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bksmithey

Serpis 65 vs. Obsello

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I'm just finishing up a side-by-side of Serpis 65 and Obsello. This is my first taste of the Serpis, and probably my 3rd or so glass from the bottle of Obsello purchased from DUNY. No formal review, but jotted down some notes while I was louching/drinking ...

 

The Serpis color is, well, red. Any idea why they thought this was a good idea? Guess I better go do some (re)searching. The Obsello is really nice, this is one of the few times I've thought peridot rather than olive oil. Nice, clear, natural, good looking green.

 

Aroma, before water -- I'm thinking the lentil soup I had for dinner did in my nose, because I can't smell much of anything in the Serpis. Some anise, and maybe an occasional citrus aroma? The Obsello smells more absinthe-y, with some anise, and some minty herbal notes. But even the Obsello is pretty subdued.

 

Louche, wow, the Serpis is really cool. Nice trails, very nice separation of the cloudy and clear layers. The Obsello is pretty disappointing, it louches VERY quickly, probably due to the low starting alc. content (50%). It louches up just fine, but just way too fast.

 

Aroma after the water, the Serpis is still pretty dead. Some anise, thought I caught a whiff of pine-sol at one point, and maybe citrus again. Obsello has anise and now becoming more minty.

 

Color after louche, the Serpis is obviously different than anything I've ever seen, looks like dilute orange juice. It actually looks pretty nice, not unnatural, but I'm never going to get used to orange-y absinthe. The Obsello goes to a nice creamy mint-green, a very nice looking glass.

 

Flavor, the Serpis is very simple, anise and bitterness. It's immediately very tongue clinging. The flavor is mostly ainse-y, then when the bitterness comes it completely replaces the sweet anise. Two very distinct, separate impressions. At this point, the Obsello seems way out of balance; mint-mint-mint, with some anise and bitterness in the background. The flavors seem more integrated and more complex than the Serpis, but the poor balance is making the Obsello pretty unpleasant. I don't remember having this reaction to it on previous glasses.

 

Not much to say on the finish, the Serpis is very quick, just some lingering bitterness and tongue numbing, there's really nothing I think of as "absinthe character" in the finish. The Obsello is completely lacking in anise, there's just minty bitterness and tongue clinging.

 

Pretty fun tasting, and thanks to Ken for the sample trade that provided the Serpis. I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed with the Obsello tonight, when I've had it previously I thought it was ok, certainly not up to par with the "good stuff" but seemed like a decent, inexpensive absinthe. Tonight I really didn't care for it at all, and while the Serpis was a more simple drink, it was a more pleasing drink.

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I keep meaning to try the Slurpiss but one thing leads to another and I keep forgetting. Someday.

 

I enjoyed the Obsello. It reminded me of those wonderful Spanish absentas only well made. Heavy melissa flavor that I always enjoyed and equally heavy anise. It would be a great choice during a hot summer afternoon.

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A well-done comparison, and I'm happy you enjoyed the experiment! I like Serpis, but only just. It's an interesting beverage, but mainly interesting for the color and the amazing louche. I love to watch it, before, during, and after. I think it's visually stunning. If I could find a verte that louched with the same fervor and turbidity, it would be a 5 on the scale every time.

 

I echo your sentiments that Serpis is a simple drink; the anise is so forward that it doesn't leave anything to explore, really. I do like the tongue-numbing, it's among the top producers of that effect in my collection. All in all, it's interesting. Not a product that everyone should rush out and buy, but it certainly has its place on the shelf, and it's pretty nice in summer, iced down with a cube or two after the louche is finished.

 

Glad I could contribute to your analysis! I'll post some thoughts about the Sirene soon!

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Heavy melissa flavor that I always enjoyed...

 

Thanks for putting a name to one of those elements I liked about the Obsello. Granted, it's still very new to me (or vice versa) so who knows what the future brings? But yeah. Melissa? Yeah.

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Weird. I just had a glass of Serpis last night after not having touched the stuff for maybe 2 years...or at least a year and a half. I remembered it tasting like bananas for some reason. It didn't really taste like bananas and it didn't really taste like good absinthe, but it didn't taste bad either. I liked it in a weird way, even though I didn't really think of absinthe all that much. It's strange to revisit things. Strange and good.

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Thanks Joe for the melissa pointer ... reading up on melissa (lemon balm) this morning. Member of the mint family, so I guess that is what I was tasting last night.

 

I'm not giving up on the Obsello, as I did find previous glasses enjoyable. Just gotta do it in the right context. For me, these side-by-side tastings often result in exaggeration of flavors and/or aromas that I don't necessarily notice in a standalone tasting, and I suspect that's what happened last night with the Obsello. Next time I drink it I'll probably notice the melissa, and now I'll be able to put a name to it, but it probably won't overwhelm me like it did last night.

 

And I think we're all pretty much in tune on the Serpis. Nothing offensive, simple but drinkable, and the oddball color and really excellent louche action make it fun to prepare. A great Valentine's Day absinthe!

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I'm really starting to think the LarSpeart* Frappé is the way to go with the Serpis.

 

Why waste a subtle, nuanced absinthe in a cocktail that uses simple syrup and so much Peychaud's bitters? And of course you wouldn't use pastis or absinthe substitute for the Frappé because they're pre-sweetened. You need the absinthe for it's anise presence and a touch of bitterness.

Plus the red color works with the Peychaud's instead of against it. (But I think I would find the floral notes of the Maîtresse Rouge odd in this drink.)

 

 

*I've always pronounced the word "spear" in the middle of this name.

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Nice comparison Ken!

 

I like your (and Larspaert's) way of thinking Bill. Hopefully I'll have a chance to get some more Serpis down the road and try it out.

 

It's been awhile since I had the Serpis, but I also remember that while not being super complex, there was an interesting peachy-fruity tone that went very well with the wormwood and anise (maybe it was a component of the aforementioned...or the fennel?). I'll admit to a fascination with rouges, though of course it's totally incidental in the Serpis and has nothing to do with the taste. Still purty tho.

 

Obsello is definitely interesting. The minty vs. the vanilla and plum notes I think might not be for everyone but I dig it. The grape base, as with many absinthes, does it credit. I agree wholeheartedly with those that say it's best as a desert or summer drink.

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I just had my first taste of Serpis 65, and did a review. All I can say is that I was expecting not to like it--in light of the Maitresse being a huge let down, IMO--but I am really planning on buying a bottle. It feels wrong, like I'm doing something I shouldn't by liking it, but hey, to each his or her own, right?

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Yep! Do what you like. I tried Serpis in a slurpee. We call it a slurpis and it can be very good fun.

 

Personally, I'm not real good with most red drinks. I like green and white. A purist if you like. *wink*

 

Cheers!

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