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L'Italienne

Average Score: 90
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Country of Origin: Italy
Type: Distilled
Alcohol Level: 65 %
Vendors: ♣ Absinthe Classics

Review:

Reviewed by spoon 4/26/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
Very beautiful clear vibrant golden color with maybe a hint of olive. I poured a small sample of an earlier prototype for comparison, and it was the same color.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Perfect, not too fast, slowly building from the bottom, becoming very thick. Line of clear yellow above the thick louche disappears when fully louched.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Beautiful opaque creamy color, very delicious looking.

AROMA 30/30
The fragrance is amazing. Smelling it neat, you don’t smell alcohol at all, but a very flowery fragrance. While louching, it becomes room filling and is quite astonishing: perfumy, seductive, delicious. There was no way I could justify deducting even a single point. As I finish up this review the glass has been empty for at least 10 minutes, I’m sniffing the glass and it still smells amazing.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Very nice mouth-feel. Not super tongue-coating but very nice creamy feel.

TASTE 18/20
The taste is quite harmonious, and almost as delicious as the fragrance. I know from what Stefano said (when we met in Paris) that there are a large number of herbs here, and they blend extremely well. I believe that a number of them aren’t found in any other commercial absinthes but there is definitely nothing anyone would find out of place. The herbs are obviously of stellar quality, full of Italian sunshine and bursting with perfumy goodness. On a hot day like today it is very refreshing.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
I first tasted two early low-volume prototypes last year when we met Stefano in Paris. I was a huge fan of what Stefano was doing with those prototypes, and I’m very happy that he has been able to bring it from that small scale to nearing commercial reality. This one is a home run for me, easily my favorite (soon-to-be) commercial absinthe.

spoon scores L’Italienne (prototype #2) 93 out of 100


Reviewed by Donnie Darko 8/16/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 6/10
Copperish yellow with a slight green suggestion.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
Super cold water coaxes some beautiful swirly tendrils that gradually form an almost-louche. Anything less than iced water dripped slow from a fountain will not produce as much of a louche.

COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
An 3/4 opaque flat yellow green.

AROMA 27/30
Neat, the aroma is floral heaven. The feminine perfumes in here before one adds water are found in no other absinthe. Once water is added, the aroma disappointingly stays mostly in the glass and lacks "pop", but what is in there is enticing and entirely unique. It says "drink me" with authority.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Though not a creamy absinthe, it doesn't burn, is smooth, and has a flower petal-like touch on your tongue. Unique and very drinkable.

TASTE 19/20
Fresh honeysuckle, lavender and other edible flowers that escape me. Very feminine, with a seamless fusion of all ingredients into one very pleasant whole. The wormwood in here is unlike other cultivars I have tasted, and I suspect it is the key to the fusion of all other flavors in there. And I have no idea what herb might be causing that honey-suckle taste and aroma, but it's awesome and no other absinthe has it.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
A delightful feminine drink. Light but sexy. Floral but assertive. The weak points are indifferent color and a lackadaisical louche, but once I taste it I can't bring myself to penalize it too harshly for those shortcomings. I can't help but think a slight boost to the anise and fennel would make this absinthe a blockbuster, but what's there is attention grabbing and balanced with surgical precision. In spite of the lack of creamy "pop", it is distinctive and confident enough to warrant quickly emptying and refilling glasses. It evokes memories of unrequited high school crushes on girls too pretty to notice me, but who I could still steal looks at from across the room and swoon. Maybe all I got from them was their perfume as they walked past, but it was enough to make me happy and empty headed.

Donnie Darko scores L'Italienne 83 out of 100


Reviewed by absinthist 2/6/2009

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Very inviting and beautiful slighltly pale yellow green. One of the minority of current absinthes that are coloured properly and with adherence to the tradition.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
Gradual, very slowly-forming, leaving a delicate unlouched layer on top. At 1:2.5 gets fully louched and that is the best ratio IMO.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
Pleasantly opalescent but not too thick; greenish at edges.

AROMA 26/30
Very intense and herbal, smells divinely in the vein of less assertive yet bold absinthes of the heyday.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Spicy but in a subtle way, rounded but not overanisated or too heavy. Still, not too fragile or light, either.

TASTE 19/20
Very good balance with a prominent wormwood note. Due to the perfect marriage of herbs, it is difficult to pin them down that easily, however some of them have their discrete say-the taste is built slowly with wormwood and stronger aromatic nuances leading the front, some growing fennel and anise and the rest giving a sublime, green tea-like finish with a zesty-fruity kick from within.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
Haven't had the previous batches (proto with Ponty worm and L'Italienne #1) but in that particular batch I would advise: change nothing, everything knows its place and knows it very well.

absinthist scores L'Italienne second batch 94 out of 100


Photo of prototype courtesy of Hartsmar:


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