One of the first absinthe brands to finally crash the US market is a new one, formulated by one of the leaders of today's absinthe community, T..A. Breaux. Called lucid(sic) Absinthe Supérieure, it is imported by Viridian Spirits and has quite the slick web site. We purchased a bottle at the local liquor store (be still our beating hearts!) for about US$65, not necessarily an impulse buy price to be sure. We have had a couple of sessions with lucid and these are our impressions.
The bottle is pretty striking, although to these conservative eyes, it brings to mind the story of the Mexican beer that first had the bottle designed and then the beer to fill was sought out. It seems to draw too much attention to the overhyped "mystery" of absinthe, but hey, we'll let it go, I guess.
The initial aroma of lucid is rather tame, an indicator of things to come. It certainly smells of anise and other herbs, but in a restrained manner, like it is afraid to scare you away. Pouring it into a glass confirms this shy, retiring mannerism, as the color is equally restrained, being a light pale green. While certainly absinthe, its affect on the eyes and nose belie the aggressive stance hinted at by the bottle.
The louche is good, with the final color being, again, very pale, a white with emerald hints. It does release more of that wonderful absinthe fragrance we've all come to enjoy. Even now, many tasting sessions later, we still get an almost Pavlovian reaction to the redolence of absinthe, even one as quiet as we get from the lucid.
And drinking lucid re-emphasizes the laid back nature of its recipe. Perhaps aiming to not scare off the nearly virgin American palette, lucid is an easy on the tongue, relatively low alcohol (62%) verte absinthe. We have been drinking it with one cube of sugar, but our next glass perhaps should be sans sugar, to give the taste a chance to stand out more. As it is, a pleasant if not particularly outstanding drink.
A ground breaking liquor in its own right, Viridian deserves kudos for creating a good absinthe aimed squarely at the American market. A solid product, creatively marketed, lucid should go a long way towards easing fears of the "devil in a bottle". But I don't think we are being absinthe snobs here at InAbsinthia when we say that it isn't a specially challenging absinthe, with its pretty laid back nature. But that is, we believe, its destiny and, as such, it does a good job. We will have to try it without the sugar to get more of its taste, but I don't think it will be leaping to the fore of our liquor shelf.