Jump to content

 

Photo

The "Louche" Effect


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 russkyguy1917

russkyguy1917

    Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 81 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 01:31 PM

I was pondering one day, as I usually find myself doing; and began to wonder, "What actually makes the Louche, well, louche?" I found it interesting that I didn't find this topic on any discussion boards. (If I'm wrong please excuse my ignorance.) I'm sure there's a couple of scholars in here that has an idea of how the louche works.

All I can figure out is that water has a HUGE role with it. :twitchsmile:
"Not you're everyday Coloradan."

#2 Jonathan D.

Jonathan D.

    Really Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,558 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 01:33 PM

From: http://www.wormwoods...o...&Itemid=228

As you pour, watch the water as it mixes with the absinthe. When the water-to-absinthe ratio reaches a certain level, the essential oils which are dissolved in the absinthe during distillation will emulsify with the water and create the marvelous, opalescent, cloudy effect known as the "louche." A proper louche is among the characteristics used to judge a premium absinthe. It should be neither too thick nor too thin, indicating either too much or not enough anise. Absinthe is above all, an anise drink, but it should not be overpowering and candy-like.

A good louche should be opalescent and translucent in good light, neither transparent nor opaque. It is best observed in full sunlight, and is appreciated even more with the second glass!

As the glass slowly fills and the louche develops, the bouquet of the absinthe is more fully released and you may detect fragrance notes which were only barely perceptible in the undiluted absinthe.

#3 Joe Legate

Joe Legate

    2 jobs. 0 sense.

  • Advisory Board
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,154 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 01:45 PM

It is best observed in full sunlight, and is appreciated even more with the second glass!

To say nothing about glass three, four and five. :drunk:

#4 Gwydion Stone

Gwydion Stone

    Founder

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,383 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 02:12 PM

There's also this if you really want to know.

There is a lot of information on the main site, you know. You should have a good browse through it.

Maker of Marteau Absinthe and Foxtrot London Dry Gin

Please don't forget to sign up for our newsletter, and consider a subscription donation.
Every bit helps the further development of the site and future events.


#5 Chris

Chris

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 437 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 06:27 PM

I'm glad this topic has come up as I have been meaning to get a little clarification on some of the above quoted text; in particular that an absinthe's louche should not be "too thick". I'm curious where this idea and perceived ideal of the proper louche has come from.

In my experience a louche can most definitely be too thin, but I've never considered an absinthe to be of a lesser quality because the louche was too thick. I won't even debate that a louche must be thick and creamy for it to be considered proper but I do question that it could or should be marked down for having these qualities.

What has brought you to your belief that an absinthe's louche should be marked down for being too thick?
"This is their busted future, and this is our dreams."

#6 OMG_Bill

OMG_Bill

    Complete Absinthe Geek

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12,254 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 06:42 PM

I didn't read all that was posted but this is more a knee jerk reaction.

It seems that a drink that louches too quick or is too thick may be due to star anise versus green anise.

It's merely a shot in the dark. It just seems that when ever a quick, thick louche happens.......star anise is brought up in discussion.

So, I guess I can't answer your question but I am looking forward to sitting down and discussing the subject in person over a glass of good absinthe. :)
Some folks may cringe each time I use the term "Booze" regarding these high quality drinks.
I mean no offense. There are bottles of extraordinary booze out there. I've tasted a few. Relax.

#7 Joe Legate

Joe Legate

    2 jobs. 0 sense.

  • Advisory Board
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,154 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 07:13 PM

Personally, I dig a good thick louche.
A thin louche makes me think someone short-sheeted the anise.

It's an anise and wormwood drink, first and foremost. Crank it up. If it gets too thick, I'll pour it over my Coco Puffs.

#8 Daegul

Daegul

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 110 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 07:14 PM

Perhaps I'm missing something here. The review for White Fairy describes a louche, but the product states it contains no star anise to minimise the licorice taste; does that mean they use green anise instead, or none at all? If the latter, what's producing the louche? :huh:
"My experiences with my fellow men have proven to me that very, very few of them would be willing to listen; and of those few who listen even fewer would be willing to act on what they have listened to; and of those who are willing to act even fewer have enough personal power to profit by their acts." -D.J.

#9 Jonathan D.

Jonathan D.

    Really Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,558 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 07:16 PM

Well, in my mind if the louche seems 'too thick' it means I've underwatered it a bit, which is certainly a potential with a hearty herbal verte like a Sirene or even St. George.

#10 Joe Legate

Joe Legate

    2 jobs. 0 sense.

  • Advisory Board
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,154 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 07:17 PM

Green anise produces plenty of mouth-coating, yummy louche. Star anise was once a cheap substitute for green anise although now it is considered inferior. Personally, I think a little star anise is fine for added complexity but not needed at all for a thick louche.

#11 Chris

Chris

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 437 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 07:47 PM

Correct. A thick louche is not necessarily indicative of a heavy use of star anise; although it is true that it can be employed in larger quantities as an inferior means of boasting an absinthe with too weak a louche.

While an under watered absinthe may appear thicker, a thick louche does not always or even normally imply an absinthe needs more water.


T, I think, as preferences go, we are definitely on the same page; and Bill... I honestly look forward to it.
"This is their busted future, and this is our dreams."

#12 Jonathan D.

Jonathan D.

    Really Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,558 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:02 PM

Well when we talk about the louche we're also talking about a couple different things, or at least I think of it that way. There's the visual louche effect, but I think that goes hand-in-hand with the mouthfeel. The two seem connected, but don't seem always to be directly proportional in every absinthe.

#13 speedle

speedle

    Peanut Gallery owner

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,405 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:07 PM

Not to derail this into star vs. green anise, but do you think that the "thick louche" perception, or the desire for it, is what's making most of the US producers put at least some, if not lots, of star anise into their absinthe?
- cogito ergo louche

I lost some time once. It's always in the last place you look for it. - Neil Gaiman

#14 Chris

Chris

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 437 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:24 PM

I think the desire for a thick louche isn't the problem, but the inability, at least in some cases, to produce that through the use of green anise is what leads some producers to resort to a heavy (or sole) use of star anise.
"This is their busted future, and this is our dreams."

#15 Joe Legate

Joe Legate

    2 jobs. 0 sense.

  • Advisory Board
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17,154 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:35 PM

Agreed.
I get the feeling some US producers are uncertain what the market will eventually support. I hope they're not short-changing their beverage on ample and quality herbs or worse, led astray by the Crapsinthe market.

As many have said, we're in absinthe's second infancy. We, as a whole of both consumer and producer, have much to learn. That's why I sometimes cringe when a new product is slammed instead of gently critiqued.

#16 Jonathan D.

Jonathan D.

    Really Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,558 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:35 PM

Realistically there is probably a temptation to take a short cut in some cases. But then an example like St. George pops up, where obviously they took painstaking steps to make a very weird absinthe, yet decided to only use Star Anise.

#17 russkyguy1917

russkyguy1917

    Member

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 81 posts

Posted 06 August 2008 - 09:08 AM

There's also this if you really want to know.



Thanks Hiram. Very good information there. I'll take a deeper look into the site. And thanks everyone for the great posts. :thumbup:
"Not you're everyday Coloradan."

#18 Nymphadora

Nymphadora

    Very silly. Very silly indeed.

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,639 posts

Posted 06 August 2008 - 12:43 PM

If it gets too thick, I'll pour it over my Coco Puffs.


Exactly. I've seen some pics of absinthe where it does look like milk. Personally, I consider it a flaw, because part of the absinthe ideal for me is that creamy opal.
When I die, I want to go peacefully like my Grandfather did, in his sleep -- not screaming, like the passengers in his car.

#19 PeterL

PeterL

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 372 posts

Posted 07 August 2008 - 06:21 AM

I can't remember where I reads this, but the article said that the Louche was developed in part so the servants or other people couldn't steal glasses of Absinthe and re fill the bottle with water.

The writer did say it was probably folklore...but this does make me wonder why when I poor an Absinthe it always comes out Louched and my bulldog looks so guilty. :twitchsmile:
""Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life,define yourself."

Harvey Fierstien


#20 ejellest

ejellest

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 349 posts

Posted 07 August 2008 - 11:08 AM

Just sort of FYI, other substances in solution will cloud and produce a louche-like effect.

An alcoholic example I can think of is Luxardo's Triplum Dry Orange liqueur.

It is so saturated with orange oils that it often produces a light louche when mixed in cocktails.

A non-alcoholic example is Orgeat or almond syrup. Most commercial orgeat is colored and/or so saturated with almond oils that it is more or less pre-louched, but homemade stuff can be nearly clear if you make it carefully. When you add water to it, the almond oils will louche. Very cool.

I've also seen examples on the web where home distillers overdo the botanicals in gin and it will louche. It's usually considered a flaw in gin.

~Erik
Erik Ellestad
Bernal Heights, San Francisco, CA, USA

#21 Daegul

Daegul

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 110 posts

Posted 07 August 2008 - 12:39 PM

That's what I was thinking. Makes one think further how the herbal choices and their quantities play a role in the nature of a[n absinthe's] louche. ;)
"My experiences with my fellow men have proven to me that very, very few of them would be willing to listen; and of those few who listen even fewer would be willing to act on what they have listened to; and of those who are willing to act even fewer have enough personal power to profit by their acts." -D.J.

#22 Chris

Chris

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 437 posts

Posted 07 August 2008 - 08:33 PM

I think the contributions to the louche of an absinthe outside of anethole are minuscule at best. Try a glass of arak and see if its louche is hurt by the lack of oils from other botanicals.


*Not intended to be a shot at ejellest's comment, which is true.
"This is their busted future, and this is our dreams."


1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

Copyright © 2017 The Wormwood Society Absinthe Association