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Angelique and Aa in Coloration  

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The first time I tried Angelique I thought it was funky and weird, but I liked it's uniqueness. Since then I've grown to appreciate that uniqueness even more. I also appreciate the fact that from all the other absinthes I've tried the Angelique doesn't taste like any of the others. I also like how it dries my mouth out and none of the others I've tried do that. I like it, and will order more when the time for the next big order arrives.

This actually makes sense. What you describe is the gustatory effect of soaked wormwood. The issue is that "we" never considered the possibility that some consumers would actually like that.

 

I sometimes chew some wormwood flowers to establish herb quality. That tasting experience begins very nicely, really, only to explode into an inferno of dry bitterness. At those moments you praise the marvel of distillation.

 

I'll never recognize the virtue of soaked wormwood, even when modestly applied. No chance. I'm sorry.

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I find it striking that I'm not oversensitive to bitter at all, though. I don't find the Epoque disturbingly bitter, for instance. Taste is weird.

Do others? I thought the Epoque was the sweetest natural absinthe I'd ever tasted.

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I find it striking that I'm not oversensitive to bitter at all, though. I don't find the Epoque disturbingly bitter, for instance.

 

From every description of the flavor profile I've read, Epoque is a real anise bomb...any absinthe that louches so thicly (and opaquely), and doesn't contain any star anise would have to be. I haven't read anything about much of a wormwood balance either, so chances are it just isn't bitter.

 

Bitterness sensation is related to the number of receptors on that part of the tongue, so perhaps you just have a few more of those than others who have tried the Angelique and found it to not be unpleasantly bitter.

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I'm inclined to agree, at least as far as absinthe goes. A well-known bartender that I'd been introduced to, upon hearing that I was into absinthe, told me he was working on a cocktail bitters using Aa as the bittering agent instead of cinchona or gentian. I was (and remain) very skeptical, but I'll hold off judgement until I taste it in a drink. Being scarred by the sense-memories of steepsinthe I made in my youth, I can't imagine ever appreciating that particular form of bitter.

It does seem unfortunate to me that a distinguishing characteristic of many a "Bohemian-style absinth" is now being employed by Swiss absinthe distillers. It erodes what could have been included in a legal, or even industry, or at the very least common-usage, definition.
I think this is a very important point and I certainly hope it doesn't catch on. Too many people have the wrong idea about absinthe bitterness as it is, without us catering to their mis-guided expectations.
As the sensory impressions related to this product appear to diverge enormously, something like that might well be the issue. Sensitivity to bitterness depends on a genetic predisposition. PTC (phenylthiocarbamide) is a classic example but it also goes for other bitter compounds like quinine or irritating compounds like capsaicin, so probably also for other bitter principles like absinthin.

 

Here's a link for science nerds: Diverse tastes: Genetics of sweet and bitter perception (It doesn't lead to the Lounge.)

 

I find it striking that I'm not oversensitive to bitter at all, though. I don't find the Epoque disturbingly bitter, for instance. Taste is weird.

Taste is weird and there's almost no accounting for it (yet). I've brought that very point up here numerous times in the past. You'll find links to other interesting and similar articles in those search results.

 

I think it's fascinating. It's not merely divergent opinions on a particular taste, different people actually perceive the taste differently—we don't taste the same thing.

 

But still, Aa in the coloring is right out.

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Do others? I thought the Epoque was the sweetest natural absinthe I'd ever tasted.

 

I didn't find it overly bitter in any sense. The Maison on the other hand was smack-yo-grandpappy bitter.

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"Musty" is a poor word choice on my part. If there was indeed a musty quality to it, Maggie wouldn't have touched it with a ten foot absinthe spoon but as I said, it's one of her favorites. I'm sure I was responding to your particular combination of herbs. Or maybe it was an external factor affecting my perception. :g:

It is a somewhat peculiar product and if it's not to your taste that's perfectly fine with me. I like it myself, I'm pleased that Maggie likes it and I'd have a glass on both of you just the same.

 

Furthermore, I want to underline that I'm not criticizing the Angélique for any "commercial" reasons whatsoever. I sincerely regret Claude-Alain's choice for wormwood colouring. A La Bleue style distillate with a proper colouring step would probably have made for a much nicer and accessible drink.

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From every description of the flavor profile I've read, Epoque is a real anise bomb...any absinthe that louches so thicly (and opaquely), and doesn't contain any star anise would have to be. I haven't read anything about much of a wormwood balance either, so chances are it just isn't bitter.

I guess it isn't, but didn't someone say it is, or am I delusional again?

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There was said something like that in "Alandia Epoque" thread.

 

Depending on what Epoque was coloured with, cold/hot, and how much of the distillate was coloured with, then.

 

But asumming Epoque's anisity mentioned in reviews, the possibility of bitterness is quite questionable.

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I don't think anyone's questioning Bugnon's ability to distill properly.

If that's what's being implied.

That kind of depends on your definition. If you mean "clean", then his distillates are not that proper. If you like La Bleue style absinthe, then it's properly distilled according to that tradition.

Man, there's times a funky absinthe actually works out in the long run for me, you know (don't talk shit, Z)? An absinthe with a nutty anise funk can eventually pour all flowery, turbid, perfectly creamy. It's a shocking transformation. Just takes about a damn year.

Edited by Grim

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No Angelique but I wanted to respond to my re-visit to Helfrich absinthe. The lesson for me is one that I already knew but deserves repeating: If you try and absinthe and aren't overly fond of it, give it another try later. You might be surprised. Depending on your mood, the food you had earlier, the fight with your boss or any number of other variables, your perception may change. Mine did tonight.

 

It is a pretty verte in the glass, light green with a lovely floral aroma. The first impression is very nice and it's an absinthe you really want to like. The louche is lovely, ending with a nice opalescence instead of the thick anise bombs. It's not too thin at all but appears light and refreshing. The first sip for me was a shot of citrus, fennel and coriander. The anise is there but blends nicely with the other herbs. Halfway through the sip, the Wormwood comes up from the back of my mouth, washing toward the front: it's pleasantly bitter and I almost immediately want a little more. The mouth feel is very nice with some substance but far from overpowering. The flavors linger for a while before leaving an astringency and a little more of that citrus aroma and aftertaste.

 

I mentioned a "mustiness" but I think that was my reaction to the citrus. In my mind, Helfrich is not a traditional absinthe with the usual concentration of anise and fennel and I suspect I wasn't ready for it. With a little more critical attention to what I'm tasting now, it is very good. 5 minutes after my last sip, I'm still tasting a hint of orange, I believe. If tomorrow wasn't going to be such a jungle of a day, I'd have another glass right now. :cheers:

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My bottle of Helfrich was marked march 3, 2007 and it just seems to be almost ready to drink now.

 

I didn't appreciate it at first, but like you, I really do now.

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5 minutes after my last sip, I'm still tasting a hint of orange, I believe.

You're not far T, and I taste it too, it is more pronounced after aging.

When it was still young, the Melissa was very powerful, it is still but the profile changed a little.

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I find it striking that I'm not oversensitive to bitter at all, though. I don't find the Epoque disturbingly bitter, for instance.

 

From every description of the flavor profile I've read, Epoque is a real anise bomb...

An anethole bomb, not a green anise bomb. The anise fragrance is surprisingly discrete for something with such an obvious presence of anethole (both from the typical anethole sweetness and the mouthfeel). But yes, the rest of the anethole doesn't seem to come from bucketloads of star anise either.

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At first, I thought you were talking about percentage which is quite a compromise between 68% vol and 72% vol but you have corrected yourself.

 

From the pics generously posted, especially the thickness, it reminds of Lyon style, which also has high anethole content and anise there is quite a pronounced note, if not overpowering.

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Through the miracle of modern chemistry you don't need anise. Just add anethole. Probably don't even need to put it in the pot for distillation, just add it after coloring.

 

To get it cheap, just import from China or India.

Knowing deep forest and the distiller of Eichelberger, I doubt they add anethole. They may use green anise that's only so-so, or may use a process that extracts anethole without also extracting all the flavours of green anise, though.

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I think it's fascinating. It's not merely divergent opinions on a particular taste, different people actually perceive the taste differently—we don't taste the same thing.

Indeed. When we were tasting the Angelique at Bugnon's distillery, I was almost instantly struck by that nasty aftertaste of Aa, and it kept on lingering. I told Oxy, who was there as well, sipping. "Are you sure?" he said. I was, that taste was not to be mistaken, and I had it confirmed from Bugnon himself, but apparently, the Aa taste was not nearly as obtrusive for him as for me.

 

It is not that I can't stand any bitterness as such. I generally drink my absinthe (and my coffee) without sugar, I like Fernet Branca, Gammel Dansk and anything with gentian root, and I like the - quite bitter - herbal punch from the 1797. But that Aa aftertaste in the Angelique - yikes.

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I had posted before that it has smoothed a bit over time. The pre-release Angelique still has a long lingering bitter finish, if it finishes. ;)

 

My Daughter was here today and I let her try some A.a. that I have. She made a terrible face and told me "thanks".

 

I resumed my drink of Angelique and it seemed much sweeter. :devil:

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Helfrich tried Angélique at a morning street market JUST AFTER BREAKFAST (his words on Fee Verte). Of course as an expert he will make allowances for that but I'm not sure that is a good time to be assessing anything alcoholic (wine tasting is recommended c. 3 hours after breakfast).

 

Helfrich must eat breakfast late, because Salsa and I and some others were standing around Bugnon's booth at Boveresse at the end of the day, maybe 5:00 PM. I admit I had tasted a lot of different absinthes already that day, but I was keen to taste the Angelique because I didn't go over to the distillery the day before. One sip was enough for me, and after two sips I poured the rest of mine into a convenient nearby glass (sorry, Helfrich!) because I was not enjoying the acrid aftertaste.

 

I do enjoy a certain bitterness. I am actually quite a fan of the 1797, as well as the LDF WormWood etc. But macerated A.a., like in the Angelique, is never appropriate in my opinion. I expected better because I have a very good opinion of the Clandestine.

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Again I haven't tasted the Angelique, but IMO (no offense to bugnon) but AA in the coloring seems like a cheap way to get a bitter flavor. Considering to me Clan is quite sweet without sugar maybe he hasn't had much experience making a more bitter absinthe but I would think the quality of making something bitter without the cheap shortcut would be worth the effort.

I can soak a little AA in Clan to make a bitter clan, it's the experienced distilling/processing and quality herbs that I pay for.

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Ok, I figured out you're all working for Alan and this ruse is a big plan just to get me to try the Angelique. Fine. You can all relax. I'm curious and I've placed my order. Bear in mind, I no longer trust any of you.

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Helfrich must eat breakfast late, because Salsa and I and some others were standing around Bugnon's booth at Boveresse at the end of the day, maybe 5:00 PM.

Hm. I'm afraid the events of that day have got mixed-up somehow. Angélique was my second (after Gaudentia's "verte"). Maybe somebody else saddled me up with his drink... Whatever.

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Hm. I'm afraid the events of that have got mixed-up somehow. Angélique was my second (after Gaudentia's "verte"). Maybe somebody else saddled me up with his drink... Whatever.

As posted on Fee Verte about Angélique:

I sampled a bit too much just after breakfast

So, according to Helfrich now, Angélique was his second drink of the day and it is still just after breakfast. I knew the distillers had all the fun!

 

Yes, this is all a cunning plot, T73, and I'm paying Helfrich for each posting he makes. I have a feeling the invoice is going to keep rising.

 

Ari, Aa isn't the only plant used in the colouring step: not by a long way. Interesting that Oxy didn't notice it, although I think he may have been under the weather that day.

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Helfrich must eat breakfast late, because Salsa and I and some others were standing around Bugnon's booth at Boveresse at the end of the day, maybe 5:00 PM.

Hm. I'm afraid the events of that have got mixed-up somehow. Angélique was my second (after Gaudentia's "verte"). Maybe somebody else saddled me up with his drink... Whatever.

 

Faulty memory on my part. Now that I really think about it, it was morning when I saddled you with my drink. I did end up back there at the end of the day, but didn't have another sample.

 

It's funny what tricks memory can play, when you've been drinking heavily with very little sleep for two weeks!

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