April 4, 2006

Verte Suisse 65 Absinthe Review

Jade Liqueurs Verte Suisse 65
Imported Swiss Absinthe
130 Proof (65% ABV)
Typical Price: 55 UK Pounds (About $96) at AbsintheOnline

Verte Suisse 65Here we go - after weeks of intense therapy and detox, we've finally put enough space between ourselves and our absinthe tasting to actually go ahead and review the stuff. It should be said that we loved the taste of both absinthes we tried, which was what partially led to our downfall. After we each had multiple glasses, we all reverted to our lizard brains, and suddenly we were treating the stuff like it was Bacardi Breezers instead of a high-alcohol controlled substance.

You'll notice we used a slightly different format for the review below - in order to make everything official, we used the Fee Verte Absinthe Evaluation System, which included multiple categories and guidelines for tasting. You'll also find that we didn't use the number system associated with it, after our diatribe last week about the booze review numbers game. And so, enough with the pre-game - let's get on with the show.

Color Before Water:It's Not Easy Being Green
The guidelines say the absinthe should be clear, bright and natural looking, and we found the Verte Suisse to be all three. There was a very slight, extra-fine sediment when we held it to the light, which gave it the slightest haze. One reviewer said the color reminded him of cholorophyll, and that was even before he started drinking.

Louche Action: Lord and Lady Louche Bag
Since we reviewed the Verte Suisse first, it was the first louche we've ever seen (and if you need a definition like we did, we found it in the Fee Verte FAQ). It was beautiful, watching the natural oils separate from the alcohol and swirl their way into bloom. The beauty of the louche was one factor that inspired us to pour far too many glasses.

Color After Water:The Forecast is Cloudy and Drunk
During the louche, we added two to three parts water to one part absinthe. This changed and color immensely, from a bright, clear green to a translucent, almost milky color with a green tinge. According to our reading, the desired effect is complexity and nuance, and our reviewers agreed that if a liquid could look complex, this did.

Aroma: Good...and Plenty?
We checked the nose before and after the addition of water, and we were surprised at the change after the addition of such a neutral liquid. Before water, it smelled like anise and licorice, almost like Sambuca mixed with Good N Plenty, but in an amazingly appetizing way. The smell was herbal, almost like a long-lost royal cousin of our good friend Jagermeister. After the addition of water the aroma mellowed quite a bit and seemed to sweeten, and the general feeling was that the smell was complex and pleasant.

Mouth-Feel: THAT'S What We're Talking About
After the anticipation of the louching and the sniffing, we were finally ready to taste it. We took our first sips and swirled them around in our mouths, and were pleasantly surprised with a complex and tingly feeling, not the burn we expected from a drink that contains so much alcohol. The verdict was that it was thick and rich, and oily in a good way, and one reviewer noted that it was "like God's cough syrup," whatever that means.

Taste: Hemingwonderful!
We've long heard that Old Papa Hemingway was a fan of absinthe, and after our first sip we understood why. It was exciting, like only a 130 proof illicit liqueur can be. It reminded us of smoky cafe's on the French Riviera, and beautiful girls dancing the Can Can on our tongues...but not in a dirty way. The taste was mellow and smooth, with a licorice complexity and just enough sweetness - and as odd as may sound, it was refreshing and invigorating as well.

According to our score sheet, the drink should be refreshing, subtle, complex and harmonious. We found it to be all that and more. In the words of one of our reviewers, "My tongue is numb, but it's a damn good numb," and we think that about sums it up.

If you want to try absinthe, we recommend the Verte Suisse 65 highly, and while 100 bones might seem like a lot to shell out for a bottle of liquor, we can say from experience that you don't need very much to feel its effects, and if you can get a few of your friends to go in on it with you, we think you'll have a damn good time...as long as you're more careful than we were.

Learn more about Verte Suisse 65 at BestAbsinthe.com, and chip in to buy a bottle at Absinthe Online.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at April 4, 2006 8:13 AM
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It's going to be an interesting Easter After-Party....if this arrives in time.


Posted by: Chief at April 4, 2006 10:31 PM
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