Jump to content
bksmithey

Leopold Bros Absinthe

Recommended Posts

I'll show you sad tomorrow. Heart breaking shit. Hold Maggie when I post it, I don't want either of you to collapse.*devil grin*

 

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as the question of "if you've gone back to change a review, how did it change?", I'd say that I usually find myself getting more harsh on a beverage when re-reviewing, because I have more to compare it to. More available brands, more experience, more refined palate.

 

Up to a point.

 

I also recognize that as both the bottle and I gain age, we both change. Absinthes in the bottle, exposed to air, tend to calm down, get softer, and flavors marry better.

 

I can't tell you what changes I am undergoing, whether my taste buds are dying and my eyesight is dimming. But then I'm only in my mid-30's, so I don't think I'm falling apart THAT fast. :wheelchair:

 

I have had a few re-reviews that have gone in the very positive direction, however. Absenta Deva, for example, came from near the bottom of the pack when I first gave a mini-review to now somewhere in the middle. Of course, LTV took over the bottom spot, accompanied by the Pernod, and Obsello currently dwells 'round those parts, too.

 

But time changes everything, and reviewers have to revisit the old haunts occasionally to see what time hath wrought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the same absinthe can even vary greatly not only from batch to batch, but from the same batch. Case in point:

 

Everybody else described the color of the Obsello as "green", but mine was certainly straw yellow with a touch of light olive. Many of the things Marlow pointed out about the Leopold Bros. sound identical to things pointed out in earlier batches, but everybody else says these things have been corrected over time. I acquired 3 bottles of the Belle Amie. One of them had a color that resembled that of a pre-ban, the other was light olive (completely different), the third... I drank too damn fast to remember. They were all from the same batch.

 

I don't know jack about making absinthe, but is it possible that there are certain area(s) in a still where absinthe hits a "funk", so to speak? What could account for all of these variances in a product from the same exact batch? I mean taste is subjective, but color is color. Unless you're color blind one couldn't possibly mistake peridot from straw yellow, or amber from light olive.

 

As for modifying reviews... I've never tried it, but I'm going to take a look at it right now. Now that I think about it there are some things in my Lucid review I should remove that make it sound like I'm belittling the product. If I had it to do over I wouldn't have added it and that's probably where a lot of the negative feedback came from.

 

The tricky areas I run into with reviews are whether or not to grant the "louche" a 4 or a 5, and the "aroma" a 3 or a 4. The best louches I've yet seen came from the Edouard and the Marteau, and I granted them both 5's. I feel that everything else is a step down, and I only grant top scores to things in the top echelon. However, a rating of 3 implies a flaw (i.e. Roquette's thin louche), so I end up throwing basically everything else into the 4 category even though some are far better than others. For example, I have L'Italienne and Belle Amie rated 4, just as I have La Coquette, and the latter has a superior louche to the former two. The former two could certainly be thicker, but I wouldn't quite describe them as thin or flawed, so I can't see giving them a 3. La Coquette on the other hand is just a small step behind the Edouard and Marteau.

 

As for Aroma... I find myself throwing pretty much everything in the 4 category because 3 represents a flaw, and to me the epitome of "complex and interesting" are the Belle Amie and Jade Nouvelle-Orleans. So I have Kübler rated the same (4) as I have the L'Italienne, even though the latter is superior in the aroma department.

 

These are the dilemma's I face every time I write a review because I do it based on the guidelines. If it were the 30 point rating system for aroma they use over at FV I'd have the L'Italienne something like 26 and the Kübler 18, but based on these guidelines they are equal. It doesn't seem right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I reckon you could assign a number and make your comments how you arrived at that number. The number system is where I go when I shop and when I get into an area that interests me I'll scrutinze the comments from one reviewer to the next. I like reading the reviews anyway. Sometimes I scratch my head when I see a score then read the comments as they don't seem to add up. (I have no examples in mind)

 

*sigh* A benchmark is always nice but each product is judged on it's merits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe the same absinthe can even vary greatly not only from batch to batch, but from the same batch. Case in point:

 

Everybody else described the color of the Obsello as "green", but mine was certainly straw yellow with a touch of light olive... I acquired 3 bottles of the Belle Amie. One of them had a color that resembled that of a pre-ban, the other was light olive (completely different)

 

What could account for all of these variances in a product from the same exact batch? I mean taste is subjective, but color is color.

 

I don't know jack about making absinthe (in a technical sense) either, but would like to see the input of a distiller on this one. Since coloring is done post distillation, it would make sense that these variances occur in the coloring step or after that. Are there several smaller batches of coloring within each overall batch? If so, are they blended back together to homogenize the color of the batch? How is the product handled before going into bottle, and could it be that where a bottle gets filled, in the bottling run, affects the color in some way (probably through oxidation, before going into bottle)?

 

The tricky areas I run into with reviews are whether or not to grant the "louche" a 4 or a 5, and the "aroma" a 3 or a 4... I only grant top scores to things in the top echelon. However, a rating of 3 implies a flaw...

 

These are the dilemma's I face every time I write a review because I do it based on the guidelines. If it were the 30 point rating system for aroma they use over at FV... It doesn't seem right.

 

Yeah, the trickiness of dealing with a 5 point system. Believe me, I hear you on this one! My thought about this (and I have shared it with management here), would be to revamp the descriptions in each category of the evaluation sheet, so that each rating is better defined, and each category has better linearity. And TH, I'm with what I think is your point, and that is that a "3" rating in any category has to represent a minimum acceptable level, with no derogatory implication. That way, it leaves room for two levels of derogatory, and two levels of compliment. I've grown to like this system, mostly because I think it is usable by a wide variety of people, I just think it needs a little tweaking.

 

Regarding the system at FV, remember, that the weighting is built in to their system simply with the total points allowed in each category. In the WS system it's the factoring in the final scoring.

 

Just to compare (% of score, inc weighting)

 

Category, WS, FV

 

Color , 16, 10

Louche , 16, 20 (louche and color after water)

Aroma , 18, 30

Flavor , 20, 30 (mouthfeel and taste)

Finish , 10, inc in flavor

Overall , 20, 10

 

Slightly different emphasis. No system is perfect, and I suspect there will never be one that can be taken 100% literally.

 

 

Happy Reviewing!

 

m2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with your view of the rating system. A "3" is middle-of-the-road decent absinthe. "1" is dreck. "5" is as good as pre-Ban. "2" is good but needs improvement, or bad, but could be improved. "4" is very excellent, much above average. You can read into these different ways of looking at the meanings.

 

For someone that's never experienced pre-Ban, maybe Duplais is their "5" until they find something better that resets their scoring range. People will be different, and one person's fave will be another "ho-hum". It's been that way ever since I've been on the forums, and in looking back, it's been that way.

 

FPB, I don't know how Obsello is produced, but given that many absinthes on the market are distributed quite new, storage conditions at the warehouse, in transit, or at the store could be a factor in the rate at which different bottles from the same batch turn feuille mort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know jack about making absinthe (in a technical sense) either, but would like to see the input of a distiller on this one. Since coloring is done post distillation, it would make sense that these variances occur in the coloring step or after that. Are there several smaller batches of coloring within each overall batch? If so, are they blended back together to homogenize the color of the batch? How is the product handled before going into bottle, and could it be that where a bottle gets filled, in the bottling run, affects the color in some way (probably through oxidation, before going into bottle)?

 

Everyone handles their processes differently. For me, I empty a barrel back into my still for heating and coloring. I'll use two full stills to make a batch. There's very little blending at our distillery as that's been part of our m.o. for all our spirits. I don't like the concept of homogenization for a small distillery like ours.

 

I let the colored absinthe rest in spent wine barrels for a few months (sadly, a few times, less than that) before filtration and bottling.

 

Even each bottle will vary slightly. It's the nature of small batch distilling. If you take Ted Breaux's monumental task of launching a verte nationwide as an example, you can see how tough of a task it is to keep the color consistent.

 

First, he's got to ship the stuff from Europe. I can tell you that the difference between shipping over the Atlantic in the summer or winter is tangible. Sometimes those shipping containers are simply latched to the deck, allowing the sometimes brutal sun to beat down on those uninsulated containers, heating the crap out of the contents.

 

Once it arrives in the US....I think Southern's import warehouse is in Jersey (not sure).....it sits in a warehouse while it awaits distribution. This is the 1st chance for a poor warehouseman to not rotate stock. There could be remnant's of Lucid's very 1st shipment pushed up against a wall for months. Does a warehouseman know that Absinthe is perishable? Does he care? Who knows.

 

Then when the stuff leaves Jersey, it can bake in the sun some more.....or, conversely, it could head North into fairer climates. Then it hits another warehouse in yet another State. Is it rotated? Is the warehouse cooled? And then there's the liquor store......

 

You get the idea. Each case, and even each bottle will have a totally different trip to your backbar.

 

Then there's the question of raw materials. If you were Ted, could you have accurately predicted demand or the media explosion surrounding Lucid? Let say he gets what he thinks is a six month supply of hyssop, r. wormwood, and lemon balm from a specific region for his US launch. Turns out he runs through that supply from a specific terroir in 60 days. Whoops. What now? Hyssop doesn't grow on trees, especially good hyssop. I'm sure you get my point.

 

What Ted has done in such a short amount of time is nothing short of remarkable, IMHO. He could have simply used a "natural" colorant to get Lucid perma-green, but he took the high road. He has my utmost respect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had two glasses of the Batch 14 last evening. I'm not ready to post my full impressions or a review, because I think the bottle needs some time to open up. Initially, I noticed the pisco base and the wormwood, and not much else. It struck me as unbalanced, but as I say, I need to let it sit a while (I just got it Thursday and opened on Saturday).

 

One interesting thing is that I see a surfeit of tiny dark floaty things distributed throughout the bottle. They appear to be little gelatinous specks, and they move ever so slightly. A few of them have gathered at the bottom of the bottle, and appear like wisps of dark cloud. Is it the chlorophyll?

 

It's also possible that I let the absinthe get too cold, as it was around 35 degrees in my booze room, and I had just brought the bottle in to the kitchen from my cellar. What does anethole look like when it crystallizes? That said, it's been sitting on the kitchen counter overnight, where the temp is low-60's, and the specks/wisps are still there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of that stuff is so very light that just looking at it seems to cause little whisps of cloudiness.

 

In other words, they are teensy weensy little things. Anymore scientific than that and it's over my head. *smile*

 

I do one of two things, shake it up and serve or handle the stuff like nitro and pour so gently they don't come over into your glass. I usually shake the bottle so they won't/can't concentrate anymore on the bottom of the bottle.

 

Oh, I can't answer your question, sorry. *smile*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first bottle of Leopold just arrived and I opened it to let it breathe. It's only eleven a.m. here, a little too early for a sip.

 

But it smells great!

 

:cheers:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I just got a bottle of Batch 14.

 

I've been reading reviews and threads for a while and finally I'm gonna get to taste it myself; fourteen batches later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just had my first taste of Leopold Bros. yesterday. I was planning on holding off until a get-together this weekend so we could all share first impressions, but after opening the bottle to breathe... it was all over. I know, I have no will power.

 

The color is an attractive, bright olive. Whatever coloring problems existed in earlier batches was obviously corrected. The louche formed pretty quickly and didn't get very thick. In the aroma I got something that seemed off, or at least something I'm not accustomed to. I can see how some would describe it as a "funk". After thinking about it, it reminded me of rum and butterscotch. I've never had Pisco in my life, so I don't know if this is the base I'm smelling or not. The Petite wormwood was also very noticeable, and I swear I could detect the baby powder note similar to what's found in the PF1901.

 

The taste wasn't anything like what I expected it to be based on the aroma. To me this was a simple, traditional style absinthe. Nothing really "popped", but there were no flaws either. It's just exactly what I expect absinthe to taste like. A friend of mine tried it and agreed. He said this stuff should come in a bottle that simply has the word "Absinthe" in black letters, and nothing else. After hearing some comments about the finish, and from a certain recent review, I was expecting a harsh, bitter finish. Didn't get that at all. It was semi-long and well rounded. Funny thing... that rum and butterscotch presence seemed to go away after the louche. I didn't notice it while I was drinking it, but then it was present in every belch for the remainder of the evening.

 

When I first smelled it I honestly didn't think I'd be a fan, but it was good, though not remarkable IMHO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's just exactly what I expect absinthe to taste like.

 

That's a very nice thing to say! Or is it "write"?

 

Sounds like you picked up on a few congeners that are a bit unique, though. The rum/buttery aroma, and the noticeable amount of Petit. I pick up the baby powder, too, fwiw. You have a fine palate, imho.

 

Obviously, this wasn't over the moon for you, but it sounds like I did not disappoint.

 

Belarmin, I'm glad you and the missus enjoyed it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it was indeed meant as a compliment Todd. And no, it did not disappoint at all, not by a long shot. To be fair also I just opened it up to breathe so it hasn't really had time to blossom yet. I'm going to put off posting a review until it does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have just had it and must say good job is done and the #14 batch is a really promising one. And since I mentioned it in reviews, I will repeat it once again: being a hardline grain advocate, I see using pisco as a base in Leopold to be fully justified and bringing forth nice results. The pisco gives another advantage-you can savour Leopold neat and it is very pleasureable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good thread here - I just added my own review of batch #14, and since it was my first, I hope I wasn't too positive. But I absolutely loved it, and my review reflects that. Of course, I've tasted fewer than 10 versions of distilled absinthe, so I don't have a great deal of experience on which to base my review. I guess as they say with wine, you don't have to know a lot about it, you just have to know what you like.

 

I guess it is conceivable that as I taste more great-quality versions, my score for the Leopold will go down, but for now it's my highest-ranked. Great job, Leopold!

 

One comment on the bottle though - why clear glass? It's a beautiful shape, and of course the color grabs your attention when it's on the shelf, but clear glass can't offer much protection against UV rays. I've done some searching to try to figure out if the natural chlorophyll is even affected by light, but haven't gotten too far. One reviewer mentioned that light exposure hastens the feuille morte, but is there any effect on flavor or aroma?

Edited by Guy DeLouche

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could only guess at the affects of flavor and aroma.

 

The sooner those bottles are sold off the shelves the better. Buy them and put them in a dark place. Sure hate to see any damaged absinthe that've improved as nice as these.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know the VC people had a UV protectant added to the outside of their clear bottle. Maybe Leopold can do the same? I don't have much of a problem with it due to how I store my absinthe, but it is obviously a concern when it is on the shelves at the store.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello. I just received my first bottle of absinthe from K & L wines yesterday - I decided to try the Leopold Bros. Turns out it is a dusty bottle from batch #6 - not a huge deal to me as I'll mainly be using this for mixing (e.g. Sazeracs), but just wanted to let people know that these "pre-improvement" bottlings are still floating around out there...

Edited by augustgarage

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One comment on the bottle though - why clear glass? It's a beautiful shape, and of course the color grabs your attention when it's on the shelf, but clear glass can't offer much protection against UV rays. I've done some searching to try to figure out if the natural chlorophyll is even affected by light, but haven't gotten too far. One reviewer mentioned that light exposure hastens the feuille morte, but is there any effect on flavor or aroma?

 

Leopold mentioned once before that many distributors prefer the clear glass to show off the beautiful color. Colored glass for spirits is quite expensive unless you want to use a wine bottle, and many spirits consumers in the US aren't accustomed to that.

 

If you keep the absinthe out of the sun, it should be fine. Store in the dark when you get it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep mine in a liquor cabinet.

 

Not that it matters with the Leopold, since it never lasts long enough to be affected by even adverse storage conditions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Odd question about batch #14.... I received my bottle with the "sea monkeys", do these effect the flavor profile in anyway? If I shake the bottle they disappear but they will return if the bottle is left to sit for two or more days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One comment on the bottle though - why clear glass? It's a beautiful shape, and of course the color grabs your attention when it's on the shelf, but clear glass can't offer much protection against UV rays.

 

What you said. DP is correct in remembering that some distributors asked for clear glass. We don't have the marketing $$ that the big boys have, and we have to get your attention somehow. We try to have nice, unusual packages with our spirits.

 

In my experience thus far, the clear glass doesn't seem to have much of an effect on color. We leave samples in both clear and dark glass, and I can't see the difference. Put it in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time, though, and it will change pretty dramatically.

 

I have an entire binder filled with notes on what UV light will do to beer (it's called 'light struck' beer), but not much out there on light and absinthe herbs. For beer, the hops are the issue: the light literally isomerizes a few of the hop components, making it taste "skunky" for want of a better descriptor. In my experience thus far, this doesn't happen with absinthe...or at least not with my absinthe. I can't perceive a change in flavor.

 

Of course the light is also pumping energy into the bottle, heating the contents (greater effect in the summertime, obviously). We all know that oxidation and other biochemical reactions accelerate as temperature increases. I'm sure it helps with the aging process a bit.

 

Glad you liked it, Guy.

 

No, the seamonkeys don't seem to make a difference in the flavor profile, bkultra.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×