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Blanchette review
Posted by Jonathan
on 06/30/06

This time, we tried a clear, Swiss-style absinthe called Blanchette. In general, absinthes can be either green or clear. Absinthe gets its natural green color because of a combination of the herbs used to make it and the very high (65% or more) alcohol content. Because of the high alcohol percentage, the green chlorophyll bits actually remain suspended in the elixir, only to be released when you add the water and sugar, a process known as "louching". A clear absinthe, which has a milky white louche, is often a Swiss La Bleue absinthe. These are usually of a slightly lower alcohol level (55-60%) than a traditional French absinthe, which may account for its clear color, or perhaps a different recipe.

In any case, T.A. Breaux, the New Orleans chemist mastermind behind Jade Liquors, has helped out Combier to produce Blanchette. It is the first clear absinthe we have tried here at InAbsinthia and we were looking forward to it, wondering what kind of spell a clear absinthe would cast.

Upon twisting off the cork, a strong aroma of anise (licorice) assails the nose, loud and clear. Blanchette does not have the hard wax sealed corked bottle Nouvelle-Orleans, but rather the plastic topped cork stopper as found on lower end port bottles. But the nose is definitely that of absinthe!

We poured about 1.5 oz into each glass, put the absinthe spoon on top with two sugar cubes on it and began gently pouring in filtered, ice cold water. I shake it in my cocktail shaker filled with cracked ice, getting it nice and cold. Then I decant the water into a small glass pourer and we pour the water over the sugar cubes, trying to be as slow as possible. Someday, we'll have to get one of the fancy absinthe glasses with the little reservoir at the bottom, and the holder for the ice cubes at the top. But for now, we'll make due with fancy goblets and trying to be careful while pouring the water over the cubes.

The louching action was pretty good, but subtle. It really just gradually clouded over, rather than the water showing up as droplets. The final result was a nice, cloudy drink, but without any pearly touches. Still with a powerful anise smell, though.

The first sips were pretty good as well with, once again, a nearly overpowering taste of anise. There was really no room left for tasting too much else, which made the Blanchette very much a one trick pony. There weren't nearly as many interesting flavors as we found in Nouvelle-Orleans, just a full-bodied anise (licorice) taste. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, and certainly not unexpected, given the aromas.

So it was an enjoyable blanche absinthe, but lacking the subtleties of Nouvelle-Orleans. A nice twist on the original verte absinthe, and one that we will visit again in the future, I'm sure.

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