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« Camargo | Main | C.F. Berger, circa 1900 »

Pernod Fils, circa 1910

Average Score: 92
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Country of Origin: France
Type: Distilled
Alcohol Level: 68 %


By 1797 Major Dubied had bought an absinthe elixir recipe from the Henriod Sisters in Couvet, Switzerland to market in the Val-de-Travers & the French Jura regions. That year his daughter marries a Swiss gent, Henri-Louis Pernod. Dubied then set up shop with his son-in-law Pernod.

1805 Mssr. Pernod opens up a larger factory, Pernod Fils, across the border in Pontarlier, France. Dubied split back to Couvet, and Dubied Père et Fils eventually passed to a cousin, Fritz Duval (see below).

Pernod had two sons, the eldest Edouard remained in Couvet and transferred the company to his own name in 1827. His son, Edouard, started his own company in 1897.

The younger son, Louis, ran the Pernod Fils factory in Pontarlier, on the banks of the river Doubs, and increased the factories output exponentially. By the end of the nineteenth century Pernod Fils was producing 30,000 litres per anum, and exporting all over the world.

By the time of the 1915 ban, Edouard had merged with Pernod Fils, and due to a later lawsuit, was forced to merge with Jules Pernod, another local manufacturer, which is what comprises what we know of as Pernod today.

Pernod Fils enjoyed over a hundred years of absinthe ascendancy, and hundreds of manufacturers of absinthe cropped up all over France and Switzerland. Due to the marketing expertise of Pernod Fils, and their high quality standards, their labels and name were emulated all over the country. They brought suits against such companies as Pernot, Perrenod, Père Noë, and Pierrot, who were seeking to scam on the similarities of their brand names with Pernod.



Pernod Fils was widely regarded as setting the quality benchmark for absinthe - it was the standard against which all others were judged. It has a wonderfully subtle and complex taste, with both herbal and floral nuances. Although like all old absinthes the original green colour will have faded to an amber, once one adds water and the absinthe louches, hints of the original green magically reappear.

Reviewed by Deluge 5/14/05

At nearly 100 years old this absinthe, like the Edouard, was what has been described as being the color “Feuille Morte”. It has aged well over time and has faded, as it should, like an autumn leaf.

Bringing the glass under the fountain the louche began almost immediately and was a lot stronger than I had expected. There were beautiful gradient lines in the glass that swirled around until the final stage at which the contents became very opaque.

The final stage of the louche was very thick and became quite a nice shade of white. Considering how brown the sample was before water I was amazed at the final shade of the louche.

AROMA 30/30
The nose was much more intense than I had imagined. There was a considerable amount of heat! I had assumed that a bottle over 90 years old would have mellowed out much more. The scent was very fragrant and full of spice! It was very well balanced and was unlike anything I had smelled before. The aroma of the bouquet was brilliant and it certainly filled the room! I could really smell the heavy fragrance in the air. There was a rich musky/spicy character that I have not witnessed in any other commercial or clandestine absinthe! The aroma of Pernod Fils was very unique indeed.

The mouth feel was another big surprise; it had a consistency similar to that of skim milk! It was very heavy and rich in the mouth. Unlike anything available

TASTE 18/20
Tasting the Pernod neat was very, very good! Although the alcohol was sharp to the nose it was subdued on the tongue by the rush of alpine flavors. The taste was balanced and herbal. After water had been added there were absolutely no overpowering flavors. The unification of flavors made it difficult to pick out what may have been any ingredients outside the generic Pontarlier recipe. The lingering quality on the palate lasted forever! Much longer than any commercial or clandestine out there. If there were a commercial absinthe available that tasted like Pernod Fils I would drink it exclusively! Yum!

I am glad that I had the chance to sample vintage Pernod Fils. It was much different than I had imagined and I will say that there is nothing out there like it.

Deluge scores Pernod Fils circa 1910, 98 out of 100

Reviewed by Artemis 11/7/2005

Very attractive golden green. Not nearly as brown as other "vintage" absinthes I've seen, the green has survived very well.

Louche is muddy, thick, opaque.

It's the sort of snot-thick louche expected of vintage absinthes, but not as yellowish as others I've seen, more green, not surprising given that it's also more green than brown before water.

AROMA 26/30
It's not as fresh as new absinthe, but this absinthe is 100 years old or so. The aroma is perfume-like, subtle, and not indicative of any given ingredient. It smells like good absinthe.

Fairly thick and silky.

TASTE 15/20
I have to say this is the weakest aspect of this sample. I've not had many vintage samples, but the others I've had were better. It has the balanced taste one would expect of an absinthe of this quality - no herb stands above the rest, and there are no faults I could attribute to manufacturing. It's not as flowery as I would like, there's a definite alcohol burn and a definite bitterness down the throat, even with a full sugar cube. I used half a sugar tablet at first, and after a sip, added another half tablet. I can't say this is easy on the palate - it might be an acquired tasted for those used to less intense absinthes.

I have to wonder, if I had tasted this blind, if I would have rated it lower. Probably so. Still, it has no faults and is just about everything you could expect absinthe to be. I have tasted absinthe more fragrant, less bitter, and easier to drink, but maybe not all in the same glass. Still, this is very good absinthe.

NOTE: Sadly, this absinthe is not commercially available except as an absinthe "antique". The sample reviewed is from Oxygenee's "Cannes Cache".

Artemis scores Pernod Fils circa 1910, 84 out of 100

Reviewed by Gertz 5/9/2006

An amber-like colour. Hard to rate something that has changed that much, but it has a beautiful glow, and it's hard to imagine that it came from anything but a vibrant, green colour. Seems wrong to penalize it for having turned feuille morte.

A thick cloud developed. Oily tracks were gently swirling around, even when fully louched.

When water was added, an ever so slight shade of green seemed to linger, depending very much on the angle and how light struck the glass. It was fully opaque, yet with this ever so slight glow. The term "opaline" seemed more appropriate than ever.

AROMA 24/30
The aroma was rather subtle, especially when I dig deep in my memory for the experience of the aroma of pre-ban Berger - less pungent than I had expected, but full of the nobility of age.

This is it. When I rate something, I find it very hard to go all the way to the very top (or bottom) of the scale, but this mouthfeel was out of this world. An incredible smooth and soft caress of the palate. This wasn't a dance with The Green Fairy - it was sex with her.

TASTE 19/20
Again, the taste of a high-quality wine base was apparent, but here, there was more of a herbal punch going on besides than in the Premier Fils. There were multi-facetted, rich, but never obtrusive or unpleasant notes of bitterness, perfectly balanced by a discreet sweetness. What prevents it from going all the way to perfection is my memory of pre-ban Berger, where the taste seemed to linger in the mouth forever.

Again, knowing that it's pre-ban, made while a young Picasso roamed the streets of Montmartre and all that, adds to the experience. I could probably tell my self to put on a matter-of-fact attitude and analyse it just like I would with any sample, but hey; this is the stuff legends are made of. The extraordinary mouthfeel is what pushes this one all the way to the top.

This sample came from one of the bottles of the "Cannes cache".

Gertz scores Pernod Fils circa 1910, 90 out of 100

Reviewed by EdouardPerneau 5/7/2008

Golden amber similar to VS cognac (with grenish hue)

A Classic Pernod Fils louche

green louche

AROMA 28/30
It smell melissa ,alcohol & spices

very nice

TASTE 19/20
spicied wormwoodiness

Very Great if I had the choice I would only drink this

EdouardPerneau scores Pernod Fils 1910 90 out of 100

Reviewed by Ricki 6/17/2008

Perfect Feuille Morte colour. No flaws whatsoever.

Excellent louche action. Starts nice and slow.

The final colour is a very milky white with a hint of amber through it. Perfect.

AROMA 30/30
Very different to what I was expecting. The best aroma of any absinthe I have come across.

Perfect mouth feel. Unlike any absinthe I have tried prior to this. Very very smooth!

TASTE 20/20
Again, to me, this is perfect. The taste is perfectly balanced throughout and I can not fault it at all.

There is no other absinthe like this around. From now on, any absinthe i try will be compared to this and I think my scores for future reviews are going to be quite low after tasting real pre-ban Pernod Fils.

The nicest, most balanced, and smoothest Absinthe i have ever tried, and probably ever will.

Ricki scores Pernod Fils, circa 1910 100 out of 100


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