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« Swiss La Bleue, circa 2001 - pre-legalisation | Main | Lemercier Abisinthe Amer 72 »

Clandestine La Bleue


Average Score: 82
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Country of Origin: Switzerland
Type: Distilled
Alcohol Level: 53 %
Vendors: ♣ Absinthes.com

Description: According to Liqueurs de France: "Absinthe 'Clandestine' is an authentic La Bleue made in Couvet, Val-de-Travers, Switzerland, the birthplace of absinthe. Its creator Claude-Alain Bugnon was the first clandestine distiller granted legal status by the Swiss government in the spring of 2005. For years he had been responsible for a certain quantity of bootlegged absinthe that brought so much attention and status to this small region. His 'Clandestine' has been and is still considered by many to be the best Swiss La Bleue available today. After tasting several this year at the Boveresse Absinthe Festival, we had to agree and have made arrangements to make it available to our valued clientele. Fresh as an Alpine meadow with bright anise, wildflower and wormwood aromas, a touch of honey and a refreshing, long taste. This absinthe is left uncolored and clear (the bottle is blue) and will take on a milkly opalescence when cold water is added. It is said that Swiss "La Bleue" style absinthes got their name because blue reflections can sometimes be seen in the bright white cloudiness of the louche." Absinthe La Clandestine at Absinthes.com

Review:

Reviewed by Lord Stanley 3/6/2005

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Well, it's absolutely clear. No sediment, no haze.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
Gradient lines noted during the first few drops with light hazing at the bottom of the glass. Louches heavily opaque after about one part water. Likely star anise influence at work here.

COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
Milky white color. Nothing out of the ordinary for better or worse for a La Bleue with star anise in the mix.

AROMA 26/30
Definitely the strong suit of this absinthe. Nice fennel/anise balance with lovely floral underpinning. While adding water, the aroma blossoms to fill the room with honey sweetness and wider floral bouquet.

MOUTH-FEEL 7/10
Moderately oily texture with mild tongue numbing from the star anise. Oily trails noted along the sides of the glass after sipping. Minimal alcoholic bite due to the low 106 proof of the liquor.

TASTE 16/20
Very refreshing taste with predominant anise, fennel and a mere hint of wormwood. A light licorice aftertaste lingers on the palate. This La Bleue does not leave a sense of tails behind as other commercial Swiss absinthes have. In the end, the taste is more than satisfactory but does not entirely live up to the wonderful aroma.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
The La Bleue Clandestine may be the best commercially available non-colored absinthe that I've tasted. While not as complex as the Blanche de Fougerolles, it smells wonderful and goes down very smoothly (as evidenced by my nearly empty bottle).

Lord Stanley scores La Bleue Clandestine 81 out of 100


Reviewed by Artemis 8/13/2005

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
It's perfectly clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
Immediate cumulus clouds of thick white louche rise from the horizon to the zenith.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Classic La Bleue - thick and white - might be a blue nuance in different light.

AROMA 20/30
Smells like La Bleue - simple and raw. Wormwoody and anise (a tad too much) and alcohol sniffed raw. After louche, the alcohol goes away, otherwise, it smells the same.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Thick and smooth at 3:1

TASTE 10/20
Here's where it falls down - not enough wormwood and too much anise, especially in the finish. With an absinthe this simple, it has to be wormwoody, otherwise I could just choose an anise drink.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 7/10
I've tasted better La Bleue.

Artemis scores La Bleue Clandestine 74 out of 100


Reviewed by Gordon 9/1/05

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
It's perfectly clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
It has a nice louche that lasts. I pulled a glass out of the fridge after eight hours, the louche was still there.

COLOR AFTER LOUCHE 10/10
It turns a beautiful opaque white with oils coming to the surface.

AROMA 25/30
Beautiful anise and floral aromas that I could smell from the other room, but just as sweet up close.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
A slight numbing sensation on the tongue.

TASTE 15/20
At a dilution of one to three parts water not to bitter and not to sweet, just perfect and bright .

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
This was everything I heard the best La Bleues were supposed to be. I will buy this again.

Gordon scores La Bleue Clandestine 88 out of 100


Reviewed by precenphix 2/11/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Clear as clear can be. A good blanche.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
Slow forming. Like cumulous clouds rolling into a clear sky.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
A nice 80-90% opaque white with hints of blue around the edges.

AROMA 25/30
From the bottle.incredible. Anise, A. absinthium, flowers & honey. I had read that a good blanche (la bleue) would smell like as such. It has been proven true, here. While watering, the drink opens up to fill the room with these scents even more.

MOUTH-FEEL 6/10
Creamy, but light (if that makes sense). Numbing, but this fades more quickly than others.

TASTE 15/20
The flavor is on par with the aroma. There's a strong, lingering taste of wormwood here, but this is washed away when desired, as opposed to other absinthes that will stay with you for hours or overnight. More complex than other blanches, but the aroma outweighs the taste slightly. As far as sugar goes, back off a little bit & you'll taste more of what this drink has to offer.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 6/10
A quite tasty blanche. Tasting this one side-by-side with others would definitely improve this review.something I haven't had the chance to do with blanches as of this writing. Vertes are easier to remember different distinctions. Blanches, unless they're stellar or complete shit, are harder to pick apart, in my opinion.

precenphix scores La Bleue Clandestine 77 out of 100


Reviewed by Alyssa Dyane 11/6/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER: 10/10
Very clean, no discoloration or sediment.

LOUCHE ACTION: 8/10
Nice louche. Builds from the bottom with pretty swirls. Louches very thick. As the drops fall into it, I am reminded of rain falling from clouds - only upside down. Clear ring on top, until after full loouche, then the surface seems to reflect a blue tint.

COLOR AFTER WATER: 7/10
Very opaque and thick. White with slight blue highlights. When held up to light, the edges of the glass hold a very slight golden glow, but mostly white with blue tints.

AROMA: 23/30
Before adding water, there is no hard alcohol smell. Very floral. Very sweet. You can really smell whiffs of hyssop and a chamomile scent. While louching, the wormwood and anise aroma start to come out. After louching, the anise really comes out. Very pleasant aroma.

MOUTH-FEEL: 8/10
Thick, rich, creamy, smooth.

TASTE: 17/20
Has a very creamy overall taste, most likely due to the hyssop. As the drink progresses, the anise comes out very strong, but in a pleasant way. Wormwood notes in the background, and aftertaste. This is a sweeter absinthe, but overall tastes very good.

OVERALL EXPERIENCE: 8/10
I really am enjoying this glass of absinthe. I really loved the richness and fullness of it. I am enjoying the feel of it in my mouth. This is one I would keep a supply of.

Alyssa Dyane scores Clandestine La Bleue 81 out of 100


Reviewed by Absinthesizer 11/19/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Extra clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 7/10
Unremarkable and fairly quick, starting from the bottom. (It stands to reason that a lower-proof absinthe would louch more quickly.)

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
This is the most neutral-looking blanche I’ve seen: Almost chalk-white from the side, with a faint bluish tinge on the surface.

AROMA 22/30
Crisp, outdoorsy and room-fillingly strong. I was hoping to avoid ever using the “Alpine meadow” cliché, but it’s simply all I can think of when I smell this absinthe — even though I’ve never been in the Alps. Anise and fennel dominate, but they don’t overwhelm the other tones. Alcohol doesn’t intrude at all.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Pleasantly astringent and sharp, leaving your mouth feeling clean and warm. The astringency is wormwood, and it increases as you drink; I don’t know the source of the sharpness, but it’s probably not alcohol. The warmth that begins in your mouth gradually spreads to the rest of your body.

TASTE 16/20
Very much in line with the aroma. It’s strong, more herbal than floral, and even a little medicinal, though I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. The astingency lingers, and the more you drink, the more it tastes like wormwood.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
Although there are more complex blanches, I enthusiastically recommend Clandestine. It's well-made, and there’s nothing fussy or fancy about it. If you don’t like Clandestine, you probably don’t like absinthe.

Absinthesizer scores Clandestine La Bleue 79 out of 100


Reviewed by Eden 1/8/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Clear as spring water

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
CLB has one of the most beautiful louche I have ever laid my eyes on, building in the center of the glass and dancing outwards to the rim.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
An opaque color resembling skimmed milk.

AROMA 25/30
A good and plenty aroma of sweet licorice candy, that my grandmother use to bring over from the Norse county.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Initially A very warm and slight numbing sensation. After a few drinks a slight oily residue builds up on the roof of my mouth .

TASTE 18/20
A very sweet la blue needing no sugar for my taste, with the perfect balance of wormwood and anise. It is by far one of the best flavored absinthe I have indulged in.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
All I can say is if you have yet to experience Clandestine and La Bleue is your flavor, you should purchase a bottle. You will not be disappointed.

Eden scores Clandestine La Bleue 90 out of 100


Reviewed by Bruno Rygseck 1/28/2008

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Turbulent and a bit fast when poured. Cumulus-like cloud formations from the bottom. When prepared with a moderately fast drip, feathery anise clouds (cirrus?) started forming from bottom up, joining into a foggy layer with gradient.

COLOR AFTER WATER 7/10
White and opaque, oil trails and drops on the surface continue their play for quite long while after ending pour/drip.

AROMA 21/30
Neat in the glass at room temperature: quite fruity/herbal with just a slight alcohol aroma. During and after water, surprisingly "juicy" herbal aroma, from fennel I would guess.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Creamy and astringent at the same time, giving a tingling yet not numbing feeling, in particular inside the lips (cool!). At review strength 1:3 maybe a bit too strong to drink just yet.

TASTE 16/20
Anise, chewy mild green, maybe with some peppery star anise; juicy herbal licorice-like taste (raw licorice not licorice candy). Quite rich and full and satisfying.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 8/10
The distinctive wormwood aroma and taste, turbulent louche, mouthwatering aroma and very satisfactory taste (for a la bleue) makes the Clandestine a very recommendable clear absinthe.

Bruno Rygseck scores Clandestine La Bleue 78 out of 100


Reviewed by Green Baron 9/12/2009

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Crystal clear. Pretty refractions.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
Nice trails and jellies. Quick compared to vertes of course, but a good pace for a blanche. Nice rolling fog bank and tendrils reach into the clear portion on top. Good show!

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Good opalescence, catches the light well, has good glow with mostly grey, very slight copper-bronze highlights and a hints of blue.

AROMA 26/30
Before water- A lush, inviting concentrated herbal aroma of the main trinity. I don’t usually find the neat aroma for absinthe to be this pleasant.

After water- It actually loses a little of the lushness, but the notes are retained and become more delicate in a pleasing way.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Nice creamy body, then quickly but smoothly transforms into a dryer wormwood finish with just a hint of alcohol heat.

TASTE 17/20
While many vertes may be bolder, the herbs in Clandestine have a nice richness and depth that puts up there with the best of either style absinthe. The anise leads of course; the wormwood is delicate, but definitely registers in the soft floral ranges that float above the light sweetness of the fennel. Subtle supporting herbal notes that might be hyssop and chamomile and even coriander, round out the overall flavor. The quality of the ingredients is apparent, and there’s a really nice crispy clean feel to the whole thing (instead of the Swiss cow pasture funk one sometimes gets in la bleues).

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
Great la bleue, pretty much the best commercial offering of this style. I wish a little more of the lush herb power from the neat aroma stuck around after water, but that certainly doesn’t take away from flavorful quality ingredients and crystal clean flavor.

PERSONAL NOTES
Louched 3:1, fountain drip, no sugar.

Green Baron scores Clandestine La Bleue 86 out of 100

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