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Brian Robinson

Epoque by Alandia

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2010 NOTE: FOR THOSE OF YOU READING THIS THREAD FOR THE FIRST TIME, IT'S QUITE AN OLD THREAD. PLEASE SKIP TO HERE IF YOU'D RATHER JUST READ THE UPDATED INFO.

 

 

COLOR BEFORE WATER : 7/10

Yellowish green. Not a great looking color (not as bright and green as other good brands), but not horrible either. Looks very natural.

 

LOUCHE ACTION : 7/10

GREAT louche. However, it seemed to be to be a bit artificial in how quickly it developed. Literally the first drop of water began the process, so I had to take some points off for that.

 

COLOR AFTER WATER : 9/10

A very nice opalescent light green/white milky color.

 

AROMA : 24/30

Before water - Inviting aroma of anis and fennel with some hints of wormwood. The alcohol smell present in Maison Alandia has been toned down dramatically.

After water - Fennel and anis with wormwood blossoming as the water is added. Very pleasant with a hing of bubblegum sweetness.

 

MOUTH FEEL - 10/10

Wow, very nice and milky thick. Rolls around very well on the tongue. I hesitate to wonder if this isn't also artificially enhanced like I believe the louche was. But since I can't prove that, I give it a high mark.

 

TASTE - 15/20

Light and refreshing. The bitterness and wormwoody bomb of Maison again has been toned down dramatically. Light and refreshing with just a hint of something harsh that I can't put my finger on. Almost 'plasticy'. Quite spicy as well, reminiscent of a Montmartre first run, but not as nice. The wormwood bitterness is offset by the sweetness of the anis, but there is still just a bit of astringence.

 

OVERALL IMPRESSION - 7/10

Overall a fairly pleasant surprise from Alandia. Definitely drinkable but also overpriced for the quality, especially since it's really their first major run at high quality absinthe. Now with Lucid available in the states, they have to do some damage control and set this at a much cheaper price to get the business.

 

NOTES ON PACKAGING - The bottle and label are obviosly take-offs of a Jade brand, but the quality is lacking. The 'wax' seal is more rubbery than waxy. Also, it's obvious that they use inferior corks, as both corks (one from Epoque and one from Maison) split into a million pieces as I tried to open the bottle.

 

SHABBA SCORES THIS ABSINTHE 79/100 on the FV scoring system

 

Frame of reference. I scored others absinthes as:

Lucid - 82

CLB - 85

Un Emile 68% - 62

Lemercier 72% - 66

Maison Alandia - 58

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All in all, I guess I'd have to say I'm a wee bit disappointed, given the packaging and the copy on their web site.

 

Good review!

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Star anise for that louche?

 

Illicium verum seems to be the must here. Thanks for nice in-depth pics, friend.

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Terrific review, Shabba. I'm really glad that you and some of the others can quantifiy things so well. I can't. It makes for interesting reading and is really useful info.

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Star anise for that louche?

 

It would appear so to me. As well.

 

I didn't get the trademark star anise tongue-numbing from it. I was sent a sample along with the 3rd prize package for the video contest win and found it a bit more grassy than the Maison. If there's calamus in there, it's used sparingly as I really didn't get any of the baby powder / bubblegum goodness from it that I have from other absinthes which utilize this herb.

 

I'm wondering if it actually was Epoque that they sent me. Hmmm... :g:

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Shabba and I went in on this order together ( http://www.alandia.de/absinthe/product_inf...Choice-Set.html ) which was one Maison and one Epoque and I'm waiting on my two 375ml choices right now.

 

I'll post a review of both when I get them.

 

Shabba, question, do either of them taste like there is sugar added? Upon buying a bottle of lesser quality absinthe from a vendor one time to fill out an order, I received one that had quite obviously had sugar added. It was thick, like a liquor (and the distiller committed Ordinaire's Blunder) and went down very sweet and cloying.

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I wouldn't be surprised if Maison has sugar added. It's still quite bitter though. I think you'll enjoy the Epoque. Doesn't seem to be sweetened.

 

Should be coming your way very shortly. My specialty bottle order should be in either today or tomorrow. Got a few people waiting on me!

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Hi @ all,

 

don`t worry, there`s neither sugar nor star anise in the Epoque.

 

@Shabba: Thank you for your review.:cheers:

 

PS: And there is no sugar added in the Maison.

Edited by Deep Forest

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What everyone else has said, Shabba. Fantastic review! :cheers:

 

Look forward to the others as they surface.

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Wow. I thought for sure the Epoque used a heavy dose of star anis. The louche was incredibly thick and I got a little of that tongue-numbing sensation one would generally equate to higher amounts of badiane.

 

I can honestly add a much larger water ratio than I am used to and yet still the louche is totally opaque.

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No star anise? :shock:

I thought the Epoque was very drinkable, guzzleable, even. But I found it very sweet, and with such a robust louche that I'm shocked, shocked to learn that it has no star anise.

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I didn't realize it until I was dividing up the bottles tonight, but Alandia sells 70cl sized bottles instead of the normal 750 ml.

 

So, when I worked the numbers, inclusive of shipping (Alandia charges 43 euros for shipping 1 bottle), you could buy a bottle of Epoque for $2/cl OR you could buy a bottle of Jade 1901 for $2.20/cl. AND, you'd get the Jade order in less than half the time.

 

I know which I'll choose next. ;)

 

Not to say Epoqeue is bad. It was in fact quite good, and I'd drink it again (and again, and again). But the 1901 is definitely better, and for 60 cents more per drink (assuming an un-absomphized drink with 3 cl of absinthe), it's a no brainer, I think.

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Well mine arrived today so here's my view on the product (which differs from Shabba's in a few areas)

 

COLOR BEFORE WATER : 7/10

Very nice, light green. Not as full as others which screams "we don't know exactly how much to use to color our drink;" however, there was no sedimentation and it was obviously natural. I'm sure in the next few runs they'll refine it. Much better than, say, a LeMercier 72 for instance.

 

LOUCHE ACTION : 9/10

I thought the louche was awesome. Somehow, as opposed to Shabba, I was able to make it perfectly timed on the first try. Not too early, not too late. In fact, I'd say it was close to perfect in my case.

 

COLOR AFTER WATER : 9/10

An inviting color, quite indicative of most current top shelf commercial offerings.

 

AROMA : 24/30

Before water - Absolutely outstanding. I smelled the instant embrace of brother wormwood, followed closely by anise and fennel with a little something "extra" that I couldn't put my finger on. In point of fact, it smelled like many of the good HG's I've had, no lie.

After water - Anise, fennel, wormwood. No more, no less. I'm sure there are one or two other herbs, maybe Melissa, but a fairly clean cut and good smelling drink overall.

 

MOUTH FEEL - 8/10

Not as rich as some I've tasted, but again, for Alandia quite nice. It was comfortably thick and generally pleasing -- yet lacking in something the higher-end CO's have (read: Jades/CLB)

 

TASTE - 5/20

Here's the big zinger: Alandia has made a major blunder in the distillation of this drink, they have committed Ordinaire's Blunder (which I have docked a large sum of points for). From experience with various HG's I have learned to be able to pick out the all-to-obvious Ordinaire's Blunder of putting wormwood in the coloring step, something any novice distiller should know not to do. I believe the coloring step is the downfall to this absinthe. It's where they failed to perfect the hue of the drink and where they utterly destroyed the taste of the final product. If it were not for this, I'm sure that this drink would place among the middle to upper-middle end of current CO's. But I cannot in good conscience score a drink with such a blunder made anything more than 5 (and believe me, it's getting a 5 because I know what it could be).

 

This may have lead to the overt "astringency" and obviously to the bitterness that Shabba detected.

 

OVERALL IMPRESSION - 5/10

If their distiller had taken the time not to make such novice mistakes this drink could have easily received a 7 or 8 out of 10 from me and a 15-16 out of 20 on taste. The smell, coloring and overall quality is indicative of a drink trying to break into the upper end of the market but sadly the quality control was not...this ended up in the final product.

 

I would not buy this again unless I knew that they'd reexamined the final distillation and product. Barring a realization of distillation flaws I would not pay money for this product again.

 

_____________________________

 

Overall Score: 67/100

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Hi @ all,

 

don`t worry, there`s neither sugar nor star anise in the Epoque.

 

@Shabba: Thank you for your review.:cheers:

 

PS: And there is no sugar added in the Maison.

 

I just saw this and I assume (from what I've read) that you were the distiller and/or very close to said person, is this correct?

 

If so, can you speak to my claim?

 

I would bet money that there was wormwood in the coloring process and would challenge a "no" reply by saying that I could share a taste of a drink that tastes *very* similar to your product...and I know by whom it was made and exactly what they used -- and that they used wormwood in the coloring process.

 

Thank you,

 

Aaron

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Hi @ all,

 

don`t worry, there`s neither sugar nor star anise in the Epoque.

 

@Shabba: Thank you for your review.:cheers:

 

PS: And there is no sugar added in the Maison.

Yep. There are many ways to accomplish such a density without adding star anise. Is this product made from a single distillation, Deep Forest?

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Of course there is NO wormwood (except pontica ;) ) in the coloring process. I don´t like absinthes where grande wormwood is used in the coloring process or sugar is added, so I would never do this in one of my recipes.

 

@Grim, Helfrich: Yes, this product is made from a single distillation. We spend very long time for the distillation process. As you can read on the Alandia website we spend about 9 to 10 hours for a very small batch. Perhaps this is the reason.

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...we spend about 9 to 10 hours for a very small batch.

 

 

Perhaps I missed it, but how small? I, too, am incredibly impressed by the louche you obtain in your recipes. The newer offerings from the good folks at Eichelberger are truly astonishing. The "Absinth 80 brut" in particular looks like cream when it louches...

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Thanks! I didn't see any mention of the "9 to 10 hours" on the Alandia site. This is distillation time alone, or does it include the coloring step?

 

Now that you mentioned the star anise, could you identify one of the Eichelberger absinths that have it. I am still trying to train my palate to discern subtle flavors and if it is present in a small quantity, I'd like to try to see if I can figure it out. I have the following:

 

Absinth 58 blanche

Absinth 60 verte

Absinth 68 limitée

Absinth 70 verte

Absinth 80 brut

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You use 96% spirit during the maceration and distillation? The recipes I recall seeing in Duplais and DeBrevans use 85% spirit. I think I remember a recipe from Monzert that called for 95% spirit.

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