The big news in the absinthe world last week was the thrilling announcement that Viridian, makers of Lucid, one of the first absinthes back on the US market, is going to import two very prominent labels beginning this fall. Alan Moss, who we interviewed earlier, has a very nice blog post listing upcoming labels and, at the end of the post, reveals that La Clandestine, the Suisse Bleu absinthe he promotes, is coming to America finally!
And he also mentions at the very end the inclusion of Nouvelle-Orléans, from Ted Breaux's Jade Liqueurs to Viridian's stable of imported absinthes. Both of these have great reputations as absinthes and we can personally attest to the wondrous Nouvelle-Orléans and have had La Clandestine next on our list of absinthes to purchase. Looks like soon we will be able to get it locally and avoid the stiff shipping charges!
The bottle arrived the other day and we immediately scheduled a tasting. Unfortunately, as you can see, the bottle lacked a label, which, given the nice look of the web site, was both disappointing and, to be honest, a little intimidating. I mean, someone contacts you by email and then mails you an unmarked bottle, asking you to try it? But we decided to persevere and take one for the team, so on we went.
It was very securely sealed in wax and cork, so it took some effort to get opened. The bottle had a twist off cork, which is convenient. The first whiff was very promising - a subdued yet distinctly absinthe aroma, with some interesting herbal hints.
Then comes the next big decision - how much water. We did our usual 3 or 4 to 1, which, it turns out, is probably a little too much. But the louche was good, although it did seem to retain the earthy colors of the original. Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but there is a definite brown tinge to the drink; not at all off putting, just unexpected.
In the end, as we eased up on the water, we decided this was a solid absinthe. It worked both with and without sugar and had a good if not powerful taste. Obsello would work very well as an introductory absinthe, yet is good enough for the more sophisticated palate. Probably about a 7 out of 10 for a rating. Keep up the good work! See the discussion forum on the Wormwood Society site for more discussion, including several posts by B. Alex, the maker of Obsello Absenta. It can be found here.
Update: We received the following note about the color from B. Alex, Obsello's creator:
The color is an interesting thing we are monitoring. I suspect it is rather unstable at 50% alcohol and I think that bottle got a bit of direct sun in the distillery while waiting to be shipped. We are looking at this closely.
by Arthur Symons
Gently I wave the visible world away.
Far off, I hear a roar, afar yet near.
Far off and strange, a voice is in my ear,
And is the voice my own? The words I say
Fall strangely, like a dream, across the day:
And the dim sunshine is a dream. How clear,
New as the world to lover's eyes, appear
The men and women passing on their way!
The world is very fair. The hours are all
Linked in a dance of mere forgetfulness.
I am at peace with God and man. O glide,
Sands of the hour-glass that I count not, fall
Serenely: scarce I feel your soft caress,
Rocked on this dreamy and indifferent tide.
Before you get into this pickle, read this interesting The New Yorker article on drinking, hangovers and cures. While some claim that drinking absinthe avoids a hangover, we're not convinced!
Annals Of Drinking: A Few Too Many: The New Yorker
Some words for hangover, like ours, refer prosaically to the cause: the Egyptians say they are “still drunk,” the Japanese “two days drunk,” the Chinese “drunk overnight.” The Swedes get “smacked from behind.” But it is in languages that describe the effects rather than the cause that we begin to see real poetic power. Salvadorans wake up “made of rubber,” the French with a “wooden mouth” or a “hair ache.” The Germans and the Dutch say they have a “tomcat,” presumably wailing. The Poles, reportedly, experience a “howling of kittens.” My favorites are the Danes, who get “carpenters in the forehead.”.
And in the Wine AllTop page, you'll find us listed. You'll have to scroll down a bit, but you can see us there. Keep a browser tab opened to this page and you will keep abreast of all things wine related, including our little niche here in the absinthe neck of the woods.
An Absenthe in the Sky
Thanks to a pointer in the comments to an earlier post, we came across a very nice video showing an interesting absinthe cocktail, which includes grapefruit soda and simple syrup:
Also, see Chris' other "How2Heroes" video called Demystifying Absinthe.
- gummi bears - now this we would like to try! Unfortunately, these sweet little absinthe gummi bears seem to be only available at the source, which is a restaurant called Tailor in New York City. Anyone want to swing by 525 Broome St and get us a few will have us forever in their debt!
- lollipops - we have written about these beforeand we just wanted to add that they are, in fact, as delicious as they sound. Worth the splurge.
- lip balm - the description is filled with the annoying marketspeak that tries to sell up absinthe's checkered past - "magickal"(sic), "aphrodisia", "disturbing", etc. So we hate to even point this out, but in the interest of completeness, we'll add it to this list.
Absinthe has a wonderful colour, green. A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world. What difference is there bewteen a glass of absinthe and a sunset? - Oscar Wilde
If any of you actually do grab one of these, please feel free to post a tasting here on In Absinthia. We will just have to live vicariously at these rates.
Vintage Absinthe For Sale: J.V.& Ca Neufchatel (Doubs) circa 1880
An extraordinarily early Swiss bottle, likely the oldest intact Swiss absinthe to have survived. Found alongside the Edouard Pernod bottle shown above in the same cellar bin. The distiller, J.V.&Ca were based in the canton of Neuchatel (here rendered in the archaic spelling "Neufchatel"), just inside the Swiss border in the area where it is demarcated by the river Doubs.
Vintage Absinthe For Sale: Absinthe Edouard Pernod - Lunel (Herault), circa 1870-1880
This is an exceptional bottle. The branch of Edouard Pernod in Lunel was sold off and changed its name to Gempp Pernod in 1880, so this bottle can be dated with confidence to prior to that date. It's the earliest intact sealed absinthe bottle yet unearthed.
Etsy :: tartx :: Absinthe Liquor Wine Beer Martini Drink Charms ids
This set of beautiful, unique and collectible wine and beer glass charm's feature vintage images of vintage illustrations of absinthe liquors.
The green color in the picture looks a little "forced", but the review thread on the Wormwood Forums seems to indicate an interesting, unique taste, yet still absinthe. Sigh. Yet another absinthe to add to our ever growing Must Buy list!
Tamborine Mountain Distillery - Moulin Rooz Absinthe
Moulin Rooz Absinthe : Australia's first premium Absinthe.
In Fine Spirits
Sonja Kassebaum of North Shore Distillery leads a discussion covering the history, tradition, mythology and mixology of absinthe. Plus we'll sample some tastes of food to pair with absinthe and related cocktails.
Some new American absinthes are now either available or soon to the market, joining the limited release of the St. George Spirits absinthe:
- North Shore Distillery, makers of some reputedly delicious gins and vodkas, have added an absinthe to their repetiore: Sirene Absinthe Verte. They tell us they use a "fairly traditional" approach to this absinthe and we are dying to try it here at Inabsinthia. Sirene has been getting some pretty good reviews on the Wormwood Society forums.
- Speaking of the Wormwood Society forums, an upcoming American absinthe was recently announced. Todd announced his upcoming absinthe, which will be distilled in Denver Colorado. He promises green (no star) anise, fennel, veronica, grande wormwood and coriander in what sounds to be quite the enticing brew. Keep an eye on the forum thread for more info, as the absinthe and the distiller is so new, no web site has even been set up yet.