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Pernod Fils 1914


Average Score: 94
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Country of Origin: France
Type: Distilled
Alcohol Level: 68 %

Description: From Oxygenee.com: The cache originates from the cellar of the last surviving descendant of a once substantial liquor distributor, which operated in the Doubs region from 1890 to around 1950. The present owner, now elderly, inherited the bottles from his father, who purchased several glass demi-johns of absinthe from Pernod Fils in the week immediately prior to the ban on absinthe being enacted in August 1914. The contents of these demijohns (probably around 20-30 litres each) were then bottled (with professional equipment - the corks and wax seals are of the same quality as a commercial bottling) for the private consumption of the family. There were reportedly originally around 300 bottles, and they were drunk up to the beginning of the Second World War, after which the remaining intact bottles - 76 in all - were left untouched and forgotten until the present day.

Review:

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Reviewed by Artemis 12/13/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Jesus, Joseph and Mary. It's like the shine from a fine gold ring. It's what gold would look like, if gold were transparent like glass. It's like the glow from "Goldbrand", the magickal katana that is the best sword in Oblivion (the game), and which you have to kill ten badass warriors to obtain. It's like light from heaven. It's the most spectacular-looking absinthe I've ever seen. Not honey-brown, or brown, or feuille morte as I thought I knew it, but GOLD.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
I would give this a 12 if the system allowed it. Strands of braided golden oil grow and twirl in the liquor, throwing sparks due to an overhead incandescent lamp. An intense opaque cloud grows from top to bottom, resulting in a thick gold-yellow-green-pearl subsurface surmounted by a pure golden layer of absolute clarity, in fact staying clear until it's thin as a sheet of paper atop the louched volume at the bottom. The result is like a jade vase with a gilded rim. Too pretty to be real. If you get some of this, take your time with it. Maybe take it outside under the sun. You may never again see a louche like this in your life.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
See under louche, except the gilt edge at the top has now disappeared and it's all opaque as can be.

AROMA 25/30
Good. No herb stands out. Raw, the scent is fine and well-blended. I can't say it's intense, or room-filling. It's not nearly as floral as the "very green" Pernod of the same year. Fresh herbs, or herbs that have remained fresh-smelling (as is the case in the very green), vs. the aged smell of (presumably) equally fine herbs used in this one (in both cases, the coloration herbs are what I'm talking about), is the difference between the two, IMO. It's impossible for me to quantify, but the best absinthe smells like this and like the very green Pernod, but the very green Pernod smells way more floral and intense, and I attribute that to the non-degraded quality of the coloration herbs in the very green vs. the degraded ones in this sample. Degraded, not in a bad way, but in the normal way that fine coloration herbs degrade. This just makes me realize that I prefer fresh, or to put it differently, we really HAVEN'T tasted what absinthe tasted like in 1914. Or at least I hadn't, until I tasted the very green Pernod, today. This stuff is good, but when young, it was better than good.

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
How can it be this thick and creamy and feel so light in the mouth?

TASTE 18/20
Perfect balance. This is what absinthe is supposed to taste like. Sadly, all modern absinthe has a way to go to top this. It makes one realize he only thought he knew what absinthe tasted like.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
It's interesting that this 1914 scored the same as the "very green" 1914. I'm confident that a larger sample of the very green, allowing a better evaluation of the louche, would have resulted in a score of nearly 100, because I liked the scent and flavor of the very green better than those in this sample. However, the color of this one, thanks to that amazing gold, would always score as perfectly as perfect can be. If absinthe could be this color yet smell and taste like the 1914 very green, I would score it about 127 and drink it like water, if I could get it.

Artemis scores 1914 Pernod Fils 93 out of 100


Reviewed by Jaded Prol 12/14/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
a golden greenish hue -- much more well preserved than most absinthe this age.

LOUCHE ACTION 8/10
At 3 to 1 this sample had a moderate to weak louche developing as one would expect as very cold spring water was slowly added.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
The louche developed into a beautiful translucent opalescence of whitish golden green.

AROMA 30/30
Neat the aroma is a carnival of the senses -- fruity and sweet without any i,ntrusiveness from the base. The anise, wormwood and pontica are almost inseperable but the aroma neat is unique though similar to the PF 01.

With water the aroma is more subdued but still rich. Not a room-filling or overly flowery aroma, almost spicy but so well balanced it's difficult to identify the individual components

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
This is as creamy and rich as any absinthe should be.

TASTE 20/20
This is a true delight, a complex but perfectly balanced flavor. The anise and fennel are of a quality unmatched by any other absinthe I've tried. Though this absinthe tastes fairly fresh, there is a pleasant almost musty dryness and hints of angelica seed and maybe roman chamomile along with vanilla notes. The lingering flavor of anise and pontica last a long while. There are familiar undertones that remind me of other modern absinthes from Vdf to the Jades, though it is certainly unique.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
This is as perfect an absinthe as I can imagine -- flawless but, that is what one would expect from this, the leading brand at its heyday. The richness, complexity, and balance is a thing of awesome beauty. The only absinthe I've had that was close in quality was a certain Texas Nimes. It is heartbreaking to think of such a wonderful acheivement being destroyed by small minds.

Jaded Prol scores Pernod Fils 1914 98 out of 100


Reviewed by Shabba 12/14/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9.5/10
Beautiful peridot hue (no relation, I'm sure). Much brighter than expected from something of such age. No visible sediment. Quite clear.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Wonderful oil trails straight from the beginning. Almost completely louched by the time it reached about 2:1. Not a whole lot of layering though, which dropped the score a bit.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
As you can see from the pic of it in my hand, it was a wonderful opalescent green, with hints of yellows and blues dancing in the light. Quite mesmerizing. Very uniform as well (not pale at the top).

AROMA 28/30
Aroma before louche: Strong nose of anise and fennel with hints of wood, grass, citrus and bubble gum.
Aroma after louche: The anise and fennel have relaxed a bit, but still dominate. No discernible (sp?) alcohol punch.

MOUTH-FEEL 9.5/10
Buttery smoothness. A real pleasure to roll around on the tongue.

TASTE 19/20
Very crisp and clean with a bit of a peppery bite at the end. It reminds me of sipping on ice cold water from a mountain stream (aside from the bite, of course). The flavors are well balanced. It doesn't have as much of an 'aged' taste to it, as one would expect from a pre-ban, but delightful, nonetheless.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9.5/10
The taste and color would make you think more of the ideal current CO instead of a pre-ban. The effects of aging have been conquered by this bottle. It truly is amazing to know that this is from 1914. It's something that absolutely MUST be experienced. Of all the vintage I've tasted, this along with the Pernod Tarragona are at the top.

Shabba scores Pernod Fils 1914, 95 out of 100


Reviewed by Absomphe 12/15/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 9/10
A very intriguing cognac amber/ with strong green underpinnings, and nice refractiveness.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
Amazing volcanic/swirling action from the first drop of water added, resulting in a very thick, turbid,and opaque louche, which is fully formed at slightly less than 2:1.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Amber/green, but much greener than I would have imagined from the original color, with no hint of white. A very appetizing shade that retains some of its initial vibrance.

AROMA 30/30
Neat, the nose is wondrously spicy, and complex, with perhaps anise, and angelica slightly in the foreground, but it is such a harmonious hebal/spice symphony that everything blends into one magnificent, apartment filling aroma.
The alcohol is incredibly well hidden.
After water is added, the nose blossoms dramatically to reveal anise, fennel, angelica, coriander, and a hint of buterscotch.

TASTE 20/20
A stunning array of anise, fennel, angelica, coriander, leather, hyssop, wormwood, and butterscotch/raisin, all underpinned with citrus notes. Each of the flavors is discernible unto itself, but quickly melds into a flawlessly unified whole that is incredibly balanced. The quality, and liberal dose of the herbs used is quite striking, even after so many years of ageing.
The finish is nearly endless, and makes my tastebuds do cartwheels.

MOUTHFEEL 10/10
Velvety, and creamy rich. Absolutely ideal.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
The contents of this particular bottle are in wonderful shape. There is not an extreme amount of ageing, but certainly enough to have imparted a bit of that "Rolls Royce" leatheriness/butterscotchiness. There is, at the same time, a surprising freshness, and crispness which make it an ideal cross between a younger, and an older vintage.
As others have already stated, I see some tangential resemblance between this absinthe, and the Jade PF 1901, but I find this one to be less sweet, and considerably more complex, and dynamic.
Words can hardly express how priveleged I feel to be able to experience such a transcendental nectar as this one.

Absomphe scores Pernod Fils 1914, 98 out of 100


Reviewed by Lord Stanley 12/18/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Beautiful. golden amber. Not what I would call [i]feuille morte[/i] characteristic of most vintage absinthes. Truly liquid gold.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
The louche creeps gracefully from bottom to top. The golden surface lingers as long as possible, like an enchanting lady gliding ever so slowly from a room knowing that everybody present is admiring her exit.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
Milky, opaque, glowing.

AROMA 26/30
Rich, hearty wormwood with minimal alcohol heat before water. The amazing fennel and anise become more present as water is added. As mentioned before, the aroma doesn't exactly fill the room but it's nothing short of wonderful.

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
Creamy and smooth with tasty aromatic oils lingering on the palate. Thankfully, the lasting aftertaste allows one to savour the experience.

TASTE 19/20
The flavours are perfectly melded into a delicious finish. Anise is predominant with a butterscotch-like quality in the background that I can only relate to past experience with Segarra 45. The overall profile reminds me of an excellent HG that I was privileged to taste a few years back, not coincidentally a Pontarlier repro obviously made with excellent herbs. I had to deduct a single point in this category to preserve hope that I might some day actually taste a better absinthe deserving of full marks.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
From a purely sensory evaluation, this absinthe leaves a 10/10 impression as it is amazing under any circumstances. The opportunity to enjoy such a well preserved pre-ban absinthe makes me wish that I could "crank it up to 11" for overall impression.

Lord Stanley scores 1914 Pernod Fils 95 out of 100


Reviewed by Donnie Darko 1/8/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10
Perfectly transparent Gold with the slightest green tinge. Not the typical amber of other vintage brands, but glimmering Gold. It looks almost sunny when you hold it up to the light.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
Believe it or not, I have seen thicker louches, but I've never seen a more dynamic or dramatic louche, so this gets a 10 because it's about louche action, not just louche density. Turbulent trails swirl through it as if a malicious fog were approaching, and it builds aggressively.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Somehow it manages to retain some milky green even though it's 93 years old. Cool. It doesn't quite look like the colour in the famous painting, but it's gorgeous.

AROMA 27/30
Not as room filling as other vintage absinthe I've had, but it still puts out quite an aroma, more than any modern absinthe. It has that woody sweet smell characterstic of superb anise, and is surprisingly floral for its age. There is a "Rolls-Royce Leather" smell which Artemis noticed, and that's the best term there is to describe it. It smells "confident".

MOUTH-FEEL 10/10
Velvet. Angora. Mink. Chenille.

This feels luxurious.

TASTE 18/20
It's not as bitter as I expected. It's rich, floral and creamy more than bitter, and contains outstanding anise, whose intense fragrance is there in spades in the taste. There is also a very subtle bite to the anise which reminds me of Star Anise, but who the hell knows with an absinthe this old? The balance is extraordinary, and after 93 years you can still taste exceptional quality wormwood throughout. It has that "old" taste common to vintage brands, but not nearly as much as I expected. It's surprisingly well preserved. I also detect no signature of grape alcohol, which is surprising because in other vintage brands I've sampled the grape spirit was still detectable.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
It's hard to conceive of an absinthe of better overall quality or more satisfying than this one. It's a comforting fresh-out-of-the-dryer blanket in a glass. I'd drink it daily if only that were possible. Pernod Fils was a master.

Donnie Darko scores Pernod Fils 1914 94 out of 100


Reviewed by Anonymous Reviewer 1/7/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 7/10
preban brown/tan

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Thick and milky. Swirls galore.

COLOR AFTER WATER 8/10
Very nice white with yellow tones.

AROMA 28/30
Very nice. One of the best ever. A caramel, sweet, and herbal. Even smells refreshing.

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10
Nice and thick. Lingers long with a slight bitter/sweet/smokey taste.

TASTE 18/20
Minty, herbal, slight caramel, smokiness, almost a slight candy taste - and no sugar used when preparing. Refreshing taste - you want to
keep tasting it. I couldn't just sip this one gingerly, I wanted this taste and drank it pretty fast.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10
One of the finest prebans I have tasted. If this is the goal, what a goal it is. Please, everyone who makes absinthe, shoot for this profile!

PERSONAL NOTES
Highest score I've ever given (actually ties with a preban Edouard that was also very brown in color). I really liked this one.

Anonymous Reviewer scores 1914 Pernod Fils, 87 out of 100


Reviewed by G&C 12/16/2006

COLOR BEFORE WATER 10/10

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10

AROMA 24/30

MOUTH-FEEL 8/10

TASTE 18/20

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10

G&C scores Pernod Fils 1914 90 out of 100


Reviewed by AndrewT 1/21/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
The bottle my sample was from must have been one in between the golden and very green bottles. The color is very deep and full bodied, with just slightly more brown than green. It's almost exactly the color of extra virgin olive oil. It's only slightly more brown than I prefer a fresh verte to be.

LOUCHE ACTION 9/10
Starts off a little slow, but grows steadily and becomes beautifully opaque with a nice clear band at the top for most of the way.

COLOR AFTER WATER 9/10
Just about the perfect mixture of white and green. There is only a tiny hint of brown left over.

AROMA 30/30
Before water - I honestly think this is the best thing I have ever smelled. I've never smelled anything like it, absinthe or otherwise. It's flowery, syrupy, perfumey, and nice and rich.

After water - Very similar to before water, but with a slightly different perspective. I can actually smell some anise coming through, which I'm usually pretty numb to. Absolutely lovely.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
The anise is nice and thick, the wormwood is pleasantly bitter, and the aftertaste lingers for a long, long time (I wish it would never go).

TASTE 19/20
The flavors are all so well blended that I have a hard time distinguishing them. I can taste anise, which is rich, accompanied by some crispiness which I assume is fennel. I assume the floweriness comes from hyssop, although it's nothing like any hyssop I've smelled or tasted. Aside from the wormwood, the flavors are all so sweet that I can't imagine anyone wanting to use sugar with this.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 10/10
By far the best absinthe I've ever tasted, which is to be expected. I have a hard time imagining anything better, but I would love to be proven wrong.

PERSONAL NOTES
For an absolutely beautiful experience, listen to Debussy's string quartet while sipping.

AndrewT scores Pernod Fils 1914 cache 94 out of 100


Reviewed by Provenance 2/14/2007

COLOR BEFORE WATER 8/10
Pale yet bright gold with hints of green.

LOUCHE ACTION 10/10
Trails dropping to bottom that slowly build into transforming swirls. A looped close-up video of the louche would put any show by the Brotherhood Of Light to shame.

COLOR AFTER WATER 10/10
Golden milk

AROMA 28/30
Mellowed but not broken by age. Earthy and complex.

MOUTH-FEEL 9/10
Full, comforting, dense and slightly creamy.

TASTE 17/20
Complex and integrated. Tastes of the meadow and field.

OVERALL IMPRESSION 9/10

Provenance scores Pernod Fils 1914 91 out of 100



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