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Question about Montmartre...

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Alright, so Montmartre is easily tied for my favorite absinthe, but I have a question about it tonight (as opposed to other nights, that is).

 

I received my order today and have had two glasses so far of the Montmartre. I haven't had a glass for probably at *least* six months, but I have to ask...I remember the louche being fuller?

 

On that note, on the back of the bottle it says "Deuxieme Edition." Now, I know people have talked about the first vs. second edition, but I thought that the last three bottles I've had were the "second edition?" That is to say that I've heard that the second and first editions were different. I'm not sure if they were different in the louche or not, but?

 

Can anyone shed some light on this? Was Montmartre's louche always a little on the thin side, or did something change that I wasn't aware of in the last few months?

 

Aaron

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I would say it's always been on the thin side, compared to, say, the Jades or VdF.

But also, might you have been more careful in your preparation six months ago, taking more time, getting your water colder before you started? When an absinthe has a tendency towards a weak louche, as with the 1797, you have to work harder to get it to louche well.

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Good advice! Thanks Wild Bill!

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Hmm, well, that's an interesting take. I guess that could be the issue.

 

My direct comparison is the Capricieuse from Bugnon, which has arguably one of the better louches.

 

I thought I had taken quite a bit of time in preparing the Montmartre tonight as it had been so long. But I also thought I remembered it having a deeper louche in general.

 

Aaron

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Are you using the same water supply that you used 6 months ago?

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I find VdF has a weaker louche than Mont which has a weaker louche than Clan (which has a thick louche). How you drip really has an effect on the louche. Very cold water added slowly will always give the best louche.

 

Mont Louche (from a second edition not too recently bought bottle)

300px-Preparing_absinthe.jpg

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MASTERPC: yes. Same supply.

 

Ari: that does NOT look like how mine is louching. I guess the next logical (and possibly dumb) question is whether "Deuxieme Edition" means second edition? If so, at least we know we're on the same page.

 

Judging by your pictures, I'd say that one: I'm not louching at the same ratio (will try that to see if it makes difference) or two: the batches have some quality control issues.

 

Thank you guys for the good input.

 

Aaron

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The Montmartre and many others have a weaker louche than the Clandestine because most La Bleues tend to have more star anise added.

 

 

On another note, I followed up my Pernod 1914 with some Montmartre the other night. I literally had to choke it back and considered sinking it a few times. It would be really unfortunate if the pre-ban has ruined me for all other absinthes since it's not exactly a readily available product. At least, it won't be when my bottle is finished which won't be anytime soon.

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Lord Stanley, Montmartre is *not* by any means a "classic" tasting absinthe, so I can see why you had to do that.

 

I know also that my direct comparison (the CLB) has a very strong louche, so I have tried to keep this in mind while asking these questions.

 

Aaron

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Good point about the star anise in la bleues.

 

While I like it, I've always found the Monty to be a little on the astringent side, which would make an awful follow-up to the butterscotchy mellowness of a vintage, like drinking OJ right after eating pancakes with maple syrup. I don't know what I'd follow the 1914 with, but I might go to the opposite extreme, something gooey and sweet, like a pastis. Hard to say... nothing's going to be as good.

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Hmmm. Interesting: "astringent". See, that's what I thought of the Blanchette. I was, however, not using any sugar. Not my favorite so far. I'll have a Santa sampling of the Montmarte right after the New Year and will revisit this thread to share my thoughts about the louche effect.

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Actually, I immediately followed the 1914 with some Clandestine and then had the Montmartre. I waited a while before having anything else because I didn't want to wash that long aftertaste of the 1914 away. The Clandestine seemed like a decent contrast to the vintage and was OK but the Montmartre afterwards tasted nasty. Usually, I like it alright.

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A couple of weeks ago, I did a direct comparison between the first and second runs. The first run most definitely had a much thicker louche. I put each side by side under my fountain and there was a distinct louching difference. I think Lister may be able to corroborate sometime soon.

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Judging by your pictures, I'd say that one: I'm not louching at the same ratio (will try that to see if it makes difference) or two: the batches have some quality control issues.

Normally I add more water than that picture. I would still go with preparation, but it's possible the bottle you have does have a slightly weaker louche.

 

 

WBT said,

I've always found the Monty to be a little on the astringent side, which would make an awful follow-up to the butterscotchy mellowness of a vintage,

I agree. Is there really an absinthe that could be used as a followup to vintage besides another vintage?

Edited by Ari

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This might seem nieve. Does the weaker louche mean lower quality?

 

No, from what I understand a weaker louche can be attributed to less star anise present in certain absinthes. It has nothing to do with quality.

 

Also, check this out. :cheers:

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I love this site. So many anal retentive people like myself! :)

 

My stepmother made me that way. Details later. She was the Mary Tyler Moore from "Ordinary People" times 8.

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Does the weaker louche mean lower quality?

Yes, no, maybe so.

 

An extremely weak louche often means a lack of anise or other herbs with oils that will cloud the water, such as a czech product or something that has been thinned with vodka. On the other hand a fast and thick louche can mean lots of star anise as an attempt to hide poor production and/or poor green anise. But it's not always the case.

 

 

Master: I'm sure "Sixer's seven swift steps to sphincter superiority" had something to do with it.

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I did a direct comparison between the first and second runs. The first run most definitely had a much thicker louche. I put each side by side under my fountain and there was a distinct louching difference.

Plunger did a pretty thorough comparison, with side-by-side louche pictures, in post #32 of this thread.

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The more and more I get into this the more fascinated I become. As Shabba said I also did a comparisson between the first and second runs. My results differ somewhat from Plunger's. I don't understand why the comparissons differ but I offer some photos I took this evening of the two. The one on the right is the first run, left side is second version. To me neat and louched they look very much alike but the smell and taste are noticeably different. The first seems spicier and smoother on the tongue, the second has a stronger taste but not as spicy and not as smooth.

Anyway..... photos -

monty1.jpg

 

monty3.jpg

 

monty4.jpg

 

Ok I admit the last one is an amateur attempt at artsy..... :D

 

Now if you'll excuse me I have two glasses of Montmartre to finish before bedtime... :drunk:

Edited by Lister

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The biggest factor in how soon something louches is the alcohol content, not the star anise content. A La Bleue at 53% is going to louche a hell of a lot quicker than something at 72% (or still strength). The anethol doesn't start coming out of suspension until it's around 45% alcohol, regardless of how much is there.

 

One of the biggest reasons for a poor quality louche is distilling technique. Anethol has a much higher boiling point than anyone's going to take a still to (500 or 600 degrees celsius if I recall correctly), so it takes some real finagling to get as much as possible through. That's most likely the reason for the lousy louche of Un Emiles.

 

Absinthes like Montmartre and (particularly) 1797 have weaker louches because there's less anise in the recipes. That's nothing to be faulted, whereas the Un Emiles warrant points off for the weak louche.

 

It sounds like the batch in question is a new run of the second recipe that maybe had some problems. Hard to tell, though.

Edited by AndrewT

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Hmmm, from these photos you can see that the louches start fairly quickly and are not weak by any means. My first absinthe was UE68 and that had a weak louche. It seems to me the strength of the louche is somewhat determined by the coldness of the water. The UE68 had a denser louche when the water was nearly frozen. (I can't believe I'm actually debating the strengths and weakness of louche). :)

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For me the first run has a more oily feel, you can just slide your tongue along the roof of your mouth. But it seems to wear off fairly quickly. The second mix has more of a watery feel but the finish lasts longer.

Edited by Lister

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The biggest factor in how soon something louches is the alcohol content, not the star anise content.

 

Absinthes like Montmartre and (particularly) 1797 have weaker louches because there's less anise in the recipes.

 

Okay, so it is the anise that makes the weaker louche or not?

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Anise Seed yes, too little and your louche will be weaker.

Star anise will improve the louche

but too much will impart a harsh taste and numbing effect on your tongue.

 

A well made absinthe will have a thick, creamy louche and no star anise.

Distilling technique and high quality anise seeds will do the trick.

Edited by Grey Boy

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The biggest factor in how soon something louches is the alcohol content, not the star anise content.

 

Absinthes like Montmartre and (particularly) 1797 have weaker louches because there's less anise in the recipes.

 

Okay, so it is the anise that makes the weaker louche or not?

 

Let me simplify a bit-

 

Anise, fennel, and star anise all add anethol content, which is responsible for the louche. The more anethol in the drink, the thicker your louche is going to be. Anethol is hard to get into the drink because of its chemical properties. A good louche either means lots of anethol-bearing herbs were put into the pot, or that the distiller was able to get the maximum ammount of anethol out of the herbs. Likewise, a thin louche either means that there aren't many anethol-bearing herbs in the pot, or the distiller was unable to get much out of them.

 

Whether or not a weak louche is a bad thing depends on the reason it's weak.

 

How fast the louche develops is mostly due to alcohol content. Lower strength absinthes have more water in the bottle, which means less you have to add yourself.

Edited by AndrewT

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The Montmartre and many others have a weaker louche than the Clandestine because most La Bleues tend to have more star anise added.

 

 

On another note, I followed up my Pernod 1914 with some Montmartre the other night. I literally had to choke it back and considered sinking it a few times.

 

I tried exactly the same thing after my second glass of the 1914, and had exactly the same reaction.

 

From now on, the Montmartre is being relegated to dealing with the very occasional gum infection, for which its highly herbal profile is extremely well suited.

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Ok, absinthe rule, never follow a pre ban with a lesser quality absinthe. Wouldn't that be similar to following Belgian truffle with a Nestle's crunch bar.....

 

If I have been reading these posts correctly, louche is determined by distillation, anise, star and/or green, alcohol, water temp, and mostly anethol which comes from certain herbs. Thickness is determined by anethol and distillation, quickness is determined by alcohol. Why does the colder water create a thicker louche? Just re-read the faqs about louching and like a good louche, understanding is slowly coming together.

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