Amie" refers to a close female friend, so perhaps this Absinthe is intended to be feminine. The other criticism is I think it tastes just slightly over-coloured, though if it's the recipe I suspect it is, that one has more colouring herbs than usual so maybe that's the natural result.
OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
This is a harmonious absinthe with a great aroma, where its only real flaw is the flavours that are there need to be more "there". The density of the louche needs some help too, but it's on the right track. I look forward to trying future distillations of Belle Amie.
I love both the front and back labeling, which are attractive and elegant. Rather than trying to copy vintage ancestors, they've come up with something that would fit the Belle Epoque nicely but still looks wholly original.
Donnie Darko scores Belle Amie 85 out of 100
Reviewed by Hemingway's Hangover 12/5/2007
COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Absinthe the color of a tiger's eye. Belle Amie is a rich golden amber that fades slightly to green when spread thin before light. The hue seems as natural as fading leaves.
LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
At 1:1 oils begin to dance; they grow clouded and more verte with another measure of water. Just beyond that dose the louche thickens well but doesn't hit that roiling, complex and beautiful peak I've come to adore when preparing artisinal absinthe.
COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
Although still tantalizing, this fairie is a bit on the thin side. The shade washes into a nice amber-yellow when held to the light.
Before water it's fine but not as deep as I would like. Once the louche begins Belle Amie's scent begins to waft across the room and it is just as the rich color of the liquor before water should smell: earthy and well spiced.
Belle Amie plays nice and loses a bit here; although it coats and even faintly numbs the tongue, it lacks strength. A bit more thickness would work very, very well with its flavor.
This is an absinthe with a long, languorous and delightful flavor. The initial anise hit fades quickly into an explosion of mountain herbs that dancingly transmutes into a wonderful, bitter wormwood kiss. This absinthe awakens and comes alive as it echoes in you.
OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
I find myself torn: I adore the color of this liquor before water is added; I am sure that any attempt on the part of the distiller to improve the louche will damage that amazing tree-sap amber hue. No matter what the outcome to that question, the Belle Amie is an excellent addition to the ever growing stock of outstanding artisinal creations.
I wish the evaluation system included points for presentation. The waxed cork and beautiful labels (the black cat and parrot locked in combat on the reverse is a fine addition) add much to this absinthe's appeal.
Hemingway's Hangover scores Belle Amie 83 out of 100
Reviewed by absinthist 5/8/2008
COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Beautiful, natural, amber shade with very delicate, almost invisible greenish tinges. The aging has served its purpose as well. Is slowly approaching the colour of finest burnt sienna pre-bans.
LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
Louche is delicate, slowly-forming, typical of the style, for me it needs no further thickness and at that semi-translucency it does offer, is very nice.
COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
Just as I thought, delicate again, semi-translucent verte with a tendecy towards yellowness. I like the colour.
Inviting with angelica upfront. Alcohol neat is very present but the scent is not obtrusive. Aroma is deep, but very harmonious. Once louched, angelica is more prominent, though elecampane root and wormwood are not far away. However, the rest of the guys could be more pronounced.
Very clean, very tasty, wormwood balances well with roots leaving a space for anethole buddies to bloom.
Complex, herbaceous, yet at the same time harmonious and slowly-developing; the discrete colouring herbs stay gently in the back, flirting with coriander that disappears just before wormwood in the finish.
OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Needs not much changes, it is as great as it is and hopefully it won't abandon that direction.
absinthist scores Belle Amie 94 out of 100