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Brian Robinson

L'Artisanale and Wormwood Blanche

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I have always felt the "overly thick louche was in response to cheaper absinthes that use star anise or anise oil.

 

"Overly thick" is, of course, subjective.

 

I've tasted various incarnations of absinthes created using the Texas Rectification method (like L'Artisanal, but produced on a smaller scale) that had very thick louches, but were star anise free, and absolutely delicious. These absinthes were not created "in response to cheaper absinthes that use star anise or anise oil".

 

Rather, they were crafted for a reason which parallels the early micro brewer's response to (in particular) the very under-hopped commercial beers of the post WWII era. In both cases, the intent was to afford the absinthe (or beer) aficionado the opportunity to experience their beloved beverage in a similar manner to the way the nineteenth century drinker had experienced it.

 

This is certainly not to say that the best pre-ban marques all had very thick louches (they certainly did not), but there were top brands that achieved those almost bordering on creamy louches (Berger comes immediately to mind), without the addition of star anise (at least as far as I know).

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These absinthes were not created "in response to cheaper absinthes that use star anise or anise oil".

I was not suggesting that at all. I was suggesting that the scoring down for overly thick louche may have been in response to cheap absinthes using star anise or oils. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

 

If the flavor is appropriately complex and balanced, I don't think it should be dinged for having a thick louche but that is my personal preference.

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I was suggesting that the scoring down for overly thick louche may have been in response to cheap absinthes using star anise or oils. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

 

If the flavor is appropriately complex and balanced, I don't think it should be dinged for having a thick louche but that is my personal preference.

 

Ah, now I get it.

 

And, yes, I agree.

 

And I agree with statement number two, as well. :cheers:

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If the flavor is appropriately complex and balanced, I don't think it should be dinged for having a thick louche but that is my personal preference.

 

Depends on if it's thick or "overly thick". ;)

 

Got to this and the new thread on louche criteria late this evening. As those that know me might guess, I'll have my share to say about this but most will come tomorrow, since it's getting late.

 

However, to repeat a former link again, if you haven't read this, you should.

 

To my understanding, the WS system for evaluation is based on a standard of "correctness and character" based on the range of pre-ban absinthes considered exemplary. It is not based on some modern interpretation of what should be considered desirable. Anyone is entitled to their preferences, but that does not make that preference the ideal (and you're not following the review criteria if you're trying to do that). However, keep in mind that the "ideal" is a range. There is no one exact ideal of louche, or any other criteria, upon which we evaluate, for that matter. And, of course, reasonable people may differ in interpretation of the guidelines. Such is life.

 

And as long as we're talking louche here, I have done one evaluation on L'Artisanale so far, and I have the louche at a 4. A good couple of examples of louches that I, personally, would consider "over thick" are Germain-Robin and Butterfly. IMO both are so opaque as to lack any opalesence at all, and a spoon sitting in the glass is invisible 1/8" below the top surface, and only the edges are visible through the sides of a standard Pontarlier glass.

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The L'a had a creamier feel than Pacifique, is this related to the louche, or is that an old wives' tale?

 

BTW in the heat I prefer the Pacifique, but in milder weather, the creamier feel sure would be nice.

 

1. The single factor that most effects ones impression of body and "weight", on the palate, in an alcohol beverage, is degree of alcohol.

 

2. Pacifique is bottled at 62% abv (alcohol by volume), L'Artisinale is bottled at 72% abv.

 

3. If you are louching these two at a similar ratio, L'A will be at a higher abv than Pacifique. This gives L'A the advantage in the "creamier" (weightier) department (believe me, small differences in abv are very perceivable on the palate).

 

4. The only way to be fair, in comparing the two, is to louche them to a similar final abv.

 

5. This is why it is important to be consistent, when reviewing, with dilutions and final abvs. Use this, if necessary, to try the experiment. You'll see that to take Pacifique to 12% requires a 4.15:1 ratio, and for L'A it requires a 5:1 ratio. That's a lot of difference in water.

 

6. If you use sugar, that further complicates things, since most people won't proportionally adjust sugar for the varying amounts of water they are adding to different absinthes, however I wouldn't even begin to get crazy about this one.

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So you don't feel that a higher amount of anethole would play a part in the spirit's weight on the palate?

 

More oils = thicker louche = no impact on mouthfeel?

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I believe it would have an effect, as would a number of other factors, but less than final abv. What I said was "The single factor that most effects ones impression".

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You'll see that to take Pacifique to 12% requires a 4.15:1 ratio, and for L'A it requires a 5:1 ratio. That's a lot of difference in water.

 

Based of off his signature, I'm under the impression Miguel louches the Pacifique to 5:1, which I've found to be a little weak (for my tastes.)

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Good call FPB, I should have researched the ABV and louched to the same resulting abv. Thankfuly I did try the L'a without sugar (freaking awesome). I guess I added half a sugar cube per test glass to be fair to the ones I do usualy enjoy with sugar (VC & ridge Blanche), but only used a half cube to keep the sugar from overpowering things.

I think I'm done with big comparasions, because it took me a few days recover. But Lordy was I in herbal heaven. :)

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for the test I used 4:1 and half a sugar cube across the board of L'A, WWB, Pacifique, VC, and Ridge Blanche.

 

At 5:1 ish, it's more like herbal tea. which in this freaking weather, is all I can take. :)

Edited by Miguel

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Sugar can be very problematic, as some absinthes are honestly awful with sugar, some are ok, and some are great.

 

That said, I almost never use sugar.

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I believe it would have an effect, as would a number of other factors, but less than final abv. What I said was "The single factor that most effects ones impression".

But supposing you louche up most absinthes to a similar final ABV (I do), wouldn't the levels of oils take on a more important role?

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That said, I almost never use sugar.

This one is catching on quick. :cheers:

 

Hahaha...I think I had my first glass ever with sugar (Lucid) and then immediately stopped using it. That said, I am trying to test each out with sugar at some point in time, but I generally forget. And all the local bars like to give you sugar whether you want it or not.

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I also, like Brian, aim for a consistent ABV instead of using identical ratios.

 

I've done something right! :yahoo:

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But supposing you louche up most absinthes to a similar final ABV (I do), wouldn't the levels of oils take on a more important role?

 

Sure, abv being theoretically equalized, all kinds of other factors would come into play, especially oils. I imagine all ingredients would contribute, and the distiller's choices about how far to go into the tails would be a very big factor, since it seems so easy to slip that by a lot of consumers.

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So you don't feel that a higher amount of anethole would play a part in the spirit's weight on the palate?

 

I disagree with FPB on this one.

 

I think a higher amount of anethole (and fenchone, as well, for that matter) plays at least as much of a role in the textural nature of a spirit as the final abv does.

 

To offer an example, I remember, in particular, Muse Verte 45, which couldn't have contained much (if any) star anise, because it was extremely dry, and not particularly tongue numbing.

 

The louche, however, was very dense, and the mouthfeel was nearly commensurately so.

Edited by Absomphe

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It's almost like milk was used to louche the absinthe instead of water.

It's not as great as it sounds....

 

milklouche.jpg

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It's not as great as it sounds....

That's cuz you didn't use almond milk.

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I love love love the Suissesse.

 

Speaking of which, Katie at the Columbia Room made me some Absinthe Suissesse flavored marshmallows. She knows how to get into that special place in my heart. :heart:

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You know what? I bet it's not half bad.

 

Edit: Just now looked at the recipe for the Absinthe Suissesse. I will be making that soon, oh yes.

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