February 26, 2007

La Clandestine Absinthe

clandestine-absinthe-bottle.jpgWe've been incredibly absinthe minded lately (we know, bad joke) and we've been paying a lot more attention to the old Fee Verte. We've just heard about a brand called La Clandestine which has got some tongues wagging, and we're more than ready to give it a try. We've got some on its way to us, but we wanted to give a little introduction to the stuff before we dive right into the review.

La Clandestine apparently tops the list of great absinthes according to the folks at the Wormwood Society, and it also won a Golden Spoon (the absinthe equivalent of the Oscar) in 2006. Check out a press snippet from La Clandestine (which, as you'll notice, is not the traditional green color) below.

"Switzerland was the birthplace of absinthe at the end of the 18th century, and, over the years, the Val-de-Travers region was famous for producing some of the best absinthes. Some French absinthes even used the designation "suisse" to denote the highest quality absinthe.

The area of the Val-de-Travers and around the nearby French town of Pontarlier are reputed to have the best conditions for growing wormwood and some of the other plants used to distill absinthe: the combination of topography, soil and climate are ideal, in much the same way as the areas around Cognac and in the Champagne area of France are ideal for the grapes used in those drinks.

However after the 1910 ban of absinthe in Switzerland (that spread to many other countries), the distillation of absinthe moved underground. Distillers produced clear absinthes, allegedly in part to fool the Customs officers that they were really vodka: these absinthes turned a milky white when water was added, and the clear blue Swiss skies were apparently reflected in the absinthe. This led to the nicknames of "blanches" or "bleues" to describe fine Swiss absinthes, while the term "Clandestine" absinthe was also used.
One of the more famous distillers, Claude-Alain Bugnon, began distillation at home in 2000, fighting for space in the laundry and kitchen with his wife! As legalisation of absinthe spread throughout Europe, he became one of the first distillers to be granted a licence to distill legally on March 1st 2005. Every batch remains hand-crafted, and every bottle is still hand-filled.

Claude-Alain's La Clandestine absinthe is one of a carefully selected range of fine Swiss absinthes (and an even smaller range of French absinthes) now available through his new internet boutique

His Recette Marianne, launched primarily for the French market, has twice won the Golden Spoon at the Pontarlier Absinthiades which are, according to some, absinthe's Oscars.

Personally Claude-Alain prefers to drink his absinthe without adding sugar, but he also offers a range of spoons as well as fountains.

La Clandestine has long been a favourite of many absinthe lovers, so the opportunity to buy direct from his distillery will be an attractive option for many."

Read more at Absinthe-Suisse.com.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at February 26, 2007 7:15 AM
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