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Clandestine La Bleue

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clandestinelabel.jpg

 

Clandestine

Distillerie Artemisia-Bugnon

 

It takes its name from its status prior to the lifting of the ban in Switzerland. Claude-Alain Bugnon was among the first to receive a license to distill absinthe.

 

This classic Swiss La Bleue is clean, crisp and fresh.  It has a remarkably thick, rich louche, and the mouth-feel is as smooth as you would expect.  The anise and fennel are in remarkably good balance and the wormwood is right there.

 

This is not what I'd call an herbally complex absinthe, and I would suspect a minimum number of herbs if the label did not proclaim a total of nine. 

 

I have to agree with Hiram on this. While this is one of my first Absinthes, and was my re-introduction to Absinthe after a sizeable hiatus, I found this to be a very straight-forward flavour. Definately exactly what one would expect from a fennel-anice liqour. I didn't get a distinct wormwood flavour from this however, and found that it took a much higher water:absinthe ratio to cut the strong alcohol kick this absinthe had. The louche was very good, in my opinon. Almost completely opaque, comperable to skim or even 2% milk. It does have a very strong nose, unlike other absinthes that I have tried. In fact, the potency of the nose on this was somewhat off-putting for me, it overpowered me and made it a much less enjoyable experiance. My partner however did greatly enjoy this, and feels that this is his favorite absinthe to date.

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This has been an absolute hidden gem of a find, for me anyway. I've never been a fan of blanches (as nepanthes, deluge, and AT can attest), but this one has really captured my heart.

 

I agree with Hiram on the wormwood being right out front. Also, I get a nice balance between the anize and fennel. However, I get a bit more hint of the complexity, and the news of 9 herbs in it doesn't surprise me as much, I guess.

 

The louche is gorgeous, and while the aroma is not quite traditional, it is beautiful, full, bold, and as Jack would say 'Fruity'.

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This was the first Swiss absinthe I tried and I really enjoyed the taste. The louche was amazing, I'm used to the UE's and the Frankie Guy so the louche on this one was really a change. One thing i was wondering, is this strong louche characteristic of all Swiss absinthes?

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This was the first Swiss absinthe I tried and I really enjoyed the taste. The louche was amazing, I'm used to the UE's and the Frankie Guy so the louche on this one was really a change. One thing i was wondering, is this strong louche characteristic of all Swiss absinthes?

 

 

A strong louche is an indicator of a high quantity of herbal oils (usually anise, badiane, and fennel) in the absinthe.

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Actually is La Fée Bleue...I agree with the reviews, anything from the Val-de-Travers is good and this absinthe is not an exception. But the price...These swiss people are like that with everything, especially traditional products, they are very over-priced, even for a product practically hand-made.

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My first bottle of Clandestine was the fourth bottle of absinthe I'd ever bought, but the very first to become a dead soldier. It drained at an alarming speed, and the presence of several other great bottles of absinthe on the same shelf didn't seem to slow it down. I swore I could see the little clockwise tornado-swirl forming near the bottom of the bottle.

Since then it's been a constant vigil to stay ahead on my supply of it.

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I gotta say that it's the best of my three absinthe purchases, by a good measure. It whupped up on Jade Edouard, and VDF. Jade was pretty green and had a good taste, but the Clandestine was candy. I let friends and family try the Jade and VDF, they all weren't too fond. But a friend of mine who is very critical, really liked LB alot (New Years).

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That's great to hear. I just ordered my first bottle of the new version. I love the first batch, but have always thought it needed the changes that people have been saying were made to the second edition.

I ordered a bottle from Markus recently, but it was still from the first batch.

 

So I finally decided I couldn't wait anymore and ordered from LdF, who is definitely selling the new stuff. I'm looking forward to doing a side-by-side comparison.

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There is still strongish cinnamon presence, but as GreyBoy indicated, it blends in beautifully with the other herbs, so that the flavors come across the palate in a more unified manner.

 

I do find different characteristics standing out with different sips, however. Sometimes the cinnamon will dominate, sometimes the citrus will come to the fore, and in another sip, the wormwood and fennel will take center stage.

 

I understand the argument that too many herbs and spices can spoil an absinthe, but I think Tuivel has done a truly admirable job of managing all that complexity, and has created a really lively, but smooth, drink.

 

I hopr that if there's a batch #3, he doesn't tinker with it too, although toning down the spicines just a tad more, and enhancing the mouthfeel a bit might result in a real masterpiece.

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I find the cinnamon comes out more towards the end of the glass

as the drink warms up a bit.

Though my bottle is now near finished,

guess it's ordering time.

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I usually have a maximum of two glasses at a sitting, because there is such an abundance of flavor that to drink more than that would cause palate fatigue.

 

Surprisingly, the flavor I'm often left with, which carries through into the next morning, is citrus, and not cinnamon.

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I think Tuivel has done a truly admirable job of managing all that complexity, and has created a really lively, but smooth, drink.

I'ld love to see what could do with a more traditional recipe. However, I agree that he is setting a new CO quality benchmark.

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I, too, would love to see what he could with a traditional recipe.

 

Of course, from his vantagepoint, he is working with a traditional recipe, or at least as close to one as he can cull from existing documents.

 

I do find it a little odd that there isn't a single bottle of early Austrian absinthe in existence, from which a chemically analyzed repro could have been created, but then again, there's only one Ted. ;)

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Are we talking about the same Clandestine that used to have this label?

 

post-143-1136824102.jpg

 

Having neglected it for months, I dug it out of the cupboard last night, and was reminded again how much I love it. (Find the new lable insipid, though.)

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A lot of different La bleues use that label. It depends on where you obtained it.

 

I have a bottle of Bugnons Absinthe that was made before the ban was lifted. I got it while I was in Couvet a couple of years ago. It does not have any label on it.

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Eric!!!

 

I think it must be the same one, although I bought it from Alandia before LdF carried it. It was called "Absinthe Suisse La Bleue Clandestine." Distillery Artemisia-Bugnon.

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FSC sells (at a ludicrous price) two LBs that use a variant on the same label. I don't know where they source them and they're not likely to tell since they are promoting them as "real" clandestine.

post-164-1136829656.jpg

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I just ordered my first bottle of the new version.

That was friday, Jan 6.

Today is Monday, Jan 9.

There was a weekend in between.

My absinthe came at 9:00 this morning.

 

 

LdF is using teleportation.

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After having found out that LdF carry this Clandestine La Bleue, I have to ask you guys a newbie question: are the brands they sell unique for LdF, so to speak, or are some of them available from other vendors?

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I just ordered my first bottle of the new version.

That was friday, Jan 6.

Today is Monday, Jan 9.

There was a weekend in between.

LdF is using teleportation.

 

Plus they're at least 6 hours AHEAD of you. They clearly have invented a machine to compensate for the Heisenberg principle.

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WTF?! My bottle of Clandestine just arrived from LdF. On the label it says:

 

"......serve by doses of 3 oz adding 3 or 4 volumes of very fresh water."

 

Three ounces? What do they think I'm going to serve it in, a wash tub?

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