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Blanche Traditionelle - Brut d'alambic


Average Score: 85
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Country of Origin: Switzerland
Type: Distilled
Alcohol Level: 82 %
Vendors: ♣ Liqueurs de France , ♣ Absinthe.de

Description: [From the manufacturer] Blanche Traditionelle presents extremely concentrated aromas from the variety of aromatic plants used including grand and petite wormwood, green anise, coriander, hyssop, génépi, camomile, fennel, veronica and angelica. It is remarkably intense in taste, yet retains the impression of sweetness and is only lightly bitter. It should be served mixed with a minimum of 4 parts ice-water and sugar can be added if you prefer, but always keep in mind that it is twice as strong as virtually any other commercial spirit.

Review:

Reviewed by Texas Louche Fest '05 (Grim, Artemis, Green Imp, AndrewT) 11/27/2005

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Perfectly clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
The louche looks nice, lots of oil trails dancing while the louche starts slowly from the bottom. Leaves a nice layered effect, but doesn't get as strong as we would like it.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
The two points off are not for flaws in the color, but the fact that the louche isn't quite thick enough to produce that opalescent pearly hue.

AROMA 25/30
We took into account the unusually high strength into account for the aroma, smelling it first as is, and then watered down to 53% to compare to other Swiss La Bleues-
Before louche, 81.3% - Very nice smell, the aroma is very floral and fruity with some very obvious wormwood smell.
Before louche, 53% - The wormwood is more subdued here, the fragrance is a bit more obvious and a bit fruitier.
After louche - Scent is a bit more subdued. Still quite nice, but not as nice as the pre-louched scent.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Nice and thick, but with a little room for improvement.

TASTE 14/20
The taste was a little bit harsh, especially compared with the scent. The herbal qualities were not quite as strong as we would like them to be.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 7/10
A very nice absinthe, well made, but it could stand a little more herbal intensity in the flavors. All in all, a much better product than the BDF.

Texas Louche Fest '05 scores Blanche Traditionelle "Brut d'alambic" 78 out of 100


Reviewed by Donnie Darko 10/25/2006

COLOUR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Perfectly clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
The louche happens uniformly and is attractive, but is more like a fog rolling in than a dense cloud forming that is typical of the thickest blanches.

COLOUR AFTER WATER 8/10
Greyish white, not entirely opaque as some, but thick enough to convince one that there's sufficient flavour in there. Leaves subtle white stains along the sides of the glass when swirled if very cold water is used. Attractive.

AROMA 25/30
Nice floral bloom mixed with earthy spice and alcohol, with soft anise all the way through. It doesn't jump out of the glass, but it smells relatively clean and promising.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
This absinthe is smoothe on the tongue, but more like low-fat milk than heavy cream. It leaves the mouth feeling lightly coated and airy as opposed to saturated.

TASTE 16/20
This tastes good and balanced quite well. It's obvious quality herbs were used, especially the wormwood, though I think it could use a more intense fennel variety. The alcohol is not overpowering, and there's a great fusion of Angelica/Chamomile/Wormwood and Anise, backed up by other floral components. That balance between earthy and airy continues on into the aftertaste. I wish these nice flavours were more intense, they seem to be suggestions rather than an authoritative statement, but it's on the right track.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
I like this blanche quite a bit, some aspects remind me of the Ike blanche, but this seems to be more floral, although less dense on the tongue. It's well made and nicely balanced, but needs to be concentrated more. Nonetheless this is a quality blanche absinthe and I would recommend it, though one must be very careful with the dilution given the 81.3% alcohol content. If diluted properly though, this is a very good blanche.

I recommend the following dilution: Add 6ml of iced water to 25ml of the Brut D'Alambic to bring it down to 65%, stir, and let rest for couple of minutes. Then add another 90ml of iced water very slowly. Any more than this seems to make the drink too thin. I tried the dilution suggested by the TXLF crew and found that taste too thin so I poured it out and cut a new dose to 65% instead of 53% and that seemed to make a noticeable difference.

Donnie Darko scores Blanche Traditionelle "Brut d'alambic" 81 out of 100


Reviewed by Sleeper 10/14/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Crystal clear

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
It louches well considering its herbal profile and alcohol content. Nothing spectacular, but I expected less and was pleasantly surprised.

COLOR AFTER WATER 5/10
Pretty thin. Not surprising.

AROMA 27/30
Neat, the sweet honey essence of wine spirit dominates. There is no alcohol bite whatsoever until the glass is swirled, and only then is there burning; nothing like what I would have expected from a 162 proof spirit. I LOVE the smell of it; it's almost a shame to louche it. After water the herbs are subtly released. It's well-rounded if not intense.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Actually coats the mouth more than I anticipated; not as thick as some, better than many. Mildly tingling at the end.

TASTE 15/20
As others have mentioned about the previous offerings, it's a challenge to get the concentration right. At first I diluted it too much and it tasted like a very mild anise infusion (that snuck up on me and started to get me drunk), so I've mixed this glass probably at about 3:1 like I would with anything else. I think it tastes great like this, but if you don't have the tolerance of someone staving off the DTs it'll get you unsober in a hurry. I taste anise and fennel, the wormwood is very subtle; nothing dominates. I like it. Yes I think it should be diluted more. I am really having to pace myself actually.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
It's good. It's different. Its faults are mainly intrinsic rather than a product of poor craftsmanship.

PERSONAL NOTES
I haven't sampled the previous versions of this absinthe. It would be interesting to see how others compare it to its predecessors.

Sleeper scores Brut d'Alambic 79 out of 100


Reviewed by Absinthesizer December 2007-February 2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Clear, clear and extra-clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
Slow, as you’d expect for an absinthe this high proof, but there aren’t many oil tracings to occupy your attention during this time.

COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
If you like the look: Opalescent and diaphonous. If you don’t: Thin and watery. It picks up light on the warm side of the spectrum in a very pleasing way.

AROMA 22/30
Very pleasant but not at all strong. The first thing that hit my nose out of the bottle was mint, followed by anise, followed by floral undertones. There was surprisingly little alcohol heat, which may have had something to do with the bottle having been aged for 20 months.

MOUTH-FEEL 6/10
A little disconcerting. Round and warm at the front of your tongue, dry and sharp at the back, and not much of anything in between, almost as though some ingredient was accidentally left out of the recipe. The alcohol heat that’s missing from the aroma is definitely present here.

TASTE 15/20
As with the aroma: Pleasant but thin. It lacks spiciness and herbal intensity, which may be why several people have noted the danger of over-watering. There’s little bitterness, and the finish, though clean and dry, is short.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 7/10
This absinthe suffers a bit from the expectations it builds up. At 81.3 percent alcohol, you think it will be bold and assertive; instead, it’s delicate and floral.

PERSONAL NOTE
I was disappointed the first two times I had Brut d’Alambic. A month on the shelf improved it considerably, but it’s still just okay. Judging from other reviews, later distillations are considerably improved.

Absinthesizer scores Brut d’Alambic essai 2 73 out of 100


Reviewed by jmark 12/13/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Totally clear, no significant lean towards yellow or blue.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
Using a glass brouilleur, clouds begin about 1:1 and mix a little too quickly for the alcohol content. Produces a nice louche, though the action is unspectacular: the clear band at the top is not defined and the louche "roll" or "boil" is lethargic.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
A nice skim milk. Thick enough, completely opaque, though there isn't a lot of nuance. A tinge of yellow here, a tinge of blue there.

AROMA 30/30
Before water: VERY strong on wormwood, though the overall mix is SO great. The best absinthe to date for sheer breathing pleasure. I've seen it reviewed that it's a shame to louche it. I agree insofar as the pre-water aroma is amazing. Lots of clean, bright herbal tones beneath the wormwood. Really great!

After water: Wormwood steps back into the mix and the angelica(?), I think, takes a stronger role. Still very fresh, bright.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Very creamy, which is a big surprise. Being a 160 proof I expected burn, but at the same water ratio I use with other absinthes, it seems neither too strong AND super creamy. Great tongue coat.

TASTE 20/20
No sugar, but still quite sweet, floral, great development across the tongue. Has pretty much defined the blanche for me to date.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
Wish I could get more of this.

PERSONAL NOTES
When I first opened this bottle, my first taste of it was WAY overpowering. It was M-O-L-D-Y! The fresh Essai 3 was fully repugnant. I sat it away for a month or 2 and, voila! My favorite blanche to date!

jmark scores Blanche Traditionelle Brut D'Lambic (Essai 3) 94 out of 100


Reviewed by jmark 12/13/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Totally clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
With a glass brouilleur, louche began at about 1:1, like the Essai 3. However, the clear band held it's own throughout the louche with a more energetic "boil" of clouds beneath it. A much better show.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Nice, opaque louche. Slightly Bluer than the Essai 3. Nothing very complex going on.

AROMA 27/30
Before water: Wormwood seems to have been taken down a notch since the Essai 3: less sweet, floral-darker tones taking precedence. Still a great breathe, though not as ripe.

After water: Interesting that the Essai 3 is more wormwoody BEFORE water and less after, while the Essai 4 is the exact opposite. The wormwood steps MUCH farther forward AFTER water…go figure. I like this after water MUCH more.

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
As creamy as the Essai 3, but with even less alcohol bite. Might be my mix, but I thought they were comparable. Perfect.

TASTE 20/20
Like its aroma, less sweet, darker tones of the wine base? angelica? Absolutely delicious, I couldn't ask for more.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
Wish these had been made in larger batches. I need more. Here's hoping Essai 5 continues the tradition of excellence.

PERSONAL NOTES
On opening, the Essai 4 did not have the mold-funk problem I had with the Essai 3. In fact, it seemed MUCH drier on opening and now is taking on a rounder, slightly more floral character with time.

jmark scores Blanche Traditionelle Brut D'Lambic (Essai 4) 93 out of 100


Reviewed by Sleeper 12/30/2009

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Crystal clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Slow build up from the bottom and billowed quite nicely. I don't remember the essai 4 having such a louche.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Very thick, creamy white with slight yellow nuances. I don't remember the essai 4 being so dense either. Superb.

AROMA 29/30
Neat, that honey suckle fragrance completely unique to brut d'alambic shines through. Amazing, no trace of alcohol whatsoever and this is a whopping 81.5% ABV. I said out loud "are you [freaking] kidding me?" after the first sniff, and than sat there for quite a while reluctant to louche it. But I finally did and it opened up nicely.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Ridiculously smooth for the alcohol content. Coats the tongue with a moderately long, slightly astringent finish.

TASTE 19/20
A 4:1 ratio is suggested but I like it more concentrated. Balanced yet with personality.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
The essai 5 has solidified brut d'alambic as my favorite absinthe (and this was right after tasting L'Italienne for the first time). I think they finally gave up on trying to nail John Gotti after 4 trials. So the same should be for brut d'alambic. I think the verdict is in, and it's that nothing should be changed. Fantastic.

Sleeper scores brut d'alambic (essai 5) 94 out of 100

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