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C.F. Berger, circa 1900

Average Score: 96
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Country of Origin: France
Type: Distilled
Alcohol Level: 65 %

Description: Berger, based in Couvet and Marseilles, was one of the largest and most popular producers. Their Swiss-style absinthe was enormously popular in the south of France, and was also exported all over the world, especially to South America, where they, rather than Pernod Fils, were the market leaders.



The contents are in excellent condition, and identical to samples I've tasted from another Absinthe Berger bottle. The colour is amber - no real trace of the original green remains. On the nose, anise and the classic Berger "baby-powder" aroma are present, while on the palette the absinthe is warm, rich and spicy. If Premier Fils was the light feminine brand, Berger is the heavy masculine marque. You could imagine smoking cigar with a glass of this.

Reviewed by Deluge 1/12/2006

The color of the Berger sample was lovely! It was a pleasant shade of amber and although it did not contain any trace of the original green it still looked quite stunning. I did find the color to be rather different compared to the various samples of Edouard Pernod and Pernod Fils that I have had in the past. The Berger was in contrast to the Pernod much lighter and had a charming warm glow to it. I would love to see what shade of green this was before the original color faded!

After placing my glass under the fountain the louche began slowly. Gradually as more water was added, a small cloud formed at the bottom of the glass and was soon lifted to the top revealing a thick louche crowned by a beautiful translucent amber band. Watching the Berger louche alongside the Jade Verte Suisse I was impressed to see that they louched almost identically to one another, which leads me to believe that Mr. Breaux is in fact using the same recipe. I noticed the same thing while louching Edouard Pernod along side Jade Edouard.

The final stage of the louche was very thick and it became a nice shade of foggy amber.

AROMA 29/30
To quote Mr. Hartsmar…“this Is the garden!” I believe his every word. The scent of the Berger was wonderful! The bouquet was impressive and it did in fact fill the room with its fragrant floral aroma. I could definitely detect the unique scent of aged hyssop in this sample. This scent has been described as a dusky aroma similar to talc or baby powder. To me it seems similar to the sent of a light cinnamon. There were lovely notes of aged anis and wormwood that had come out boldly along with other warm spices. Absolutely brilliant! The Berger had a rich musky/spicy character that I have not witnessed in any other modern absinthe!

Not as thick as the Pernod Fils, but still nice and creamy!

TASTE 18/20
This was a damn good absinthe! I would drink this and Pernod Fils exclusively if I could! They are both amazing and quite a bit different when compared to one another. The Berger was, spicy, herbal, and very floral. All in all it was very complex yet it was so well balanced. After water had been added there were absolutely no overpowering flavors. The unification of flavors made it difficult to pick out any ingredients that are not commonly used in Swiss or French absinthe. The anise and fennel were paired well with good wormwood and I could detect notes that reminded me of cinnamon, pepper, coriander, along with hints of citrus. Although I found that the Berger was definitely on par with Pernod Fils I did notice very distinct differences in the way that their flavors were balanced. I found the Berger to be a bit spicier than the Pernod. Perhaps the Berger used a little more star anise and a little less fennel? All in all I felt that the Berger was amazing! The lingering quality on the palate lasted forever! Much longer than any commercial or clandestine out there, an hour after having a glass of Berger, the flavor still lingered on my palate!

I am glad that I had the chance to sample vintage Berger. It was interesting doing a side-by-side comparison with its modern counterpart. I found them to be similar in many ways in regard to quality but the flavor and aroma were a little different. I think that the major differences were due to the age of the sample. I believe that if they were both bottled on the same date and stored well they would in fact taste nearly identical. One difference that set them apart to me would have to be the base alcohol. I think that the process used in making the base alcohol for the Berger is quite different than the process used for the Verte Suisse. The Berger does have over a hundred years of age on the Verte Suisse so I guess it is hard to make such speculations!

Deluge scores Pre-ban C.F. Berger 1890-1900 92 out of 100

Reviewed by JMFranc 1/7/2006

A beautiful brown after 100 years.

Thicker than almost any other absinthe I have drank including the preban Edouard, Premier Fils, and Pernod Fils. Swirls came on like a roiling boil from the bottle of the glass and the final louche was very thick.

Louche was very thick and became quite a nice shade of amber.

AROMA 30/30
Bouquet was indescribable. Very strong but not from alcohol. This one filled the room with delicate odors. Extremely pleasing but hard to describe.

Coated the mouth and lingered. Thick like milk and trailing flavors were somewhat similar to the Edouard Pernod.

TASTE 18/20
Alpine, alpine, alpine. Herbal mixed with a slight alcohol bite. Flavors were hard to pick out. Lingering flavors long after swallowing!

Of the four prebans I have had the honor to try, this has to be at the very top. If I was around 100 years ago, I would have drank this exclusively (except maybe some Edouard now and again).

JMFranc scores Pre-ban C.F. Berger 1890-1900 98 out of 100

Reviewed by absinthist 4/12/2007

After such a long time, the colour of the sample I have had is beautifully deep amber with small Venetian red or burnt umber nuances, deep and creamy, either the nicest "feuille morte" or something in the vein of very old Cognac. Very pleasant to look at.

The louche is rich if slow, the unlouched line is disappearing very slowly. The consistence is subtle but rich.

The green appears unexpectedly and absinthe show its verte face which seduces to take the first sip.

AROMA 30/30
First, it is very sublime and delicate in the vein of de Nîmes yet striving towards Pontarlier style. It is the number one class and from the aroma only, it is proven.

This is extrait d'absinthe definitely, not an anise bomb.

TASTE 20/20
Unbelievable taste is composed mainly of wormwood preceded by melissa, hyssop and aniseed with the aura of licorice. It is a divine pleasure to sip it slowly and embrace the essence of the universe hidden in those tiny nuances dancing with your tastebuds to reveal the mighty wormwood lingering once in the front, once in the back playing with aniseed emitting its charm not so shyly and others of the merry company that are singing "join us!." The sample I have had evaporated to 60%, so the alcohol part was very mellow and subtle as well.

La vie est faite de miel et d'absinthe. If this absinthe is Berger, la vie est faite de miel, surement.

absinthist scores Pre-ban C.F. Berger 99 out of 100

Reviewed by EdouardPerneau 10/2/2008

feuille morte lovely amber to die for

to die for

peachy lovely

AROMA 30/30
insane how an absinthe should smell like


TASTE 19/20
Best absinthe ever tasted ? licorice,star anise? to quote Mr. hartsmar this is the garden

best absinthe ever tasted

It was made at the Marseilles distillery

EdouardPerneau scores CF Berger 96 out of 100

Photos courtesy of Deluge:

Photo of louche process courtesy of JMFranc:


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