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« Oxygénée | Main | La Muse Verte 68 »

Francois Guy

Average Score: 66
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Country of Origin: France
Type: Distilled
Alcohol Level: 45 %
Vendors: ♣

Description: From the old Guy distillery in Pontarlier, France.
Absinthe Francois Guy at


Reviewed by Turangalila 10/7/05

Hardly green. Very pale and delicate. It looks natural, however. Very clear.

Gentle louche. Not dramatic, but not terrible.

Pale, cloudy green. Looking straight down, has an opalescent blue shimmer. Looks completely natural.

AROMA 22/30
Sweet. Anise-candy fragrance. Smells like the after-dinner anise at Indian restaurants. Fairly untypical, but not necessarily displeasing. Some form of wormwood is noticeable, but there’s something odd about it also.

Smooth and too watery with a bit of harshness at low dilution.

TASTE 10/20
Much less interesting than the smell. One-dimensional, some anise, some “woody” bitterness. The flavor is too thin at 1:3, which makes sense for an absinthe at 45% alcohol. It has a slightly unpleasant aftertaste. Not terrible, but not ideal.

I like it slightly. The fragrance is interesting, but unfortunately it falls short in a lot of ways. It is definitely not terrible, and four or five years ago it might have been considered one of the best of the commercials, but it’s sub-par.

Turangalila scores Francoise Guy 60 out of 100.

Reviewed by precenphix 2/11/2006

There's not much color here at all. The liquor is clear, pale green. Slightly yellow, possibly from the herbs used. Not very vibrant.

This absinthe louches slowly but steadily. I'm guessing there's a minimal amount of star anise in here.

The glass is a white cloud with slight hints of green & amber. The yellow tints are no longer present.

AROMA 25/30
From the bottle, Guy smells sweet. Anise & wormwood (though there's debate as to whether it's actually used in this drink -- I would venture to guess it is) with a bit of fennel and other herbs I can't pick out. One of them may be mugwort. During watering, the anise comes forward more.

Light. No numb tongue. Refreshing to the whole mouth. A touch thin, but I believe this specific brand is designed this way.

TASTE 14/20
Enjoyable, but too sweet. If this absinthe is truly unsweetened, I'd be surprised. The addition of sugar makes it cloying to the point of ruining a glass. This is the only reason I've scored this category as low as I have. From what my tongue tastes, there is A. absinthium present. The rumors of some kind of hybrid wormwood is a strange one, but something I'm willing to entertain. After going to a local herb shop & shoving my nose in vats of dried herbs, I swear there's mugwort in this drink. Pay this no mind, as it's tasty as hell.

Good absinthe, just not phenomenal. Though, for those who only like very bitter absinthe, this is one to skip. I would keep this around the house all the time as a refreshing afternoon drink for the weekends. If the sweet tones that hang out on the palate could be pulled back about 3 or 4 notches, this stuff would be much better. Makes my top 10.

precenphix scores Francois Guy 74 out of 100

Reviewed by Wild Bill Turkey 11/8/2006

Extremely faint olive color. This almost looks like a flawed blanche. Clear with no sediment.

Louches well. Not too fast. Not especially strong oil swirls, but a nice fog building from the bottom.

No hint of green whatsoever. Looks exactly like a louched blanche, but without the violet undertones seen in some of the great blanches.

AROMA 19/30
A simple, pleasant aroma, not especially strong or room-filling. Smells invitingly of simple green anise, appetizing but without a lot of presence.

Not too toungue numbing. Oily enough to coat the tongue slightly, which I like very much. This makes the mouth feel nice, but I wish it were a little creamier, or fuller.

TASTE 15/20
Very simple taste dominated by green anise and not star anise. Tastes like a great arak, perhaps, without the grape alcohol undertone. Very little licorice taste, but fresh green anise and some light wormwood makes the taste very pleasant.

A simple but pleasant absinthe. A GREAT introductory absinthe, especially for those who don't care for the taste of licorice. Light alcohol. A very comfortable everyday drink, which conveniently comes in big, inexpensive litre bottles. Looks and tastes more like a blanche than a verte.

Wild Bill Turkey scores François Guy 66 out of 100

Reviewed by peridot 11/9/2006

Pale yellow with a hint of green. It's natural and clear, but unspectacular

Very attractive louche. The layered, interesting way it builds is a short-lived enjoyment as the absinthe louches pretty fast.

Very thick and white, like skim milk. It looks like a blanche.

AROMA 20/30
Before water it's a clean, simple anise aroma. Adding water changes it a bit. The wormwood is detectable, as is hyssop. The biggest difference is that a pleasant, earthy aroma appears post-louche. All in all, very nice but not very complex.

Thinner than expected but not bad. It numbs the tongue a touch too much.

TASTE 15/20
A bit of green anise and a bit more of very tasty wormwood. There's no bitterness. The flavour is simple, light, and refreshing.

François Guy is a nice, light absinthe for a warm afternoon. The low alcohol degree and simple recipe don't result in a fancy drink, but it's well-made with good ingredients.

peridot scores François Guy 69 out of 100

Reviewed by Wilson 2/11/2008

Pale green with a yellow hue, but still natural. Clean and transparent. They could have left the coloration process going a good while longer for a deeper green.

The louche is nice and doesn't come on too fast. Just keep the drip moderately slow and it will finish off completely opaque. Not really spectacular with the oil contrails, but once it starts clouding, it builds from the bottom with some opalescence.

Because of the light color before louching, the after louche color is white with some opalescence. No hint of green from my bottle. I already took off for lack of color in the before louche, so I don't want to deduct points again for that. I just wish there was a little more opalescence.

AROMA 24/30
Sticking my nose to the bottle, I get a hint of pepper that I was not expecting. I found that pleasantly surprising. Not overpowering on the alcohol smell, because it is only 45%.

Once poured into the glass, the anise and wormwood come forward and I can not sense the pepper at all.

Adding water really opens it up and the smell hits you from arm's length. I won't call it room filling. I love this smell. Woodsy as you get close then the anise and wormwood take over as the glass reaches your nose. Makes me glad I quit smoking and got my sense of smell back.

Fairly thick as soon as it hits my tongue, but thins out. Not what I would call creamy, but it is smooth. Numbs my tongue after a few sips.

TASTE 13/20
Tastes O.K., but not quite as good as it smells. I wish the other herbs would come forward. Aftertaste hangs the roof of my mouth, right behind my front teeth for a while. That's pleasant. I did make some Tremblement de Terre with Martell cognac and the flavor really improves. The addition of a little grape alcohol adds so much to the smell and flavor.

Being able to get this in a 1 liter bottle makes it a bit more economical than the 70cl bottles of the other brands and could possibly make this my regular drink.

Wilson scores Francoise Guy 70 out of 100

Reviewed by absinthist 3/22/2008

If it is blanche, it should be clear. If it is verte, it should be much, much deeper. It seems it is none, but still pleasant and natural looking. Slightly yellow.

Maybe it is too quick, but knowing how much anise it contains I would wonder if it hadn't louched so quickly. It could louche slower, though.

Blanche with Payne's grey tinge, looks a bit muddy, but decent.

AROMA 15/30
Anise, anise, oh I would forget, anise. It is too dominant so the other nuances, barely traceable, are just that: barely traceable.

Light, anisy, with some herbal nuances finally, it is not as tongue-numbing as pastis it resembles at times, but very one dimensional.

TASTE 12/20
Anise with really small portion of herbaceousness. Really needs more boldness and decisiveness. That absinthe is not speaking to me!

After so many years I really wanted to give it another try but as I was not impressed with it previously, I am not impressed right now. It is not that bad but they should refrain from launching Liqueur d'Absinthe and work more on FG.

absinthist scores Francois Guy 54 out of 100

Reviewed by Brunswick Green 12/18/2008

Pale, transparent green. Very subtle yellow hue. Natural.

Some oily swirling and a nice, slowly building cloud.

Very solid milky grey. Looks natural, stays opaque.

AROMA 20/30
Not too complex, from the bottle it is just sweet alcohol, after water the Pontarlier wormwood shines through. I don't really get anything else. I enjoy this a lot.

Nicely balanced between soft and warm presence.

TASTE 14/20
Instantly enjoyable. Again that Pontarlier wormwood seems very obvious. On the sweet side, it needs no sugar and do NOT add too much water.

Harmonious, easy-going. Something I would serve for newcomers to absinthe, it's honest and won't intimidate those who need to discover the wormwood
flavour. It does not intoxicate the way complex absinths can but it's the kinda stuff you'd happily dunk icecubes into on a hot day.

Brunswick Green scores Francois Guy 69 out of 100

Old reviews:

[Ted Breaux]

I obtained a bottle of François Guy Absinthe while in Paris back in January. This product is available in a 1L size, and comes packaged at 45% (90proof), in a bottle with olive tinted glass. This product is claimed to be a reproduction of François Guy Absinthe, which disappeared many years back.

The labeling motif somewhat follows the traditional French style, with etchings of absinthium leaves, swiss cross, etc., and exhibits the now venerable French phrase, "Spiritueux aux Extraits de Plantes d¹Absinthe". This phrase appears to be a necessary labeling requirement where French Oabsinthes¹ are concerned, yet is positively vague as a descriptive. This is compounded by the habit of some liquoristes to claim virtually any Artemisia sp. as "plantes d¹absinthe", so the actual content of a product bearing said description is left up to guesswork. In this case, the distiller claims to employ a genetically engineered absinthe plant that is devoid of the dreaded thujone. Also, worthy of note is the fact that the front label states "without sugar", while the rear lists sugar as an ingredient. I am told some bottles have the word "sucre" in the ingredient list crossed out by hand.

The aroma of the liquor is pleasant, being somewhat aromatic and a bit woodyS.bearing a certain similarity to pastis. The liquor itself is virtually clear, with just a slight tinge of olive. Tasted neat, the flavor is predominantly of anise, with the woody component being significant, yet not obtrusive. The liquor louches well upon the addition of water, and the flavor remains simple and refreshing, being neither thin nor heavy, with that telltale woodiness making its presence known with every sip. The more astute imbiber may recognize the familiar Owoody¹ flavor as something characteristic of pastis (not to be confused with liqueurs d¹anise). An esteemed friend brought it to my attention that this product is also remarkably similar to one particular French bootleg that made the rounds a couple of years ago (which I¹ve since confirmed). Kind of makes one wonder.

Interestingly enough, this product is dissimilar in flavor to the distiller¹s own "Pontarlier Anis", which is also purportedly rooted in the family¹s old absinthe. Regardless of historical accuracy and supposedly thujone-free absinthium, Mr. Guy has succeeded in commercializing an absinthe that features decent quality and a palatable, interesting, albeit somewhat unorthodox flavor.


françois guy made good on his promise to have an absinthe ready for christmas, and my constant pokes at my local cavist paid off with it in their window tonight...amazingly at less than the projected 300 francs a bottle (268 francs, about $36) but, the cavist's wife explained, it IS a liter...which is true. It is in a burgundy shaped bottle, which is unusual, but françois did a pretty good job copying armand guy's original label, with of course, the disclaimer phrase on top of the label 'spirituex aux extraits de plantes d'absinthe'...but this is the closest thing yet to a real(original) absinthe label as far a style goes, followed by 'oxygénée'...he humbly named it after himself, as did his grandfather (great-grandfather?) with 'sans sucre-45% vol-depuis 1890' under his name...ok, maybe 'depuis' with a little time off due to an unfortunate ban, but not 45%, since, i'm sure, the original(or the better version) was more...françois claimed that he did not want to 're-alcoholize' france with a higher proof, but this humanitarian decision was a mistake...'distillation spéciale' whatever that means (maybe alluding to a 'dethujonizing' process that also is required by law, even though it may not exist...the plants on the front label allude to it's contents-grapes and grape leaves (ok, we know that it is made from beet alcohol, so that's just for a pretty(read-classic) label, grande absinthe, fennel, maybe hyssop, tanasy, green anis...(sorry, i failed the luger 'i can name that plant in 3 notes quiz') the back label explains how to make your drink (like in the time of absinthe)and that sugar 'exhales' the aroma of absinthe and should be used according to one's taste...then in small print 'anis vert and absinthe distillés'...ok...coloration obtained exclusively from plants...ok...ingredients: alcohol, sugar(!!!) and vegetable substances...whoaaa! the back label has just contradicted the front label...i will attest that i cannot detect sugar in it, but why is this here?! it never ends...when i opened the bottle, i was pleasantly greeted by the odor of - fresh absinthe-which was a nice surprise...i poured a glass of sugar-free pontarlier anis to make a comparison...not as similar as i had thought...actually the aromas are deeper in the the anis, though, not surprisingly, of anis...the color is a very very light green, which is what i thought i saw at the distillery, and was told it was clear...i now understand why ian thought it was clear, and this was his same response to the fact, the nose is very similar to HD#9, making me go 'hmmmm?' it is not so deep once it gets into the glass and neat it is somewhat similar to a 'la bleue' but less intense...the louche is very quick and white, with tinges of green, very nice and clean...the taste? well, it tastes like absinthe...but not a (should i say good? no that is too harsh) strong, complex one...i think this is due to the low alcohol, which, as i said before, was a is possible that more flavor could have been coaxed from this absinthe, had it had a higher is not, as i once thought and said, exactly like the anis, but does not have the character(balls?) of the anis...what we have here is a junior absinthe, maybe the closest thing that commercial, legal brands have to offer, but if you have been spoiled (as i have) it does not replace what can be found...better la bleues and haugemachts cause this to pale and of course, it will not stand up at all to jade...but, it is good and could have been better had it been jacked up a is a little light in the mouth and does not leave a lingering finish like the 'vraie'...secondary effects? i think so, but i'm easy...


Francois Guy is my current favorite among commercial absinthes. It is complex with multiple herbal flavors; neat it has a faint green color that is probably natural, though it louches almost white. It has a slightly bitter finish and is complex and herbal. While it has been suggested that it resembles a pastis, and it may contain some licorice, it has a much more subtle and complex flavor than Ricard, and also a woody flavor that I've only tasted in Larsand. At 45% , it is low in alcohol for an absinthe, but this is not entirely a demerit, since the high alcohol content in some absinthes can be a little overpowering. A pleasant and refreshing drink.


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